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January 3, 2017 - "Doing an experiment is not more important than writing." (Edwin Boring, American psychologist). Winter 2017 group meeting schedule here.

January 4, 2017 - In September last year, Tabas and colleagues published a study in Nature Communications suggesting that an imbalance between omega-6-derived pro-resolving mediators and omega-6-derived leukotrienes is a causal factor of instability of atherosclerotic plaques. This paper provides a new angle of insight to a seemingly never ending but most stimulating controversy, and is the one we have selected as Paper of the Year 2016.

January 13, 2017 - It is habitual that politicians visit things during election campaigns. But, when not in campaign, what would be the use for these visits? Inquiring minds want to know.

January 17, 2017 - Michael Eskin's lipid rap back again in this section: cholesterol, cholesterol gets the bad attention, without you there would be no lipid digestion... nor that nice purple color in our test tube...

January 20, 2017 - Several interpretations have been made to the Francisco de Goya's etching called "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters." At some point of an intellectual effort, a man seems to have been overcome by fatigue, and so fell asleep. Then, creatures of the night appear and surround him... perhaps threatening him or coming to his aid? We bet the former.

January 24, 2017 - Ain't no bad lipids in the heart of the city, ain't no bad lipids in the heart of town... Talking about lipins in Majorca island is sure nuff no pity.

January 27, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #29 "Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever" (Lance Armstrong, American pretender).

February 7, 2017 - Sometimes, cells arrange themselves to simulate unexpected shapes; others, a helping hand is used to create the structure of an inflammasome from lipin-2-EGFP-stained cells, plus some DAPI blue. This time we did not make it, but we will keep trying.

February 8, 2017 - Anything can be done when the drive, the passion and, most of all, the support are there. The 2017 Eicosanoid Research Division Group Picture here.

February 10, 2017 - The proteins of the lipin family are phosphatidate phosphatase enzymes required for glycerolipid biosynthesis. How lipins work and what they do in an innate immunity context is the research subject of the E2 family of scientists at the ERD.

February 15, 2017 - Palmitvaccenic acid or cis-11-hexadecenoic acid (16:1n-5), another isomer of palmitoleic acid, is quite abundant in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, to the point that its detection in plant roots has been regarded as an indicator of fungal contamination. Virtually nothing is known about palmitvaccenic acid in mammalian cells, yet we have detected it at low levels in human macrophages. For quick reference, here is our very nice fatty acid list.

February 20, 2017 - Meet the ERD mascot, Felisa the rat. The rat that squeals and squeals is a weekender, shameless rat, and reckless at the same time, which *strives* against the living rockage.

February 22, 2017 - Trying to find innovative ideas to regain that first place lost by crumbling support and lack of motivation? The road is only one. Money makes the world go round, and the scientific enterprise is no exception.

March 1, 2017 - Sciadonic acid (20:3n-6; Δ5,11,14) and juniperonic acid (20:4n-3; Δ5,11,14,17) are fatty acids from the plant kingdom. Because humans lack Δ8 desaturases, sciadonic acid and juniperonic acid cannot be converted directly to arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, respectively. However, by combining b-oxidation with elongation reactions, human cells can make linolenic acid from sciadonic acid, and a-linolenic acid from juniperonic acid. This is somewhat reminiscent of the strategy the cells follow to make 7-hexadecenoic acid from palmitic acid.

March 7, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #30: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them" (Galileo Galilei, Italian polymath).

March 11, 2017 - The problem with placing sentiments as the main criterion for moral judgement is that sentimental reasons and reasoned thoughts are seldom like Forrest and Jenny, that is, peas and carrots.

March 22, 2017 - It is the same old uninspiring questions which you find discussed by newcomers to arid morning meetings, which you find talked lazily about by old timers to unresponsive staff. What is to be done? The only solution that can be found is what you know about changing things so everything can stay the same.

March 23, 2017 - “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas” (Linus Pauling, American biochemist, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1954 and Peace 1962). Spring 2017 group meeting schedule here.

March 29, 2017 - Back from the 4th Madrid Meeting on Dendritic Cells and Macrophages. Fun as usual plus that nice feeling you get when you surround yourself with top Princess scientists... Pics here and here.

March 30, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #31: "What we believe to be the motives of our conduct are usually but the pretexts for it" (Miguel de Unamuno, Spanish writer and philosopher).

April 2, 2017 - Update on former ERD grad students. Our expatriates in California, Gema, Carlos and Martín, support the theory that healthy eating habits of Spanish inspiration contribute to greater impact factor expectancy.

April 3, 2017 - A fine summary of our recent work on lipin-2 and... uhmm, inflammasomopathies, can be found here in the context of the pathogenesis of autoinflammatory bone disorders.

April 12, 2017 - Sometimes "compliance with the communication and advertising rules, and future controls and audits", leads to somewhat ludicrous situations, such as having to post announcements of dubious interest "at visible places of our department, laboratory or unit." Life goes on.

April 25, 2017 - In science, sometimes it is not about making the right decision, but just making a decision at all. We cannot always make the right decision, but we can make every decision count. By corollary, no objective decisions can be made without some understanding of how science really works.

April 27, 2017 - In JBC Papers in Press there is a report describing the involvement of group VIB phospholipase A2 (iPLA2g) in releasing oxidized fatty acyl chains from cardiolipin. The paper explicitly acknowledges (and supports by appropriate citation) that the selective inhibitor bromoenol lactone has many off-target effects. Coming from where it comes, this is really a nice first.

April 28, 2017 - Emotional stability is not to be shaken and stirred. Resentment, frustration or desperation cloud one's mind and make it difficult to prepare an effective response. Aggressive attitudes are almost always counterproductive. Little by little, everything changes.

May 4, 2017 - Never too late to do well. One year waiting for the Explora awarding thing until it finally came out today. Now, there are some very nice things we can do with money that we think was heaven sent.

May 10, 2017 - A recent article in Nature states that "in Spain, the sexenio evaluation (a salary increase based on productivity) depends heavily on rankings derived from journal impact factors." True, and so many other toxic things too. Interesting article nevertheless, but likely, completely inconsequential. Still for years to come, reviewing panels will continue adding up three decimal impact factor figures.

May 12, 2017 - To pick a topic in an evolving area that sets one’s research apart from the crowd, JBC Papers in Press, William Dowhan's Reflections.

May 24, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #32: "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life" (Attributed to Winston Churchill, British politician).

May 31, 2017 - Is there a word to describe that feeling of being surrounded by people who take it for granted that it is your job to do everything in exchange for nothing? Maybe something like this.

June 8, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #33: "You will do the greatest service to your people if you raise not the roofs of the houses, but the souls of the citizens" (Epictetus, Greek philosopher).

June 10, 2017 - The Merriam Webster dictionary defines double talk as the language that appears to be earnest and meaningful but in fact is a mixture of sense and nonsense. In other words, people saying nothing with the largest number of words. Double talk is a very frequent occurrence at those board meetings that, luckily, we do not have to attend very often.

June 13, 2017 - “If you cannot, in the long run, tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless" (Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1933). Summer 2017 group meeting schedule here.

June 23, 2017 - It was only a matter of time, how the mighty have fallen! The JBC has dropped to Q2. There it joins other illustrious journals which had fallen down the precipice years before: Biochemistry, Biochemical Journal or FEBS Journal. The immediate consequence for us is that the journal that for years has been the journal, the leading exponent of the best lipid science, is another one to be avoided from now on. Otherwise our research would fall out of the scope of that ethereal but undetermined concept called 'stairway to excellence'. Most definitely, something is rotten in the state of science.

June 27, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #34: "What is common to many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than what they possess in common with others" (Aristotle, Greek philosopher).

June 29, 2017 - Another one from Aristotle that describes very well our latest conundrum: "Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas" (Plato is my friend, but truth is a greater friend). Dangerous people those who intend to free us from things we do not want to be freed from.

July 5, 2017 - Another year, another CIBERDEM Annual Report. Things could get bad, things could get worse, we guess you will know the tune.

July 6, 2017 - In JLR Papers in Press there is an interesting paper by Kuefner et al. showing that restoring the group IIA phospholipase A2 gene to C57BL/6 mice, which do not express this gene naturally due to a frameshift mutation, protects the animals from obesity. The effect is thought to be due to activation of mitochondrial uncoupling in brown adipose tissue. New roles for an old enzyme.

July 11, 2017 - Another quotation from that endless well of wisdom called Charles Barkley comes in very handy to describe recent events: "You got to believe in yourself. Hell, I believe I'm the best-looking guy in the world and I might be right." Still no charlesbarkleys around.

July 25, 2017 - As a follow up on the topic discussed in the June 23 entry, looking over the WoS journal list for the field of Immunology, we have noticed that some influential journals such as the Journal of Leukocyte Biology or the European Journal of Immunology are, and have been for a while, in Q2. The Journal of Immunology is not, but it is getting closer. No one could say it better than Blasa: Oh Lord, take me with You soon!

August 1, 2017 - Does the treatment of titanium surfaces with argon plasma improve its performance? Does it change macrophage activation properties? And, more importantly, what does this have to do with lipid signaling and metabolism in inflammation? Time might tell.

August 7, 2017 - This cartoon was published around 2010, when the economic crisis threatened to wipe out our beloved institution. Today, more than seven years after and despite so many promises, there is still the impression that we will be stuck in the three still for a long time to come.

September 5, 2017 - Wikipedia defines illusory superiority as a cognitive bias whereby a person overestimates his or her own qualities and abilities in relation to the same qualities and abilities of other persons. A rather frequent demeanor in the neighborhood, the real problem with it is that we all end up losing. Ignoring this problem does nothing more than make it worse.

September 8, 2017 - We just learned of the death of H. Alex Brown from the Sep issue of ASBMB Today. We met Alex in the 90's when, finished his postdoc, he came to San Diego for a job interview. Alex Brown was one of the most recognizable names in phospholipase D research, a stagnant field not so long ago that he helped revitalize with his chemical biology approaches. He also did a lot of glycerophospholipid analysis by mass spectrometry, and we read his papers with true devotion. Sadly, there will be no more coming.

September 14, 2017  - Directorial Quotation #35: "There is no harm in repeating a good thing" (Plato, Greek philosopher)

September 20, 2017 - An unexpected role for ethanolamine plasmalogen hydrolysis in lipopolysaccharide priming of macrophages for enhanced arachidonic acid mobilization, coming soon to your local eicosanoid library (a.k.a Publications, there on the left hand side menu). By the way, this is going to be our first paper in an Open Access journal.

September 25, 2017 - "It is a pleasure to be able to quote lines to fit any occasion" (Abraham Lincoln, President of the U.S.). Fall 2017 group meeting schedule here.

September 28, 2017 - What is science policy? You ask me while you rivet into my pupil your pupil of blue. Science policy? And you're asking me? Science policy... it is not you, it is to forge out laws in secret rooms (with thanks to Gustavo Adolfo for the inspiration).

October 11, 2017 - Amidst the blowing of increasingly stronger scipol winds, we have learned that according to the IUPAC, 'cholesteryl ester' is wrong. It should be 'cholesterol ester'. The term cholesteryl should be used when referring to particular species only, e.g. cholesteryl hexadecenoate, cholesteryl palmitoleate, cholesteryl sapienate, etc. Thanks to the Lipid Web for that one.

October 13, 2017 - Yes, we all know that Magneto was mad, the Titanium Man too, and the Crimson Dynamo just couldn't cut it no more, but the most obnoxious of the trio is by far, the man in the middle. The only man, the fool of a man in the middle.

October 25, 2017 - The Annual Meeting of the Spanish Biochemical Society is being held these days in Barcelona in association with the French and Portuguese societies. Surrounded by one hundred and fifty-five rumors of agitation, lipins enjoyed their fair share of exposure.

October 31, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #36: "It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not” (André Gide, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1947).

November 7, 2017 - What is better to science, the paradox or the prejudice? If we ignore the fool on the hill who counts the falling tears that fall before his eyes, we must conclude that it has to be the former.

November 20, 2017 - Back from Brazil, where we attended the 11th International Congress of Pharmaceutical Sciences, held at Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo state. As usual, we enjoyed the warm brazilian hospitality at its best.

November 21, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #37: "A muleteer told me that you do not have to get there first, you just have to know how to get there” (José Alfredo Jiménez, Mexican king songwriter).

November 22, 2017 - Old conventional wisdom has it that sapienic acid is a fatty acid present in human sebum, skin and nails. Given our recent editorial experiences with this fatty acid, one could say as well that there is much of it in blood, sweat and tears. By the way, sapienic acid is also found at significant levels in phagocytic cells; go to your favorite eicosanoid library to check it out!

November 27, 2017 - Extra Directorial Quotation: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something” (Plato, Greek philosopher).

December 14, 2017 - Those who study without interest always fail to remember that there is a pot of gold at the other end of the rainbow. Else, those who seek petty revenge for things they do not agree with always fail to take into account that the best revenge is success.

December 19, 2017 - Directorial Quotation #39: "You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough" (William Blake, English poet).

December 20, 2017 - It has been suggested that titanium exposure may be harmful to the brain, in particular to glial cells, which include the astrocytes. Astrocytes are known as rich sources of arachidonic acid and its oxygenated metabolites. Morale of the story: if your sixth sense says no, get to trust it.

December 28, 2017 - Our latest palmitoleic paper (to appear shortly in the JLR) ranks 23rd, out of 43 entries, in the "Most-Read Articles during October thru November 2017" list. Not bad considering that our paper was first published in the Papers in Press section on Nov 21. With this exhilarating news we say goodbye to this year and wait for the next one, which promises to begin in a pretty hectic way.



January 8, 2018 - "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man and let history make its own judgment" (Zephram Cochrane, rocket scientist. Also a Roy Orbison fan). Winter 2018 group meeting schedule here.

January 15, 2018 - Our Paper of the Year 2017 was published in the November issue of Nature Medicine by Arai and colleagues. The work describes a new pathway regulated by PAF acetyl hydrolase that results in the generation of omega-3 fatty acid epoxides as new lipid mediators of mast cell-mediated allergic reactions.

January 16, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #40: "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" (Plato, Greek philosopher).

January 19, 2018 - The flight of Icarus, in addition to being a fine Iron Maiden song, is a great reminder that the wax of reality may melt for so many reasons, and the floor is a very hard place to fall. Recurring thoughts for the day.

January 23, 2018 - This year the trilling blackbirds have taken longer than usual to make themselves noticed. Today, the first day that their singing finally floods the dawn of the city, also come in those who like to make themselves noticed. Preserve your memories, they're all that's left to you.

January 27, 2018 - Good things, they say, usually come in threes; omne trium perfectum - everything that comes in threes is perfect. There is lies, damn lies and statistics, the three little pigs, the bad, the good and the ugly... and there is also the education, the science and the future.

January 30, 2018 - Essential fatty acid deficiency, especially for cells in culture, is seldom appreciated. Very few studies have been carried out to document alterations in phospholipid molecular species as a result of serum starvation or depletion of polyunsaturated fatty acids during tissue culture. A nice paper by the Murphy group just appearing in JLR Papers in Press fills the gap, and shows the replacement of arachidonic acid with mead acid in particular phospholipid species as cells are kept in culture, this leading to marked changes in the overall eicosanoid response.

February 7, 2018 - Some scattered thoughts that cross one's mind after browsing today's press: "let them invent, that later we will take advantage of their inventions. For, I  trust  and  hope  you  will  be  convinced as I am, the electric bulb shines equally well here as in the place where it was invented." Different situation, same idea, here.

February 8, 2018 - Didn't they want some news releases? Here is one: "Novel lipids as possible markers for immunometabolic diseases" in the News section of the official website of CIBER-ISCIII (in Spanish; use the browser's built-in translator).

February 9, 2018 - A technological note on lipids just published in Nature Methods caught our eye for its subheading, an ultimate declaration of lipidological principles: "Fats add structure, they signal, they interact. In the lab, lipids are tough to work with but worth the challenge."

February 13, 2018 - Several years ago it was reported that the orphan receptor GPR120 is an omega-3 fatty acid receptor which mediates the anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects of these fatty acids. A very recent paper in Cell Metabolism suggests that other orphan receptor, GP40, is engaged by members of the novel family of fatty acid hydroxy fatty acyl esters. Grab some soda and pop corn and get ready to enjoy future works on this engaging subject (no pun intended).

February 16, 2018 - It took quite a bit more than blood, sweat and tears, but our new toy, a QTRAP 4500, the fifth of the series, is home at last. Now it is our turn to see how beautifully this little monster does.

February 20, 2018 - Dennis Vance, another of the lipid research giants of our era, wrote a very enjoyable Reflection article last fall in JBC. In it, we read: "Previously, one could possibly have developed an inhibitor of PEMT (phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase) that might have revealed the role of PEMT in evolutionary biology. However, there is always concern about incomplete inhibition and off-target effects of inhibitors, whereas gene-targeting technology is very specific and unambiguous." True, of course, but just in the previous paragraph, the author noted that in Pmet-/- animals the amount of the active form of hepatic CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase is 60% higher than in wild type animals, to maintain phosphatidylcholine levels. So we wonder, could not gene compensations in k.o. animals have an influence on something?

March 7, 2018 - Our recent JLR paper on palmitoleic acid isomers in phagocytic cells is commented upon briefly but very accurately in the Lipid Web blog. This is the third time that our work is mentioned in such a prestigious place. We thank Bill Christie for the free exposure.

March 14, 2018 - Today the earth and the heavens smile at me; today the sun reaches the bottom of my soul; today I've looked at the calendar... I've looked at it and I have realized that... today's the day! (With thanks to Gustavo Adolfo for the titanic inspiration).

March 22, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #41: “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience” (George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright).

March 23, 2018 - Why is it that people complaining all day that things do not get done, always tend to forget that things do not get done on their own? Why is it that people always expect that others will get the things moving?

March 26, 2018 - "The secret is in not going too heavy on the sauces" (Abraracourcix, Gaulish gourmet). Spring 2018 group meeting schedule here.

April 2, 2018 - Back from the Bioactive Lipids Conference held in Athens, Greece. Wonderful moments, both in and out the conference room. Maybe Cyprus awaits us, maybe.

April 6, 2018 - Following on from the previous entry, it is amazing to realize the legacy of words of wisdom that the ancient Greeks left for us. For example, Pericles, the man behind the construction of the Parthenon, argued that just because one does not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in one... which is somehow related with things that happened today.

April 12, 2018 - It seems there will not be CIBERDEM Annual Report this year, at least not the way we used to know it. Not that we will miss it much, though.

April 13, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #42: “Men are only clever at shifting blame from their own shoulders to those of others.” (Titus Livius, Roman historian).

April 18, 2018 - Story is that of a wise vice chairman, so poor and miserable he was, that subsisted by eating only the wild herbs he could gather. Will there be another person, he mused to himself, who is poorer and sadder than me? And when he looked back, the answer found out after noticing a flock of directors who were collecting the herbs he had discarded (liberally taken from Calderón de la Barca's "Life Is a Dream"). Morale of the story: "Don" without a "din", bollocks in Latin.

April 26, 2018 - Nice trick that of the JBC Editor, Lila Gierasch, to advertise a new ASBMB journal, which was none other than the JBC itself. New directions, approaches and overt enthusiasm, yes, but the editorial falls to acknowledge the progressive decline in relevance of the journal over the years, at least in the lipid area. For many authors, including of course us, JBC was not just another journal; it was the journal. These are changing times also for scientific publishing, and those who do not adapt are doomed to perish. Whether JBC is moving in a successful direction we do not know. We do hope so.

April 27, 2018 - Historical fact taken from here: Ludwig Thudichum, a guy who, much deservedly, pops up into these pages from time to time, discovered the molecular composition of what was then called lecithin (today phosphatidylcholine) in... 1874!

May 7, 2018 - In the end it all comes to the same thing: no matter what you do or what they think, there will always be room for troublemakers. And, of course, a wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf.

May 18, 2018 - After the pomps of the takeover speech of the incumbent of the Rectorial Chair of the University of Valladolid have vanished, the reminder was made that the latest rankings of Spanish universities place the University of Valladolid in the 63rd position out of 65 institutions analyzed.

May 26, 2018 - Back from the Annual CIBERDEM Meeting, held in Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona. Friendly atmosphere, as always. Other than that, we would not know what to say.

May 31, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #43: "Four fifths of all our troubles in this life would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still" (Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the USA).

June 5, 2018 - An old battle hymn states that there cannot be duties without rights, and no right should come without duty. Today, it is not uncommon to find people who tend to forget their duties but never forget their rights.

June 6, 2018 - New government in Spain and a new ministry for us to depend on, it could not be otherwise. We leave Economy (thank goodness) and return to the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which has been brought back to life. They have added now "and Universities" at the end of the name, but that does not seem to hurt. Time to update the stationery and all that fun stuff.

June 7, 2018 - Despite the evergrowing difficulties we have to face day in day out, our eicosanoid brigantine keeps sailing on without any fear, because neither enemy ship nor calm nor storm is able to stop her course or subdue her courage. In other words, we have been very successful again in our applications to the annual regional distribution of graduate scholarships.

June 13, 2018 - "The nation is quite able to take up arms but is also very disorganized. Thus the one who can hold it united and in order will manage to obtain great things from it" (King Ferdinand II of Aragon and V of Castile). Summer 2018 group meeting schedule here.

June 14, 2018 - Lucia Faccioli, friend and colleague from the University of Sao Paulo just finished her three-day visit to our institute and shared some interesting data on new functions for old eicosanoids. Lipid science and fun, in and out the lab, mesh well together.

June 22, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #44: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" (Albert Einstein, German physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1921).

June 29, 2018 - The latest installment on journal impact factors is already here and... as predicted (see 07/25/17 entry), the Journal of Immunology joins the JBC and other illustrious journals in Q2. Another one we cannot/should not afford to consider for publishing our work. This is getting really really ludicrous.

July 5, 2018 - While in human or murine primary macrophages group V secreted phospholipase A2 is well described to be strongly up-regulated by interleukins -4 and -13, and much less so by bacterial lipopolysaccharide or zymosan, the situation is surprisingly the opposite when macrophage-like cells lines are used. Long time ago we reported on this using the P388D1 cell line, and here is similar data using RAW264.7 cells, which are by far and large the most utilized macrophage-like cells.

July 11, 2018 - Everything and anything you need to know about the in vivo specificities of major phospholipase A2s, soon to hit your favorite eicosanoid news stand!

July 12, 2018 - More good news coming hot off the press: regulatory roles of ethanolamine plasmalogens in macrophage phagocytosis, here.

July 20, 2018 - Napoleon Bonaparte said about the Spaniards that they were "a mob of villagers guided by a rabble of priests." Probably that was before Bailén, but what matters is that much of the behavior that motivated Napoleon's comment is still around today.

July 27, 2018  - "And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, see that you be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6). Or: "Man accepts as logical and reasonable all that is appropriate to his selfishness, placing it above reality," from Vicente Blasco Ibáñez's The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.

August 1, 2018 - Contrary to our initial skepticism, commercial fish oil supplements seem to accurately contain what the label says they contain. On the opposite side, commercial salmon usually contains lower omega-3 than expected because it is not wild salmon as generally marketed, but farmed salmon. This comes on the back of a very recent position paper by the American Heart Association regarding omega-3 fatty acids, where it is recommended that "one to two seafood meals per week be included to reduce the risk of congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, and sudden cardiac death."

August 2, 2018 - A recent study published by Pflimlin et al. in the August 7 issue of Cell Metabolism shows that fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFA) do not affect glucose uptake, insulin, or GLP-1 release in vitro. Further, administration of FAHFA to diet-induced obese mice do not significantly improve their deranged metabolic status. The overall conclusion is that the data "do not support the further development of FAHFAs for the control of insulin resistance and hyperglycemia." Very unexpected indeed.

August 16, 2018 - Novel roles for lipin-1 in intestinal inflammation and colon carcinogenesis coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

August 18, 2018 - Yesterday we surpassed the threshold of 100,000 visits to our humble website. Eleven years were needed to reach the milestone, roughly 9,100 visits per year. Not bad for such a small site like this. We do know we need some serious facelift, and may be working on it.

September 14, 2018 - We must always follow our own instincts and not allow to be deceived by the enchanting singing of sirens. This way we will avoid to be surprised by news like the one we just received which, in reality, does nothing but confirm that some things are in desperate need for a change.

September 18, 2018 - "It doesn't matter if you fall down as long as you pick up something from the floor while you get up." (Efraim Racker, Austrian American biochemist). Fall 2018 group meeting schedule here.

September 20, 2018 - Being scientifically ignored may hurt some people. Most of the times this is not intentional, they may have not noticed your work yet. Just yet. It is you job, not theirs, to change the situation.

September 21, 2018  - Directorial Quotation #45: "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." (Elbert Hubbard, American writer).

September 26, 2108 - Extra Directorial Quotation (very, very appropriate): "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." (George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1925).

October 8, 2018 - They make your day when they say you are so enterprising and influential. Others can't say the same, ha ha.

October 16, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #47: "I try. I fail. I try again. I fail better" (Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1969).

October 18, 2018 - Guess what is the Regional "Consolidated Research Unit" (JCyL-UIC) that ranks #1 in terms of scientific excellence? Yes, you guessed right.

October 23, 2018 - Our latest collaborative effort with CIBERDEM colleagues concerns with lipid changes underlying brown adipose tissue adaptation to cold under low adrenergic signaling conditions.

October 24, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #48: "Only a few men seek freedom, the majority seek nothing more than fair masters." (Sallust, Roman historian).

November 2, 2018 - Cold winds blowing in Norway, and little birds telling us that the local scientific thing keeps going smooth. More on this when circumstances permit.

November 8, 2018 - The paper by Pflimlin et al. referred to in the August 2 entry above that called into question the anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects of FAHFAs, is generating interesting responses here and here. Not that this was unexpected. Time for soda and popcorn anyway.

November 9, 2018 - We have become aware that Cyberlipid Center, a veteran and most useful lipid website, lists our site under the section "Sites directly involved in fats and lipids". Glad to be in such illustrious company.

November 13, 2018 - It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Julián Gómez Cambronero, friend in lipid research for so many years, and one of the last phospholipase D heroes. The famous 'clam chowder incident' with him up there in Connecticut that caused us to miss our flight back to Cali and spend a whole night long at Logan airport still brings us fond memories.

November 20, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #49: "It doesn't matter whether the water is cold or warm if you have to wade through it anyway” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher).

November 21, 2018 - 'Cause they need somebody to tell them that advanced lab techniques are gonna last forever, so tell me have they ever really really really ever enjoyed an opening act?

November 23, 2018 - The little birds of Nov. 2 were not accurate and our initial expectations have not been fulfilled. Sad thing is, it is extremely unlikely that someone will be caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

November 27, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #50: "If those who speak badly of me knew exactly what I think of them, they would speak worse" (Sacha Guitry, French playwright).

December 1, 2018 - The least suitable person to lead the pack says he has a dream; the rest of us say we may be entering a nightmare.

December 3, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #51: "In governing I learned to move from the ethics of principles to the ethics of responsibilities" (Felipe González, Former Prime Minister of Spain).

December 4, 2018 - Following Dio's advice, we have made the decision to lock up the wolves for the next four years. Yes, don't we let' em go away.

December 5, 2018 - Directorial Quotation #52 (hopefully the last one): "As the blessings of health and fortune have a beginning, so they must also find an end." (Sallust, Roman historian).

December 19, 2018 - The latest evaluation of our research output and that of the neighborhood we stay in has produced the expected results. Of course, the response generated was also the expected: zero, nada.

December 28, 2018 - As the year comes to a close, we remember that we predicted just one year ago that 2018 would commence in a pretty hectic way. Yes, that was so, and it continued and ended in the same manner. Let us hope we do not return to the old conflicting ways.



January 4, 2019 - "Rich countries are rich because they dedicate money to scientific and technological development, and poor countries remain poor because they do not. Science is not expensive, what is expensive is ignorance" (Bernardo Houssay, Argentine physiologist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1947). Winter 2019 group meeting schedule here.

January 8, 2019 - In the Feb 22 issue of Nature Communications, the crystal structure of group VIA calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2β) was at long last revealed. Although some of the statements made in the paper are extremely debatable, this work clearly constitutes a breakthrough in the field, and will likely help develop new concepts on enzyme catalysis and inhibitor design. This is the article we have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2018.

January 9, 2019 - It was fun while it lasted. A burden sometimes, we admit it, but in most cases an enjoyable and worthwhile experience if only for the looks of thrill and delight on the faces of a few of the teenagers.

January 21, 2019 - The official 2019 Group Picture of the Eicosanoid Research Division can be found here. No one missed it this year.

January 22, 2019 - At the definitive end of the road, it is good to keep in mind that staying away in silence is not at all an act of cowardice. Many times it is rather the most courageous thing one can do to protect the inner light within.

January 29, 2019 - The clot scandal that has recently spread across the national newspapers teaches us once again that the thing that matters the least in the world of science is precisely science.

February 4, 2019 - Caproic (6:0), caprylic (8:0) and capric (10:0) are medium chain fatty acids found at relatively high quantities in goat milk (capra means goat in Latin). Although their smell is rather unpleasant, their esters are commonly used in perfumery and for artificial flavoring, which is quite ironic. Caprylic acid in particular may also have some anti-inflammatory effects but this needs further thorough investigation. For quick reference, here is our old nice fatty acid list.

February 15, 2019 - Some folks like to lie to themselves and say that we were born silver spoon in hand, but it ain't us, we ain't no fortunate sons. We just did a few things the right way, and thus have fine good people doing things the right way, mass spec for example. No matter what they say, it ain't us, we ain't no millionaire's sons, we ain't no fortunate ones.

February 22, 2019 - From the Journal of Lipid Research's Editorial Policy: "Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship." Fine, but as the old proverb goes, love means deeds, not sweet reasons.

February 28, 2019 - To consider is to think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision. To reconsider is to consider (something) again, especially for a possible change of decision regarding it. No examples of the former word yet at hand, so here is one of the latter: "I guess you've changed your mind. Why don't you reconsider baby, give yourself just a little more time." Elvis always delivers.

March 6, 2019 - In science, as in real life, not everything has a solution. It is a mistake to try to find solutions for everything, because old dogs are not willing to learn new tricks, that is clear.

March 11, 2019  - Interesting if somewhat smelly fact: dead cockroaches give off a blend of various fatty acids, primarily oleic and linoleic, the odor of which warns other fellow roaches roaming around that they may be entering a danger zone. Similarly, the smell of oleic acid allows ants to recognize a dead comrade ready to be carried to the ant cemetery.

March 14, 2019 - Looking back at the not so distant past, it fills us with pride and satisfaction to declare how lovely it is when a plan finally comes together.

March 18, 2019 - "Nature is trying to tell us something. In fact, she's screaming in our ears. If we would only listen" (John A. Glomset, American biochemist). Spring 2019 group meeting schedule here.

March 21, 2019 -  Spring alters the blood (it sounds so much better in Spanish). Four years ago, the good guys at DiabetesFede featured our work in their magazine. They did it again and.. well, you read it. We may well be the only group affiliated to CIBERDEM that has been interviewed twice by the magazine. Yesterday and today

April 1, 2019 - Inspiring advice from another of the lipid giants of our era: Bill Smith's Reflections in JBC. Among the many pearls of wisdom contained in the article, we selected this: "I (Bill Smith, graduate student) was showing him (Bill Lands, thesis advisor) some data that I had been too lazy to interpret. He listened briefly, gave me a disdainful look, and then walked away without saying anything. He was actually 'saying' that it was time for me to grow up and take charge of my project. And I did."

April 2, 2019 - Now that the Directorial Quotations are gone for good, it looks like a good idea to bring to life something similar but slightly different: the Current Quotations, yay! Of course, in the same good-spirited manner as always. Here is #1: "Between the inappropriateness of disrespecting our foe and the indignity of smiling at him, there is a fair middle ground: to ignore him." Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio died on a Monday and in Madrid.

April 9, 2019 - The following was said long ago, 21 centuries to be precise, by Pompeius Trogus, Gallo-Roman historian: "Spaniards are fierce and very brave, but with a big flaw; when they do not have an external enemy against whom to fight, they pass time fighting each other." It is remarkable that after so many years, we are still in the exact same place. By the way, that was Current Quotation #2.

April 11, 2019 - Formation of FAHFA (fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids) as a possible protective mechanism to counteract the pro-apoptotic effects of hydroxy fatty acids accumulating in cells? Find it in your favorite eicosanoid library.

April 17, 2019 - Science history papers are always so much fun to read. Here is the latest one, the history of aspirin, from Sumerian and Egyptian times to the present.

May 7, 2019 - Current Quotation #3: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye?" (Luke 6:41-42). Most definitely, to keep order in our nation no trivial matter it is.

May 17, 2019 - There may be ladies who are sure that all that glitters is gold, but in truth it is not what people think, but what they, in their inner self, know. So, when you see some ladies shining white light, do not be too confident that everything will still turn to gold.

May 22, 2019 - Bilbao is definitely a place for serious mass spec-based lipidomic research. That is one reason why it is always a pleasure to visit the city. Other reasons are the mushrooms, walnuts and chestnuts, the headsets and the husbands... So much to choose from.

June 3, 2019 - Lipins, signaling hubs in innate immunity and inflammation, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

June 5, 2019 - Another palmitoleic acid isomer, the one having the double bound at C10, has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, just like the n-9, n-7 and n-10 isomers. This novel n-6 isomer is synthesized by bacteria and accumulates in triacylglycerol. There seems to be a pattern in here...

June 12, 2019 - "A time will come when our descendants will be amazed to find out that we did not know things that are so obvious to them" (Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Spanish-Roman philosopher). Summer 2019 group meeting schedule here.

June 14, 2019 - Sometimes things just do not work out the way they were planned. Usually there is a good reason for it. While the detrimental influence of the "one size fits all" approach currently in place cannot be left aside, doing less than the competition or resting on one's laurels is rarely a good strategy for success.

July 5, 2019 - "Monkey see, monkey do" is an expression used, according to the Free Dictionary, to refer to children imitating and copying what they see adults or other children do. Interestingly, some grown-ups in the neighborhood frequently behave the same. Trouble is, they may also be pretty annoying, sometimes even dangerous. Like monkeys with guns, you know.

July 12, 2019 - Current Quotation #4: "The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of mistreating someone" (Aldous Huxley, English writer and philosopher).

July 26, 2019 - Double submission has been defined as "the submission to a journal of a paper that is under concurrent review by another publication." Note that 'concurrent' is the operative word here. Whether this is a dishonest practice or not, depends on who you ask. Some will argue that this is merely a strategy to save time. Publishers will consider it unethical, mostly for possible copyright violations. Whatever the side of the fence one is in, better not tempt the Fates.

July 29, 2019 - Read in a letter of advice to candidates applying for a research position in some fancy university: "Working efficiently is more expected than working hard, even if one does not exclude the other and vice versa." Ah, those were the times!

July 31, 2019 - Hot off the press: New roles for cytosolic phospholipase A2γ in phospholipid arachidonic acid remodeling, here.

August 5, 2019 - We have come to realize that most people ignore the difference between the two ways to designate a fatty acid with double bonds, the omega system and the n–x (n minus x) system. Well, they may look the same, and in practical terms they do not differ much but, truth be told, they do not mean the same. We posted this like five years ago and re-post it again for those with restless ears: n is a magnitude (number of carbons), ω is just a name to designate the last carbon of the chain; n–x is a subtraction, ω-x is not. n–x gives us the position of the last double bond counting from the carboxyl group, which is, incidentally, the proper way to count fatty acid carbons. ω-x indicates, counting from the terminal methyl group or omega end, the carbon at which the first double bond occurs. Let's take arachidonic acid (20:4) as an example: it is an n–6 fatty acid because its last double bond is located at C14 (20 minus 6); it is an ω-6 fatty acid because if we look at the molecule from the terminal methyl group, the first unsaturation occurs at the sixth carbon (which is C15).

August 9, 2019 - It is great to receive good news from time to time, especially about matters you had almost completely forgotten or had not much confidence that they would work as planned.

August 13, 2019 - Current Quotation #5: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

August 19, 2019 - Membrane phospholipids or neutral lipids as primary sources of free arachidonic acid for lipid mediator signaling in monocytes? Bet on the former here.

September 17, 2019 - "We, scientists (of developing countries), must always keep in mind that we were able to study thanks to the resources provided by all our compatriots. Our duty is to repay this debt by working in our country and trying to take it forward" (Bernardo Houssay, Argentine physiologist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1947). Fall 2019 group meeting schedule here.

September 18, 2019 - Current Quotation #6: "In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made (medical) school boards" (Mark Twain, American writer).

September 25, 2019 - Quantification in mass spec-based lipidomics is a tough issue. It is usually very difficult, sometimes impossible, to compare data from different laboratories. Lack of adequate standards to choose from, normalization methods etc., plague the interpretations. Good thing about it, not all biological studies must be strictly quantitative. Not even semi-quantitative. Sometimes you only need a qualitative glimpse to realize what is going on.

October 10, 2019 - Grant writing season can be really hectic, especially when you have other deadlines to take care of. Incidentally, and tellingly, the English Wikipedia is the only that contains an entry on Grant Writing.

October 22, 2019 - "Hate graduate school? Avoid these common mistakes students make." Good points, interesting reading.

October 31, 2019 - Current Quotation #7: “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd” (Bertrand Russell, British writer and philosopher, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1950).

November 6, 2019 - What cannot be is not and, in addition, is impossible. Well, sometimes not. The hopeless persistence of the minnow.

November 11, 2019 - Back from the 10th edition of the CIBERDEM meeting, held in Mataró. It would have to be said that we are no longer singing by the great avenues.

November 15, 2019 - Itziar Sanjuán successfully defended today her PhD dissertation, titled "Lipin-2 Regulation of Palmitic Acid-Induced NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Macrophages.”

November 18, 2019 - Nagore de Pablo successfully defended today her PhD dissertation, titled "Modulation of Macrophage Antiviral Responses by Lipin-2: Type 1 Interferon, Inflammasome, and Cholesterol Homeostasis."

November 19, 2019 - There is always time for fun after dedicating so much time to the mysteries of lipid biology and biochemistry.

November 21, 2019  - Palma, a classical holiday destination, especially for Germans, is also the home of some interesting mass spectrometry work, which we were given the opportunity to know a bit better.

November 22, 2019 - Not a two without a three, Patricia Lebrero brilliantly defended today her doctoral dissertation, titled "Phospholipid Arachidonic Acid Remodeling in Macrophages: Role of Plasmalogen Species.”

November 25, 2019 - Urge surfing, an interesting concept. Some psychotherapists suggest that an urge usually lasts for no more than 30 minutes. Individuals can therefore “ride out” these urges simply by becoming more aware of their transient nature. It is when you feel a strong urge to do something, but instead of acting on it you just “surf” on the feeling, riding it “up” and “down” until it dies down completely. Fished out from the net, gotta work harder on this, truly.

December 5, 2019  - Positions, positions, open positions everywhere.... but here. How was that saying about sowing winds and reaping whirlwinds? Someone connect the dots, it's simple.

December 11, 2019 - Current Quotation #8: "I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring. She was born in spring, but I was born too late. Blame it on a simple twist of fate" (Bob Dylan, American singer and songwriter, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2016). And speaking of twists of fate, here is an entertaining review on lipid droplets and inflammatory lipid mediators.

December 18, 2019 - It makes us smile when people come to us to do lipidomic analyses without any selected targets or educated expectations of what to search for (other than gathering lots and lots of nice ups and downs of mysterious molecular species, of course). Things do not work that way, at least for us.



January 7, 2020 -  Current Quotation #9: "We do not need a perfect government; we just need one that is practical" (Aristotle, Greek philosopher).

January 10, 2020 - Our often hilarious former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy once contended that Galileo Galilei had said that "movement always accelerates when it is going to stop." Like today, some things have to get worse before they get better.

January 14, 2020 - "There is no such thing as applied science, only the application of science" (Louis Pasteur, French microbiologist). Winter 2020 group meeting schedule here.

January 15, 2020 - Find here an entertaining and humbling reflection paper by Bob Murphy, one of the giants of the lipid mass spectrometry field, and also one of the scientists who has had a major influence and impact on our own recent work.

January 16, 2020 - Current Quotation #10: "Don't think he has anything against you if you come across him on the street and he doesn't say goodbye; it's only that he didn't notice you" (Joan Manuel Serrat, Spanish singer and songwriter).

January 21, 2020 - Phospholipases, from Structure to Biological Function, a special issue of the journal Biomolecules not to be missed!

February 1, 2020 - Our Paper of the Year 2019 was published in the vanity journal par excellence, Nature. Vriens et al. described that cancer cells and related cell lines exhibit elevated levels of the unusual fatty acid sapienic acid (6-cis-hexadecenoic acid, 16:1n-10). Although this finding is in itself not novel (we published on this before, see here), to apply and extend the concept to metabolic rewiring in cancer it certainly is.

February 3, 2020 - Current Quotation #11: "Non calentarum, largum vivirum" (Anonymous adage, likely of Argentinian origin. For a rough translation click here).

February 10, 2020 - Cultured cell lines are known to be deficient in polyunsaturated fatty acid content. This a peculiarity that may influence much of the responses of these cells to external stimuli. Yet, most people seem not to be aware of, or care much about, this. Hopefully things change a bit now that this convenient review came out.

February 17, 2020 - Disheartening as it may be, history always repeats itself. Unless you are willing to help yourself, the Nothing ends up getting hold of you. Something more will be missing every day and, in the end, there won't be anything left. Talk about principles and good deeds.

February 24, 2020 - Neat things we learned today: Phospholipase D activity can be optimally monitored in continuously mixed two-phase systems consisting of buffer and an apolar solvent (at least the microbial enzymes). The organic solvent dissolves the phospholipid substrates and products whereas the enzyme is presumed to be in the aqueous layer or at the interface between the aqueous and the organic phase. The enzymatic reaction is assumed to occur in such interface and/or within reverse micelles in the organic phase.

March 14, 2020 - Effective today and in accordance with Government regulations, the members of The Eicosanoid Research Division cease their activities at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics until further notice. Lipid work continues from home.

March 20, 2020 - Current Quotation #12: "Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less" (Marie Curie, Polish-French physicist and chemist; Nobel Laureate in Physics 1903, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry 1911).

March 24, 2020 - Current Quotation #13: "This world's full of people afraid to make the first move" (Anthony 'Tony Lip' Vallelonga, Green Book).

March 25, 2020 - 2-Oxoesters combining an aromatic scaffold or a long aliphatic chain with a short aliphatic chain containing a free carboxylic acid are known to inhibit group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2 in a very potent and selective manner. However they tend to degrade rapidly in human plasma, which hinders their therapeutic potential. A study by the Dennis and Kokotos labs published in the journal Biomolecules describes that the insertion of a methyl group on the α-carbon atom to the oxoester results in molecules with enhanced metabolic stability that retain considerable inhibitor potency, thus paving the way for their pharmaceutical development.

March 31, 2020 - Group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2α (cPLA2a) is the major enzyme controlling arachidonic acid mobilization for production of proinflammatory eicosanoids during phagocytosis. cPLA2a is known to translocate to the phagosome membrane in macrophages, which may serve as an additional source of free arachidonic acid for eicosanoid production. Importantly, targeting enzymatically-active cPLA2a to the phagosome not only serves to provide the enzyme with additional substrate sites but also to actively modulate internalization of the engulfed particles, as this image nicely shows.

April 2, 2020 - When taking a look at your scientific family tree it is nice to identify so many illustrious people, e.g. a few Nobel laureates, and the man who wrote the most famous biochemistry textbook of all time.

April 6, 2020 - Adrenic acid (AdA), the 2-carbon elongation product of arachidonic acid (AA), is present at significant levels in membrane phospholipids of mammalian cells. Similar to AA, AdA can also be mobilized from phospholipids, and subsequently metabolized to a number of oxygenated metabolites. Recent work by Monge et al. appearing in the journal Biomolecules examines AdA dynamics during macrophage activation, and suggests that both cytosolic group IVA phospholipase A2 (cPLA2a) and calcium-independent group VIA phospholipase A2 (iPLA2-VIA) participate in the process. Thus AdA mobilization shares regulatory features with AA mobilization with regard to cPLA2a involvement, but seems to be a more complex process, as it involves participation of a second enzyme that is not involved in AA release i.e. iPLA2-VIA.

April 10, 2020 - Good Friday in the quietest Holy Week you could ever imagine. A perfect day to remember that if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together. This African proverb is Current Quotation #14.

April 16, 2020 - This remark by Bengt Samuelsson, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 1982, was posted in this blog quite a few years ago. It seems appropriate to bring it back from the dust today: "My contributions demonstrate the power of research that is not targeted to a specific disease but rather focuses on understanding the structures and functions of the molecules constituting the human body."

April 22, 2020 - Group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2a) is a fascinating enzyme because its activity can be regulated in so many ways. The acute or rapid accumulation of free arachidonic acid derived from cPLA2a activity results from activation of preexisting enzyme through different mechanisms. But cPLA2a can also regulated at the transcriptional level. Long-term exposure of cells to cytokines such as interleukin 1b, tumor necrosis factor a or interferon g induces a 6- to 12-fold increase in cPLA2a protein levels, which is quite remarkable.

April 23, 2020 - It is interesting that four of the last seven entries below deal with cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2a). To keep up with the trend, here is a link to a very recent paper in Biomolecules dealing with cPLA2a translocation to lipid droplets.

April 24, 2020 - Little birds talking sweet to our ears about things to come. Given previous experiences, we better not set all the bells a-ringing yet.

May 6, 2020 - Current Quotation #15 pairs quite well with that appearing four entries above. Different words, same thought. "The research I have been doing does not lead to the kind of knowledge that can be expected to give immediate practical benefits to mankind. If I have chosen this field of study, it was because I believed in its importance in spite of its theoretical character" (Hans Adolf Krebs, German-British biochemist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 1953).

May 20, 2020 - Grant peer reviews are plagued with errors and stupid and/or meaningless comments, we all know that. Why do we never raise outraged complaints about the quality of the process when the outcome is positive and the grant is funded? The answer is simple: why complain when the result is good? On the opposite side, when the outcome is negative complaining will get you nowhere, no matter how unfair or moronic the reviewers' comments are.

May 21, 2020 - Responding to some comments we have received, yesterday's entry was not motivated by a grant rejection or anything of similar nature. It is only that we are in the middle of grant writing and, inevitably, funny recollections come to mind.

May 24, 2020 - Crotoxin is a phospholipase A2 abundantly present in the venom of the South American rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus. Crotoxin is responsible for much of the pathological conditions associated with snakebite, including neurotoxicity, myotoxicity, and immune alterations. In a recent paper appearing in Biomolecules, Sartim and colleagues describe the effects of crotoxin on respiratory failure, and introduce the use of nicotinic blockers and prostanoids biosynthesis inhibitors as possible therapeutic agents to counteract rattlesnake envenomation.

May 26, 2020 - It could have happened anywhere, but it happened there. It could have happened to anyone, but it happened to him. Food for thought.

June 10, 2020 - Why is it that every time big corps make a mistake it is always in their favor? Never mind, here is Current Quotation #16 to save us the day: "Skill is fine, and genius is splendid, but the right contacts are more valuable than either"(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish writer).

June 11, 2020 - The first paper ever to suggest crosstalk between secreted and cytosolic phospholipase A2s came out back in 1996 from sunny San Diego. Some 25 years later we have just contributed the latest chapter to this cherished story. The study by Rodríguez et al., published in Biomolecules, presents a lipidomic characterization of the human monocyte response to snake venom group IIA phospholipase A2, and reveals significant connections between lipid droplet biogenesis, the eicosanoid response, and biochemical pathways that contribute to initiating the inflammatory response.

June 13, 2020 - The eicosanoid brigantine gallantry sailed stormy waters and rough shallows into an unknown horizon. Once again, a pot of gold was found at the end of the journey.

June 17, 2020 - Just for restless ears, the previous entry translates as follows: our grant application to the Spanish Research Agency received rave reviews and will be funded accordingly. Here is a tiny bit from one of the evaluations: "The applicants maintain a frequently updated website showcasing their scientific publications as well as related news." You gotta love this.

June 24, 2020 - Current Quotation #17: "Even though a monkey dresses in silk, a monkey still is" (Spanish proverb).

June 29, 2020 - Our employers may treat us as if we were of the kin of Saint Job, but that does not mean in any way that we have to bless their holy names.

July 7, 2020 - The major problem with our science policy makers is not that they are average at best; it is that they are so satisfied with being average at best. Not many chances to win the Grand National if you are given a donkey to ride on.

July 17, 2020 - Current Quotation #18: "Your mission, should you decide to accept it..." (Mission: Impossible).

August 3, 2020 - Opsonization of foreign material makes it more palatable to macrophages. It also increases macrophage arachidonic acid release and eicosanoid production. Novel molecular features of this process are defined in our latest paper, soon to be found in your favorite eicosanoid library!

August 9, 2020 - From GraduateGuide: Deciding to go back to school to study for an advanced degree is a big decision. Working toward a PhD can be a difficult undertaking in many ways. It can place a strain on your intellect, emotions and financial stability... (article continues here).

August 28, 2020 - This cartoon by Spanish cartoonist Antonio Mingote was drawn many years ago but, given the astonishing events currently going on in the northeastern corner of our beloved country, it seemed appropriate to bring it here.

September 2, 2020 - While not immediately recognized by many, phospholipid phosphatases are also phospholipases. They hydrolyze the terminal phosphate ester of certain phospholipids. Some have a very strict substrate specificity, such as the lipins, which hydrolyze phosphatidic acid only, while others are more promiscuous, being able to utilize multiple substrates. The latter are known as lipid phosphate phosphatases, of which there are three different groups. In a review just published in Biomolecules, Phospholipases special issue, Tang and Brindley discuss what is currently known about the role of lipid phosphate phosphatases in cancer.

September 8, 2020 - Current Quotation #19: "When men choose not to believe in God, they become capable of believing in anything” (G.K. Chesterton, English writer).

September 18, 2020 - Unraveling the involvement of the calcium-independent group VIA phospholipase A2 in physiology and pathophysiology has been shown to be very complex. Thanks to the generation of knock out mice for this enzyme, its involvement in several functions such as bone formation, apoptosis, insulin secretion, and sperm development could be established. In the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules, Chamulitrat and co-workers discuss their recent data implicating group VIA phospholipase A2 in the development of hepatic steatosis and inflammation in obese and non-obese murine models.

September 23, 2020 - Sphingomyelinases are a special type of phospholipase C enzymes which specifically hydrolyze sphingomyelin to generate ceramide, a potent inductor of apoptosis. However, cells can evade apoptosis by converting ceramide to sphingosine-1-phosphate. In the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules, Hawkins et. al discuss the role of sphingomyelinases and sphingosine 1-phosphate in glioblastoma and metastatic brain tumors.

September 28, 2020 - “There is only one moment in which you can arrive in time. If you are not there, you are either too early or too late" (Johan Cruyff, Dutch footballer). Group meetings resume after the long hiatus imposed by you-know-what. Fall 2020 group meeting schedule here.

October 1, 2020 - Phosphatidic acid, the substrate of lipins, is a fundamental intermediate for the synthesis of triacylglycerol and all glycerophospholipids, and also plays key roles in intracellular and intercellular signaling. In the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules, Lutkewitte and Finck discuss how lipin-mediated control of phosphatidic acid concentrations regulates metabolism and signaling in mammalian organisms.

October 3, 2020 - Another entry about cytosolic group IVA phospholipase A2 for this year, this time to highlight the work by Ashcroft et al. just published in the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules. The authors show that the anti-psoriatic effects of inhibiting the enzyme with a specific inhibitor resulted from a combination of anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects, probably involving reduced local eicosanoid formation.

October 5, 2020 - Somebody will have to wait for at least another year before trying it again. And this time there is no one to blame.

October 15, 2020 - Phospholipases and the bioactive lipids they produce are important regulators of immune cell function. During atherosclerosis, pro-inflammatory and pro-resolving actions orchestrated by phospholipase-derived bioactive lipids govern disease progression and/or regression. In a review appearing in the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules, Schilke et al. focus on the contribution of phospholipases to atherosclerosis within immune responses.

October 17, 2020 - In the latest installment of the Biomolecules special issue on Phospholipases, John Turk and colleagues describe the production of mice with selective deficiency of calcium-independent group VIA phospholipase A2 in macrophages or insulin-secreting β-cells, and the contrasting metabolic phenotype that these two kinds of cells exhibit.

October 19, 2020 - Updating phospholipase A2 biology is the suggestive title of the latest review by Makoto Murakami and colleagues, published in the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules. It makes particular focus on the new roles for PLA2s that have been unveiled in the last five-year period.

October 31, 2020 - Neutral and acid sphingomyelinases have been well characterized for their contribution to signaling pathways and role in diverse pathologies, including liver diseases. In the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules, Insausti-Urkia et al. summarize the physiological functions of neutral and acid sphingomyelinases and their role in chronic and metabolic liver diseases.

November 2, 2020 - Calcium-independent phospholipase A2 mediates the release of anti-inflammatory palmitoleic acid and its positional isomers in macrophages, which are subsequently utilized for the synthesis of other bioactive lipids. Read the whole story here soon!

November 5, 2020 - According to the times we are living in, this year there was no trip to Catalonia but a virtual gathering instead. Not the only ones with mixed emotions.

November 6, 2020 - It turned out that, regionally speaking, things went back to normal and we received our cookies well before anyone put their hands in the jar.

November 16, 2020 - Current Quotation #20: "Stupid is as stupid does" (Forrest Gump, optimist extraordinaire). While they were at it, we found time to update, at long last, our reports on scientific research activity and grant support history.

November 20, 2020 - Current Quotation #21: "When you can't do what you do, you do what you can" (Jon Bon Jovi, American entertainer).

November 24, 2020 - Group IIA secreted phospholipase A2 enzymes have been found to be elevated in plasma and adipose tissue from obese patients. In the Phospholipases special issue of Biomolecules, Leiguez et al. show that this enzyme can directly activate adipocytes to release prostaglandin E2, which in turn mediate the production of various adipokines.

November 25, 2020 - Current Quotation #22: "We do not care about what he did to his life; we care about what he did to our lives" (anonymous comment found on the net, indubitably of Argentinian origin). For a blog like this, which blends so frequently bioscience with the only two things that matter, soccer and rock 'n roll, today is a sad day.

December 3, 2020 - Current Quotation #23: "If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas" (English proverb). Nothing can be done about it, but still no way out.

December 14, 2020 - Little by little, we are making inroads into fields never plowed. Whether the harvest will be abundant or paltry in the fall it is yet too soon to predict.

December 17, 2020 - Current Quotation #23: "I do not speak of revenge or forgiveness, forgetting is the only revenge and the only forgiveness" (Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer).

December 29, 2020 - Group V phospholipase A2 is known to participate in a number of functions of macrophages exposed to interleukin-4, which polarizes the cells to an anti-inflammatory phenotype. In the last article of the Biomolecules special issue on Phospholipases, Koganesawa et al. performed a mass spectrometry analysis of phospholipase A2 products and substrates, using macrophages deficient or not in the group V enzyme, and polarized to either anti-inflammatory (interleukin-4-treated) or pro-inflammatory (lipopolysaccharide plus interferon-g) phenotypes. The study identified selective changes between the different activation regimes, suggesting the existence of novel lipid pathways and functions critical for inflammation that may rely on the group V enzyme.



January 15, 2021 - Neverending e-mail exchanges and on-line meetings, lots of paperwork to achieve in the end the same result as if we were allowed to decide by ourselves.

January 18, 2021 - "There are three stages of scientific discovery: first people deny it is true; then they deny it is important; finally they credit the wrong person" (Alexander von Humboldt, German geographer). Winter 2021 group meeting schedule here.

February 6, 2021 - Our Paper of the Year 2020 was published last July in Cell Metabolism. Making good use of lipidomics, Hsieh et al. showed that distinct proinflammatory stimuli reshape the macrophage lipid composition in a signal-specific manner. The study raises the provocative idea that manipulating the ability of macrophages to adopt their preferred lipidomic state can be exploited to enhance host defense against bacterial challenge.

February 8, 2021 - Stanford University people recently published in PLoS Biology their updated list of the world's top scientists across all disciplines, based on Scopus citation data. While bibliometric measures are usually of very limited value, it does not hurt at all that the Stanford University list includes us among the most influential biochemists worldwide (he, he).

February 15, 2021 - Sitting back and waiting for the rain to come is fine as long as the rain finally comes. No rain, no flowers, yes, but no effort, no reward too.

February 16, 2021 - With the new advances in lipidomics, a growing number of unusual fatty acids are being detected. A recent paper in Cell Reports describes desaturase and elongase enzyme activities that drive the increased diversification of fatty acid isomers in prostate cancer cell lines and tissues. An abundant presence of these unconventional fatty acids, including 16:1n-9, is found in neutral lipids, consistent with our previous observations.

February 17, 2021 - Current Quotation #25: "Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things pass away... patience obtains all things" (St. Teresa of Avila, Spanish mystic).

February 19, 2021 - Trying to identify possible arachidonic acid sources for prostaglandin biosynthesis in zymosan-stimulated macrophages, and the role of cellular compartmentalization as an effective means to regulate both the levels and nature of eicosanoids produced. Soon in your favorite eicosanoid library!

February 26, 2021 - Like two peas in a pod; cells and biomolecules, biomolecules and cells. Phospholipases, from structure to function, and something in the way they move.

March 8, 2021 - Current Quotation #26: "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" (ancient saying, likely of Greek or Arabic origin).

March 10, 2021 - Current Quotation #27: "If you look for different results, don't always do the same" (Attributed to Albert Einstein, German physicist, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1921).

March 23, 2021 - An ancient proverb says that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. However sometimes it is better to walk alone, and the current situation is one of those. Uh, and the friends of my friends are also my friends... what a mess!

March 24, 2021 - "Studying without a liking for it spoils the memory, and it retains nothing it takes in” (Leonardo da Vinci, Italian polymath). Spring 2021 group meeting schedule here.

March 27, 2021 - Understanding signaling networks regulated by lipins provides clues to define the immunometabolic response of activated macrophages. All this and a bit more at the annual meeting of the Spanish Society of Immunology.

April 3, 2021 - Current Quotation #28 is an ancient Greek proverb, and a pretty good one given the current times: "Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad".

April, 12, 2021 - Not necessarily a waste of resources to try chasing an artifact, but one has to know where and when to desist.

April 19, 2021 - Current Quotation #29: "Something is happening and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?" (Bob Dylan, he appeared so many times in this section). On a personal note, we wish we did not know, but hey...

April 23, 2021 - You are a foreigner. This changes when they need something from you. Afterward you are a foreigner again. The funny thing is that they think you are unaware.

May 7, 2021  - Some people settle for the crumbs as a strategy of resilience. While there are certainly better ways to overcome adversity, for the time being we will take the money and run.

May 17, 2021 - Sometimes you spend hours on a problem without finding a solution. Then, when almost all hope is lost, somehow as if out of nowhere, you realize the solution was in front of your nose.

May 28, 2021 - Today Miguel Bermúdez brilliantly defended his PhD dissertation, titled "Regulation of the Inflammatory Response of Macrophages by Lipids: Roles of Arachidonic and Palmitoleic Acids." Kudos to him for an excellent performance.

June 7, 2021 - We must face it: some things will never change. How do you keep going when everything but your pride tells you that the effort is not worth the benefit?

June 10, 2021 - Fortunately, the irresponsibility of some will not have a negative impact on our activities. We will have to wait a few weeks though to make sure nothing goes awry.

June 13, 2021 - Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 and lipidomic profiling, hypoxic microenvironment and kidney cancer cells, all together in our latest paper. You may want to look it over here.

June 14, 2021 - "A day without football is a wasted day" (Ernst Happel, Austrian coach). Summer 2021 group meeting schedule here.

June 30, 2021 - The fair of vanities that is all that impact factor thing spread its latest essences today. Regarding quartiles, everything stays more or less the same as in the previous years: the journals that not long ago were for us 'the journals' are all in Q2, some even in Q3. Interestingly, many of the new journals have fared better, with some of them positioning well in Q1. We keep wondering why people regard these data as as a measure of quality instead of popularity, which is what it really is. Lost battle, we know.

July 6, 2021 - Current Quotation #30: "You cannot get to know and love Italy if you have not tried Spain first" (Italian proverb).

July 11, 2021 - So many new journals, so many new publishers. They target your ego, and they do it so well that many times it is difficult to separate honest science from marketing and pure business.

July 14, 2021 - Current Quotation #31: "Whoever hides something is because they have something to hide" (Fernando Esteso, truistic extraordinaire).

July 27, 2021 - One would expect that, at least in a biomed lab, two plus two always equal four. To our dismay, we have come to realize that some people seem to be intent on disproving even this simple fact.

August 7, 2021 - Current Quotation #32: "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years" (Mark Twain, American writer).

August 27, 2021 - One can't endorse a request without even knowing it. Things come and things go. Quoted for truth.

August 30, 2021 - A study by Chilton and associates appearing in the latest JCI issue reports elevated plasma levels of group IIA secreted phospholipase A2 and related metabolites in severe COVID-19 patients. This work provides strong evidence that this enzyme may constitute a therapeutic target to reduce COVID-19 mortality. Why will it be that we are not surprised in the very least?

September 12, 2021 - "The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up" (Paul Valéry, French poet). Fall 2021 group meeting schedule here.

September 24, 2021 - The problem with fishing in another guy's pond is that you may end up with an unpalatable fish in your table. It was tried before and it did not work. Let's see what happens this time.

October 5, 2021 - Times of bonanza seem to hover over our beloved institution. Problem is that those in charge of distributing the riches have not come to realize that there is also excellence beyond them and their close friends.

October 8, 2021 - Three considerations for today. First, mass activities must be planned with great anticipation so as to avoid as much as possible coincidence with other events. Second, delegation of responsibilities is not an acceptable option for certain kind of activities. Third, activities that amount to no more than a posturing exercise must be ignored.

October 13, 2021 - Ludwig Thudichum and Jordi Folch Pi, half forgotten heroes of lipid neuroscience times that are, unfortunately, well behind our times.

October 15, 2021 - TRPC3 calcium channel activation by intracellular diacylglycerol during lipopolysaccharide-triggered macrophage responses, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

October 28, 2021 - Current Quotation #33: "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt" (Mark Twain, American writer).

October 29, 2021 - Perhaps not the most appropriate position, but we will follow a diplomatic approach. The goal will be achieved anyway. Blood boils, that is inevitable.

November 6, 2021 - Back from the 12th CIBERDEM meeting, held in Mataró, Barcelona. While not walking through the great avenues as before, we've got to admit it's getting better (better), a little better all the time.

November 9, 2021 - Perhaps because it was published in a 'lesser' journal (that said with all kinds of reservations), we had missed another important paper linking group IIA secreted phospholipase A2 (sPLA2-IIA) levels in serum with the severity of symptoms of COVID-19. Just like the work cited below in the Aug 30 entry, the authors conclude that the value of sPLA2-IIA as a potential therapeutic target warrants serious consideration.

November 16, 2021 - Work by Huang et al. recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association reports an inverse association between nonesterified cis-7-hexadecenoic acid (16:1n-9) levels in serum and incident stroke. The authors suggest that cis-7-hexadecenoic acid should be investigated as a potential biomarker for incident stroke risk. This is, incidentally (pun intended), fully consistent with our previous work on this fatty acid.

November 17, 2021 - With respect to the flurry of comments spawned by a paper in Nature reporting how bad palmitic acid is for cancer progression, we echo the comments made by Bill Christie in his reputed Lipid Matters blog, hosted by Lipid Maps: "Arguably, it is not palmitic acid per se that is the problem but a large excess." Somehow this reminds us of that story of the guy who used to eat three times a day every single day at a McDonalds restaurant and, unsuspectedly, ended up becoming obese.

November 22, 2021 - Current Quotation #34: "Be selective with your battles; sometimes peace is better than being right" (Anonymous).

November 26, 2021 - A famous quotation by the Roman poet Terence reads: "I am human, hence nothing human can be alien to me"... which does not mean at all that simply because someone is going through very hard times we have to forgive or forget all the very bad things they did in their life.

December 1, 2021 - Also from Bill Christie's Lipid blog: "they (IUPAC-IUB) rebuked me for using the generic term 'cholesteryl esters', which I was told should correctly be termed 'cholesterol esters'. 'Cholesteryl' should be applied only when describing individual lipid species, e.g. cholesteryl palmitate, cholesteryl oleate, etc." It is an old entry (Oct 11, 2017), but we were recently questioned about this.

December 3, 2021 - My dear Buenos Aires, when I get to see you again there will be no more sorrow or oblivion... but hopefully a lot of interest on phospholipase A2.

December 10, 2021 - Anything you wanted to know about lipid droplets, arachidonic acid, phospholipase A2, and atherosclerosis, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

December 23, 2021 - This confusing year comes to and end in a (how come!) confusing manner. "Legal imperative" should be the key for the next year. Take a look at the Christmas greeting card from one of our supporting institutions, the lesser one yet the easier to deal with. So closes the blog for this year.



January 13, 2022 - "It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong" (Isaac Asimov, American writer and biochemist). Winter 2022 group meeting schedule here.

January 14, 2022 - We got mentioned again in the Lipid Matters blog. This time in a kind of different way, but hey, as we often say, free exposure is always welcome.

January 18, 2022 - Current Quotation #35: "I have learned not to try to convince anyone. The work of convincing is an attempt to colonize the other" (José Saramago, Portuguese writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature 1998).

January 31, 2022 - In the April issue of Nature Chemical Biology, Kagan and co-workers published a study demonstrating the key role of group VIA calcium-independent phospholipase A2 (iPLA2β) in averting ferroptosis by eliminating oxidized phospholipids that act as ferroptotic signals. It seems like all the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together, and the actual biological roles of iPLA2β are finally coming to the spotlight. This is the paper we distinguished as Paper of the Year 2021.

February 7, 2022 - María Zambrano was a writer and philosopher, widely regarded as one the most brilliant minds of the 20th century in Spain. She was awarded two of the most important literary prizes in the Spanish-speaking world, the Cervantes Prize in 1981 and the Prince of Asturias Prize in 1988, the first woman to receive both recognitions. We welcome (back) David Balgoma as a María Zambrano Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences.

February 15, 2022 - We bring Mead acid (5,8,11-eicosatrienoic acid) again to this section. It is a non-essential polyunsaturated fatty acid of the n-9 series that, unusually, carries the name of its discoverer, James F. Mead. Cultured cell lines are often found to contain significant amounts of Mead acid. This is thought to occur to compensate somehow for the low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids of the n-6 and n-3 series that cell lines exhibit. For quick reference, here is our very nice fatty acid list.

February 28, 2022 - Current Quotation #36: "Nothing can be stolen from an empty place" (Spanish proverb). In Dylanian terms, when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.

March 9, 2022 - The discovery of oxygenated products of omega-3 fatty acids and their role as resolutory/ant-inflammatory mediators was always received with much skepticism by the scientific community. A review just appearing in Frontiers in Pharmacology calls into question much of the evidence gathered along the years regarding specialized pro-resolving mediators. As this area of research is tangential to our work we have no opinion on the subject, but the review is indubitably a must read.

March 17, 2022 - People often do not pay much attention to the abbreviations list in a manuscript. Not a good idea if the author has dedicated a lot of time in preparing it.

March 24, 2022 - Another study implicating secreted phospholipase A2 in the pathology of COVID-19. This time is not the group IIA enzyme, but the group IID. The work is in mice, perhaps that makes the difference.

March 28, 2022 - 15-Hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE) is most often regarded as a lipoxygenase metabolite. However, 15-HETE can also be produced at very significant quantities by cyclooxygenases. Thus, before taking 15-HETE production as an indicator of lipoxygenase activity in cells, it would be good to assess its levels in the presence of a cyclooxygenase inhibitor.

March 29, 2022 - "Four things cannot be hidden for a long time: scientific facts, stupidity, wealth, and poverty" (Ibn Rushd, Averroes, Muslim Spanish philosopher). Spring 2022 group meeting schedule here.

April 1, 2022 - New insights into the interaction of cytosolic phospholipase A2α with membrane phosphoinositides. coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

April 6, 2022 - An interesting study published in Cells suggests that mice may retain cellular memories of exposure to arachidonic acid across generations. In particular, continued exposure of the animals to arachidonic acid increases their content in 16:1n-9, which is quite reminiscent of our own data showing the up-regulation of this fatty acid in arachidonate-treated human monocytes.

April 11, 2022 - Quotation #37 is actually two similar ones, both from or attributed to Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor and businessman. "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up; the most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time", and "People are not remembered by the number of times they fail, but by the number of times they succeed; and the number of times they succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times they fail and keep on trying. Every wrong step is another step forward.”

April 29, 2022 - We just learned that the review paper we published in BBA in June 2019 (this one) is the journal's most cited article of the last three years. This is, obviously, a good thing to note.

May 5, 2022 - The latest installment of the specialized pro-resolving mediator controversy (see March 9 entry) has reached unexpected heights and is commented on in Science. Best part, the last sentence: "no one expects an easy resolution to this highly inflamed dispute."

May 26, 2022 - Time for grant writing inevitably brings about the issue of popularity versus excellence in scientific publishing. Things have become so perverted that most policy makers can't distinguish between both concepts. So here we go again to clarify: vanity journals are primarily concerned with fashion - they have to sell. With this we are not saying at all that vanity journals publish bad or irrelevant science (though they frequently do), we just say that there is a lot of excellent science being published in 'lesser' journals which does not receive the respect or attention it deserves.

May 30, 2022 - More on Mead acid. A recent study in Cell Chemical Biology suggests that elongation/desaturation of oleic acid to form Mead acid regulates ferroptosis-like signals that restrict replication of hepatitis C virus in hepatocytes.

June 10, 2022 - In a recent article in Nature, adipose triacylglycerol lipase (ATGL) is identified as a major candidate enzyme for the biosynthesis of branched fatty acid esters of hydroxyfatty acids (FAHFA). According to the authors, ATGL hydrolyzes triacylglycerol and transfers the resulting fatty acid to a nearby hydroxyfatty acid. This results in FAHFA formation via a direct transacylation reaction. Unexpected, to say the least.

June 14, 2022 - "That of the Spanish was always a long and painful road to nowhere, marked by vileness and infamy. Paradoxically, all of the greatness and brilliance of our history is compatible with our miserable human condition; one is a complement or consequence of the other, and vice versa" (Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Spanish writer and journalist). Summer 2022 group meeting schedule here.

June 22, 2022 - Current Quotation #38: "May you find as much peace as the relief you leave behind" (Spanish proverb). Sadly, the future does not seem to look brighter.

July 7, 2022 - Roles of hexadecenoic fatty acids in metabolic diseases and cancer, coming soon to your favorite eicosanoid library!

July 8, 2022 - Current quotation #39: "Change always comes later than we think it should" (Adm. Jean-Luc Picard, wise man extraordinaire).

July 14, 2022 - Laura Pereira successfully defended today her PhD thesis titled "A lipidomic study of the activation and maturation of dendritic cells. Roles of arachidonic acid and the hexadecenoic fatty acid isomers." Congrats to her for a superb performance.

July 15, 2022 - Sometimes it is difficult to predict whether something is going to come out as desired. When it finally happens, relax is well deserved.

July 16, 2022 - Words that sound or are written similarly but mean different things occur in all languages. In Spanish, for example, we have filiación (affiliation) and afiliación (signing up). Funny things may happen when someone uses one instead of the other.

July 18, 2022 - While surfing the web we stumbled across a rather old but certainly accurate description of a disease whose symptoms are easily recognizable: nobelitis.

July 21, 2022 - The problem when something happens that you thought it would never happen is not that something itself; it is that you can no longer be confident it will not happen again.

August 17, 2022 - The tempestuous and intricate beginnings in scientific research, as seen by Mr. Forges.

August 27, 2022 - We may agree with the Duke of Wellington that two plus two does not always equal four in Spain. However we must also agree with Descartes that in Spain, two plus three always makes five.

August 31, 2022 - Scientific publishing is now big business and, as such, a prime objective is to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. This is why the folks at Biomolecules prepared these banners for promotion in social media.

September 14, 2022 - "If you think you are too small to make a difference, you have not spent a night with a mosquito" (African proverb). Fall 2022 group meeting schedule here.

September 20, 2022 - Plasmalogens are abundant in mammals and invertebrates, but are absent in plants and fungi. Among bacteria, they are present in anaerobic bacteria but not in aerobic bacteria, with the notable exception of Myxobacteria. It is from these bacteria that the key enzyme in the synthesis of plasmalogens, plasmanylethanolamine desaturase (PEDS1) was first identified.

September 27, 2022 - Since we all know that the name of a certain center located on the banks of the Pisuerga river and the words commitment and motivation do not fit in the same sentence, we must conclude that either she did not understand anything or she is a master of hypocrisy. We bet on the latter.

September 28, 2022 - Have you ever tried to headbutt a wall? Of course not. No matter how much effort you put into it the only thing you would accomplish is hurting yourself. The secret is to know when it is the time to let something go. Dedicating your resources to things that cannot produce results is a waste of time and above all, energy.

September 30, 2022 - Current quotation #40: "Vitam regit fortuna, non sapientia" (Fortune, not wisdom, rules lives) (Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman).

October 7, 2022 - With answers that have nothing to do with the question becoming commonplace, nothing should surprise us anymore.

October 10, 2022 - Current quotation #41: "Never argue with a fool. You'll never convince the fool that you're correct, and bystanders won't be able to tell who's who" (Mark Twain, American writer).

October 19, 2022 - Administering γ-linolenic acid (18:3n-6) to certain cells and tissues of rodent and human origin results in the accumulation of dihomo-γ-linolenic acid (20:3n-6), not arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) as one might have surmised. This finding, which is particularly striking in phagocytic cells, is due to the limited activity of Δ5 desaturase in these cells and tissues.

October 21, 2022 - Current quotation #42: "Give alms to him, woman, for nothing in life is more pitiful than to be blind in Granada" (Francisco de Icaza, Mexican poet).

October 26, 2022 - I stored good and moldy apples together in a basket. The rotten ones did not improve, but the good ones rotted. Real as the IBGM itself.

October 27, 2022 - Zapatero, a tus zapatos (literally "shoemaker, to your shoes"), is a Spanish saying that applies to those who want to get into fields that are not their own. Naturally, nothing of substance follows from that.

November 8, 2022 - It is relieving that there is still people who know that what cannot be is not and, in addition, it is impossible. Needless to say, the chieftain and the empress are not in the club of the enlightened.

November 11, 2022 - Back from the 13th CIBERDEM meeting, held again in Mataró, Barcelona. Things still going up for us.

November 14, 2022 - Whoever said "better the devil you know" had no idea of the things that took place in a small city that was once the capital of an empire on which the sun never set.

November 22, 2022 - Current quotation #43: "He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; the biggest fool will end his life without ever seeing the light" (Zhuang Zhou, Chinese philosopher).

November 24, 2022 - Just told that Stanford University recently updated their list of the top 2% most widely cited scientists. Still on board, and it seems that this time we got rid of the undesired baggage.

November 25, 2022 - Current quotation #44: "It was in Spain that we learned that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not its own recompense" (Albert Camus, French writer).

November 28, 2022 - To seek out new data and new experimentations, to boldly publish where no one has published before...

November 29, 2022 - Another good one: When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die... Older stuff, but well worth a laugh.

December 5, 2022 - Back from the Symposium on Lipid Signaling and Oxidative Stress, held in Barcelona. Old friends, good atmosphere, great science, what else could we ask for? Yes, a bonus: several days without being bothered by you know what...

December 7, 2022 - Patricia Monge defended today her PhD dissertation, titled "Lipidomic analysis of macrophage activation by immunoinflammatory stimuli." Congrats to her for an excellent performance.

December 9, 2022 - Plasmalogens, oxidized phospholipids, fatty acid remodeling, ferroptosis, and much more, now available in your favorite eicosanoid library!

December 17, 2022 - Dio wrote a song in the 80's called "Kill the King". There is also another song in Spanish, bearing the same title, sung by José Andrëa. And there is also a saying that goes as follows: "Kill the King and go to Murcia". Historical reasons apart, what comes after the "and" looks like a wise idea for many reasons. Being a plasmalogen fan is one of them.



January 9, 2023 - Cryptic but highly educational message to begin the year: Bribery (cohecho in Spanish) is the solicitation by an authority or public official of value in exchange for performing an act inherent to their position. The trap was set but the vermin did not fall into it. New opportunities may present themselves.

January 10, 2023 - "It does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period" (Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate in Physics 1965). Winter 2023 group meeting schedule here.

January 25, 2023 - Narcissism, arrogance, selfishness, seeking attention, putting the blame on others, poor management of conflicts, defensive behavior... these are all defining traits of an immature person. How can power be given to people of that profile? Fascinating mysteries of the IBGM.

January 27, 2023 - Life would be so much happier if people spent on the essential only half the time they spent on the accessory. The new CIBERDEM logo here.

February 1, 2023 - In the March 18 issue of PNAS, Stienstra and colleagues published an intriguing paper suggesting that triacylglycerol hydrolysis from lipid droplets regulates the inflammatory response of macrophages. Specifically, the up-regulation of the hypoxia-inducible lipid droplet–associated (HILPDA) protein down-regulated adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), leading to decreased triacylglycerol hydrolysis. This in turn attenuated the proinflammatory responses of macrophages to bacterial lipopolysaccharide. This is the paper we have distinguished as Paper of the Year 2022.

February 7, 2023 - Soccer, science, and passion... Replace Racing Club with Real Madrid in this essay, and we fully subscribe to it.

February 15, 2023 - Even in those moments where everything seems to be heading to the definitive disaster, a glimmer of light gets in through a crack to let you know that there is still a lot of things to do.

March 8, 2023 - We all get preposterous e-mails from time to time, but this one tops the list. Perhaps a scam or a bait, but in any case it speaks volumes about the current state of science.

March 23, 2023 - It may happen once in a blue moon, yes, but sometimes things fix themselves. No need to do anything, just wait.

March 27, 2023 - "Every country and society is different, but Spain is a bit more different" (Julian Pitt-Rivers, British anthropologist). Spring 2023 group meeting schedule here.

April 4, 2023 - In the latest issue of Nature Metabolism there is this paper, which constitutes and excellent example on how to combine click chemistry with lipid mass analysis to great effect.

April 14, 2023 - Current quotation #45: "We have nothing to fear but the sky falling on our heads... but this will not happen tomorrow" (Abraracourcix, wise and thoughtful Gaulish chieftain).

April 17, 2023 - Current quotation #46: "if you want grain, Aitor, I'll lend you my tractor" (former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, visionary extraordinaire).

May 12, 2023 - The plasmalogen biosynthesis pathway is thought to have evolved first in anaerobic bacteria. Later, an oxygen-dependent biosynthesis of plasmalogens appeared in some aerobic bacteria and animal cells, but not in yeast or plant cells. The anaerobic plasmalogen biosynthesis route starts with glycerol-3-phosphate, while the oxygen-dependent  route commences with dihydroxyacetone phosphate.

May 20, 2023 - We have been told about the abundance of recent reviews on the subject of ferroptosis. None like ours, of course! Still, this is a topic that has shaken the world of phospholipid fatty acid metabolism and, as such, it deserves all the exposure it can receive.

May 30, 2023 - Honestly speaking, the change that predictably will come today should be of little consequence to us. However, as it is not easy to predict how the other side will react to the unfavorable outcome, we cannot be sure what to expect in the end.

June 3, 2023 - Back from visiting the Murcian Institute for Biohealth Research (IMIB) and the University of Murcia, while re-charging our inflammasomic and lipidomic batteries for the exciting times lying ahead.

June 6, 2023 - Still in love with science, baby! Our colleagues at the IMIB demonstrating that lab coats and good humor go hand in hand. Also putting MJ's Thriller to shame, we agree.

June 16, 2023 - Definition of scientific excellence according to any excellent Spanish scientist: "me and my friends." That is how it goes, we have no remedy.

June 19, 2023 - "A dead man in Spain is more alive than a dead man anywhere in the world" (Federico Garcia Lorca, Spanish poet). Spring 2023 group meeting schedule here.

July 5, 2023 - Most of the times you got to see the things for yourself to realize that what at first seemed like an interesting option, in the real life it is not. You got to try though.

July 6, 2023 - Lipin-2, cardiolipins, calcium-independent phospholipase A2s, and tafazzin, all making a nice macrophage mix.

July 17, 2023 - Despite the frightening accumulation of black clouds and stormy waters that were to be expected ahead, the eicosanoid brigantine came out triumphant once more. The valley of plenty was reached again.

July 18, 2023 - At the risk of repeating ourselves we must recall again the immortal words of Col. Hannibal Smith: "We love it when a plan comes together." Glad to have been able to write a proposal that was judged to be: "very solid, high-risk/high-gain research. Overall, a top-notch proposal, excelling in formal presentation, scientific content and relevance, and originality."

July 26, 2023 - It is unfortunately frequent to receive e-mail messages from predatory journals using names similar to those of well established journals to try to deceive the unwary. Today we have received one which surely ranks among the most imaginative and original ever: "Nature Cell and Science."

August 3, 2023 - Current quotation #47: "My son, ask for thyself another kingdom, for that which I leave is too small for thee" (Philip II of Macedon to his son Alexander the Great, as told by Plutarch and Iron Maiden).

August 11, 2023 - It may be that, in addition to or independently of their role as free fatty acid providers for eicosanoid regulation, the reason why ethanolamine plasmalogens accumulate so much arachidonate (or polyunsaturates in general) is to endow the cells with a powerful and efficient means to die gracefully.

August 17, 2023 - Some logos that come, some logos that go... Life goes on bra, la-la how the life goes on.

August 21, 2023 - The Eicosanoid Research Division has two openings, one for a postdoctoral researcher and the other for a graduate student. They have been advertised in many places, he, he. These are excellent opportunities to learn about lipid science.

September 9, 2023 - We were not born in a little tent by the river, but we sure know that a change is gonna come.

September 12, 2023 - "If there is a way into the wood, there is also a way out of it" (Irish proverb). Fall 2023 group meeting schedule here.

September 22, 2023 - Yesterday, a not-that-young man who was passing by the IBGM with his mother, stopped in front of the entrance and, pointing at the building, asked: Hey Mom, what is that they do in there? What an intriguing question indeed.

September 28, 2023 - In an unexpected cross-talk, a recent paper published in Cell Chemical Biology suggests that cannabinoids stimulate lipid class-switching in macrophages for producing pro-resolutory mediators of the inflammation.

October 7, 2023 - Back from the 63rd edition of the International Conference on the Bioscience of Lipids (ICBL), held in Palma. As always in this conference, outstanding science, great atmosphere, friendly people and a wonderful venue.

October 17, 2023 - After a long time, we finally found a moment for the Eicosanoid Group Picture 2023. Unfortunately again, not everyone was around when the photo was taken.

October 20, 2023 - It was a long and bumpy ride, but in the end, the intricacies of lipin-2 regulation of interferon responses reached the bookshelves of the Eicosanoid library.

October 26, 2023 - Madam Mim, the adorable old witch in Disney's The Sword and the Stone, used to brag about how magnificent, marvelous and mad she was. She was not renowned for telling the truth though. However, we know of a Madam Mean who is notorious for speaking the truth, even if it hurts.

October 27, 2023 - In an interesting repeat with the previous post, one has to do what is right, even if it hurts, no matter what the consequences are. We have gotten sturdy raincoats and resistant umbrellas, we are ready for the storms coming.

October 28, 2023 - One more milestone in lipid research has been achieved. Another elusive enzyme of lipid metabolism, the synthase that generates the minor glycerophospholipid bis(monoacyl-glycero)phosphate (BMP; also known as lyso bis-phosphatidic acid), is described in a recent study published in Science. This work clarifies BMP biosynthesis, although the unusual stereochemistry of this phospholipid still remains to be understood in enzymic terms.

October 30, 2023 - Our latest collaborative effort with the group of CIBERDEM fellow Manuel Vazquez-Carrera at the University of Barcelona has just been published in the journal Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy: Elafibranor upregulates the epithelial-mesenchymal transition inducer S100A4 via PPARβ/δ.

November 2, 2023 - Our friends and colleagues at the IMIB in Murcia, bringing again a bit of humor to everyday scientist's life: Dance the Barbie night! Special eye on the wigs.

November 6, 2023 - The Stanford list of top scientists is here again. Other than  pissing the hell off an old friend of us, we fail to see the purpose of this kind of lists.

November 9, 2023 - Interested in the distribution of docosahexaenoic acid in macrophage phospholipids? Check this out.

November 10, 2023 - Lipin-2 is really becoming a master regulator of so many innate immune reactions that... well, it is always fun to talk about it.

November 14, 2023 - Good things always come in pairs. Another collaborative paper with our CIBERDEM colleagues at the University of Barcelona (Manuel Vázquez Carrera's group) has just appeared in Cell Communication and Signaling.

November 20, 2023 - Back from the Annual CIBERDEM meeting. Not much novelty under the Catalan sun this year, except for interesting data on lipin-2 and the mitochondria.

November 23, 2023 - Yesterday, Alvaro Garrido defended his doctoral dissertation, titled "Lipidomic Studies in Macrophages. Role of Lipins in Regulating Phospholipid Levels and Inflammatory Processes." Congrats to him for an excellent performance.

November 28, 2023 - As the time for conversation is long over, we are just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round. We really love to watch them roll.

November 29, 2023 - "The detective of cholesterol and triglycerides." Journalists always unleashing their creativity.

December 7, 2023 - Faithful to their annual rendezvous with the School of Medicine, the storks start to populate the roofs of the main building. But, as always, these little things that make some people happy also annoy others....

December 9, 2023 - Current quotation #48: "I suppose I am proud of what has gone on, after all I only ever wanted to play the guitar for a living, and that is what I am still doing" (Bernie Marsden, English musician).

December 22, 2023 - First it was gestational diabetes (sort of), and now it is the microbiota thing. An old Spanish adage states that never sequels were good. Let's see what happens this time. After all, when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.