The stages in which ribosomes synthesize life-sustaining proteins have been revealed in unprecedented real-time detail by UMass Medical School structural biologists Andrei Korostelev, PhD, and Anna Loveland, PhD. Their new study of this fundamental molecular mechanism, captured using state-of-the-art, time-resolved, cryo-electron microscopy was published by the journal Nature on July 1. Ribosomes are the molecular machines that read genetic instructions carried by messenger RNA…
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Whitehead Institute is delighted to welcome world-renowned developmental and cell biologist Ruth Lehmann to Whitehead Institute as its new director. Below is a version of the letter she shared with the Institute earlier today. To read more about her research and leadership prior to coming to Whitehead Institute, please visit her page here.  This letter was sent to the Whitehead Institute community from incoming…
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Parasite Research Heats Up

Apicomplexan parasites infect hundreds of millions of people around the world each year. Several species of apicomplexan parasites in the Plasmodium genus cause malaria, while another apicomplexan species, Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), causes toxoplasmosis, a disease with flu-like symptoms that can be lethal for people with weakened immune systems. In spite of their impact, the biology of these disease-causing parasites is not very well…
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BUSM researchers have developed and implemented a new way to better understand how human cells communicate with each other, how this communication is disrupted in human diseases and how this can be corrected pharmacologically. Their method consists of a suite of “biosensors,” which are artificial genes that can be introduced in cells to report in real time when an important…
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The authors modeled the network of factors that control gene expression and observed that these factors act differently between men and women. By analyzing gene regulatory networks in twenty-nine tissues, they found sex differences in the network structure, and showed that differential targeting of genes by sex occurs in most tissues. Exploring sex differences is crucial not only for understanding biological sex differences, but also for guiding the best therapeutic strategies in men and women.
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Mutations in more than 270 genes have been implicated in inherited eye diseases like retinitis pigmentosa. Now, Biogen has formed a research pact with Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear that’s aimed at developing a gene therapy to help some patients with these blinding diseases. The gene at the center of the new agreement, PRPF31, has been linked to autosomal dominant…
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Local drugmaker CureVac AG is getting a notable assistant in its mission to create a Covid-19 vaccine: Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk. CureVac, which is based in Germany with a U.S. headquarters in Boston, is developing a preventive drug for the novel coronavirus. Its drug uses messenger RNA taken from the virus to trick the human body into producing disease-fighting antibodies.…
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Today we crossed a remarkable threshold: 250,000 COVID-19 tests have been processed at the Broad Institute! Over the course of two weeks in mid-March, Broadies in the Genomics Platform worked with teams across the Broad to transform our CLIA-certified lab into a high-throughput COVID-19 testing facility. Partnering with MA Department of Public Health and local hospitals, the team raced to create…
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Luisa Maria Nieto Ramirez, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Associate Professor of Biology Tim van Opijnen, has been named a 2020 Pew Latin American Fellow in the Biomedical Sciences. The Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences provides support for young scientists from Latin America to receive postdoctoral training in the United States, giving them an…
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Gliomas with mutations in what are called the isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) genes are the most common brain tumors diagnosed in younger adults aged 18 to 45 years. Patients can benefit from aggressive surgery, along with radiation and chemotherapy treatments, but these therapies are not curative in many cases. Now a team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital has uncovered…
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