Tuesday, October 24, 2017
There are many ways to categorize the research performed at the NIH Intramural Research Program: biomedical or behavioral; computational, basic, translational, or clinical; excellent or outstanding; wow or double-wow; and so on. When we launched the irp.nih.gov website, we utilized the concept of scientific focus areas, or SFAs, and identified 21 such SFAs at the IRP, from biomedical engineering & biophysics to virology.
We thought the 21 SFAs did a rather nice job of summing up all the diverse science in the IRP. Then along comes RNA biology. It's not as if the field is new; some 30 Nobel Prizes have been won involving RNA over the decades. But the field has had a renaissance in recent years with discoveries such as that of noncoding RNA (ncRNA) functioning in genome defense and chromosome inactivation. Newly revealed classes of RNAs and their remarkable functions are poised to revolutionize molecular biology, with profound implications for clinical sciences.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.