Jeffrey M. Friedman receives Albert Lasker Award for discovery of leptin

This year’s Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the most prestigious American prize in science, honors Rockefeller University’s Jeffrey M. Friedman, who discovered leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and body weight. More »

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Paul Bieniasz promoted to professor

A retrovirologist at Rockefeller who studies the mechanisms that viruses use to assemble new viral particles and the resistance of certain cell types to infection has been awarded tenure and promoted to professor. Paul Bieniasz has reanimated extinct retroviruses, elucidated defenses evolved by organisms to fend off attacking viruses and made key strides toward developing a monkey model of HIV. More »

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Marc Tessier-Lavigne named Rockefeller University’s tenth president

The university’s Board of Trustees has elected Tessier-Lavigne to succeed Paul Nurse on March 11, 2011. A leader in the study of brain development, he is currently executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer at Genentech, one the world’s leading biotech companies. More »

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Paul Greengard receives Karolinska Institutet’s Bicentennial Gold Medal

The gold medal is the highest award conferred by the Karolinska Institutet, one of the world’s leading medical universities, during its 200th anniversary celebrations. The medal recognizes the work of an individual not permanently located at the Karolinska Institutet, who has contributed to and has achieved acknowledged eminence in the university’s activities. More »

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Scientists identify protein that spurs formation of Alzheimer’s plaques

Rockefeller researchers report that the cancer drug Gleevec reduces Alzheimer’s plaques in a mouse model of the disease by binding to a molecule called gamma-secretase activating protein, or GSAP. By knocking out the gene that produces GSAP, the researchers reduced the primary component of senile plaques. They say that the development of compounds that work like Gleevec and target GSAP could revolutionize the treatment of this disease. More »

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New faculty member studies evolution of social behavior in insects

A scientist who studies how evolution operates at different levels of organization in insect societies is the third and latest recruit in Rockefeller’s fall 2009 open faculty search. Daniel Kronauer, who is a junior fellow at Harvard University, will join Rockefeller in July 2011 as the head of the Laboratory of Insect Social Evolution. More »

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Experiments decipher key piece of the ‘histone code’ in cell division

The division of one cell into two is one of the most basic processes of life. One of the many tricks involved is the segregation of copied chromosomes to opposite ends of the cell before it divides. New research details for the first time the role of an epigenetic modification to the proteins that package DNA in the fundamental biological phenomenon, known as mitosis. More »

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Ted Scovell named director of university’s science outreach program

A former high school teacher himself, Scovell works to give new generations of young scientists access to the facilities — and mentors — that can take them well beyond the frogs and earthworms of their high school classrooms. More »

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MicroRNAs play a role in cocaine addiction

MicroRNAs, short stretches of RNA that silence genes, have already been linked to cancer, heart disease and mental disorders such as schizophrenia. New research by Rockefeller University scientists suggests microRNAs are also involved in regulating the motivation to consume cocaine, a finding that could ultimately lead to new ways of combating addictive diseases in humans. More »

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Protein found to control the early migration of neurons

Long before our nervous system is able to see, smell, touch, hear or speak, the earliest neurons that make it up must be precisely guided to the proper layers in the developing brain. Exactly how this early neuron migration happens has been elusive, but a better understanding of it could lead to insight into myriad developmental problems, including autism and schizophrenia. New research identifies a gene that works behind-the-scenes to control a closely related adhesion gene that helps keep young neurons on the right track. More »

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Muscle gene may provide new treatments for obesity and diabetes

In muscle, a protein called MED1 normally suppresses a genetic program that holds in check certain energy expenditure pathways. But when Rockefeller University scientists removed this gene in mice, a number of genes that are usually suppressed were activated, suggesting that targeting the Med1 gene could provide new therapeutical approaches to treating such metabolic diseases as obesity and diabetes. More »

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Researchers identify DNA damage repair gene in Fanconi anemia pathway

The threats to our genes come fast and furious. To fend them off, evolution has come up with complex safety measures to preserve the stability of our DNA. New research identifies a protein that is involved in guarding against a particularly dangerous peril called the inter-strand crosslink, when two strands of DNA become stuck together and can’t be unzipped for their proper replication or transcription. A mutation in the gene that produces this protein may lead to the deadly cancer-causing disorder known as Fanconi anemia, and may be involved in breast cancer as well, the experiments show. More »

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Scientists identify nature’s insect repellents

Chemicals emitted by mosquito predators could lead to as environmentally friendly tactics for repelling disease-carrying insects. More »

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New HIV vaccine trial first to target dendritic cells

HIV has been able to outmaneuver every vaccine that’s been tried on the virus since it was first discovered in 1981. But no vaccine has yet to directly employ what is arguably the most powerful weapon the human immune system, the dendritic cells that orchestrate the body’s response to infection. Now that’s about to change. Researchers at Rockefeller University, where dendritic cells were discovered in 1973, are building on decades worth of research to launch a novel vaccine trial in hopes of mustering an immune response strong enough to defeat the deadly virus. It’s the first clinical trial of a dendritic cell based vaccine against infection, and researchers hope it will mark a turning point in the battle against AIDS. More »

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Rockefeller postdoc named finalist for Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists

Agnel Sfeir, a postdoctoral fellow in Titia de Lange’s Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, has been named a finalist in the fourth annual Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists competition, which recognizes the contributions of young scientists and engineers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. More »

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Winrich Freiwald named Pew Scholar

A cognitive neuroscientist, who uses imaging techniques to study the parts of the brain responsible for visual processing, is the recipient of a prestigious Pew Scholars award. More »

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Microbiologist to join Rockefeller faculty

Rockefeller’s newest faculty member is Luciano Marraffini, a microbiologist who studies how bacterial pathogens modulate the transfer of foreign DNA into their genomes. His work sheds light on how bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus evolve, including how they gain the ability to resist antibiotic drugs. More »

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New research shows how experience shapes the brain’s circuitry

The adult brain, long considered to be fixed in its wiring, is remarkably dynamic, according to new research by Rockefeller University scientists. The finding explains how the circuitry of a region of the mouse brain called the somatosensory cortex, which processes input from the various systems in the body that respond to the sense of touch, is continually modified by experience. More »

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Problematic blood clotting contributes to Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease isn’t just about twisted brain cells. It’s also about the blood vessels that feed those neurons. New research at Rockefeller University has shown how the most common element of the plaque deposits found outside the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients interacts with a blood clotting agent and causes clots to form faster and become harder to break down. The scientists suggest new drugs that would target this association could potentially treat what is increasingly recognized as a crucial element of the disease, the vascular component. More »

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Alzheimer’s brain protein may provide target for treating mental retardation

Reducing the level of β-amyloid, a protein found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome, may improve the cognitive abilities of children with Down syndrome. The new study by Rockefeller University scientists may provide a model for developing new anti-amyloid drugs. More »

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