News Archive

 

Microscope images of mitochondria

Novel method enables absolute quantification of mitochondrial metabolites

August 31, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to quickly isolate mitochondria from mammalian cells and systematically measure the concentrations of mitochondrial metabolites. Mitochondrial dysfunction is found in several disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and mitochondrial diseases. Until now, peering into the inner metabolic workings of these vital organelles has been very challenging.

Images of yeast inside macrophages that have not and have been treated with Inz-5

Disrupting mitochondrial function could improve treatment of fungal infections

August 11, 2016

By identifying new compounds that selectively block mitochondrial respiration in pathogenic fungi, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potential antifungal mechanism that could enable combination therapy with fluconazole, one of today’s most commonly prescribed fungal infection treatments. Severe, invasive fungal infections have a mortality rate of 30-50% and cause an estimated 1.5 million deaths worldwide annually. Current antifungal therapies are hampered by the increasingly frequent emergence of drug resistance and negative interactions that often preclude combination use.

Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist

Whitehead’s Susan Lindquist to receive prestigious Albany Prize in Medicine

August 3, 2016

Whitehead Institute Member Susan Lindquist has been named one of three recipients of the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research for 2016.

Jaw-dropping research explains mouth formation during embryonic development

August 2, 2016

Whitehead Institute researchers have identified an area in the developing face of embryonic frogs that unzips to form the mouth. The scientists, who named this region the “pre-mouth array”, have also discovered the cellular signaling that triggers its formation. Elucidating this critical aspect of craniofacial development in a model organism enhances understanding of and potential treatment for human facial birth defects.

Whitehead Member Jing-Ke Weng

Whitehead’s Jing-Ke Weng receives 2016 Beckman Young Investigator Award

July 18, 2016

Whitehead Member Jing-Ke Weng is one of eight early-career scientists nationwide to be named a 2016 Beckman Young Investigator.

Graphical abstract of the research described below

Defining what it means to be a naive stem cell

July 14, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have created a checklist that defines the “naive” state of cultured human embryonic stem cells (ESCs).  Such cells provide a better model of early human embryogenesis than conventional ESCs in later stages of development.

Illustration of DNA helices in tubes

Engineers design programmable RNA vaccines against Ebola, influenza

July 4, 2016

MIT and Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a new type of easily customizable vaccine that can be manufactured in one week, allowing it to be rapidly deployed in response to disease outbreaks. So far, they have designed vaccines against Ebola, H1N1 influenza, and Toxoplasma gondii (a relative of the parasite that causes malaria), which were 100 percent effective in tests in mice.

Three images of human lung cells were infected with influenza A virus.

Tiny alpaca-derived antibodies point to targets preventing viral infection

June 20, 2016

Using tiny, alpaca-derived, single-domain antibody fragments, Whitehead Institute scientists have developed a method to perturb cellular processes in mammalian cells, allowing them to tease apart the roles that individual proteins play in these pathways. With improved knowledge of protein activity, scientists can better understand not only basic biology but also how disease corrupts cellular function and identify potential therapeutics to rectify these aberrations.

Whitehead Institute Members Hidde Ploegh and David Sabatini

Whitehead Members Hidde Ploegh and David Sabatini Elected to National Academy of Sciences

May 3, 2016

The National Academy of Sciences announced today that Whitehead Institute’s Hidde Ploegh and David Sabatini are among 84 new Academy members elected in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Photo of plate showing different strengths of prion activity in yeast

Prion-like protein found in plants

April 29, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have determined that a plant protein involved in the timing of flowering could in fact be a prion. This is the first time that a possible prion has been identified in plants, and it may play a role in a plant’s “memory” of cold exposure during winter.

Cartoon of how a mutation in the genome's three-dimensional structure can activate previously silent oncogenes

Identifying a genetic mutation behind sporadic Parkinson’s disease

April 20, 2016

Using a novel method, Whitehead Institute researchers have determined how mutations that are not located within genes are identified through genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and can contribute to sporadic Parkinson’s disease, the most common form of the condition. The approach could be used to analyze GWAS results for other sporadic diseases with genetic causes, such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and cancer.

Whitehead Founding Member Robert Weinberg

Salk Institute honors Whitehead’s Weinberg for research excellence

April 14, 2016

Whitehead Founding Member Robert Weinberg is one of two scientists to receive the prestigious Salk Institute Medal for Research Excellence, an honor that Salk has bestowed only twice before in its 55-year history.

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