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.
  • New approach allows for detection of low-abundance bacterial strains in large metagenomic datasets

    September 24th, 2015

    Singling out microbes in the mountains of metagenomic data from complex samples, such as soil or seawater, is computationally intensive. To address this challenge, a team of researchers from the Broad Institute, led by institute member and senior author Eric Alm, and graduate student and first author Brian Cleary, created a new method – latent strain analysis (LSA) – that separates sequencing reads into biologically informed partitions and enables assembly of individual genomes, including those of bacteria that are relatively low-abundance. The team also showed that LSA is sensitive enough to separate reads from several strains of the same species. Their paper can be found in Nature Biotechnology.

  • Proteomics goes subcellular: Protein labeling technique enables mapping of mitochondrial proteome in live tissues

    September 22nd, 2015

    Working with the Broad Institute’s Proteomics Platform, a team led by Norbert Perrimon of Harvard Medical School and the Broad built a novel proteomic mapping platform that they used in fruit flies. The approach uses a new protein labeling technique that is applied to live tissues, enabling the characterization of organelle proteomes. The team used the technique to map the mitochondrial matrix proteome in Drosophila muscle and then built MitoMax, a database of Drosophila mitochondrial proteins with subcompartmental annotation. Read more in PNAS.

  • International team conducts genomic study of CTLA-4 blockade therapy in metastatic melanoma

    September 16th, 2015

    Monoclonal antibodies that target cytotoxic T lymphocyte–associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) have shown great clinical benefit in patients with metastatic melanoma, generating a long-term response in 20 percent of treated cases. Last week in the journal Science, an international team that included researchers from the Broad Institute released the largest comprehensive genomic study aimed at identifying the factors that determine response to CTLA-4 blockade therapy in melanoma patients.

  • Broad Institute named as one of two national genome characterization centers

    September 14th, 2015
    Broad Institute and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston will become the flagship data-production centers for a pioneering five-year project supported by the National Cancer Institute to characterize the genomic changes found in tumors. GCC funding comes via a research subcontract with Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., operations and technical support contractor for NCI’s Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer...
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  • The wisdom of crowding: Study reveals role of molecular crowding in lipid droplet protein composition

    August 25th, 2015

    Lipid droplets (LDs) are structures that store fat within cells and change size based on energy availability. However, LDs do not function on their own: they require the help of proteins to carry out their metabolic duties. In a recent Developmental Cell paper, researchers from the Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School, and Yale School of Medicine sought to determine what factors influence the composition of such proteins. Results showed that a process known as “molecular crowding” — in which proteins fall off the surface of LDs as they shrink — could be responsible.