Broad research

  • Power in numbers

    Leah Eisenstadt, February 16th, 2011 | Filed under

    Earlier this month, we reported on a powerful analysis of next-generation sequencing data from the pilot phase of the 1000 Genomes Project that resulted in a rich, high-resolution map of structural variation — extra, missing, or rearranged DNA — in the human genome. That map, along with research tools created from it, will enable new studies of this kind of DNA variation in human biology and disease.

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  • Keeping score on stem cells

    Alice McCarthy, February 11th, 2011 | Filed under

    Since 2007, a new type of human stem cell has been available for research study. The inducible pluripotent stem cell, or iPS cell, can go on to develop into any cell type of the body. Its source is a reprogrammed adult cell, not an embryonic cell (ES). When iPS cells were first created, many within scientific laboratories and certainly those external to the bench thought iPS cells would be the solution to the thorny issues surrounding the harvesting of embryonic sources of stem cells. They may in fact prove to be so.

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  • A tale of TAL effectors

    Haley Bridger, February 8th, 2011 | Filed under

    Two years ago, researchers in Germany discovered a new and potentially very powerful biological tool that bacteria have been wielding as a weapon against their plant hosts. By secreting special proteins known as TAL (transcription activator-like) effectors, species of Xanthomonas bacteria can manipulate the genome of the plants that they infect, activating plant genes that allow the bacteria to flourish. In 2009, researchers broke the protein’s code, revealing how TAL effectors bind to host genomes.

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  • Lots of variation uncovered, but more remains hidden

    Leah Eisenstadt, February 7th, 2011 | Filed under

    As data from the Human Genome Project accumulated, scientists realized that there was a significant amount of variation in the human genome, especially in the form of single-letter changes known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The study of SNPs in the human genome and their influence on disease has been a major focus of genome research over the past decade and has revealed hundreds of SNPs associated with common diseases.

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  • Mentoring is in full swing at the Broad

    Leah Eisenstadt, January 27th, 2011 | Filed under

    January is National Mentoring Month, so it’s a nice time to reflect on our mentoring experiences. Many in the Broad community have at one time served as a mentor, a mentee, or both. Mentors at the Broad can be found at all levels, from research technicians up to core faculty members. The mentoring relationship is an essential one on the path to becoming a scientist, as many who enter the field are first inspired by a scientist or teacher they view as a role model.

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  • Was that a typo?

    Leah Eisenstadt, January 4th, 2011 | Filed under

    Last month, we announced results from an international study of DNA from an exceptionally well-preserved finger bone found in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia. The work, led by scientists at Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology with contributions from several Broad researchers, provides evidence that a previously unknown class of human — dubbed the Denisovans — walked the earth at least 30,000 years ago alongside modern humans, Neandertals, and the “hobbit” of Flores.

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  • Broad analytical tool finds mutations in the driver's seat

    Leah Eisenstadt, December 17th, 2010 | Filed under

    Earlier this week, a team of scientists including Broad researcher Rameen Beroukhim, also a physician at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, published exciting results from a study of squamous cell lung cancer, a disease linked to smoking. The scientists analyzed samples of lung tumors and discovered a mutation in the gene known as fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) that was more common in samples of squamous cell lung cancer tumors than those of other types of lung cancer.

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  • Cell identity theft

    Alice McCarthy, December 16th, 2010 | Filed under

    In an essay in this month’s Nature Chemical Biology, the Broad’s Bridget Wagner describes her view of one of the greatest challenges in chemical biology today – identifying chemical compounds that coax cells to take on new properties. With these compounds in hand, you could transform cells from what they were to what you want them to be.

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  • Meet one of the Broad's laboratory workhorses

    Leah Eisenstadt, December 7th, 2010 | Filed under

    Behind an invisible curtain of light, robotic pods suspend drops of liquid in tiny plastic cones and deliver crucial chemicals to DNA destined for analysis. This automated dance takes place in the Biomek FX, a key piece of equipment in the Broad Institute's Genetic Analysis Platform (GAP) laboratory, where members of the Whole Genome Team prepare samples of genetic material for genotyping. The machine is an automatic pipettor, transferring liquids to samples during chemistry steps making work much easier for research technicians Mike DaSilva, Ryan McGinty, and Teni Minnetyan.

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  • New project aims to put together new pieces of the genetic variability puzzle

    Alice McCarthy, December 2nd, 2010 | Filed under

    Since the human genome became public information a decade ago, researchers have been developing new ways to dissect, examine, and probe it to find clues to understand the genetic basis of human illness. This fall, a new endeavor known as the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project, became one of the latest – and largest – efforts to link certain genetic variations with changes in the abundance of particular proteins in unique tissues of the body.

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