Researchers discover molecular “switch” that tells body to store or burn fat

An enzyme called SCD-1 plays a crucial role —through the hormone leptin —in signaling the body to either store fat or burn it, report a team of scientists in the July 12 issue of the journal Science. More »

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Proteins that transport cholesterol identified

Professor Jan Breslow and colleagues, including biomedical fellow Raymond Soccio, recently discovered a novel subfamily of the START domain lipid transfer proteins, which are thought to shuttle lipids such as cholesterol within cells. More »

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Researchers Solve Killer Protein’s “Crime”

A killer protein named Reaper. A protective protein in bits and pieces. And a dead cell. This is the scene of one of the body’s most perfect crimes: programmed cell death. This vital process occurs throughout life as a means to, among other purposes, eliminate potentially cancerous cells. More »

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“Vanishing Breed” of Researchers Recognized by HHMI

Robert B. Darnell, M.D., Ph.D., whose bench-to-bedside studies at Rockefeller University have uncovered new insights about how the brain normally works and about tumor immunity, is one of the 12 physician-scientists selected for a new Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) program spotlighting the value of relating basic research discoveries to improving medical therapy. More »

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The making of a fat cell

The future of a young body cell is filled with uncertainties. Will it mature into a red blood cell and carry oxygen to remote tissues? Or might it become a liver cell and help rid the body of dangerous toxins? Ultimately, its destiny depends on a set of molecular signals that activate one of several possible cellular programs. More »

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Three-D images shed light on first steps of RNA synthesis

The first three-dimensional images of the initiating form of the molecular machinery in bacteria that “transcribes” genetic information from DNA into RNA — the crucial first step for making proteins — is reported in a pair of papers in the May 17 issue of the journal Science. More »

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More Than Just Packaging, Histones Help Turn Genes On

Histones, the proteins that help roll several feet of DNA into the microscopic span of a single nucleus, are turning out to be much more than just packaging material. Instead, recent studies indicate that these once underrated proteins actively participate in switching genes “on” — a vital life process occurring at all times in each one of our cells. More »

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“Good Citizens” in the Immune System Carry Out State’s Orders

The difference between good and evil matters as much in the immune system, it turns out, as it does to humankind. The problem is understanding how the immune system’s cells perceive the difference. In the April 25 issue of the journal Nature, a team of researchers led by Rockefeller University immunologist Sasha Tarakhovsky, Ph.D. show that a single enzyme present in B cells may provide a major piece of the puzzle. More »

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Leprosy bug provides clues to early nerve degeneration

In the May 3 issue of Science, scientists at Rockefeller University and New York University School of Medicine report that the nerve damage that leads to a loss of sensation and disability of people with leprosy occurs in the early stages of infection. More »

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Nature’s Own Antidote to Cocaine

Some people’s brains may harbor their own built-in defense system against the addictive powers of cocaine. According to new research at The Rockefeller University, a naturally occurring brain opiate called dynorphin may, in certain individuals, serve as an antidote to counter the pleasurable, yet dangerous, effects of cocaine. More »

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Rockefeller University Announces Scholarship Fund in Name of Employee Who Died at World Trade Center

Rockefeller University’s Acting President Thomas P. Sakmar, M.D., announced today the establishment of the Shaheed Mohammed Salman Hamdani Memorial Fund, named for the 23-year-old research technician who died while responding to the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. More »

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How Aging Cells Retire

As we grow older, our hair turns gray, our bones grow thin and, among other changes, our telomeres shrink. But, more than markers of the passage of time, telomeres, the tips of chromosomes, may harbor answers to the fundamental mechanisms of aging and cancer. More »

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Oliver Sacks, Awakenings Author, Receives Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize

Oliver Sacks, author of the best-selling book Awakenings, which was the basis for a movie of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert de Niro, received The Rockefeller University’s 2001 Lewis Thomas Prize on Monday, March 18, in the university’s Caspary Auditorium. The prize, “Honoring the Scientist as Poet,” has been awarded annually since 1993 to a writer who is accomplished in the realms of both science and literature. More »

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Schizophrenia Predisposition Linked to Two Genes on Chromosome 22

In a systematic study of 13 genes on human chromosome 22 in an area of the chromosome previously linked to schizophrenia, a team of scientists in the United States and South Africa identified two genes from this group that contribute to susceptibility to this psychiatric disorder. More »

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Mouse Model of Diabetes Shows Synergy of Multiple Genes in Failure of Insulin-Secreting Cells

Researchers at The Rockefeller University and the Vanderbilt Medical Center have shown for the first time in a mouse model that genes predisposing for Type 2 diabetes interact in a hierarchical manner and have identified a potential drug target from these genes. More »

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Researchers Pinpoint How Estrogen Prevents Alzheimer’s “Senile Plaques”

Estrogen prevents the build-up of Alzheimer’s disease’s “senile plaques” in the brain by scooting key proteins through their normal pathways before they can form the debilitating plaques. More »

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Rockefeller University Appoints Thomas P. Sakmar Acting President

The Board of Trustees of The Rockefeller University today named Thomas P. Sakmar, M.D., to serve as acting president of the university. More »

“Sugar-Coating” on Proteins May Safeguard Body Against Further Insult

Much like a cadre of emergency workers at the scene of an accident, the body’s immune system cells gather at the site of an injury, whether it is a simple cut or an infection. This microscopic crowd largely consists of inflammatory cells and proteins, and together they marshal the immune system’s arsenal to bring the offending stimulus under control. More »

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Superbug Update: Only a few families of Staphylococci cause most drug-resistant diseases in hospitals worldwide

The culprits behind antibiotic-resistant diseases now plaguing hospitals worldwide have been harboring a secret — one that Rockefeller scientists have recently exposed. It seems these infectious microbes termed Staphylococcus aureus are not independent criminals working alone. Rather, they are members of only a few massive “superbug” families, which have spread out and conquered the globe. More »

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More Studies Shed Light on How Prozac Works

Nobel laureate Paul Greengard, Ph.D., and other Rockefeller University scientists have illuminated, in laboratory mice, new details of the complex chemical interaction in the brain that is generated by Prozac, the widely prescribed drug for depression. More »

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