Meet a Whitehead Postdoc: Jonathan Nelson

Jonathan Nelson is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Yukiko Yamashita’s lab studying how dividing cells maintain their genomes. We sat down with Nelson to learn more about him and his experiences in and out of the lab. From a broad perspective, I have an interest in understanding how cells make sure that they get everything right when they divide,…
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When biologists José McFaline-Figueroa PhD ’14 and Nelly Cruz PhD ’11 are sitting at the dinner table with their five-year-old daughter, they might be discussing which experiments may work in lab, how to improve each other’s protocols, or even what new model of microscope to buy. Although they work at separate institutions, they both study how cells respond to disease…
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Humans need oxygen molecules for a process called cellular respiration, which takes place in our cells’ mitochondria. Through a series of reactions called the electron transport chain, electrons are passed along in a sort of cellular relay race, allowing the cell to create ATP, the molecule that gives our cells energy to complete their vital functions. At the end of…
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The COVID-19 pandemic has turned a spotlight on the importance of vaccines, but also on key gaps in scientific understanding of how the immune system reacts to vaccines in general. Why does the immune response to some vaccines differ from person to person? What causes immunity to wane after vaccination, and how can that be monitored and even predicted before…
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 Bristol Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) has announced five innovative biotech startups as winners of the company’s 2021 Golden Ticket Contests. The winners are: RADD Pharmaceuticals and Rubik Therapeutics (LabCentral, Cambridge, MA), Waypoint Bio (BioLabs@NYULangone, New York, NY) and Altay Therapeutics and VastBiome (MBC BioLabs, San Francisco Bay Area, CA). “These Golden Tickets are an important way for us to foster…
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Annual MCB Retreat Awards Celebrate Contributions to the Department

This year’s annual MCB departmental retreat took place in person in Falmouth, Massachusetts . Students, faculty, postdocs, and staff from the department gathered for two days of networking and team-building activities. The retreat also included the annual departmental awards ceremony, which honors the contributions of MCB community members at all levels. This year’s honorees include the MCB preceptors, MCO graduate…
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Researchers at Northeastern and neighboring colleges say they’ve made a landmark discovery that takes a deeper look at the metabolic and biochemical origins of a debilitating genetic disease known to cause a range of symptoms and health problems. A new study, published Wednesday, focused on a severe neurodevelopmental disorder referred to as 16p11.2 Deletion Syndrome, a condition often associated with autism, intellectual…
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Nurturing Lab Discoveries

Before the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared in 2020, Mike Springer had an idea to use a food safety diagnostic tool to detect infectious diseases. As he was pondering the direction he wanted to take, he spoke with Ifat Rubin-Bejerano, senior director of translational research at HMS. “I remember we just brainstormed,” Rubin-Bejerano recalled, “and I said, How about flu? You know, you have…
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Glucose metabolism modulates the islet β cell responses to diabetogenic stress, including inflammation. Here, we probed the metabolic mechanisms that underlie the protective effect of glucose in inflammation by interrogating the metabolite profiles of primary islets from human donors and identified de novo glutathione synthesis as a prominent glucose-driven pro-survival pathway. We find that pyruvate carboxylase is required for glutathione synthesis in…
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