White adipose tissue (WAT), or white fat, plays a fundamental role in the development of cerebral malaria in mouse models and humans, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health scientists in collaboration with an international team of researchers. The study details the process by which red blood cells infected with malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites are sequestered in small blood…
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MicroRNAs (miRNA) are known to regulate expression of genes involved in several physiological processes including metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis, proliferation, differentiation, and cell death. Using “in silico” analyses, we identified 219 unique miRNAs that potentially bind to the 3’UTR region of a critical mitochondrial regulator, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator (PGC) 1 alpha (Pgc1α). Out of the 219 candidate miRNAs, miR-696 had…
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Bacteria are a nanotechnological marvel. Consider the bacterium Escherichia coli as an example. Barely a millionth the size of a typical human (E. coli is a rod-shaped cell about 2 µm long and 1 μm wide), each cell is chock-full of molecular machinery that enables it to carry out life’s myriad functions. One of these, the flagellum, is the miniature propeller that allows E.…
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MIT’s Hockfield Court is bordered on the west by the ultra-modern Stata Center, with its reflective, silver alcoves that jut off at odd angles, and on the east by Building 68, which is a simple, window-lined, cement rectangle. At first glance, Bonnie Berger’s mathematics lab in the Stata Center and Joey Davis’s biology lab in Building 68 are as different as the buildings that…
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Dr. Edward T. Chouchani of Harvard Medical School is the winner of the 2021 Armen H. Tashjian Jr. Award for Excellence in Endocrine Research. This award was established to recognize scholars early in their careers who are pursuing novel areas of discovery in endocrine and related areas of research. The committee is comprised of Sudha Biddinger, MD, Ph.D.; David E.…
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Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths, accounting for about a third of all tumor-related deaths. Adenocarcinomas, a non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), account for about 40 percent of cancer diagnoses, but few treatments are available for the disease. A team of investigators led by Elena Levantini, PhD, a research associate in Hematology-Oncology in the laboratory of…
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Earth’s Other Rainforest

Could engineering marine bacteria lower atmospheric carbon dioxide? In Wyss postdoc Max Schubert’s view, solving climate change requires two kinds of people: those who dream big and those who make the dreams happen. As a self-described doer, Schubert, Ph.D. has stepped up to the bench to start figuring out how that’s possible. He’s focusing on Synechococcus cyanobacteria: an ancient, blue-green type of phytoplankton…
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Success in Sight

Harvard Medical School researchers have taken an important step toward developing a gene therapy to treat retinitis pigmentosa, or RP, an inherited form of progressive blindness that affects around 20 million people worldwide and can be caused by more than 60 different gene mutations. RP initially destroys rod cells in the retina at the back of the eye, which sense…
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Drop by Drop

Lakshya Bajaj had just moved from Houston to become a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of geneticist Scott Kennedy at Harvard Medical School. On a call with his father back home in India, Bajaj tried to convey his excitement about studying how worm cells use liquid droplets to perform critical tasks such as suppressing unwanted gene activity. Skeptical about the…
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Some Like It Hot

It’s been a mystery hiding in plain sight. Researchers working with tiny worms called Caenorhabditis elegans—a common lab organism used to study basic principles of biology—know not to raise the temperature above about 80 degrees Fahrenheit because the worms start to die. Yet some populations of C. elegans in the wild thrive above that temperature, such as those that live in Athens,…
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