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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
Robert G. Roeder, Ph.D., a biochemist whose research has led to major advances in understanding how human genes are switched “on” and “off,” is this year’s recipient of the highly prestigious Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced today. More »
For the first time, a group of immunologists from the laboratory of Molecular Immunology, headed by Michel Nussenzweig, Ph.D., measured the immunity aptitude of developing B cells found in the bone marrow and blood of healthy adults. They discovered that between 55-75% of premature B cells are prone to bad behavior, or auto-reactivity. More »
Paul Nurse, Ph.D., will become the ninth President of the distinguished 102-year-old Rockefeller University on Sept. 1. In January, the university’s Board of Trustees unanimously elected the Nobel laureate and British biologist to the position, following an international search. More »
There’s more to a building than the materials that comprise it; equally important is the foundation that underlies and supports the main structure. Similarly, researchers at The Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute led by Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., now show that hair inherently depends on the channels in skin that hold it. More »
For scientists in the field of neurobiology, defining the factors that influence the arousal of brain and behavior is a “Holy Grail.” Research published by Rockefeller University scientists in the Aug. 11 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition is the first to give a rigorous definition of what is meant by arousal, considered to be at the base of all emotionally laden behaviors. In particular, the researchers, led by Donald W. Pfaff, Ph.D., provide an operational definition of arousal that scientists can pursue and measure quantitatively in laboratory animals, as well as in human beings. More »
Since the time when humans first learned to record their thoughts in written form, codes have kept sensitive information from prying eyes. But conveying information through a code requires someone who can read it as well as write it. The same is true for one of nature’s methods for transmitting information that activates or silences a gene: the “histone code.” More »
A gene that gets switched on only in the fat cells of obese mice may be a key to preventing obesity in humans, according to new research at The Rockefeller University in New York City and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. More »
A plant born into darkness, underneath a blanket of soil and leaves, will grow long and thin, its spindly stem stretching up towards the hidden sun. When at last it reaches the light, the plant will sprout green leaves, thicken its stem and begin to breathe – a coordinated effort involving the switching on of hundreds of genes. More »
As an embryologist, Ali H. Brivanlou wants to know every genetic route taken by a small mass of undifferentiated, or unformed, embryonic cells as they develop into an organism. More »