Structure shows how a key protein in gene activation is controlled

Using the structure of the protein σ28 bound to its inhibitor as inspiration, a new structural study finds that this gene activator can also inhibit itself from binding to and expressing the wrong gene at the wrong time. More »

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Rockefeller lab show that Notch signaling is involved in multiple skin fate decisions

The Notch pathway, well known for its role in cell fate choice during embryonic development and hair follicle differentiation, now has an important role in epidermal development — controlling the early decision cells make to differentiate and form specialized layers of skin. More »

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Three Rockefeller scientists elected AAAS fellows

Arleen Auerbach, Cori Bargmann and Nathaniel Heintz are new fellows of the world’s largest general scientific society. More »

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In mice, a new statistical analysis shows a sex hormone influences a drive to explore

Exhaustive searching may not guarantee a compatible mate, but that doesn’t stop most people from trying. Now, new research from Rockefeller University suggests that estrogens may be a driving force. More »

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Dendritic cells stimulate cancer-cell growth

Since their discovery at Rockefeller University some 30 years ago, dendritic cells have been recognized as key players on the immune-system team, presenting antigens to other immune cells to help them respond to novel insults. Now, Rockefeller scientists have shown that dendritic cells also have other, non-immune actions, and may in fact directly modify the biology of some types of cancer cells. More »

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New gene-slicing method targets specific areas of the brain

To understand the role any one gene plays in an organism, scientists rely on knockout mice: They breed a mouse that lacks the gene they are interested in, then observe the effects. But a new method which uses viruses and small strands of RNA, developed by Rockefeller University scientists, offers a faster and more effective way to link genes to specific behavior. More »

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New look at world’s forests shows many are expanding

A new formula to measure forest cover suggests that an increasing number of countries and regions are transitioning from deforestation to afforestation, raising hopes for a turning point for the world as a whole. More »

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Living cells prosper without telomeres


In most cells, telomeres are a critical protection against death: If these caps at the ends of chromosomes fail, the cell’s life is cut short. But what’s true for most cells isn’t true for all cells, and a surprising new finding from Rockefeller University shows that cells in the livers of living mice have the remarkable ability to function without telomeres. More »

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American Chemical Society to recognize breakthrough 1963 chemistry discovery

In 1963, Bruce Merrifield was the sole author of a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society describing a new method for the chemical synthesis of peptides, biological molecules comprised of short stretches of amino acids. Rockefeller University will be honored Monday with the Citation for Chemical Breakthroughs for Merrifield’s Nobel-winning work. The presentation is part of a daylong scientific symposium remembering the life and achievements of Bruce Merrifield. More »

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RNA map gives first comprehensive understanding of alternative splicing

Though scientists have begun to appreciate how alternative splicing adds a layer of complexity to brain processes that enable us to think and learn, exactly how alternative splicing is regulated during these processes — and in some cases is uncontrolled (or dysregulated) to cause disease — has remained elusive. A new map, however, provides the first comprehensive understanding of how alternative splicing works throughout the genome. The results have implications for a better understanding of such brain functions as learning and memory, neurological diseases and cancer biology. More »

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Chronic stress effects attention by altering neuronal response in the brain

Anxiety and depression can make a person feel as if he’s battling his own brain, complete with wounds and scars. Traumatic events — war, divorce, the death of a loved one — can trigger these disorders, and scientists are just beginning to clarify the biological connection. Now, working neuron by neuron, researchers have found that life experiences actually appear to change the length and complexity of individual brain cells. More »

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Starr Foundation to give Rockefeller $50 million to support collaborations

A $50 million gift from the Starr Foundation, announced this week, will be used to create the Starr Fund for Collaborative Science at The Rockefeller University. The fund will promote and enhance scientific exchange and shared knowledge, and the university plans to use portions of the gift to implement several initiatives outlined in the university’s strategic plan, approved by Rockefeller’s Board of Trustees in 2005. More »

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Mary Francis Lyons to receive Rockefeller’s Pearl Meister Greengard Prize

The third annual Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, an international award to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding women scientists, will be presented to British geneticist Mary Frances Lyon on November 2. More »

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Rockefeller University researchers decipher the shape of a sodium/potassium ion pump

The sodium/potassium pump is one of the most prevalent proteins on a cell’s surface, and is responsible for collecting ions on one side of the cell membrane and pushing them to the other. Two new papers by Rockefeller University researchers provide a more nuanced picture of the pump’s interior channel, as well as a more precise target for future antacid drugs. More »

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Study of birds suggests method of learning affects how the brain adds neurons

By comparing birds raised in isolation with those raised communally, Rockefeller University scientists say that learning by improvisation is associated with greater neuronal turnover — and more mental flexibility — than learning by imitation. More »

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Study of hair follicles leads researchers to a key stem cell protein

With all the excitement over what stem cells can become, a few basic questions tend to be overlooked: Where do they come from? And how do they survive? Now Rockefeller University’s Elaine Fuchs has come a step closer to addressing the issue, showing that in hair follicles, the protein Lhx2 acts as a molecular brake to regulate the switch between stem cell maintenance and activation. More »

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HIV gets a makeover: A few adjustments to the AIDS virus could alter the course of research

In an advance that has the potential to revolutionize AIDS vaccine research, researchers at Rockefeller University and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center have used a combination of genetic engineering and forced adaptation to create a version of HIV that replicates vigorously in human and monkey cells. More »

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New function for protein links plant’s circadian rhythm to its light-detection mechanism

Plants know when to flower because they set their circadian clocks by measuring the length and quality of the light they receive. Now Rockefeller University researchers have found a new function for the protein SPA1, showing that it serves as an important link between a plant’s light-detection proteins and the rest of its circadian clock machinery. More »

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Rockefeller University receives $45 million NIH grant for clinical, translational science

With the award, Rockefeller University has established the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, which will bring together translational researchers at Rockefeller University and its affiliated and collaborating institutions. In addition, the award will support a new training program for physician-scientists entering careers in translational research. More »

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Animal study suggests two amino acids may modulate addictive behavior

For some, living without alcohol, cigarettes or even coffee is a daily struggle. Others can give up their vices without ever looking back. From a biological standpoint, the difference may be as slight as a single amino acid, suggests new research from the Rockefeller University laboratories of Mary Jeanne Kreek and Paul Greengard. By tracking individual amino acids in a single protein in mice, and noticing how they change when the mice are given access to cocaine, scientists are beginning to understand how an individual’s underlying genetics can reinforce his addictive behavior. More »

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