New gene for hair loss identified

Researchers have discovered a gene involved in hair loss that may lead to new, non-hormonal therapies for baldness. The work, by researchers at Rockefeller, Columbia and Stanford universities, reveals that a mutation in a gene called APCDD1 inhibits a signaling pathway that was known to affect hair growth in mice but never before in humans. More »

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New probe technology illuminates the activation of light-sensing cells

vThrough ingenious combinations of roughly 20 amino acids, the basic building blocks of life, genes can build the proteins that comprise everything from the simplest bacteria to the human brain. In new research published today in Nature, scientists unveil a new technique to illuminate the function of those proteins. The method of genetically targeting a non-natural amino acid to specific locations within a protein could theoretically be adapted to place a fluorescent probe at any position in any protein in a mammalian cell. More »

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Rockefeller University names Martin Rees 2009 Lewis Thomas Prize winner

Cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees has been named the recipient of Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 2009. More »

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Leslie Vosshall, Paul Greengard win Dart/NYU biotech awards

Rockefeller scientists receive honors for their contributions to next-generation insect repellents and drugs to treat neurological diseases. More »

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Rockefeller particle physicists already at work as LHC particle collider research starts

A team of high-energy physicists at Rockefeller is part of a more than 2,000-strong group of physicists working on the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. The LHC research program aims to reproduce the conditions that were present a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. More »

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New book by population biologist asks why we educate children

Rockefeller University’s Joel E. Cohen hopes to launch an international conversation on the rationales for educating children, informed by diverse perspectives on why education should be a goal at all.v More »

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Scientists pinpoint source of recurrent yeast infections in autoimmune syndrome

It turns out that the immune system can create its own infections. Scientists now report that the immune-fighting proteins that keep yeast in check in healthy immune systems are under siege in patients with a rare autoimmune disorder known as APS-1. By pinpointing the cause of candidiasis in these patients, the finding paves the way for treating these fungal infections with drugs that are already out in the market. More »

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Scientists track variant of gene-regulating protein in embryonic stem cells

The path to fully developed cells from embryonic stem cells requires that the right genes are turned on and off at the right times. New research from Rockefeller University shows that tiny variations between gene-regulating histone proteins play an important role in determining how and when genes are read. The finding shows that each region of the genome may be even more specialized than previously expected and may open a new avenue of investigation regarding the mysterious causes of the human genetic disease known as ATR-X syndrome. More »

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Research identifies gene that changes the brain’s response to stress

Brains change. They change throughout life, responding to developmental but also environmental cues, like stress. Scientists know of several important proteins that play a role in what brains do with new experience. Now they have identified one, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which must be present at a certain level to enable the brain’s “adaptive plasticity,” particularly in response to stress. More »

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Imaging studies reveal order in programmed cell death

In order to thrive, the human body orchestrates a mass suicide of about 10 billion potentially dangerous cells a day. New research takes a closer look at programmed cell death — called apoptosis — and finds order in this process, once thought to be an erratically timed, sudden collapse. More »

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Mouse model reveals a cause of ADHD

New research in a mouse model of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder suggests that the root of the psychiatric disorder might be the over-activity of a protein that regulates the brain’s reward-motivation system. The work suggests a path toward new treatments for symptoms including inattentiveness, over-activity and impulsivity. More »

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Research identifies gene with likely role in premenstrual disorder

Some women are especially sensitive to the natural flux of hormones in the menstrual cycle. New research points to a gene that likely influences how women respond to swings in estrogen levels and could help diagnose and treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition marked by extreme mood swings and irritability. The work also provides insight into the historically understudied area of medically relevant differences between men and women. More »

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Scientists crash test DNA’s replication machinery

Important molecular machines routinely crash into one another while plying their trades on DNA. New research shows that the enzymes that copy DNA before cell division, called replisomes, are the kings of this road, kicking aside machines that are performing less critical tasks, such as transcribing instructions for proteins. More »

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Newly engineered enzyme is a powerful staph antibiotic

In the past decade, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, has ushered in a new era in the fight between man and bug. By harnessing the power of nature’s own antibiotics, scientists have engineered an enzyme known as a lysin that not only kills MRSA in mice but also works synergistically with antibiotics that were once powerless against the formidable organism. More »

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By tracking water molecules, physicists hope to unlock secrets of life

Compared to any other liquid on Earth, water behaves in strange and unexpected ways, yet its unusual properties enable and protect life as we know it. By tracking individual water molecules in a “supercooled” state, scientists find what explains one of water’s most notable and life-saving features: its astounding capacity to resist gaining or losing heat. More »

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Brain arousal heightens sexual activity in male mice

Ever since the dawn of time, teenage boys have been defined by their sexual urges. Stereotype or not, the same fate has now befallen male mice. In new research that harkens back to those awkward high school moments and uncomfortable coming-of-age memories, scientists now show that male mice genetically selected for high levels of nervous energy act like sex-crazed teenage boys: highly motivated, but awkward and inefficient. More »

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Researchers track evolution and spread of drug-resistant bacteria across hospitals and continents

Using high resolution genome sequencing, scientists have tracked a deadly strain of multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as it traveled between South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. The new technique provides an unprecedented view of how MRSA evolved over decades and across entire continents, as well as on the short timescale of a few weeks within a hospital in Thailand. More »

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First evidence that the brain’s native dendritic cells can muster an immune response

Since their initial discovery in 1973, dendritic cells, the sentinels of the immune system, have turned up in a number of places other than the immune organs. They stand guard in the heart, for instance, and in 2008, the first population native to the brain was identified. New research shows that dendritic cells are not only present in the brain, but active, too. They confront foreign substances and seem to form a barrier between healthy and stricken brain tissue following a stroke. More »

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Clinical trial to explore link between vitamin D and cholesterol

An unusual finding in previous studies of vitamin D-deficient patients has prompted a new clinical study at The Rockefeller University Hospital. Investigator Manish Ponda aims to discover if there is a causative relationship between vitamin D supplementation and elevated levels of small LDL cholesterol. The hospital is currently recruiting subjects for the study. More »

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Loosely coiled DNA helps trypanosomes make their escape

Some animals use camouflage to outsmart their prey; others use mimicry or fake their own death. But Trypanosoma brucei, the wily parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, is the only organism we know of that can change its molecular identity on command to escape the grip of the human immune system. New research reveals a key discovery that has eluded scientists for decades: To avoid capture, trypanosomes must strategically uncoil their DNA. More »

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