Examining a Lesser-Known Dementia Driver

If dementia is a general term that means thinking and memory has deteriorated to the point that it interferes with day-to-day function, what are the top three disorders that cause dementia in older individuals? Did you think of Alzheimer’s disease? Good! Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Did you also think of vascular dementia or strokes? Excellent! Vascular dementia is the second most…
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Tissue engineers have developed a variety of approaches to recreate organs and tissues de novo outside the human body for use in regenerative therapies, drug screening, and disease modeling. As two prominent examples, human “organoids” are being assembled from cells to form tiny artificial constructs in a dish that resemble human organs and larger human tissues are being bioprinted. Both approaches use…
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Graduate student Kate Shulgina has spent six years in the Eddy Lab developing a computational tool called Codetta that predicts variations in the genetic code that cells use to translate RNA sequences into proteins. Shulgina is a student in Harvard’s Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology (SSQBio) program and one of many graduate students from university-wide programs who conduct research in MCB labs. SSQBio students can be…
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As people age, their working memory often declines, making it more difficult to perform everyday tasks. One key brain region linked to this type of memory is the anterior thalamus, which is primarily involved in spatial memory — memory of our surroundings and how to navigate them. In a study of mice, MIT researchers have identified a circuit in the anterior thalamus…
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Wide variation in the amount or infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 among people in early stages of COVID-19 may be an explanation for the phenomenon of “superspreaders,” according to a study by UMass Chan researchers and collaborators from several institutions that was recently published in Nature Microbiology . The research provides an in-depth view of SARS-CoV-2 infection through serial viral testing by several…
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We live in a world made and run by RNA, the equally important sibling of the genetic molecule DNA. In fact, evolutionary biologists hypothesize that RNA existed and self-replicated even before the appearance of DNA. Fast forward to modern day humans: science has revealed that less than 3% of the human genome is transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA) molecules that…
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Gavin Schlissel is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Pulin Li’s lab studying cell signaling and how proteins move between cells. We sat down with Gavin to learn more about him and his experiences in and out of the lab. In my current work with Pulin, we recreate developmental events in cell culture to observe the behavior of developmentally important…
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Greater Boston has become the nation’s biotech hub—the Silicon Valley of life sciences, according to some—and Massachusetts is now reportedly home to more than 1,000 biotech companies, employing more than 80,000 people. One of the newest multimillion-dollar firms helping to drive the boom has its roots in a Boston University lab. Satellite Bio—fueled by technology codeveloped by BU biomedical engineer Christopher Chen—launched…
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Our genome contains vast networks that regulate the activity of protein-coding genes. Variations in this regulatory DNA (which does not encode proteins) may affect both when and how much of a given protein a cell produces. Disruptions in regulation can have a profound impact on healthy function – in fact, most genomic variants discovered by genome-wide association studies (GWAS), which…
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Scent of a Human

When construction wraps up, Josefina del Mármol’s new laboratory on the Harvard Medical School campus will look a lot like those that surround it, with rows of benches sporting chemicals, glassware, and computers. What will set it apart are the scents: the citrus aroma of a compound called limonene; the clove-like fragrance of another compound, eugenol; the pungent odor of…
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