Up Close and Personal with Neuronal Networks

How our brain cells, or neurons, use electrical signals to communicate and coordinate for higher brain function is one of the biggest questions in all of science. For decades, researchers have used electrodes to listen in on and record these signals.  The patch clamp electrode, an electrode in a thin glass tube, revolutionized neurobiology in the 1970s with its ability…
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A metabolic imbalance in some cancer patients following treatment with a checkpoint inhibitor drug, nivolumab, is associated with resistance to the immunotherapy agent and shorter survival, report scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in collaborative work with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The chemical change, which the investigators say reflects an “adaptive resistance mechanism” by cancer cells or the immune…
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Enhancers are the primary DNA regulatory elements that confer cell type specificity of gene expression. Recent studies characterizing individual enhancers have revealed their potential to direct heterologous gene expression in a highly cell-type-specific manner. However, it has not yet been possible to systematically identify and test the function of enhancers for each of the many cell types in an organism.…
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Signaling Factor Seeking Gene

During embryonic development, stem cells begin to take on specific identities, becoming distinct cell types with specialized characteristics and functions, in order to form the diverse organs and systems in our bodies. Cells rely on two main classes of regulators to define and maintain their identities; the first of these are master transcription factors, keystone proteins in each cell’s regulatory…
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A new Voices of UMassMed podcast highlights the progress being made at UMass Medical School in developing gene therapy for Tay-Sachs disease. Tay-Sachs is a rare, genetic degenerative disease that destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Few children with Tay-Sachs will reach their fifth birthday. There is no cure. Miguel Sena-Esteves, PhD, associate professor of neurology, has been a…
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The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering welcomed attendees from every populated continent to its 10th annual Wyss International Symposium on September 20, 2019 for an inspiring day of presentations about Next Generation Diagnostics. Co-organized by Wyss faculty members Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D., James Collins, Ph.D., Samir Mitragotri, Ph.D., David Walt, Ph.D., and Wyss Founding Director Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., the event hit the maximum registration…
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Portrait of a Pioneer

By any measure, William Augustus Hinton’s achievements were remarkable. Born in 1883 to former slaves, Hinton earned a bachelor of science degree at Harvard in 1905. After teaching for several years, he entered Harvard Medical School, competing for and winning prestigious scholarships. In 1912 he earned his MD with honors. Still, it was not enough. Even with such outstanding credentials,…
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The Whitehead Institute board of directors today announced the selection of Ruth Lehmann, a world-renowned developmental and cell biology researcher, as the institute’s fifth director. Lehmann will succeed current Director David Page on July 1, 2020. Lehmann is now the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Professor of Cell Biology and chair of the Department of Cell Biology at New York University…
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After months of outcry over whether the United States government is unfairly targeting foreign-born researchers over purported security breaches, President Donald Trump’s science adviser is launching an effort to strengthen national policies on research security. The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) is working to establish government-wide requirements for what information researchers need to disclose to receive federal research grants.…
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