Yearly Archives: 2009

DNA ‘barcoding’ reveals 95 species of life in NYC homes, students show

Armed with the latest high-tech DNA analysis techniques, two New York City high school students examined every nook and cranny of their homes and were astonished to discover a veritable zoo of 95 animal species surrounding them, in everything from fridges to furniture. More »

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Titia de Lange awarded grant, named American Cancer Society Research Professor

The head of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics has received a $400,000 grant from the American Cancer Society and has been named an American Cancer Society Research Professor. The five-year grant, which is effective January 1, 2010, will fund de Lange’s continuing research on telomeres, the strings of extra DNA that cap and protect the ends of chromosomes through numerous cycles of cell division. More »

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Scientists visualize how a vital hepatitis C virus protein moves along its nucleic acid substrate

In a series of three snapshots that recapitulate the coordinated actions, scientists reveal how a protein essential for the replication of the hepatitis C virus moves along its nucleic acid substrate. The finding illustrates the nucleotide-dependent changes of interactions between the protein, known as NS3, and DNA, work that suggests some of the most feasible strategies to date to block the action of this largely unexplored drug target. More »

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Genomic differences identified in common skin diseases

If you have dry skin, wet it, if wet skin, dry it. This has been a general rule of dermatology for centuries, but scientists are working to develop more precise treatments for the dozen-plus inflammatory skin diseases that afflict people. New research details the fine genetic and immunological differences between two of the most common skin diseases, psoriasis and atopic eczema, presenting a new way to classify the disorders as well as possible novel therapeutics. More »

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Rockefeller University receives nearly $27 million in ARRA grants

Investigators at The Rockefeller University have so far been awarded 41 federal grants and supplemental awards through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — the so-called “stimulus” legislation passed by Congress last winter. Ranging in size from about $5,000 to nearly $4.6 million, the grants will fund new and ongoing projects in biomedical and clinical research and training. More »

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Mutation leads to new and severe form of bacterial disease

Everybody gets sick, but how sick you get is in your genes. New research now reveals a mutation on a gene that makes children susceptible to a severe form of mycobacterial disease. The work not only supports a controversial idea that certain genes evolved to combat specific bacteria but also reveals new mechanistic details of how the immune system fights off one of the planet’s fiercest pathogens. More »

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Bacterial protein mimics its host to disable a key enzyme

Bacteria use all sorts of cunning to trick hosts into doing their bidding. One con in their bag of tricks: the molecular mimic. In this ruse, bacteria or their agents look for all purposes like some native molecule in a cell, but then do not behave accordingly. Working with H. pylori, the bacterium responsible for gastric ulcers and cancer, researchers have revealed one way bacteria pull this off, deciphering the structure of a piece of CagA, a bacterial protein that impersonates a human protein in order to disable a key enzyme. More »

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New molecule identified in DNA damage response

Evolution places the highest premium on reproduction, natural selection’s only standard for biological success. In the case of replicating cells, life spares no expense to ensure that the offspring is a faithful copy of the parent. Researchers have identified a new player in this elaborate system of quality control, a gene whose mutation can cause a rare but lethal disease. More »

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Elusive protein points to mechanism behind hearing loss

A serendipitous discovery in zebra fish larvae born deaf has helped narrow down the function of an elusive protein necessary for hearing and balance. In addition to unveiling a potential target for therapy, the work suggests that hearing loss may arise from a faulty pathway that translates sound into electrical nerve impulses the brain can understand. More »

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Rockefeller postdoc wins GE & Science Prize

Michael Crickmore has been named Grand Prize winner in the essay competition, which recognizes outstanding graduate students in molecular biology. Crickmore’s essay, titled “The Molecular Basis of Size Differences,” comes with $25,000 and publication in Science. More »

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Rockefeller human embryonic stem cell lines now available through NIH registry

Two human embryonic stem cell lines, derived using private funds, are among the first 13 human embryonic stem cell lines for use in NIH-funded research under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research adopted in July 2009. More »

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Acute stress leaves epigenetic marks on the hippocampus

Scientists are learning that the dynamic regulation of genes — as much as the genes themselves — shapes the fate of organisms. Now the discovery of a new epigenetic mechanism regulating genes in the brain under stress is helping change the way scientists think about psychiatric disorders and could open new avenues to treatment. More »

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Scientists identify DNA that regulates antibody production

When foreign invaders trip the immune system’s alarm, antibodies need to be specially sculpted to attack them head on. New research now shows that gene segments called enhancers control the reshuffling of antibody genes that makes such a precise and coordinated attack possible. More »

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Multitasking may be Achilles heel for hepatitis C

Hepatitis C, a formidable virus that affects 130 million people worldwide, is nursing some pretty impressive bruises. By knocking out sections and subsections of one of its proteins, scientists reveal weak spots in the virus’s armor and gain new momentum for developing drug targets for sufferers of the disease. More »

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Shaham and Chalasani named winners of 2009 Blavatnik Awards

Associate Professor Shai Shaham and Postdoctoral Fellow Sreekanth H. Chalasani, who were named finalists in the third annual competition in September, were honored last night with six other winners at the New York Academy of Sciences’ Science and the City Gala. More »

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Imaging study shows HIV particles assembling around its genome

The genesis of one the planet’s most lethal viruses, HIV, has been caught on tape. New imaging experiments show individual HIV genomes — strands of RNA — docking on the inner membrane of an infected cell wall as they are ensconced by HIV structural proteins. More »

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Two proteins act as molecular tailors in DNA repair

On average, our cells encounter a very lethal form of DNA damage 10 times a day. Lucky for us, we have the capacity to repair each and every one of them. New research now reveals exactly how two well-known proteins are involved in the process, a finding that not only helps shed light on cancer but also on how our cells maintain the integrity of our genome. More »

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High fat diet increases inflammation in the mouse colon

In mice fed a diet high in fat and low in fiber, vitamin D and calcium — the so-called Western diet — expression of a series of genes collectively associated with immune and inflammatory responses was altered. The findings show that a Western diet induces oxidative stress and alters immune responses in the colon of mice long before tumors occur. More »

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Rockefeller joins first national research study recruitment registry

Rockefeller University has joined more than 50 U.S. research institutions in making information about its clinical research trials available on ResearchMatch, the country’s first registry for recruiting research participants. The secure Web site offers a free and safe way for volunteers to connect with thousands of researchers who are conducting research on a wide range of diseases. More »

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Scientists reveal a new mechanism that increases atherosclerosis in mice

For all the good it does, a liver protein that senses and gets rid of drugs and pollutants from our body has a downside. For the first time, it has been shown that when it is chronically activated, the protein, called PXR, rejiggers how cholesterol is processed in the liver and increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis. The work has direct clinical consequences to patients under long-term treatment of PXR-activating drugs, including several antibiotic and anti-cancer medications — and your daily latte. More »

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