News from the Broad

The Broad Institute is committed to open sharing not only of its scientific data and tools, but also information and news about our progress towards achieving our mission. Below are just a few highlights from the Broad scientific community.
  • Broad Institute and Calico announce an extensive collaboration focused on the biology of aging and therapeutic approaches to diseases of aging

    March 17th, 2015
    The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has entered into a partnership with Calico around the biology and genetics of aging and early-stage drug discovery. The partnership will support several efforts at the Broad to advance the understanding of age-related diseases and to propel the translation of these findings into new therapeutics.
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  • Researchers validate the use of stool samples for microbiome studies

    March 16th, 2015

    Scientists studying the human gut microbiome often analyze stool to measure what’s living in the gut. However, they were uncertain how well those samples represented the microbial make-up of the intestine. Reporting in Cell Host & Microbe, a team led by Curtis Huttenhower and Xochitl Morgan of the Broad Institute and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health used 16S sequencing to compare the microbial composition in stool with that found in the intestines of rhesus macaques. The team discovered that microbial communities found in feces correlated highly with those found in the large intestines and moderately with those of the small intestines, supporting the use of stool in microbiome studies.

  • Genetic study sheds light on Indo-European language debate

    March 11th, 2015

    The origins of Indo-European languages (which include English, Greek, Russian, Italian, Farsi, and Hindi, among others) are a subject of debate among linguists. Some think early Anatolian farmers introduced the languages to Europe during the Early Neolithic period. Others think the shift happened later and came from the steppe in modern Ukraine and southern Russia. Researchers led by Broad senior associate member David Reich sequenced the DNA of 69 ancient Europeans to reveal that an early German population shared 75 percent of its ancestry with a population of Russian steppe herders that lived 500 to 1,000 years before them. The results suggest a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from the eastern periphery around 4,500 years ago and lend new support for the steppe hypothesis. You can read the team’s study in Nature and learn more in stories from the BBC and Al Jazeera America to learn more.

  • Researchers pen review on emerging therapies for anemia

    March 10th, 2015

    Anemia affects nearly one-third of the global population. Much of this burden can be attributed to nutritional deficiencies, infections, and systemic etiologies, such as chronic kidney disease. But genetic disorders of hemoglobin, such as sickle cell disease and thalassemia, are also common causes, particularly among children. Understanding the basic biology of anemia could lead to clinically relevant findings. For this reason Broad associate member Vijay Sankaran and co-author Mitchell Weiss of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis) penned a review article for Nature Medicine that examined recent insights into how red blood cells are produced, the pathogenic mechanisms behind anemia, and a host of associated novel therapies.

  • Analysis of Candida albicans yields clues about pathogenicity

    March 9th, 2015

    A team led by Broad researchers Christina Cuomo, Diego Martinez, Sharadha Sakthikumar, and Richard Bennett and Matthew Hirakawa at Brown University sequenced and phenotypically profiled 21 different isolates of the fungus Candida albicans. The study, which was published in the journal Genome Research, found extensive genetic and phenotypic diversity across the species and identified a natural mutation in the fungus that can affect whether it will live peacefully in the human gut or become pathogenic.