A Signature Brain Wave That Signals Windows of Brain Plasticity

Researchers from the Hensch Lab—led by MCB faculty Takao Hensch, Curriculum and Pedagogy Manager Kathleen Quast (Ph.D. ‘13), and then graduate student Rebecca Reh (Ph.D. ‘15)—have identified biomarkers that herald neuronal plasticity in the cerebral cortex. Their results appeared in a recent issue of the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).
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Researchers working with UMass Chan Medical School’s Translational Institute for Molecular Therapeutics announced progress in developing a vector to deliver gene replacement therapy in mice models with Cockayne syndrome, a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disease that largely affects children and young adults. The proof-of-concept milestone for the adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector gives hope to parents such as Jo Kaur and…
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Treating cancer with combinations of drugs can be more effective than using a single drug. However, figuring out the optimal combination of drugs, and making sure that all of the drugs reach the right place, can be challenging.   To help address those challenges, MIT chemists have designed a bottlebrush-shaped nanoparticle that can be loaded with multiple drugs, in ratios…
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Ethan Loew’s passion for problem-solving and his family’s background working on Italian olive farms inspire his academic pursuits as an MD/PhD student at UMass Chan Medical School and fuel his desire to give back through mentorship. After majoring in chemistry at Union College, Loew was torn between practicing bench science or becoming a clinician. His experience working as a lab…
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The process of getting a drug to patients is cumbersome and heroic. For Drs. Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel, who founded the Prion (pronounced “pree-on”) Alliance to develop therapeutics for human prion disease, their path has been, they say, like “driving at night in the fog,” quoting E.L. Doctorow: “You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can…
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The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard’s Cancer Dependency Map Consortium, an academic-industrial partnership program that was first announced in 2019, is accelerating its research into tumor vulnerabilities and identifying key biomarkers. As the consortium enters a new phase, a total of 19 pharmaceutical and biotechnology organizations are partnering in this project. The Cancer Dependency Map Consortium supports the Broad’s Cancer Dependency Map…
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Rett syndrome is a rare, progressive neurodevelopmental disorder that typically affects girls, causing severe intellectual disability, loss of motor skills, and autism-like symptoms, and there is currently no cure. Rett syndrome is caused by a loss-of-function mutation in the X chromosome gene MECP2. Females typically have two copies of MECP2—one on each X chromosome—and in most cases of Rett syndrome, only…
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Finding HIV’s Hidden Reservoir Cells

Antiretroviral drugs have transformed the treatment of HIV/AIDS, extending the lives of patients and rendering a once deadly disease into a chronic, manageable condition. But currently available treatment does not cure HIV infection – instead, the virus persists lifelong, and antiviral treatment needs to be taken indefinitely to suppress the virus. HIV-1 reservoir cells – infected cells that are highly…
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Results from a new study by Harvard researchers just published in Cell offer insights into the relationship between inflammation and the cognitive impairment we experience as we age, and suggest the possibility that it may be a result of a kind of cellular chain reaction. “Understanding aging is one of the most important goals in biomedicine,” said Xiaowei Zhuang, David B.…
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Food allergies are caused by IgE antibodies that are generated by the immune system and bind to allergens such as peanuts, triggering a reaction that in extreme cases can be potentially life-threatening. New research by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), University of Paris Saclay, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) reveals why oral immunotherapy, which treats…
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