Many ways to learn one song

Of all the world’s animals, only humans, some kinds of birds and perhaps some porpoises and whales learn the sounds they use to communicate with each other through a process of listening, imitation and practice. For the rest, including nonhuman primates, these sounds develop normally in the absence of external models. Now Rockefeller University scientists have found that zebra finches, songbirds native to Australia, use infant-like strategies to learn their song.
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NYC mayor announces development of bioscience research park at Rockefeller University news conference

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, at a news conference hosted by Rockefeller University on Nov. 18, 2004, announced plans to develop the East River Science Park, a bioscience research and development campus, on a city-owned portion of the Bellevue Hospital Center. More »

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Nobel laureate honors deceased mother and other women achievers by awarding a “Nobel Prize for women”

Rockefeller University awarded the first Pearl Meister Greengard Prize to French embryologist Nicole Le Douarin on Wednesday, Oct. 27. More »

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“Crucial evolutionary link”: Molecular sculptor may have molded simple ancient bacterial cells into modern, highly structured cells

A team of researchers led by Rockefeller University’s Michael P. Rout, Ph.D., have discovered a possible crucial evolutionary link between the simple cells that make up bacteria and the more complex cells that comprise animal and plant cells, including those of humans. More »

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Cellular Two Step

Following the often-quoted advice of Yogi Berra — “You can observe a lot by just watching” — Rockefeller University scientists show that nerve cells in the developing brains of humans and other mammals move in a two-part “step” led by a structure within the cell called the centrosome. Once the centrosome, the key organizing point for the cell’s internal skeleton, moves forward, the cell nucleus follows. The Rockefeller scientists produced time-lapse movies that show nerve cell migration in unprecedented clarity and detail. More »

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DNA barcodes find four new bird species

The task of identifying Earth’s estimated 10 million species has daunted biologists for centuries – fewer than two million have been named. Using a technique called DNA barcoding, researchers at Rockefeller University and two Canadian institutions have uncovered four new species of North American birds. The findings are reported in the September 28 issue of Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology. More »

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Essential smell gene may prove key to new insect repellents

Insects navigate by smell to find food, mates and — in the case of disease-spreading mosquitoes — humans to bite. Researchers at Rockefeller University report in the September 2 issue of Neuron that insects’ ability to detect odors depends on a single gene. Fruit flies lacking the gene, known as Or83b, cannot smell. More »

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Silencing human gene through new science of epigenetics; Gene associated with human development—and cancer

For the first time, scientists have shown how the activity of a gene associated with normal human development, as well as the occurrence of cancer and several other diseases, is repressed epigenetically — by modifying not the DNA code of a gene, but instead the spool-like histone proteins around which DNA tightly wraps itself in the nucleus of cells in the body. More »

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Single isolated mouse skin cell can generate into variety of epidermal tissues

Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at The Rockefeller University have isolated stem cells from the skin of a mouse, and showed, for the first time, that an individual stem cell can renew itself in the laboratory and then be used in grafts to produce skin, hair and oil glands. More »

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“Genome destroyer” identified in the immune system

Our bodies have such great capacity to heal, it’s hard to imagine that we naturally manufacture a product in our immune system that can endanger our own DNA and provide a biological footstep to cancer. But this is precisely the case. More »

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Hormone replacement therapy one hour at a time

Giving hormone doses in pulses, rather than as a steady exposure, may maximize the benefits and limit the side effects now associated with hormone therapies. This is one implication of the findings scientists at Rockefeller University report in the August 17 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More »

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Viral locksmith is caught in the act

How does the molecular machine responsible for activating genes choose which gene to switch on, from among the 30,000 genes contained in each cell of the human body? In the August 4 issue of the EMBO Journal, researchers at Rockefeller University report that they are beginning to answer that question in bacteria, and the answers are not only surprising, but may also aid in the development of powerful new antibiotics. More »

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Rockefeller University establishes stem cell research center

With the support of a $5 million endowment donated by New York City philanthropist Harriet Heilbrunn, The Rockefeller University has established the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Center for Stem Cell Research. More »

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Through population screening on the island of Kosrae, Rockefeller scientists discover a mutant gene that controls dietary cholesterol absorption

Using DNA from 1,000 inhabitants of the Micronesian island of Kosrae, Rockefeller University scientists have discovered a mutant gene that affects an individual’s absorption of dietary cholesterol. The findings are reported in the Journal of Lipid Research. The researchers hope their discovery will help tease apart the tangle of genes that control cholesterol absorption, one of the factors that contributes to high blood cholesterol levels, which are a major risk factor for heart attacks. More »

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Preparing for a safe split

As it prepares to divide, a human cell makes exact copies of all of its 46 chromosomes, so that the two daughter cells each can have a complete set of genetic material. The two sets must separate equally, otherwise the new cells end up with the wrong number of chromosomes. Such problems are common in cancer cells, and have been linked to several types of birth defects. More »

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Activation of tumor suppressor gene p53 much more complex than previously believed

It’s the biochemist’s twist on the old light bulb jokes: how many proteins does it take to activate a gene? Scientists in Robert Roeder’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Rockefeller University now know that, at least for gene activation by the tumor suppressor p53, the answer is as many as five — and perhaps more — proteins for a single early step in this process. The researchers also provide the first direct evidence that chemical changes to DNA packaging proteins called histones regulate transcription, or activation, of p53 and other target genes, a finding that has major implications for the treatment of human diseases, including cancer. More »

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Lab mice rescued from Type 1 diabetes via dendritic cell-assisted therapy

Rockefeller University researchers have for the first time demonstrated a halting of early Type 1 diabetes in mice by restoring a critical class of T cells to their normal balance. The findings prove an important biological principle that could lead to prevention of Type 1 diabetes in humans: autoimmunity can be reversed if the immune system’s mechanisms for tolerance — recognition and acceptance of the body’s own cells — can be repaired. More »

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Cell growth and death controlled by a single pathway in lymphoma cancer model

New research at Rockefeller University, published this week in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps explain why some people do not respond to chemotherapy and offers a possible solution. More »

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Molecular image of genotoxin reveal how bacteria damage human DNA

The three-dimensional structure of a DNA-damaging, bacterial toxin has been visualized by scientists at Rockefeller University. The molecular image of the toxin, published in the May 27 issue of the journal Nature, shows exactly how the toxin is put together at the molecular level and damages human DNA. The structure also could help scientists to design new drugs to fight the wide variety of bacteria that use this toxin. More »

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Newly discovered gene controls levels of “bad” cholesterol in mice

Heart disease researchers at Rockefeller University have discovered the function of a gene associated with high cholesterol levels in humans. Using mice as test subjects, the Rockefeller scientists determined that the gene, called Pcsk9, can decrease the number of receptors on liver cells that remove the “bad” LDL cholesterol from the blood. More »

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