Blog

  • Genetic causes of disease within reach of TALENs

    Haley Bridger, December 17th, 2012

    Most likely, German physician Robert Koch never dreamed of genomes. When he died in 1910, Koch certainly didn’t know that a century later his work would still have echoes in the research of physicians and geneticists interested in our genes’ inner workings and how the code within us leads to disease.

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  • An image of Ebola emerges

    Haley Bridger, November 15th, 2012

    In the following video, Stephen Gire, a researcher in Pardis Sabeti’s lab at the Broad Institute and Harvard University, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at a perspective piece he and his colleagues published in Science Nov. 9. In the piece, Gire and his co-authors describe the widespread prevalence and ancient origins of highly contagious viruses such as Lassa and Ebola.

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  • Connecting the genetic dots of disease

    Haley Bridger, November 8th, 2012

    When Liz Rossin began the PhD portion of the Harvard/MIT MD-PhD program in the lab of Mark Daly, a ubiquitous and critical problem in genetic research caught her attention. At the time, researchers had identified more than 150 genetic regions scattered throughout the genome tied to various diseases. Such experiments, known as genome-wide association studies (GWAS), would turn up dozens of regions likely harboring genetic changes contributing to risk of disease, but would not point to specific causal mutations.

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  • MPG series “primed” to reach a wider audience

    Haley Bridger, October 10th, 2012

    Back when Christopher Newton-Cheh was a postdoctoral fellow at the Broad, he and a group of other postdocs would get together and hold informal, journal club-like discussions. The young scientists would all read one or two recent journal articles and discuss the findings and techniques, helping them stay abreast of recent work in the ever-evolving field of genetics. Over the years, those once small and informal talks among a handful of Broadies have evolved into something open to the wider Broad community.

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  • Code on a Grecian urn

    Haley Bridger, September 20th, 2012

    A layer cake? No, not interactive enough. A spinning wheel? Too mechanistic. What about a film strip? No, that’s not quite right either.

    Broad researcher Nir Yosef and scientific illustrator Sigrid Knemeyer were in search of the perfect metaphor to communicate the complex scientific concepts encapsulated in a paper by Yosef and his colleagues. The two spoke by phone and over email, exchanging ideas about how to capture the paper’s main messages

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  • The many faces of malaria

    Haley Bridger, August 15th, 2012

    Malaria isn’t simply one disease caused by one organism. Malaria, which the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates affected over 200 million people in 2010, can actually be caused by five different species of parasite, and depending in part upon which one has made its home inside a host, symptoms of the disease can range from relatively mild to fatal.

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  • Painting with cells

    Haley Bridger, August 7th, 2012

    During his postdoc, Mark Bray, now a research scientist in the Broad Institute’s Imaging Platform, had a moment of epiphany as he stared at the heart cells before him: he could see a work of art. At the time, Mark was working in the lab of Kevin Kit Parker at the Harvard School of Engineering, a lab that examined the physical characteristics of the cells that compose the heart, and how structural changes in those cells relate to how the heart functions. Usually before the heart fails, cells in the heart start remodeling: they change their shape and size.

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  • Building a better TAL effector toolbox

    Haley Bridger, July 26th, 2012

    To comprehend a book written in English, readers need to recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet. To probe the inner workings of the genome, researchers need tools that can recognize a much shorter alphabet: the four “letters” or bases (As, Cs, Ts, and Gs) that make up DNA. Just as frequently misreading a letter in the English alphabet can make for a bewildering read, mistaking any of the letters in the DNA alphabet can be a source of confusion too.

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  • Tethered to the genome

    Haley Bridger, July 24th, 2012

    Matthew Freedman remembers the moment as clear as day. “I was sitting in the Massachusetts General Hospital cafeteria with David Altshuler talking about human genetics, and it just hit me,” Matthew recalls. “This is what I want to do.”

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  • Sneak preview of “Regeneration of missing body parts: lessons from flatworms”

    Haley Bridger, July 19th, 2012

    Peter Reddien gives us a sneak preview of his upcoming Midsummer Nights’ Science lecture, which he will give on July 25. As Peter explains in the video below, planarians – a kind of flatworm – possess an amazing ability. They can regenerate new heads, or any other missing body part, after injury. Peter and his colleagues are trying to understand how these amazing feats of regeneration happen. Watch the video below to hear more.

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