Project Spotlight Archive

Mitochondrial mapmakers: Charting the secrets of a cellular engine and its role in human disease

By Angela Herring
Vamsi Mootha never wanted to be just a cardiologist or just an endocrinologist. “I like being a generalist,” he says, sitting in the lab where he spearheads a team of 21 people. And yet a generalist he is anything but. Mootha has dedicated his career to the painstaking study of a single cellular organ, or “organelle,” which allows the body to extract fuel from food. His romance with this miniature powerhouse, called the mitochondrion, began during his time as a medical student at Harvard. Since then, Mootha’s reverence has given way to an exhaustive, years-long effort to uncover the organelle’s inner workings.

Dog Disease Mapping Project (DogDNA): Studying the domesticated dog to shed light on the genetics of human disease

By Alice McCarthy
In 2005, Broad researchers gave the world its first complete look at the genetic sequence, or genome, of Canis familiaris, the domesticated dog. They deciphered the DNA sequence of Tasha, a female purebred boxer. Though an interesting revelation, the real story has been and will continue to be in delving deeper into canine genetics of various purebred breeds to find genes that cause disease.

Prognosticators in our blood: The search for biomarkers of diabetes

By Haley Bridger
Imagine taking a snapshot of hundreds of molecules contained in a drop of blood. The levels of vitamins and amino acids, cholesterol and triglycerides, glucose and insulin, and more could help paint a picture of the current health state of the person whose blood was drawn. But they might also show something more. What if a snapshot taken today could be used to predict if a person will be diagnosed with a disease a dozen years from now?

Forays into fungal genomics: Researchers investigate an epidemic among bats and other fungal mysteries

By Haley Bridger
One winter, the bats of Albany, NY disappeared. When researchers visited their caves, they found the bodies of little brown bats on the cave floors and just outside the entrances -- their noses, wings, and ears dappled with a white coating. More than 80 percent of the bats hibernating in these affected caves were dead by the end of that first winter...


Racing against the ebb: Broad researchers seek insights into a syndrome that’s killing cancer patients, and look for ways to broaden the search for cancer drugs

By Haley Bridger
Despite what he and his colleagues are accomplishing, David Thomas is impatient. As an associate researcher at the Broad Institute, Thomas has made progress in developing model system for testing the toxicity of cancer drugs before they reach humans and is finding ways to study a critical syndrome associated with cancer. But as a doctor who cares for patients, Thomas is restless...