Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I have been thinking a lot recently about how the tools we use in our work have improved so dramatically in the last few decades and how this is mostly down to the frequently disparaged study of microbes. While everyone can get behind studying bacteria that cause life-threatening diseases like typhoid fever and cholera, I think that it is often harder to convince people of the value of studying ordinary and sometimes obscure bacteria that do not directly affect human health. However, over the years, such studies have revolutionized many aspects of our lives.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Here’s an example of how basic science can lead to clinical applications: Dr. Julius Axelrod’s discoveries about neurotransmitters and the metabolism of the nervous system lead to the development of a pain reliever, a new class of antidepressants, and a Nobel Prize.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Rocky Mountain wood ticks, or dermacentor andersoni, carry many diseases including Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF), which can be fatal. Research on the cause, prevention, and treatment of tick-borne diseases began about 1900 at what is now the NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory (RML).
Monday, November 24, 2014
The NIH Research Festival this year was themed “The Era of the Brain,” so Dr. Francis Collins, NIH Director, began the plenary session by highlighting the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies). The President’s initiative has been the talk of the town recently and, thanks to some hard work by the leaders at the NIH, has now been transformed into a 12-year scientific vision.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Optogenetics, a new technology used to control brain activity with light, has revolutionized the field of neuroscience in the past decade. The combination of two powerful tools, genetics and optics, has provided both temporal and spatial acuity in understanding how the brain works in response to sensory and motor cues in the environment. At the recent NIH Research Festival symposium titled “Optogenetic approaches to investigating the nervous system,” fellows and scientists from the NIH community presented their research encompassing topics that make use of this approach to study different systems.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
As a postdoc in the Membrane Transport Biophysics Unit at NINDS, I’ve spent the past several years studying lysosomal pH. For me, that means spending a lot of my time in a pitch-black room, a room that I refer to as my cave.