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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37 students to receive Ph.D.s at Rockefeller’s 52nd Commencement

In addition to graduate degrees, two honorary doctorates will be awarded, to Hanna Holborn Gray, historian, president emeritus of The University of Chicago and chairman of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Harold E. Varmus, Nobel laureate and president and chief executive of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. More »

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Researchers modify yellow fever vaccine to fight malaria

A genetically modified vaccine originally used to eradicate yellow fever could be the key to stopping a mosquito-borne scourge that afflicts much of the developing world. More »

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Donald W. Pfaff and Bruce S. McEwen will share 2010 Fondation IPSEN Neuronal Plasticity Prize

Donald W. Pfaff and Bruce S. McEwen share the 2010 Fondation IPSEN Neuronal Plasticity Prize for their studies on the neuroendocrine control of behavior. The French foundation presents the award to researchers who publish remarkable, pioneering studies. More »

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New study of psoriatic cells could fire up the study of inflammation

Psoriasis is one of humanity’s oldest know diseases and one of the more widespread, affecting 2 percent of the U.S. population. But it remains largely a mystery. New work identifies markers that define two types of dendritic cells found in psoriatic lesions, findings that will help scientists isolate and study the most troublesome inflammatory variety. More »

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New faculty member seeks secrets of intestinal immunity

Newly named assistant professor Daniel Mucida studies the balance between tolerance and immunity by observing what happens in the intestinal tract. It’s there that the body must cope with a constant stream of foreign antigens from our food as well as a flourishing ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and parasites. More »


Leslie Vosshall promoted to professor

A neurobiologist whose research focuses on the mechanism of smell has been granted tenure by the university’s Board of Trustees. More »

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Rockefeller immunologist receives Gates Foundation Grand Challenges grant

Jean-Laurent Casanova will launch a new project aimed at understanding how a collection of genetically diverse errors in immunity leads to susceptibility to tuberculosis in children under 15 years old. More »

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Scientists identify potential new target for schizophrenia drugs

A protein that boosts the signaling power of a receptor involved in relaying messages between brain cells may provide a new target for the development of treatments for schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. More »

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Ralph M. Steinman receives 2010 Heineken Prize for Medicine

Rockefeller immunologist Ralph M. Steinman receives Dutch prize for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in the immune response. More »

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Paul Nurse to resign as Rockefeller president to become president of Royal Society of London in December

Paul Nurse, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist, has served as Rockefeller University’s president since 2003. More »

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