Biological clock scientist takes on VP for Academic Affairs position at Rockefeller University on March 1

Rockefeller University scientist Michael W. Young, who investigates the genetic pathways that enable the body’s biological clock to tick, will become Rockefeller University’s Vice President for Academic Affairs on March 1. More »

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Natural killer cells are made, not born

For years, scientists regarded natural killer cells as a blunt instrument of the body’s immune defense system. Born to kill, these cells were thought to travel straight from the bone marrow, where they are manufactured, to the blood, circulating there and infiltrating the sites of early tumors or infectious agents in the body. Now, Rockefeller University scientists, led by Christian Münz, Ph.D., have learned otherwise. More »

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Feeder-free system for maintaining embryonic stem cells pioneered at Rockefeller University

Rockefeller University researchers, in collaboration with two European scientists, have devised a system for maintaining human embryonic stem cell lines that excludes the need for troublesome mouse feeder cells.
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Internationally renowned neurobiologist to join Rockefeller University; Cori Bargmann discovered “matchmaker” molecule

Cornelia I. Bargmann, Ph.D., universally recognized as a scientific leader in research on how the circuitry of the brain is organized and influences behavior, will join The Rockefeller University, its President Paul Nurse, Ph.D., announced today. More »

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Scientists finally pry stubborn cellular door ajar

Imagine a door with key and combination locks on both sides, back and front. Now imagine trying to unlock that door blind-folded. This is the challenge faced by David Gadsby, Ph.D., and his Rockefeller University colleagues, who for years have struggled to understand the highly intricate and unusual cystic fibrosis chloride channel – a cellular doorway for salt ions that is defective in people with cystic fibrosis. More »

New science of “epigenetics” advanced by findings reported in Molecular Cell

Scientists have known that some physical changes that are passed on to the next generation can’t be attributed to mutations in DNA alone. Thus a relatively new field of research — epigenetics — has emerged to investigate the inheritance of physical changes that cannot be traced back to mutations in the DNA sequence. More »

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New method identifying and isolating stem cells developed

Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at The Rockefeller University have discovered a new method to track and isolate elusive stem cells. The new animal model they developed was successfully tested by isolating and characterizing skin stem cells, but may also be valuable in searching for stem cells that produce the cells of the heart, pancreas or other specific body tissues. More »

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Trial of new investigational AIDS vaccine begins in New York and Rochester

The Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), an affiliate of The Rockefeller University, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) announced today that they have begun a human trial of a new investigational vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS. The trial is actively seeking healthy volunteers in New York City and Rochester, New York. More »

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Genes may protect against heart disease rather than be harmful as previously thought

A genetic pathway whose activity was suspected to advance heart disease by increasing inflammation in the blood vessels and arteries feeding the heart may actually protect against it at least in laboratory mice, reports a team of Rockefeller University scientists led by Jan Breslow, M.D., in the Nov. 25 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. More »

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Mouse studies show brain’s “master molecule” produces same behavior from three different psychostimulant drugs

A mouse study reported in this week’s Science magazine shows that three drugs, each acting on a different chemical transmitter in the brain, all produce the same schizophrenia-like symptoms by acting on a single “master molecule” in the brain. More »

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By the year 2050, human population could add 2.6 billion people, reports Rockefeller scientist Joel E. Cohen

It took from the beginning of time until 1950 to put the first 2.5 billion people on the planet. Yet in the next half-century, an increase that exceeds the total population of the world in 1950 will occur. So writes Joel E. Cohen, Ph.D., Dr.P.H., professor and head of the Laboratory of Populations at The Rockefeller University and Columbia University, in a Viewpoint article in the November 14 issue of the journal Science.
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Researchers describe new technique for cataloging RNA targets in rare brain disease

RNA, often thought of as merely the chemical messenger that helps decode DNA’s genetic instructions for making proteins, can itself play a crucial role in regulating protein expression. Not surprisingly, this regulation occurs through proteins that bind to RNA. All cells in the body, especially nerve cells in the brain, use and regulate RNA in an exquisite fashion. More »

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Giant protein organizes the transportation railway system within cells

To get its job done, each cell in the human body must constantly change its inner skeleton and therefore its outer shape. This skeleton also serves as a vast network of “tracks,” which grow and shrink and move in different directions as needed to transport proteins and other materials within the cell and to organize cells within a tissue or organ. More »

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GenSAT (Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas) Project announced

For scientists studying the brain, this week’s Nature announces a remarkable new map describing previously uncharted territory, plus the means of exploring the new horizons for themselves. Rockefeller University scientists led by Nat Heintz, Ph.D. and Mary Beth Hatten, Ph.D. are well under way on a genetic atlas of the mammalian brain that provides unprecedented access to central nervous system regions, cell classes and pathways. More »

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“Gene therapy” in worms identifies protein that plays role in controlling water balance, sense of touch in live animals

Using “knockout” mice and mutant roundworms, researchers at The Rockefeller University and the University of California, San Francisco, have identified a protein that helps control water balance in the body and underlies the sensation of touch — functions basic to life that have long eluded explanation. More »

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Improving the body’s “homeland security” against TB

The microbe that causes tuberculosis operates the way a human terrorist would. With minimal resources, the TB bacterium skillfully blends in and gains strength before lashing out unexpectedly.

Now, Rockefeller scientists John MacMicking, Ph.D., and John McKinney, Ph.D., have discovered a unique way the immune system can disarm the bacterial offender. If this defense could be strengthened, TB could be brought to biological justice. More »

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White House Awards National Medal of Science to Rockefeller University’s James Darnell

James E. Darnell Jr., M.D., a pioneering researcher in the field of gene regulation, will receive the National Medal of Science, the White House announced today. Darnell is among eight American scientists to receive the award, the nation’s highest honor for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. More »

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Nobel Prize honors Rockefeller University scientist Roderick MacKinnon for revealing process of electrical signaling in humans and other living organisms

Rockefeller University Professor Roderick MacKinnon, M.D., a biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer whose exquisitely detailed portraits of a class of proteins explain the generation of nerve impulses — the electrical activity that underlies all movement, sensation and thought — is honored this year with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden announced today. MacKinnon, who also is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, shares the prize with Peter Agre, M.D., at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. More »

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Silence of the genes

In addition to nails and screws, a carpenter’s bag of tricks includes glue. Nails can be pulled, screws can be removed, but glue is typically permanent.

Nature uses its own version of glue to jam a gene’s expression when its activity could somehow disrupt the body’s functioning. For example, nature’s “glue” silences one of the two copies of the X chromosome that female mammals carry in their body cells during early development to ensure that the embryo doesn’t get double doses of the same genes. Recent scientific evidence suggests that “gluing” or compacting mechanisms in the cell’s nucleus might control the activity of large regions of the genome. More »

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Leukemia drug Gleevec slows accumulation of major component of senile plaques in cell studies and in guinea pigs

Gleevec, the breakthrough drug for treating chronic myologenous leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors, slowed the accumulation of the major protein component of senile plaques that characterize Alzheimer’s disease, in laboratory cultures of mouse brain cells and guinea pigs. More »

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