Blog

  • 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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  • Broad scientists win innovation, transformative research grants

    Elizabeth Cooney, September 13th, 2012

    Five scientists from the Broad Institute and its partners have won federal grants to pursue projects with the potential to transform scientific research and more rapidly bring biomedical advances to patients.

    The National Institutes of Health is awarding approximately $155 million to 81 researchers across the country who are pursuing visionary science through its High Risk High Reward program, supported by the NIH Common Fund.

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  • Delivering on a promise

    Elizabeth Cooney, August 22nd, 2012

    RNA interference, a gene-silencing phenomenon discovered in the late 1990s, was hailed for its potential as a treatment in cancer and other diseases. But finding a way to deliver short stretches of RNA to tumors  safely and effectively has been challenging. By themselves, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) break down quickly and invade tumors poorly, so they need a delivery vehicle.

    Now one exciting technology is enabling another. Scientists have successfully targeted cancer cells in mice by creating tumor-penetrating nanoparticles to carry siRNAs as their cargo.

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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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  • Sneak preview of 'Harnessing genomics to decipher fundamental differences'

    Elizabeth Cooney, July 31st, 2012

    Stacey Gabriel gives us a sneak peek of her upcoming Midsummer Nights’ Science lecture, which she will give on August 1. Director of the Broad's Genomics Platform, she will discuss the implications of using DNA sequencing and genotyping technologies to compare DNA from one person to another, and from humans to other animals.

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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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