• Yours and MINE

    Haley Bridger, December 16th, 2011

    David and Yakir Reshef can’t help but fill in each other’s sentences. As we talk about the project that they have been working on together for the past several years, the discussion easily shifts back and forth as one and then the other takes the lead in describing their work. Their conversation is so seamless that when I go back to review the tape of our interview, it’s tricky to figure out where Yakir’s quotes end and David’s begin. They have the sort of mental rapport unique to close siblings or co-authors.

    Read More
  • A slice of Satsuma

    Haley Bridger, November 29th, 2011

    Before arriving at a conference in Santa Cruz last year, Broad researcher Federica Di Palma had not realized that the computational tool developed by others at the Broad and relished by her research group had such a following outside of the institute. Federica and her fellow members of the Broad’s Vertebrate Biology Group had been among the first scientists to put the alignment tool – known as Satsuma – to use, but they were certainly not the only ones.

    Read More
  • A bounty of scientific inspiration at your Thanksgiving table

    Haley Bridger, November 22nd, 2011 | Filed under

    From the Archives: We've delved into the BroadMinded blog archives to bring you this post, which was originally published in November 2010.

    At the risk of catching a bad case of YAGS right before the holidays, I googled “turkey genome” this week to see what’s cooking in the world of poultry genomics. It turns out that scientists have already mapped about 90 percent of the turkey’s genome and are learning about genes that influence things like meat quality, disease susceptibility, and turkey reproduction and fertility. You can read more about the turkey genome project here.

    Read More
  • How microbes “retweet” antibiotic resistance

    Haley Bridger, November 10th, 2011

    Just as researchers come together to share great ideas and new techniques, resourceful bacteria share their innovations, too. Eric Alm, an associate member of the Broad Institute and associate professor at MIT, was one of more than 30 speakers to share his work with the rest of the Broad community at the Broad Retreat, which took place on Monday and Tuesday. Eric reminded us that humans are largely outnumbered: for every human cell in our body, there are ten microbes living on and within us.

    Read More
  • A menagerie of mammals

    Haley Bridger, October 19th, 2011

    If you stand in the lobby of the Broad Institute, it’s hard not to notice the movement of mammals above your head. A 17-foot wide mobile that hangs from the lobby’s ceiling includes the silhouettes of a chimpanzee, two-toed sloth, alpaca, little brown bat, elephant, dolphin, and more. Each of the depicted mammals gently swaying from the mobile’s branches has had its genome sequenced at the Broad Institute, the Genome Institute at Washington University, or the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center.

    Read More
  • Stifling a statin side effect

    Haley Bridger, October 6th, 2011 | Filed under

    In the tiny, pinhead-sized wells of a microplate, cultured muscle cells begin to twitch. These mouse cells can grow into long, hearty strands in culture. But when these tendril-like cells are exposed to statins – a drug taken by millions of people to lower cholesterol levels –they start to wither away, mirroring what may be happening in the muscles of some patients.

    Read More
  • Diving deep into mitochondrial diseases

    Haley Bridger, September 15th, 2011 | Filed under

    When mitochondria fail, the results can be devastating. Mitochondria are found in almost every cell in the human body (except for red blood cells) and are responsible for producing 90 percent of the ATP (energy units) we need to grow and survive. If mitochondria are compromised, the parts of the body that need energy the most – the heart, brain, liver, muscles, and lungs – can become damaged. Mitochondrial diseases mainly affect children, and for many, the disease is an inherited condition.

    Read More
  • Visualizing the cancer genome

    Haley Bridger, September 12th, 2011 | Filed under

    Nico Stransky was getting frustrated. A computational biologist working in the Broad’s Cancer Program, Nico was trying to see patterns in the data from the recently sequenced genomes of 70 tumor samples from patients with head and neck cancer. In the study, scientists sequenced the exomes, or protein-coding, portions of the tumor genomes and analyzed the data to reveal mutations in a variety of forms that disrupt the “spelling” of genes in different ways. But the tables of mutation statistics that Nico was looking at could not tell him the full story.

    Read More
  • Breaking open the lizard egg proteome

    Haley Bridger, September 7th, 2011 | Filed under

    About 340 million years ago, a diminutive vertebrate did something unprecedented: she laid her eggs on dry land. Today, not having to rely on the water to produce offspring may not seem like such a big deal – mammals carry their embryos to term and birds and other reptiles lay their eggs on land – but before organisms evolved the amniote egg, four-legged life was water-bound. Laying eggs on terra firma has allowed reptiles and mammals to thrive in new environments across the world.

    Read More
  • Creature feature: Green anole lizard

    Haley Bridger, August 31st, 2011 | Filed under

    Usually, I'm disappointed when I email someone and immediately get an out-of-office message back, but this reply, from Harvard professor Jonathan Losos, made my day:

    "I'm wrangling lizards in Ecuador. In the mountains, where it's cool. Back in my office August 24. If you don't hear from me by then, you might try me again."

    Read More