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Newswise: Ruth Lehmann Elected as Director of Whitehead Institute
19-Sep-2019 9:00 AM EDT
Ruth Lehmann Elected as Director of Whitehead Institute
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Lehmann, a world renowned developmental and cell biology researcher, as the Institute’s fifth Director

Released: 19-Oct-2017 1:05 PM EDT
Study Reveals Key Molecular Link in Major Cell Growth Pathway
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

A team of scientists has uncovered a surprising molecular link connecting how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available nutrients. The findings also implicate a new protein as a potential drug target in pancreatic cancer.

Released: 6-Oct-2017 3:05 PM EDT
Genetic Body/Brain Connection Identified in Genomic Region Linked to Autism
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

For the first time, scientists have directly linked deletions in two genes in zebrafish and traits, such as seizures, hyperactivity, large head size, and increased fat content. Both genes are in a genome region linked to autism spectrum disorder, developmental delays, seizures, and obesity in humans

Released: 5-Sep-2017 12:05 PM EDT
Mystery Solved: How Thyroid Hormone Prods Red Blood Cell Production
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

For more than a century, the link between thyroid hormone and red blood cell production has remained elusive. Now, Whitehead scientists have teased about the mechanism that connects them, which could help scientists identify new therapies for specific types of anemia.

Newswise: Whitehead Member David Sabatini Awarded Dickson Prize in Medicine
Released: 17-Aug-2017 11:05 AM EDT
Whitehead Member David Sabatini Awarded Dickson Prize in Medicine
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute Member David Sabatini will be this year’s recipient of the Dickson Prize in Medicine. The annual award is the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s highest honor and recognizes “an American biomedical researcher who has made significant, progressive contributions to medicine”.

Released: 14-Jun-2017 5:10 PM EDT
Elegant Switch Controls Translation in Transition From Egg to Embryo
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

The transition from an egg to a developing embryo is one of life’s most remarkable transformations. Now Whitehead Institute researchers have used fruit flies to decipher how one aspect—control of the translation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) into proteins—shifts as the egg becomes an the embryo. This type of switch could tell scientists more about how human cells work and embryos develop.

Released: 8-Jun-2017 10:00 AM EDT
Whitehead’s Weng Receives Grant From Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation to Study Herbs That May Boost Mothers’ Milk
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Many cultures traditionally use herbs believed to increase milk supply – so called galactagogues – although scientific data are lacking. Now Whitehead Institute Member Jing-Ke Weng and the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation are teaming up to explore the effects of galactagogues on milk production.

3-Apr-2017 10:05 AM EDT
Biomarker Identified for Likely Aggressive, Early Stage Breast Cancer
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a gene that could help clinicians discern which patients have aggressive forms of early stage breast cancer, which could prevent hundreds of thousands of women from undergoing unnecessary treatment and save millions of dollars.

6-Mar-2017 2:05 PM EST
Cargo-Carrying Red Blood Cells Alleviate Autoimmune Diseases in Mice
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Using red blood cells modified to carry disease-specific antigens, scientists from Whitehead Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital have prevented and alleviated two autoimmune diseases—multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes—in early stage mouse models.

23-Feb-2017 10:00 AM EST
Researchers Uncover a Role for HSP90 in Gene-Environment Interactions in Humans
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have now uncovered a role for the protein-folding chaperone HSP90 in humans, not only as a modifier of the effects of mutations, but as a mediator of the impact of the environment on the function of mutant proteins. And these effects of HSP90 can alter the course of human diseases.

Newswise: New Clues on the Base of Parkinson’s Disease and Other “Synucleinopathies”
23-Jan-2017 1:30 PM EST
New Clues on the Base of Parkinson’s Disease and Other “Synucleinopathies”
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other “synucleinopathies” are known to be linked to the misfolding of alpha-synuclein protein in neurons. Less clear is how this misfolding relates to the growing number of genes implicated in PD through analysis of human genetics. Researchers affiliated with Whitehead Institute and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) explain how they used a suite of novel biological and computational methods to shed light on the question.

Newswise: Scientists Engineer Gene Pathway to Grow Brain Organoids with Surface Folding
Released: 29-Dec-2016 2:05 PM EST
Scientists Engineer Gene Pathway to Grow Brain Organoids with Surface Folding
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers provide insight into a specific gene pathway that appears to regulate the growth, structure, and organization of the human cortex. They also demonstrate that 3D human cerebral organoids can be effective in modeling the molecular, cellular, and anatomical processes of human brain development.

Newswise: Naturally Occurring Mechanism of Cancer Drug-Resistance May Itself Be a Treatment Target
26-Dec-2016 3:00 PM EST
Naturally Occurring Mechanism of Cancer Drug-Resistance May Itself Be a Treatment Target
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

The use of proteasome inhibitors to treat cancer has been greatly limited by the ability of cancer cells to develop resistance to these drugs. But Whitehead Institute researchers have found a mechanism underlying this resistance—a mechanism that naturally occurs in many diverse cancer types and that may expose vulnerabilities to drugs that spur the natural cell-death process.

16-Dec-2016 10:00 AM EST
CRISPR Screening Identifies Potential HIV Treatment Targets
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Targeting human genes required for HIV infection but not T cell survival may avoid inducing treatment resistance

Newswise:  Johnson & Johnson Endows Professorship Honoring Susan Lindquist, Role Model for Women in Science
Released: 16-Nov-2016 10:05 AM EST
Johnson & Johnson Endows Professorship Honoring Susan Lindquist, Role Model for Women in Science
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

The Susan Lindquist Chair for Women in Science will advance the work of women who are leaders in biomedical research and role models for emerging female scientists. It honors a singular scientist who blazed a path—for women and men alike—into new realms of discovery.

Newswise: Heat Shock Regulator Controlled by on/Off Switch and Phosphorylation
Released: 13-Nov-2016 4:05 PM EST
Heat Shock Regulator Controlled by on/Off Switch and Phosphorylation
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined how the master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response, known as heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), is controlled in yeast. Understanding how HSF1 works, how it is regulated, and how to fine tune it in a cell-type specific way could lead to therapies for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

31-Oct-2016 9:30 AM EDT
Insight on Rett Syndrome Neurophysiology Finds Mechanisms Underlying its Functional Deficits—and Shows They Are Reversible
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Researchers using a mouse model of Rett Syndrome find that cortical pyramidal neurons have faults in excitatory and inhibitory signaling; and demonstrate why recombinant human Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 has had therapeutic effects for RTT patients in clinical trials.

Newswise: Susan Lindquist, Accomplished and Beloved Scientist, Has Died at Age 67
Released: 28-Oct-2016 11:05 AM EDT
Susan Lindquist, Accomplished and Beloved Scientist, Has Died at Age 67
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

“Sue has meant so much to Whitehead as an institution of science, and as a community of scientists, and her passing leaves us diminished in so many ways,” reflects David C. Page, M.D., Director of Whitehead Institute

Released: 4-Oct-2016 3:05 PM EDT
Revising the Meaning of “Prion”
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Using an unbiased screen in yeast, a team of Whitehead Institute and Stanford University scientists have identified dozens of prion-like proteins that could change the defining characteristics of these unusual proteins.

19-Sep-2016 10:05 AM EDT
Inherited Parental Methylation Shifts Over Time, May Have Functional Effects in the Brain and Other Tissues
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Inherited methylation—a form of epigenetic regulation passed down from parents to offspring—is far more dynamic than previously thought and may contribute to changes in the brain and other tissues over time. This finding by Whitehead Institute scientists challenges current understandings of gene regulation via methylation, from development through adulthood.

30-Aug-2016 3:05 PM EDT
Genome-Wide Toxoplasma Screen Reveals Mechanisms of Parasitic Infections
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have conducted the first genome-wide screen in Apicomplexa, a phylum of single-celled parasites that cause diseases such as malaria and toxoplasmosis. The screen sheds light into the vast, unstudied reaches of parasite genomes, uncovering for instance a protein common to all apicomplexans.

Released: 31-Aug-2016 1:05 PM EDT
Novel Method Enables Absolute Quantification of Mitochondrial Metabolites
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to quickly isolate mitochondria from mammalian cells and systematically measure the concentrations of mitochondrial metabolites. Mitochondrial dysfunction is found in several disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and mitochondrial diseases. Until now, peering into the inner metabolic workings of these vital organelles has been very challenging.

9-Aug-2016 12:00 PM EDT
Disrupting Mitochondrial Function Could Improve Treatment of Fungal Infections
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potential antifungal mechanism that could enable combination therapy with fluconazole, one of today’s most commonly prescribed fungal infection treatments. Severe, invasive fungal infections have a mortality rate of 30-50% and cause an estimated 1.5 million deaths worldwide annually.

13-Jul-2016 12:00 PM EDT
Defining What It Means to Be a Naive Stem Cell
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute scientists have created a checklist that defines the “naive” state of cultured human embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Such cells provide a better model of early human embryogenesis than conventional ESCs in later stages of development.

16-Jun-2016 11:00 AM EDT
Tiny Alpaca-Derived Antibodies Point to Targets Preventing Viral Infection
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Using tiny, alpaca-derived, single-domain antibody fragments, Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to perturb cellular processes in mammalian cells, allowing them to tease apart the roles that individual proteins play in these pathways. With improved knowledge of protein activity, scientists can better understand not only basic biology but also how disease corrupts cellular function and identify potential therapeutics to rectify these aberrations.

18-Apr-2016 1:00 PM EDT
Identifying a Genetic Mutation Behind Sporadic Parkinson’s Disease
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Using a novel method, Whitehead Institute researchers have determined how mutations that are not located within genes are identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and can contribute to sporadic Parkinson’s disease, the most common form of the condition. The approach could be used to analyze GWAS results for other sporadic diseases with genetic causes, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.

29-Feb-2016 10:05 AM EST
There Goes the Neighborhood: Changes in Chromosome Structure Activate Cancer-Causing Genes
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

In a finding with enormous implications for cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered that breaches in looping chromosomal structures known as “insulated neighborhoods” can activate oncogenes capable of fueling aggressive tumor growth.

1-Mar-2016 2:05 PM EST
High-Fat Diet Linked to Intestinal Stem Cell Changes, Increased Risk for Cancer
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Over the past decade, studies have found that obesity and eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet are significant risk factors for many types of cancer. Now, a new study from Whitehead Institute and MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research reveals how a high-fat diet makes the cells of the intestinal lining more likely to become cancerous.

29-Feb-2016 11:05 AM EST
Engineered Hydrogel Scaffolds Enable Growth of Functioning Human Breast Tissue
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have created a hydrogel scaffold that replicates the environment found within the human breast. The scaffold supports the growth of human mammary tissue from patient-derived cells and can be used to study normal breast development as well as breast cancer initiation and progression.

17-Feb-2016 11:00 AM EST
B-Cell Diversity in Immune System’s Germinal Centers May Hold Key to Broad-Spectrum Vaccines
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

The germinal centers that form in the body’s lymph nodes work as a fitness boot camp in which B cells evolve to produce antibodies of increasingly higher affinity to an invading pathogen. This new finding from Whitehead Institute scientists overturns a previously held notion that only a narrow range of B cells can survive this training and go on to secrete high-affinity antibodies. This revised understanding may aid development of effective vaccines against HIV, influenza, and other viruses that mutate rapidly.

22-Jan-2016 11:05 AM EST
New Mouse-Human Modeling System Enables Study of Disease Development in vivo
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have created a new mouse-human modeling system that could be used to study neural crest development as well as the modeling of a variety of neural crest related diseases, including such cancers as melanoma and neurofibromatosis. Mouse-human chimeras would fill an important gap in disease research, as existing models do not accurately mimic key disease processes, including solid tumor initiation and progression, and are of little value for studying diseases with long latencies, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

10-Dec-2015 10:05 AM EST
3D Map of Human Genome Reveals Relationship Between Mutations and Disease Development
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have created a map of the DNA loops that comprise the three dimensional (3D) structure of the human genome and contribute to gene regulation in human embryonic stem cells. The location of genes and regulatory elements within this chromosomal framework will help scientists better navigate their genomic research, establishing relationships between mutations and disease development.

16-Nov-2015 4:05 PM EST
Architecture of Protein Complex Hints at Its Foundational Function in Chromosome Segregation
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined the organization of a protein complex that is critical during chromosome segregation. Without the foundation it supplies, the link between chromosome and kinetochore would fail, as would chromosome segregation and cell division.

14-Oct-2015 4:05 PM EDT
Screen of Human Genome Reveals Set of Genes Essential for Cellular Viability
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Scientists at Whitehead Institute and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have for the first time identified the universe of genes in the human genome essential for the survival and proliferation of human cell lines or cultured human cells.Their findings and the materials they developed in conducting the research will not only serve as invaluable resources for the global research community but should also have application in the discovery of drug-targetable genetic vulnerabilities in a variety of human cancers.

5-Oct-2015 10:05 AM EDT
Scientists Discover Essential Amino Acid Sensor in Key Growth-Regulating Metabolic Pathway
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute scientists have at last answered the long-standing question of how the growth-regulating pathway known as mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) detects the presence of the amino acid leucine—itself a key player in modulating muscle growth, appetite, and insulin secretion.

22-Sep-2015 3:05 PM EDT
New Methodology Tracks Changes in DNA Methylation in Real Time at Single-Cell Resolution
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute researchers have developed a tool that allows scientists to monitor changes in DNA methylation over time in individual cells. Certain diseases, including cancer, cause changes in DNA methylation patterns, and the ability to document these alterations could aid in the development of novel therapies.

3-Sep-2015 11:05 AM EDT
New Role for an Old Protein: Cancer Causer
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

A protein known to play a role in transporting the molecular contents of normal cells into and out of various intracellular compartments can also turn such cells cancerous by stimulating a key growth-control pathway.

Released: 3-Sep-2015 11:05 AM EDT
Variations in Cell Programs Control Cancer and Normal Stem Cells
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

In the breast, cancer stem cells and normal stem cells can arise from different cell types and tap into distinct yet related stem cell programs, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. The differences between these stem cell programs may be significant enough to be exploited by future therapeutics.

1-Sep-2015 11:05 AM EDT
Cellular Recycling Complexes May Hold Key to Chemotherapy Resistance
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Upsetting the balance between protein synthesis, misfolding, and degradation drives cancer and neurodegeneration. Recent cancer treatments take advantage of this knowledge with a class of drugs that block protein degradation, known as proteasome inhibitors. Widespread resistance to these drugs limits their success, but Whitehead researchers have discovered a potential Achilles heel in resistance. With such understandings researchers may be able to target malignancy broadly, and more effectively.

20-Aug-2015 11:05 AM EDT
Tiny Antibodies Point to Vulnerability in Disease-Causing Parasites
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

By teasing apart the structure of an enzyme vital to the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potentially ‘drugable’ target that could prevent parasites from entering and exiting host cells.

27-May-2015 12:00 PM EDT
Forks Colliding: How DNA Breaks During Re-Replication
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Leveraging a novel system designed to examine the double-strand DNA breaks that occur as a consequence of gene amplification during DNA replication, Whitehead Institute scientists are bringing new clarity to the causes of such genomic damage. Moreover, because errors arising during DNA replication and gene amplification result in chromosomal abnormalities often found in malignant cells, these new findings may bolster our understandings of certain drivers of cancer progression.

8-May-2015 12:05 PM EDT
Repurposed Anti-Cholesterol Drug Could Improve Treatment-Resistant Anemias
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Diamond Blackfan anemia (DBA), a rare inherited bone marrow failure syndrome is typically treated with glucocorticoids that cause a host of often dangerous side effects. Using a mouse model, Whitehead scientists have determined that combining the drug fenofibrate with glucocorticoids could allow for dramatically lower steroid doses in the treatment of DBA and other erythropoietin-resistant anemias. These promising results are the foundation for a clinical trial that will begin soon.

16-Apr-2015 10:05 AM EDT
Imaging Immunity
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

A novel approach that allows real-time imaging of the immune system’s response to the presence of tumors—without the need for blood draws or invasive biopsies—offers a potential breakthrough both in diagnostics and in the ability to monitor efficacy of cancer therapies.

3-Apr-2015 9:05 AM EDT
CRISPR-Cas Genome Editing of Candida albicans Holds Promise for Overcoming Deadly Fungal Infections
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Candida albicans causes potentially lethal infections in immunocompromised individuals. Now, using a modified CRISPR-Cas system, Whitehead researchers can edit the fungus’s genome systematically—an approach that could help identify potential drug targets.

31-Mar-2015 9:05 AM EDT
Age-Discrimination During Cell Division Maintains the ‘Stem’ in Stem Cells
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered that during division, stem cells distinguish between old and young mitochondria and allocate them disproportionately between daughter cells.

6-Jan-2015 3:00 PM EST
Scientists Identify First Nutrient Sensor in Key Growth-Regulating Metabolic Pathway
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Whitehead Institute scientists have for the first time identified a protein that appears to be a nutrient sensor for the key growth-regulating mTORC1 metabolic pathway.

5-Dec-2014 3:30 PM EST
Heat-Shock Protein Enables Tumor Evolution and Drug Resistance in Breast Cancer
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Long known for its ability to help organisms successfully adapt to environmentally stressful conditions, the highly conserved molecular chaperone heat-shock protein 90 (HSP90) also enables estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers to develop resistance to hormonal therapy.

5-Nov-2014 3:30 PM EST
Direct Generation of Neural Stem Cells Could Enable Transplantation Therapy
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) hold promise for therapeutic transplantation, but their potential in this capacity has been limited by failed efforts to maintain such cells in their multi-potent NSC state. Now, Whitehead Institute scientists have created iNSCs that remain in the multi-potent state—without ongoing expression of reprogramming factors. This allows the iNSCs to self-renew repeatedly to generate cells in quantities sufficient for therapy.

27-Oct-2014 4:30 PM EDT
What’s Mighty About the Mouse? For Starters, Its Massive Y Chromosome
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

An exhaustive effort to sequence the mouse Y chromosome reveals a surprisingly large and complex biological beast, at the same time providing remarkable insight into a heated battle for supremacy between mammalian sex chromosomes.

29-Oct-2014 12:00 PM EDT
Blocking a Fork in the Road to DNA Replication
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered the surprising manner in which an enigmatic protein known as SUUR acts to control gene copy number during DNA replication. It’s a finding that could shed new light on the formation of fragile genomic regions associated with chromosomal abnormalities.


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