Rockefeller neurobiologist to receive Benjamin Franklin Medal

Rockefeller University’s Fernando Nottebohm will receive the 2006 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia announced today. The medal recognizes Nottebohm’s discovery of neuronal replacement in the adult vertebrate brain and the elaboration of the mechanism and choreography of this phenomenon. More »

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MicroRNAs linked to mammalian skin development

Since their discovery, microRNAs have been shown to play a role in the development of many organisms, but not mammals. This week, Rockefeller scientists announce that they have found and characterized over one hundred microRNAs in the outer layer and hair follicles of mouse skin. These microRNAs, tiny chunks of RNA that bind to longer segments in order to turn off the production of proteins, are key to the mice’s ability to develop hair follicles and oil glands, the scientists say. More »

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Genetic ‘stress response’ may explain how bacteria resist drugs

Bacteria have a nasty habit of developing resistance to even our most powerful pharmaceuticals. But by tracking the staph infection of a single patient during a course of antibiotic treatment, Rockefeller University scientists have discovered new clues to how bacteria evolve resistance. More »

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Modular structure enables TRCF protein to both halt transcription and repair DNA

Using x-ray crystallography, Rockefeller scientists have now solved the structure of a protein — called Transcription-Repair Coupling Factor or TRCF — that plays a dual role in DNA transcription repair. The results show that TRCF employs a modular structure which would allow for conformational changes so that TRCF’s recruitment of the repair machinery doesn’t interfere with its interruption of transcription. More »

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Damaged tumor suppressor plays major role in lymphoma development

Scientists have known for years that chromosomal translocations — abnormalities in which a piece of one chromosome breaks off and fuses to another — lead to a type of blood cancer called lymphoma, but little was known about how cells accumulate translocations or defend themselves against them. Now, Rockefeller researchers say a malfunction in tumor suppressor proteins like p53 or p19 result in the development of translocations induced by AID, a “genome destroyer” that initiates DNA damage. More »

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PLD1 protein is implicated in Alzheimer’s brain damage

Most current Alzheimer’s drugs target molecules responsible for memory formation but don’t address the root of the problem: plaques that build amid brain cells, causing them to weaken and die. Rockefeller scientists now say that a protein called PLD1 is closely linked to the pathways through which these plaques develop, and may be a target for new drugs that better treat Alzheimer’s. More »

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Genetic studies in mice yield clues to how heart disease is inherited

Heart disease tends to run in families, and scientists have long known that genetics play an important role. Now, new research in mice, from the laboratory of Rockefeller’s Jan L. Breslow, shows that the genetics of heart disease are more complicated than previously thought. More »

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Newly discovered immune cell partially responsible for psoriasis

In a discovery that may help shape new treatments for psoriasis, scientists at Rockefeller University have found a new type of immune cell that may be critical in producing inflammation and tissue damage in the skin. More »

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‘Geneless’ enzyme is key to how bacteria intack

To infect, bacteria must first stick. New research from Rockefeller’s Fischetti Lab has identified an enzyme essential to how proteins on the surface of staph and strep bacteria stick to the tissues of their hosts. The scientists say their discovery could lead to drugs that prevent some of our most dangerous bacteria from gaining a foothold. More »

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For insect cells, like mouse cells, one protein decides between life and death

Cells are given life by mitochondria, an organelle that provides them with all the energy they need. But while mitochondria giveth, they also taketh away — when a cell’s time is up, they release molecules that start a cascade ending in death. At least that’s how it works in humans, mice and other vertebrates. And now, new research from Rockefeller University’s Hermann Steller shows for the first time that the molecules and events that trigger cell death in invertebrates can also start in the mitochondria. More »

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‘Hitchhiking’ chromosomes yield new theory of cell division

From the moment the cell was discovered, scientists have been dissecting the methodical, multi-step process by which they duplicate themselves. This week, Rockefeller researchers studying one component of this process — how a cell’s chromosomes move in preparation for division — announce a discovery that overturns current cell-division theory. More »

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Study shows a fundamental difference between how insects, mammals detect odors

Contrary to what has been widely believed, the molecular basis of insect olfaction is not related to the mammalian system, but is an extraordinary case of the two types of organisms evolving along similar, but separate, lines — what scientists term convergent evolution — says Rockefeller’s Leslie Vosshall. More »

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‘U.S. biomedical research under seige,’ says Rockefeller University president Paul Nurse

In an editorial published this week in one of the nation’s leading biomedical journals, Paul Nurse suggests that the scientific research enterprise in the United States is in danger of suffering major damage as a result of stagnated funding and the failure of political leaders to take science seriously. More »

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New research shows how proteins make biological clock tick

By looking inside a single cell and following two different proteins over several hours, Rockefeller scientists have turned the old model of the cellular circadian clock on its head. When the two proteins come together, the scientists say, they create a six-hour timer that appears to tightly regulate the cell’s circadian rhythm. More »

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Three Rockefeller scientists receive 2005 Mayor’s awards

Rockefeller faculty members Jan Breslow, Mitchell Feigenbaum and Leslie Vosshall were among recipients of the 2005 New York City Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Science and Technology, announced today at Gracie Mansion. More »

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Scientists, linking gene with serotonin and depression, offer insights to new treatments

New research shows that a gene called p11 is closely related to serotonin transmission in the brain – and may play a key role in determining a person’s susceptibility to depression. Reported today in the journal Science, the researchers say their discovery could lead to new treatments for certain mental disorders. More »

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New ‘PhyloGibbs’ software helps scientists make sense of DNA

For scientists studying the link between genes and disease, there’s no shortage of information. The challenge is making sense of the data. A new algorithm designed by Eric Siggia’s Rockefeller laboratory may be an important new tool for scientists seeking to extract answers from sequenced genomes. More »

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New genetic sequencing technique reveals possible genetic protection from heroin addiction

New research from the laboratory of Mary Jeanne Kreek at Rockefeller University uses a novel sequencing approach to show that even very tiny differences within genes may help protect someone from heroin addiction, and perhaps addiction disorders in general. More »

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Protein structure suggests bacteria may be more sophisticated than we thought

Rockefeller scientists say Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterial plant pathogen, evades a plant’s immune defenses by mimicking one of the plant’s own enzymes: an E3 ubiquitin ligase that had never before been seen in bacteria. More »

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Watching fruit fly larvae crawl towards odors provides clues to how smells are detected

In new research published this month in Current Biology, Rockefeller scientists provide evidence that a “combinatorial code” is the mechanism by which fruit flies, and most likely other animals, distinguish one odor from another. More »

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