A potential therapeutic against hookworms is being developed by scientists from UMass Medical School, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the Synthetic Biomanufacturing Facility at Utah State University. Described in a study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the therapeutic is an engineered bacterium, containing crystal compound 5B inactivated with a food-grade oil that…
Read More
Studies with a popular laboratory model, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, have revealed a possible therapeutic avenue for a rare but deadly condition in which children are born without the ability to make molybdenum cofactor (Moco) on their own. Though little known, Moco is essential for life and so far it has proven extremely difficult to stably isolate this compound in the…
Read More
In the 1920s, German chemist Otto Warburg discovered that cancer cells don’t metabolize sugar the same way that healthy cells usually do. Since then, scientists have tried to figure out why cancer cells use this alternative pathway, which is much less efficient. MIT biologists have now found a possible answer to this longstanding question. In a study appearing in Molecular Cell, they…
Read More
A new study reported in STEM CELLS reveals a unique population of skeletal stem cells (SSCs) that function during the transitional period between rapid bone growth and bone maintenance. This discovery provides an opportunity to determine whether alterations in the SSCs’ pattern might affect bone formation, as well as helps us understand the physiological factors that regulate its timing. “This is…
Read More
Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for type 2 diabetes and is associated with changes in gut metabolites. Previous work uncovered a gut-restricted TGR5 agonist with anti-diabetic properties—cholic acid-7-sulfate (CA7S)—that is elevated following sleeve gastrectomy (SG). Here, we elucidate a microbiome-dependent pathway by which SG increases CA7S production. We show that a microbial metabolite, lithocholic acid (LCA), is increased…
Read More
While investigating the underlying causes of a rare skin disorder, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) discovered a previously unknown mechanism in the kidneys that is important for regulating levels of magnesium and calcium in the blood. The discovery, described in the journal Cell Reports, highlights the role of a previously little-studied gene called KCTD1. The gene directs production of a…
Read More
Astrocytes are glial cells that are abundant in the central nervous system (CNS) and that have important homeostatic and disease-promoting functions1. However, little is known about the homeostatic anti-inflammatory activities of astrocytes and their regulation. Here, using high-throughput flow cytometry screening, single-cell RNA sequencing and CRISPR–Cas9-based cell-specific in vivo genetic perturbations in mice, we identify a subset of astrocytes that…
Read More
Two MD/PhD students in the lab of Read Pukkila-Worley, MD, associate professor of medicine, have each received Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards from the National Institutes of Health for their projects analyzing the ways a host recognizes bacteria that can cause disease. Nick Peterson and Samantha Tse were awarded these highly competitive grants. The purpose of the Kirschstein-NRSA program is to…
Read More
Atalanta Therapeutics, a biotech founded by UMass Medical School and three faculty research scientists to pioneer treatment options for neurodegenerative diseases, has launched with financing by venture capital fund F-Prime Capital and strategic collaborations with Biogen and Genentech. Atalanta’s technology, called branched siRNA and licensed from UMass Medical School, is based on more than 30 years of research at the…
Read More

Researchers Uncover Viral Small RNAs in Mosquito Cells

BUSM researchers are now able to provide a new genomics resource that details the small RNA transcriptomes (gene expression) of four bio-medically important mosquito species. This is the first study to provide a platform for biologists to compare the characteristics of these small RNAs between these four mosquitoes as well as the most widely used insects for genetic experiments, the…
Read More