CNB researchers earn the 2017 European Microscopy Society Outstanding Paper Award

Isabel Fernández and Cristina Risco Isabel Fernández and Cristina Risco

A study led by Isabel Fernández and Cristina Risco of the Spanish National Center for Biotechnology of the CSIC has received the 2017 award for outstanding paper within the life sciences, an annual prize given by the European Microscopy Society. Published in Nature Communications in November of last year, the paper earned this distinction based on the quality and novelty of the microscopy techniques used.


The European Microscopy Society (EMS) recently awarded a team of scientists led by researchers at the Cell Structure Laboratory of the Spanish National Center for Biotechnology of the CSIC (CNB-CSIC) the prize for most outstanding publication in the field of life sciences. The Outstanding Paper Award is not only a recognition of the paper’s scientific merit, but also highlights the exceptional quality of the microscopy techniques used.

“For this study, we applied microscopy techniques that our research group has been working to develop for years. That is why this award means more than having produced one of the top papers for the year; in fact, it validates over a decade’s worth of work,” say Cristina Risco and Isabel Fernández, who authored the study.

The study, which appeared in the November issue of Nature Communications, is a collaborative effort undertaken with researchers from the Pasteur Institute and reveals the existence of a cellular organelle formed by the influenza virus.

One of the electron-microscopy techniques developed by the research group of Risco and Fernández is called METTEM (metal-tagging transmission electron microscopy), based on a clonable tag that can be used to bind gold atoms to proteins so that these proteins may be visualized within cells. “Though similar methods have been developed, they have substantially lower resolution, a higher rate of false positives, and a lower signal-to-noise ratio. In terms of precision and sensitivity, no technique has been developed to date that can equal ours,” they explain.

The award, which comes with a cash prize, will be presented during the proceedings of the 19th International Microscopy Congress to be held in Australia in September.

Winning paper: : “Influenza virus genome reaches the plasma membrane via a modified endoplasmic reticulum and Rab11-dependent vesicles”. Isabel Fernández de Castro Martin, Guillaume Fournier, Martin Sachse, Javier Pizarro-Cerda, Cristina Risco & Nadia Naffakh. Nature Communications 8 (2017) 1396. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01557-6

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