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I am Intramural Blog

Ebola Virus: Lessons from a Unique Survivor

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There are new reports of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This news comes just two years after international control efforts eventually contained an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, though before control was achieved, more than 11,000 people died—the largest known Ebola outbreak in human history. Many questions remain about why some people die from Ebola and others survive. Now, some answers are beginning to emerge thanks to a new detailed analysis of the immune responses of a unique Ebola survivor, a 34-year-old American health-care worker who was critically ill and cared for at the NIH Special Clinical Studies Unit in 2015.

Muscle Enzyme Explains Weight Gain in Middle Age

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The struggle to maintain a healthy weight is a lifelong challenge for many of us. In fact, the average American packs on an extra 30 pounds from early adulthood to age 50. What’s responsible for this tendency toward middle-age spread? For most of us, too many calories and too little exercise definitely play a role. But now comes word that another reason may lie in a strong—and previously unknown—biochemical mechanism related to the normal aging process.

Remembrances: Claude B. Klee (1931-2017)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Claude Klee, a true giant among the many great NIH biochemists, died on Monday, April 3, after suffering a heart attack. She was 85 years old. Claude was a pioneer in the biochemistry of calcium-binding proteins and calcium-dependent signaling. Although retired for more than a decade, she remained an active mentor and advisor at the NIH in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a consistent presence on the Bethesda campus until her death.

Little Fish in a Big Pond Reveal New Answers to Old Questions

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dr. Eric Horstick in the lab

Studying the neural control of behavior is a challenge. Researchers must consider an animal’s environment, past experiences, and motivations. Work in relatively simple organisms, for example the invertebrate C. elegans, has teased apart the neural circuitry of highly stereotyped behaviors, like foraging. But in mammals, very little is known, “and that’s surprising given just how important behaviors like this are,” said Dr. Eric Horstick, who studies the molecular mechanisms underlying animal behavior.

Studying ADHD from Genes to the Brain Connectome

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Contributed by an NIH clinical trial participant.

My 8-year-old nephew Luke has a sixth-grade reading level, while still in the third grade. Yet, he often struggles to finish his chores. He carries a timer in his backpack to keep himself on task. His school provides Luke with special assistance, including extra time for tests and repeated, detailed instruction. The challenges arise because Luke, like his mother Rebecca, has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

NIH Women of the National Academy of Sciences, 1977-1998

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What do Presidents Lincoln, Wilson, Eisenhower, and Bush have in common? They all supported the creation of a group of scientists, elected by their peers, to advise the government on matters of science and technology. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re focusing on the women NIH scientists who’ve been elected to the National Academy of Sciences to serve their country with their expertise.

Remembrances: Alexis Shelokov (1919–2016)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Alexis Shelokov, who studied the polio virus at the NIH in the 1950s and was a powerful scientific force in what would become the famed NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in Building 7, died on December 12, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. He had a prolific scientific career that took him around the world.

Cool Videos: Looking Inside Living Cells

Monday, February 27, 2017

Roberto Weigert is a cell biologist who specializes in intravital microscopy (IVM), an extremely high-resolution imaging tool that traces its origins to the 19th century. What’s unique about IVM is its phenomenal resolution can be used in living animals, allowing researchers to watch biological processes unfold in organs under real physiological conditions and in real time.

NIH Heart Surgery Artifacts – Aortic Valve Bypass Assembly

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sometimes as a museum curator, I come across a box in the collection with a vague marking and full of bits and pieces of … something. One of the coolest things is finding out what that something was and who created it. This photo shows pieces from the NIH lab of Dr. Stanley Sarnoff, dating from 1954-1962.

Find and Replace: DNA Editing Tool Shows Gene Therapy Promise

Thursday, January 26, 2017

This image represents an infection-fighting cell called a neutrophil. In this artist’s rendering, the DNA of a cell is being “edited” with a pen-like tool to help restore its ability to fight bacterial invaders.

For gene therapy research, the perennial challenge has been devising a reliable way to insert safely a working copy of a gene into relevant cells that can take over for a faulty one. But with the recent discovery of powerful gene editing tools, the landscape of opportunity is starting to change. Instead of threading the needle through the cell membrane with a bulky gene, researchers are starting to design ways to apply these tools in the nucleus—to edit out the disease-causing error in a gene and allow it to work correctly.

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