Technique that Provides Near-Atomic Resolution of Protein Structures
BY VIVIANE CALLIER, NCI
In an imaging breakthrough, NIH scientists used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to view, in near-atomic detail, the architecture of a metabolic enzyme bound to a drug that blocks its activity. This advance provides a new path for deciphering molecular structures and may revolutionize drug development, noted the researchers.
The usually unflappable NIH scientists Minkyung (Min) and Byoung-Joon (B.J.) Song were nervous and paced restlessly outside Lipsett Amphitheater (Building 10) on April 16. They were the lead organizers for an inaugural NIH-Korea symposium that was about to begin, and the 18 guests from South Korea hadn’t arrived. Among the missing guests were the head of the Korea NIH (KNIH), the director of the Korean Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), the president of the Korea National Cancer Center (KNCC), and a representative from the South Korean Embassy. Finally, after a volley of cell-phone calls, the last-minute issues got sorted out and the guests arrived—almost on time, as it turned out—to a warm welcome.
Hannah Valantine Can Predict Heart-Transplant Rejection Before It Happens
BY BRANDON LEVY, NIMH
It was a chance encounter with a falling apple that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to develop his theory of gravity. A chance encounter inspired NIH cardiologist Hannah Valantine, too. But her encounter wasn’t with a piece of fruit. It was with a 2008 research paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesU.S.A. that inspired a theory about a new way to detect the rejection of transplanted hearts.
“Sex differences in incidence and severity are not the exception—they are in fact the rule,” said Whitehead Institute Director David Page at the 2015 Nirenberg Lecture held at NIH in May. “For every affected man, there are two or three women affected with rheumatoid arthritis. Flip it around and take autism spectrum disorders—for every girl diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, [there are] about five or six boys diagnosed.”