• HapMix: A tool for finding genetic diversity

    Alice McCarthy, July 21st, 2011

    When researchers from the Broad Institute and the Department of Human Genetics at Harvard University set about the task of pinpointing ancestral diversity in African Americans, the first tool they used for the job was the HapMix software engine. HapMix is a software tool that helps researchers infer the ancestry of extremely small bits of DNA.

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  • Functional cancer genomics comes of age

    Alice McCarthy, July 12th, 2011

    Just yesterday, a new paper from the Project Achilles team appeared online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers examined over 100 tumors, including 25 ovarian cancer tumors in search of genes and mutations fostering cancer growth. The team found that nearly one-fifth of the ovarian tumors harbored mutations in the PAX8 gene.

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  • The changing landscape of the cancer genome

    Alice McCarthy, July 6th, 2011

    It has been a big year in the world of sequencing cancer genomes. And if you attended the recent Keystone Symposium in Boston, “The Changing Landscape of the Cancer Genome,” it’s only getting bigger – fast. The symposium focused on discoveries coming from large-scale cancer genomic efforts.

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  • DOS library a hit against neglected diseases

    Alice McCarthy, June 20th, 2011

    At the recent Applied Pharmaceutical Chemistry meeting in Boston Ben Munoz, director of Medicinal Chemistry within the Broad’s Chemical Biology Platform, spoke about the exciting work he and others at the Broad have been doing for the past year screening the Broad’s unique small molecule library against targets in infectious and neglected diseases, like malaria and Chagas disease.

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  • The Broad goes to the dogs

    Alice McCarthy, June 14th, 2011

    Many people know the Broad Institute as a leader in the study of human genetics. But did you know that as part of this work our researchers look into the genomes of other animals? The following video highlights the work Broad scientists are doing to unravel cancer genes found in the purebred Golden Retriever. The goal of the project is not only to find genes that cause cancer in these dogs but also to make a link with similar cancer-related genes in people. 


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  • Five questions for David Root: RNA Interference explained

    Alice McCarthy, June 2nd, 2011

    At the 5th annual RNAi (RNA interference) and miRNA (microRNA) World Congress held recently in Boston, David Root, Director of the RNAi Platform at the Broad, gave the keynote presentation. I recently caught up with David and asked him to help explain the fundamentals behind RNA interference technology and why it is such a valuable tool for learning about what specific genes do.

    Q1. What is the value of studying RNA interference?

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  • Unraveling schizophrenia drug mechanism

    Alice McCarthy, May 23rd, 2011

    Rakesh Karmacharya spends one day each week treating severely ill psychotic patients as the medical director of the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Research Clinic at McLean Hospital, a Harvard psychiatric hospital in Belmont, MA. The rest of his professional week is spent at the Broad Institute where he works as a physician-scientist in the Chemical Biology Program. For several years, Rakesh has been bringing these two worlds together in the form of a project to identify how clozapine, the main drug used for treatment of schizophrenia, exerts its therapeutic effects.

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  • Happy Robigalia! Applying genomic tools to thwart an ancient pest

    Alice McCarthy, May 5th, 2011

    Les Szabo has been working with wheat stem rust fungi for 23 years. But that’s just a small fraction of the more than 1,700-year history in which a variety of cultures have done battle with the fungi that attack agricultural cereal plants and grasses, decimating these important food sources with impunity.

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  • Broad-Harvard team discovers new drug-resistant malaria parasite gene

    Alice McCarthy, April 25th, 2011 | Filed under

    In the 1950s the world’s first coordinated malaria eradication campaign was launched. At the time, insecticides like DDT and the drug chloroquine were highly effective in nearly eliminating malaria from many countries where the disease was endemic – at least for a while. Unfortunately the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes malaria through the bite of an infected mosquito, rapidly outwitted containment measures and again flourishes throughout many regions, including Asia, Africa and South America.

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  • The recipe for finding human genetic variation

    Alice McCarthy, April 11th, 2011

    Think of it as the Julia Child recipe for how to discover variations in the human genome. A paper published online yesterday in Nature Genetics from Broad researchers is the go-to source for investigators searching for the differences in the DNA sequences between individuals. For those who appreciate Julia’s multi-page masterpiece of how to bone a duck, this is an equivalent recipe for tackling one of the most medically informative pursuits facing today’s genomics investigators.

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