NIH Researcher’s Pioneering Work Led to Discovery of Hepatitis C
Monday, January 11, 2021
When the phone rang at 4:15 in the morning, IRP senior scientist Harvey J. Alter, M.D., was annoyed. He didn’t answer it. After the third try, he reluctantly got out of bed and took his phone out to the hallway.
“Before I could yell at the person, he said, ‘This is Stockholm calling,’” Dr. Alter recalls. “And then I got stopped in my tracks. Then the moment of disbelief and awe comes over you.”
The man from Stockholm informed Dr. Alter that he had won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. He shared the prize with Michael Houghton, Ph.D., of the University of Alberta, Canada, and Charles M. Rice, Ph.D., of Rockefeller University in New York.
IRP Study Examines Less Time-Intensive Method for Improving Mental Health
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
While working in healthcare can be extremely rewarding, it is also undoubtedly stressful. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe repercussions on the mental health of medical professionals, as doctors and nurses struggle to care for unprecedented numbers of sick patients. Fortunately, new NIH research suggests that a relatively brief workplace mindfulness program can reduce stress and anxiety in healthcare workers.
Program Gives Boost to Early Stage Investigators
Monday, December 14, 2020
If TV shows like The Voice and America’s Got Talent are any indication, there are many extremely talented people out there who could become huge successes if presented with the right opportunity. This is no less the case in science, with thousands of extremely bright individuals quietly toiling away in their mentors’ labs as they await the chance to establish research programs of their own.
Fortunately, initiatives like the NIH’s Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program exist to boost promising young researchers on to the next stage of their careers. Every year, the Lasker program allows a small group of early stage physician-scientists to establish their own labs at the NIH and carry out independent clinical research there for at least five years.
The five talented investigators selected as 2020 Lasker Scholars are pursuing a wide range of research questions, from how the immune system influences blood clotting to the mechanisms driving a rare and devastating skeletal disorder. Read on to learn more about the latest crop of researchers ramping up IRP labs of their very own.
IRP Research Overturns Common Concerns About ‘Weight Cycling’
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
With 2021 less than a month away, many of the more than 200 million Americans who are overweight or obese are beginning to consider making weight loss their New Year’s resolutions — perhaps not for the first time. While trying to lose weight only to ultimately regain it may be disappointing, a new IRP study suggests that repeated attempts at weight loss significantly reduce a person’s risk of dying.
Sugar Molecule Protects Mice Against Type 1 Diabetes
Monday, November 23, 2020
Avoiding too much sugar is one of the cardinal rules for those who have or are at risk for diabetes. In fact, diabetes is characterized by having too much glucose, a form of sugar, in the blood. As a result, it came as quite a surprise to IRP researchers led by senior investigator Wanjun Chen, M.D., when they discovered that a particular form of sugar that they expected to have no effect on diabetes-prone mice actually protected them from developing type 1 diabetes.
NIH Researcher Recognized for Advances in Brain Imaging
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE), established in 1964, comprises more than 2,000 peer-elected members who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers, including senior professionals in business, academia, and government.
IRP senior investigator Peter Basser, Ph.D., was elected to the NAE in February 2020. He directs the Section on Quantitative Imaging and Tissue Science and the Division of Translational Imaging and Genomic Integrity in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), where he studies how the structure and material properties of living tissues affect their function.
Inhibiting Energy Production Pathway Delays Tumor Formation in Mice
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Despite the common misconception that sugary treats send kids bouncing off the walls, fat actually provides more than twice as much energy as sugar and other carbohydrates. This energy can be a double-edged sword, fueling not just healthy cells but also cancerous ones. A new IRP study in mice suggests that reducing the body’s ability to burn fat molecules for energy could slow the formation of tumors, potentially extending the lives of individuals with strong genetic predispositions to cancer.
Photos Show Evolution of Pre-Eminent Research Institution
Monday, November 2, 2020
In just one lifetime, the NIH's main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, went from country estate to one of the premiere biomedical research campuses in the world. October 31, 2020, marked the 80th anniversary of the dedication of the NIH campus by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who said, “Today the need for the conservation of health and physical fitness is greater than at any time in the Nation's history. In dedicating this institute, I dedicate it to the underlying philosophy of public health, to the conservation of life, to the wise use of the vital resources of our Nation. I voice for America, and for the stricken world, our hopes, our prayers, our faith, in the power of man's humanity to man.”
In honor of that historic milestone, I have gathered a collection of old photos and fun facts to provide a taste of how NIH's Bethesda campus has changed over the past 80 years. Who knows how this cutting-edge biomedical research institution might change over the next eight decades?
Genetic Studies Illuminate Neuronal Chemical’s Role in Pain and Itch
Thursday, October 29, 2020
For most of us, itch is a bothersome inconvenience. Unfortunately, for 125 million people around the world, chronic itch caused by the skin disease psoriasis is a significant, even debilitating, health problem. Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal and build up as an itchy and painful, scaly rash. For some, the condition can also cause joint swelling, resulting in a condition known as ‘psoriatic arthritis.’
World Psoriasis Day falls on October 29 this year, and the theme is “Be Informed.” So, what do we know about chronic itch?
NIH Researcher Recognized for Investigation into the Skin Microbiome
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), first established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), is comprised of more than 2,000 elected members from around the world who provide scientific and policy guidance on important matters relating to human health. Election to the NAM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine that recognizes individuals who have not only made critical scientific discoveries but have also demonstrated a laudable commitment to public service.
IRP senior investigator Julie Segre, Ph.D., was one of four IRP researchers elected to the NAM in 2019. Dr. Segre leads the Translational and Functional Genomics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), where she studies the way in which the skin forms a barrier between the body and the environment. In particular, her research uses genetic sequencing to understand the bacterial and fungal microbes that live on human skin.