Scientists from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) produced an award-winning microscopy image that shows how fluorescent granular perithelial cells are closely associated with blood vessels that surround an adult zebrafish’s brain.
BY CYNTHIA DUNBAR (NHLBI) AND KATHERINE CALVO (CC)
We appreciate this opportunity to update the NIH community on the Assembly of Scientists’ (AOS) current activities and future priorities. NIH leadership, and the AOS has waxed and waned around specific events and issues that have influenced scientific productivity and quality of life at the NIH. In 2016, the AOS amplified its role by becoming an advisory body to the Deputy Director for Intramural Research.
From its inception, the National Institutes of Health has had responsibilities, scientific knowledge, and ambitions that have increased faster than its real estate. Before moving to its current location in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1938, the NIH and its predecessor, the Hygienic Laboratory, occupied three other sites, each one bigger than the last.
Ongoing Clinical Trial Explores Saliva-restoring Gene Transfer
BY CATHERINE EVANS, NIDCR
For most individuals who survive head and neck cancers, the relief of successful treatment can be tempered by a troubling side effect of some cancer therapies: chronic dry mouth. Treatments can help, including saliva substitutes, salivary stimulants, and ice chips that moisten the mouth. But there’s no cure for radiation-induced dry mouth. NIDCR investigators have developed the first-ever salivary-gland gene therapy tried in humans.
Brian Berridge Tapped to Manage National Toxicology Program
BY VIRGINIA GUIDRY, NIEHS
The National Toxicology Program (NTP), a federal interagency program housed in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) intramural research program, welcomed Brian Berridge, formerly of GlaxoSmithKline, as its new associate director.
The Genomic Ascertainment Cohort is Open for Business
BY LESLEY EARL, NCI
The past decade has seen an explosion in the availability of genome-scale data—including chip genotypes, exome sequences, and even full-genome sequences—from hundreds of thousands of individuals. But even with all these data, it can be challenging for scientists to figure out the exact roles that particular genetic variants play in the development of diseases. Often, the problem is not the research itself, but the difficulty of finding enough people with the variant of interest.
The first three-dimensional structure of DHHC proteins—proteins that contain a 50-amino-acid chain called the DCCT domain, act as enzymes, and are involved in many cellular processes, including cancer—explains how they function and may offer a blueprint for designing therapeutic drugs.
“These days, we once again see behavioral science at the forefront of health research,” said NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak during the opening remarks of the NIH Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Festival.
Read about recent intramural research advances: how to keep a cancer drug from causing hearing loss; chemical in cactus-like plant may control surgical pain; skin microbes promote tissue healing; eye could provide window to the brain after stroke; and more.