Scientists from the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, led by Dr. Aaron Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Microbiology, have partnered with the Duke Human Vaccine Institute (DHVI) on a nation-wide, multidisciplinary program to develop a more universally protective influenza vaccine.   The Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers (CIVICs) program, driven and supported by the National Institute of Allergy and…
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Real Texture for Lab-Grown Meat

Lab-grown or cultured meat could revolutionize food production, providing a greener, more sustainable, more ethical alternative to large-scale meat production. But getting lab-grown meat from the petri dish to the dinner plate requires solving several major problems, including how to make large amounts of it and how to make it feel and taste more like real meat. Now, researchers at…
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Jesse Delia Receives 2019 Belamarich Award

Dr. Jesse Delia of the Warkentin Lab was selected as the winner of the 2019 Belamarich Award for his doctoral dissertation in Biology titled “Ecology and Evolution of Parent-Embryo Interactions in Neotropical Glassfrogs.” This award is given annually to a recent PhD candidate for their outstanding doctoral dissertation completed in the Department of Biology. While several outstanding dissertations were nominated, Jesse’s dissertation stood out based…
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People with autism often experience hypersensitivity to noise and other sensory input. MIT neuroscientists have now identified two brain circuits that help tune out distracting sensory information, and they have found a way to reverse noise hypersensitivity in mice by boosting the activity of those circuits. One of the circuits the researchers identified is involved in filtering noise, while the…
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Whitehead Institute Member Richard A. Young has been elected to the United States National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Along with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and National Academy of Engineering, the NAM provides objective, evidence-based advice to the nation, under a congressional charter. Election to the NAM is considered one of the highest honors for U.S. medical practitioners, public…
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Synthetic biologists have taken evolution of proteins into their own hands by changing some that occur in nature or even by synthesizing them from scratch. Such engineered proteins are used as highly efficacious drugs, components of synthetic gene circuits that sense biological signals, or in the production of high-value chemicals in ways that are more effective and sustainable than petroleum-based…
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A team from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has developed a new CRISPR genome-editing approach by combining two of the most important proteins in molecular biology — CRISPR-Cas9 and a reverse transcriptase — into a single machine. The system, called “prime editing,” is capable of directly editing human cells in a precise, efficient, and highly versatile fashion. The…
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The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has named MCB faculty Catherine Dulac as a recipient of the 2019 Ralph W. Gerard Prize. The prize honors lifetime achievement in neuroscience and is the highest honor awarded by the SfN. Dulac and co-honoree Michael Greenberg of Harvard Medical School will be recognized with a ceremony at the annual SfN meeting, which attracts over 30,000 participants. “I am deeply honored…
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Natural resistance-associated macrophage protein (Nramp) transporters enable uptake of essential transition metal micronutrients in numerous biological contexts. These proteins are believed to function as secondary transporters that harness the electrochemical energy of proton gradients by “coupling” proton and metal transport. Here we use the Deinococcus radiodurans (Dra) Nramp homologue, for which we have determined crystal structures in multiple conformations, to investigate mechanistic…
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Decades ago, pioneering studies in cats and rodents identified regions within an ancient part of the brain, the hypothalamus, that are sufficient to increase or reduce appetite. Stimulating lateral parts of the hypothalamus was shown to promote feeding, whereas activating ventromedial regions reduced food consumption; these were described as hunger and satiety centers, respectively. In eLife this week, Caroline Wee and Erin…
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