COVID-19 Research at NIH Show No Signs of Slowing
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
It’s been more than two years since the first outbreak of COVID-19 occurred in China. During that time, amazing scientific advances have dramatically altered prevention and treatment for the illness, including the development of remarkably safe and effective vaccines. However, even with widespread vaccination, scientists predict that the disease will continue to circulate in society indefinitely, with seasonal ebbs and flows like the flu.
As a result, even as COVID-19 vaccine shots rolled out by the hundreds of millions, numerous IRP researchers continued studying the disease and the virus responsible for it. Many of these projects have been funded by the NIH’s Intramural Targeted Anti-COVID-19 Program (ITAC), an initiative that provides IRP researchers with funding for research related to COVID-19. Over the past year and a half, ITAC has provided more than $12 million to support a wide variety of projects — more than can be covered in just one blog post. Read on to learn about just a handful of the many ways IRP researchers are contributing to the fight against COVID-19, and stay tuned next week for another blog describing even more ITAC-funded COVID research.
Immune System Genes Linked to Severe Side Effects in Patients with Rare Disease
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
When you run the largest-ever study of a rare childhood disease, you become the go-to person when your peers notice something peculiar in patients with the illness. It was not too surprising, then, when a researcher from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, asked IRP investigator Michael Ombrello, M.D., to help her team follow a new lead in the mystery of why some patients with a rare inflammatory condition called Still’s disease were coming down with a life-threatening lung ailment. The results of their collaboration could lead to a new precision medicine approach that individualizes therapy for Still’s disease based on patients’ DNA.
Mouse Study Suggests Common Fungus Could Worsen Respiratory Infections
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, both scientists and the media have focused on the factors that influence who experiences mild symptoms or none at all and who faces potentially life-threatening consequences from the disease. Other respiratory viruses like the flu also have widely varying effects on different patients. New IRP research has found that exposure to a common variety of mold primes the immune system to overreact to the flu virus, dramatically increasing the illness’s severity.
IRP Investigators Begin Hundreds of New Coronavirus-Related Studies
Monday, June 15, 2020
Within just a few months after COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, IRP researchers had already made numerous important contributions to the fight against the deadly virus. Scientific knowledge about the disease continues to expand at a unprecedented pace, and the IRP will continue to play a major role in this effort over the coming months and years. In fact, nearly 300 new intramural research projects related to the novel coronavirus are currently starting up or have already begun.
Cells From Bone Marrow Calm Damaging Immune Response
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
In patients with the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis, the body’s own immune cells rampage around the body like The Incredible Hulk set loose in a city, attacking both harmful pathogens and our own tissues. However, just like the Black Widow can calm The Hulk down and return him to human form in the Avengers films, cells isolated from our bone marrow may be able to change certain immune cells from a damaging state to a benign one, according to new IRP research.
Exceptional Early-Stage Investigators Push the Boundaries of Translational Research
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Online and print publications are constantly touting momentous discoveries by superstar scientists like CRISPR-Cas9 co-discover Jennifer Doudna or the IRP’s own Kevin Hall, who changed the way we think about weight loss. It can be easy to forget that today’s biomedical pioneers were once young researchers toiling to establish themselves in the competitive environment of modern science.
Each year, a small, exceptionally promising group of scientific up-and-comers become Lasker Clinical Research Scholars through a highly competitive program jointly funded by the NIH and the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The program presents early-stage physician-scientists with the opportunity to carry out independent clinical research at the NIH for five to ten years. The 2019 class of Lasker Scholars consists of five extremely talented researchers who are now beginning a critical new phase in their careers. Let’s meet them.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
The IRP has been home to a number of truly remarkable scientists who spent decades making discoveries and developing technologies that would go on to improve the lives of many. One of these giants was Theodor Kolobow, M.D., who passed away in March of last year at age 87. During his many years at the NIH's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Dr. Kolobow made momentous contributions to the study of our lungs and cardiovascular systems, including advancements in the development of artificial organs and key insights into the biological processes behind acute lung injury.
Dr. Kolobow's legacy lives on not only through his colleagues' fond memories and his lasting influence on medical practice, but also through the NIH's historical archives. Read on for a tour through Dr. Kolobow's life and career, as can only be told by the Office of NIH History.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
What does a postbac actually do in the NIH IRP? Maybe you have an image of someone mixing colorful chemicals together like a mad scientist (which sometimes isn’t too far from the truth).
Although I am not creating any diabolical concoctions, I am kept quite busy running tests to examine whether our treatments reverse the effects of lung fibrosis, a thickening and scarring of lung tissue. Here’s what a typical week looks like for me.
Potential biomarker may contribute to personalized treatments
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Until recently, medical treatment has largely been one-size-fits-all, with doctors unable to separate patients into distinct groups that might benefit more or less from a particular approach. However, researchers are increasingly finding that individuals with the same disease can differ markedly in ways that might one day influence their care. A recent IRP study has identified a particular molecule that may have just such an impact for patients with damaged lungs.
Thursday, January 24, 2019
“That machine? You’re gonna have to get up close and personal with it,” Josh, my fellow postbac, told me. I looked at this small metal contraption and nodded, trying to appear as if I understood, while thinking: he just means that people spend so much time sectioning organs on the microtome that it’s like spending an extended amount of time with a loved one, right?
Fast forward a few days, and I find myself breathing warm, moist air onto a paraffin-embedded mouse lung to soften the wax, just before I slice four-micrometer sections of mouse lung tissue that will later be stained and examined under a microscope. “He wasn’t kidding,” I muttered.