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.
‘Silicon Valley Nobel’ Recognizes Groundbreaking Parkinson’s Disease Research
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
It can be easy to underestimate the value of so-called ‘basic science’ that doesn’t appear, upon first glance, to have clear therapeutic applications. One of the hidden strengths of this sort of work is its ability to link seemingly disparate areas of scientific inquiry by identifying commonalities between the structure or behavior of different biological molecules. By following these unexpected connections over the course of his career, IRP senior investigator Richard Youle, Ph.D., has made critical discoveries about Parkinson’s disease — research that this year earned him the prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.
Decreased Energy Production Could Contribute to Cancer-Related Fatigue
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
We all know the feeling of being wiped out after a hard workout or a grueling day at the office — you just want to flop down on the couch and not move, or even think. For many cancer patients, the treatment for their disease can trigger that sort of physical and mental exhaustion for weeks or months. New IRP research has found evidence linking this phenomenon, known as cancer-related fatigue, to a slow-down in cells’ energy-producing mitochondria.
Study Shows How Molecular Trespasser Gains Entry into Cells’ Energy Producers
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
As a fan of the long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons, I’ve witnessed the bumbling Homer Simpson cause several near-meltdowns at the nuclear power plant where he works. Serious problems can arise at such facilities when the wrong person gains access to them, and the same applies to the energy-producing mitochondria that power our cells. A new IRP study has revealed how a protein known to harm neurons gains entry into mitochondria in order to wreak cell-killing havoc.
Annual Event Highlights Contributions of IRP Postdoctoral Fellows
Monday, September 16, 2019
At lunchtime last Wednesday, the NIH Clinical Center’s FAES Terrace echoed with the joyful sounds of scientists nourishing their bodies and their brains. While those stopping by the annual NIH Research Festival poster session could be forgiven for making a beeline straight for the food — including the submissions to this year’s Scientific Directors’ baking competition — once their plates were full, they took advantage of the opportunity to satiate their scientific curiosity as well by checking out the dozens of posters on display.
Thursday, February 28, 2019
The NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, may have the look and feel of a university campus, but the world-renowned research institution does not grant credentials like an M.D. or Ph.D. Instead, the Graduate Partnerships Program offers graduate students from schools around the world the opportunity to complete research for their Ph.D. dissertations in IRP labs while pursuing advanced degrees from their ‘host’ institutions.
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.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Food companies have long marketed carbohydrate-rich drinks and energy bars to athletes with the message that the energy those snacks provide is key to lifting heavier and running farther. A new mouse study by IRP researchers, however, suggests that skipping a meal (or several) might be far more effective for increasing athletic prowess1.
Unlike modern Americans used to three square meals a day, our ancient ancestors couldn’t exactly throw a TV dinner in the microwave whenever they felt a bit peckish. As a result, they probably found themselves hunting wooly mammoths and fending off saber-toothed tigers on an empty stomach.
“From an evolutionary perspective, animals in the wild – particularly predators – need to be able to function at a high level when they’re in a food-deprived state,” says IRP Senior Investigator Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., the study’s senior author. “Individuals who were able to perform at a high level in a fasted state had a survival advantage.”
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Dr. Hong Xu's team’s expertise in mitochondrial DNA genetics, along with a strong mitochondrial biology research group in the IRP, allowed them to solve the fundamental biological question of how organisms are able to stop the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations from being passed on to future generations.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Mitochondria are dynamic cellular organelles involved in ATP synthesis and in apoptotic mechanisms (programmed cell death). However, in addition to these classically known functions, recent studies at the NIH have deciphered another intriguing role for mitochondria in the development and plasticity of neurons.