Study Points to Treatment Targets for Impaired Healing Due to Diabetes
Whether we’ve nicked a finger while chopping vegetables or wiped out riding a skateboard, we tend to take for granted that our injuries will eventually mend themselves. However, for a type of wound that often plagues patients with diabetes, healing is no sure thing. IRP researchers recently identified why certain immune cells shift from helpful healers into saboteurs in those injuries.
Measuring and Manipulating Temperature Is Key to IRP Research
Many parts of the country were hit by record-breaking heat this summer. Controlling temperature is not only important for staying healthy, but it's also crucial for many types of research. Grab your water bottle and sit down in a shady spot to take a look at some photos from the Office of NIH History & Stetten Museum on the theme of hot and cold.
IRP’s Diana Bianchi Honored for Leading Pediatric COVID Response
When the first reports of COVID-19 came out, infectious disease experts and healthcare providers thought children might be spared its most dire effects. After all, the news reports and health statistics showed that nearly all serious cases occurred in the elderly, people with certain pre-existing conditions, and those who spent their days and nights caring for COVID patients. However, as case counts rose and disruptions in daily life grew, the medical and psychological effects of COVID on children became apparent — and the impact was alarming. It soon became clear that something had to be done to understand the disease's effects on infants, children and teens, as well as pregnant women and traditionally underserved communities.
It was, appropriately, Mother’s Day when then-NIH Director Francis Collins sought help from Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and a senior investigator in the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). An expert in infant health and genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Dr. Bianchi was just the person to initiate large-scale studies across the country to assess the severity of COVID in specific populations, the safety and efficacy of vaccination and treatment, and the impact of mitigation efforts such as masking. For this critical leadership, Dr. Bianchi was named a finalist for the 2022 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for COVID-19 Response.
Annual Event Brandishes the Next Generation of Clinicians and Scientists
A year after hundreds of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students were only able to participate from afar in NIH’s 2021 Summer Internship Program, IRP researchers were excited to welcome some of the program’s 2022 participants to campus. Regardless of whether they were working in the lab or remotely, these budding scientists received a full-time immersion into the world of IRP science and, surely, learned a great deal from the mentorship of NIH’s many world-renowned researchers.
To celebrate the interns’ hard work, NIH’s Summer Poster Days on August 3 and 4 gave more than 600 of them the opportunity to virtually present posters explaining their projects. With so many bright young men and women displaying the fruits of their scientific labors, it was difficult to select just a handful to highlight in this blog. Read on to learn about how five of NIH’s 2022 summer interns shed light on topics from the microbes living on our skin to the blood-clotting platelets that flow through our veins.
Results Suggest Dual Functions for Memory-Related Brain Area
Scientists studying memory have been closely scrutinizing a brain structure called the hippocampus ever since a man named Henry Molaison — better known as ‘patient H.M.’ — lost his ability to create new memories after surgeons removed that portion of his brain as a last-ditch treatment for his unrelenting epileptic seizures. For the most part, that research has treated the hippocampus as one homogenous structure. However, a recent IRP study lends support to the growing recognition that recall is a multi-stage process in which different parts of the hippocampus play different roles.
IRP’s Mary Carrington Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for Insights Into Immune System Variations
Some people never seem to get sick, while others catch a new bug of some sort every other week. Humans are immensely variable both in their capacity to shrug off illness and in the ways their bodies respond to medical treatments. IRP senior investigator Mary Carrington, Ph.D., has spent her entire career exploring the biological roots of these differences, and the discoveries she has made earned her election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences earlier this year.
Genetically Modified Insects Could Help Curb Infections
“Scientists create genetically modified mosquitos” sounds like the plot of a bad sci-fi movie, but it’s actually the reality in labs all around the world. Researchers are producing these ‘transgenic’ mosquitos in the hopes that the bugs could help combat the scourge of malaria, and in a recent study, IRP scientists demonstrated that theirunique strategy in this realm has strong potential to accomplish that goal.
Government Awards Recognize H. Clifford Lane’s Four Decades of Research Achievements
The remarkable career of H. Clifford Lane, M.D., might have gone very differently if a NIH scientist hadn’t accidentally eavesdropped on Dr. Lane’s conversation with a colleague in 1979. After hearing Dr. Lane mention that he had missed the deadline to apply for a position at NIH, the NIH researcher made some calls and discovered a spot there had just opened up — one that was perfect for Dr. Lane, who would spend the ensuing decades conducting life-saving research to understand and combat some of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases.
Now the Clinical Director at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), Dr. Lane has been named a finalist for the 2022 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals’ Career Achievement Award in recognition of his crucial contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Ebola, COVID-19, and other illnesses. Also known as the “Sammies,” the awards recognize federal employees who are “breaking down barriers, overcoming huge challenges, and getting results.”
IRP Study Could Help Explain Racial Disparities in Disease Outcomes
Even as advances in therapy are extending the lives of many cancer patients, there are still stark differences in how likely patients of different races and ethnicities are to die from the disease. A recent IRP study suggests that a weaker immune response against cancer could explain the worse clinical outcomes for Black men with prostate cancer, pointing to potential strategies that could help close this gap.
IRP Researchers Engage and Educate at Competition Finals
English is generally considered the ‘international language of science,’ since nearly all scientific papers are published in English. Yet, even to a native English speaker, scientists seem to be using another language entirely to talk about their research. Most Americans, after all, don’t know an ‘autophagosome’ from a ‘lysosome’ and would be hard-pressed to explain the difference between an ‘oocyst’ and a ’sporozoite.’
Fortunately, efforts like NIH’s annual Three-Minute Talks (TmT) competition are helping scientists learn how to communicate about their research in a manner that is much easier to understand. On June 30, after months spent whittling down dozens of competitors from across the IRP, 10 finalists raced against the clock to explain their work and its importance in a clear and compelling way.
This page was last updated on Friday, January 14, 2022