Gairdner Prize honors Rockefeller scientist Ralph Steinman, M.D.

For the critical discovery of the immune system’s sentinel dendritic cells, and for demonstrating that science can fruitfully harness the power of these cells and other components of the immune system to curb infections and other communicable diseases, Professor Ralph Steinman, M.D., shares the 2003 Gairdner Foundation International Award, announced Tuesday, April 8, in Toronto. More »

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First images of protein export in cells illuminate structural “highways” called microtubules as sole conduits of protein cargo

For the first time, scientists have viewed — and recorded on camera — the final pathway followed by a protein as it exits the body cell that created it. Once released from a cell, a protein is free to perform its duties as a neurotransmitter, hormone, cell surface receptor, or one of the many other “work horses” that function outside of body cells every second of the day. More »

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The protein’s in the mail

A busy urban post office daily sorts thousands of letters and parcels, guiding each to a particular mailbox somewhere in the city. Each day, every cell of the human body manufactures millions of proteins which it also must continually sort and route to their final destinations within the cell. Only when a protein has reached its destination can it do its assigned work. More »

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Rockefeller scientists identify “natural” proteins that push stem cells to produce hair instead of skinRockefeller scientists identify “natural” proteins that push stem cells to produce hair instead of skin

The clearest picture to date of how two proteins determine the destiny of a stem cell that is genetically programmed to develop into either hair or skin epidermis is emerging with mouse embryos as models for human biology from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Rockefeller University. The scientists’ latest results are reported in this week’s (March 20) issue of the journal Nature. More »

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Link found between estrogen, changes in brain structure, and learning and memory

Scientists at Rockefeller University have discovered how estrogen initiates physical changes in rodent brain cells that lead to increased learning and memory — a finding, the researchers contend, that illustrates the likely value of the hormone to peak brain functioning in women. More »

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Rockefeller researchers identify new mechanism that ensures accurate partitioning of genetic material in dividing cells

Every minute, the human body replaces 300 million of its dying cells with new ones through the vital biological process known as cell division. When dividing and multiplying, a “parent” cell must segregate with exquisite precision each of its 46 chromosomes so that two “daughter” cells inherit all of its genetic information. More »

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Researchers unearth unusual enzyme lacking genetic code

Since their fiery beginnings on earth over three billion years ago, bacteria have evolved some unusual strategies for dealing with the problems of life, a kind of odd bag of tricks specialized for survival. The most recent idiosyncrasy to surface, which was discovered by Rockefeller researchers, is an essential protein lacking a genetic code. More »

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Backstage with a command performer

Some cells sing with the chorus, while others unwittingly achieve fame on their own. The immune system’s B cell is a true diva that spends its early days preparing for the ultimate audition. Its repertoire of possible antibodies to invading microbes totals 50 million. For the immune system, this repertoire means the difference between destroying a potentially lethal antigen or not. More »

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Obesity not a personal failing, says leptin discoverer Jeffrey Friedman, but a battle against biology

Leptin discoverer Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., argues in a “Viewpoint” article in a special obesity issue of the journal Science published Feb. 7 that obesity cannot be easily explained as simply a breakdown in willpower. Genes and environment, explains the Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher, both play important roles in determining a person’s body weight. More »

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Young plant’s natural defenses amount to more than just its seed

An infant plant sleeps peacefully within its seed, entirely shielded from drought and other harsh conditions that might otherwise threaten its well-being. When the time comes at last to wake up and stretch its budding leaves, the young seedling must do so very carefully; once it decides to enter the unpredictable world outside, there’s no turning back to the safe haven of the seed. More »

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Rockefeller University Names Sir Paul Nurse President

The Rockefeller University announced today that its Board of Trustees has elected Sir Paul Nurse, Ph.D., as the ninth President of the university. More »

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Hardworking sodium/ potassium pump fundamentally similar to free-flowing ion channel

Right now, in your body, tiny pumps in the fatty membranes surrounding all your cells are hard at work pushing select charged ions, such as sodium, potassium or calcium, through those membranes. Like a water pump in a high-rise apartment building overcoming the force of gravity to move water up to a tank on its roof, these ion pumps work against “electrochemical gradients” to transport ions from one side of the membrane to the other. More »

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Observing Proteins and Cells in the Wild

Imagine if molecular and cell biologists could watch proteins and cells at work in their natural habitat in the same way that wildlife biologists observe animals in the wild. They’d sit back and witness firsthand their microscopic subjects’ daily routines, interactions and movements, and the places they prefer to be. More »

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Search for cholesterol absorption genes narrows to two chromosome regions

Two people eat the same egg, cheese and ham muffin for breakfast, yet one absorbs significantly more cholesterol into his or her blood than the other. Why? More »

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First quantum dots applied to living organism

Quantum dots are nano-sized crystals that exhibit all the colors of the rainbow due to their unique semiconductor qualities. These exquisitely small, human-made beacons have the power to shine their fluorescent light for months, even years. But in the near-decade since they were first readily produced, quantum dots have excluded themselves from the useful purview of biology. Now, for the first time, this flexible tool has been refined, and delivered to the hands of biologists. More »

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“Outlaw” organism turns informant

In a critical scene in the film remake of the classic 1960s TV series “The Fugitive,” actor Harrison Ford sheds his coat and replaces it with another. This simple deception allows him to escape detection by the swarm of police officers trailing him. More »

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Noise inner life cells

Within the smoothly operating factory that is the cell, tiny molecular machines carry out their tasks with order and certainty. Or at least that’s what many scientists once believed. More »

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Wrong Proteins Targeted in Battle Against Cancer?

Researchers may be looking for novel cancer drugs in the wrong places, says Rockefeller University Professor James E. Darnell Jr., M.D., in an article in this month’s Nature Reviews Cancer. More »

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“CAF” protein mystery solved by AIDS researchers

Acclaimed AIDS researcher David Ho, M.D., a Rockefeller University Irene Diamond Professor who heads the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center (ADARC), and his research team, have discovered that several natural proteins -alpha-defensins 1, 2 and 3 – can be manufactured and released by killer T cells to inhibit HIV. More »

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Lasker Award Honors Rockefeller University’s James Darnell

James E. Darnell Jr., M.D., the pioneering researcher in the field of gene regulation — who has nurtured the careers of over 100 young, talented scientists — was honored today with the 2002 Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science. More »

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