New Approach Could Enhance Existing Treatments for Debilitating Genetic Disease
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
The prospect of editing our DNA to treat genetic diseases may have captured the imaginations of scientists and the public in recent years, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways of combating these illnesses. Many promising therapies act not on DNA itself but rather on DNA’s often overlooked cousin, RNA. For instance, experiments in cells performed by IRP researchers have shown promising results or a RNA-targeting therapeutic developed to treat the debilitating genetic disease spinal muscular atrophy.
New Receptors and Radioactively Labeled Molecules Could Provide Useful Tools for Research and Medicine
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Genetically modifying neurons to enable scientists and clinicians to influence brain activity probably sounds like the stuff of science fiction. However, the technology has existed for more than a decade, allowing scientists to make important leaps in understanding how neurons communicate with one another in healthy individuals and those with psychological and neurological conditions. What’s more, recent improvements to these tools developed by researchers led by IRP investigator Mike Michaelides, Ph.D., may allow neurologists to use them to deliver drugs to just the right brain cells to treat those ailments effectively without the side effects caused by current treatments.
Virtual Symposium Showcases Scientists-in-Training
Monday, March 8, 2021
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, life at NIH goes on. IRP researchers continue to run experiments, publish scientific papers, and train the next generation of scientists, including the many graduate students performing research in IRP labs through the Graduate Partnership Program. On February 17 and 18, more than 100 of these scientists-in-training presented their work virtually at the NIH’s 17th annual Graduate Student Research Symposium. Like last year’s entirely online Postbac Poster Day, the event overcame the constraints of COVID-19 precautions to showcase a broad range of research, including several studies focused on the novel coronavirus.
Biomarker Discovery Could Aid Diagnosis and Therapeutic Development
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Our cells can’t afford to be wasteful, so they prefer to recycle broken components. However, when the mitochondria that provide their energy are damaged beyond repair, cells may have no choice but to throw them out. New IRP research suggests that more of this mitochondrial debris floats in the blood of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, potentially providing an easy, cost-effective way to diagnose or even possibly predict the illness.
NIH Researcher Recognized for Advances in Brain Imaging
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
The National Academy of Engineering (NAE), established in 1964, comprises more than 2,000 peer-elected members who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers, including senior professionals in business, academia, and government.
IRP senior investigator Peter Basser, Ph.D., was elected to the NAE in February 2020. He directs the Section on Quantitative Imaging and Tissue Science and the Division of Translational Imaging and Genomic Integrity in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), where he studies how the structure and material properties of living tissues affect their function.
Genetic Studies Illuminate Neuronal Chemical’s Role in Pain and Itch
Thursday, October 29, 2020
For most of us, itch is a bothersome inconvenience. Unfortunately, for 125 million people around the world, chronic itch caused by the skin disease psoriasis is a significant, even debilitating, health problem. Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal and build up as an itchy and painful, scaly rash. For some, the condition can also cause joint swelling, resulting in a condition known as ‘psoriatic arthritis.’
World Psoriasis Day falls on October 29 this year, and the theme is “Be Informed.” So, what do we know about chronic itch?
‘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.
Mouse Study Identifies Neurological Obstacle to Dietary Improvements
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Every morning, thousands of Americans wake up intending to eat more healthfully, only to find themselves chowing down on a greasy burger at dinnertime. In addition to the many biological and socioeconomic obstacles to healthy eating, a salad can just plain seem unappealing compared to a plate of crispy fries. According to new IRP research, a high-fat diet can dramatically alter how the brain responds to food in ways that make a more wholesome meal less enticing and satisfying.
Mouse Study Illuminates Potential Mechanism Behind Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
Millions of Americans suffered from depression and anxiety even before COVID-19 began upending their lives. To make matters worse, the stresses of living through a pandemic might not only worsen mental health but could also wreak havoc on the brain itself. New IRP research has found that psychological stress damages blood vessels in the brains of mice and dramatically alters the behavior of genes in certain blood vessel cells.
Mouse Study Supports Potential of Ketone-Elevating Treatment
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Whether from candy, soda, or fruit, sugar is the preferred source of sustenance for many people, and also for their brains. However, in patients with Alzheimer's disease, brain cells are less capable of turning sugar into energy. New IRP research provides evidence that this problem and the cognitive symptoms it causes could be partially solved by providing the brain with an alternative fuel.