News Archive


Diagram of the mechanism cancer cells use to convert into cancer stem cells

Scientists identify gene that controls aggressiveness in breast cancer cells

July 3, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined that in basal breast cancer cells a transcription factor known as ZEB1 is held in a poised state, ready to increase the cells’ aggressiveness and enable them to transform into cancer stem cells capable of seeding new tumors throughout the body. Intriguingly, luminal breast cancer cells, which are associated with a much better clinical prognosis, carry this gene in a state in which it seems to be permanently shut down.

Image showing difference in Nanog markers

Study challenges long-held assumption of gene expression in embryonic stem cells

July 3, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined that the transcription factor Nanog, which plays a critical role in maintaining the self-renewal of embryonic stem cells, is expressed in a manner similar to other pluripotency markers.

Image: Glucocorticoids stimulates the production of ZFP36l2, which promotes the self-renewal of BFU-Es.

Scientists identify potential drug target for treatment-resistant anemias

June 9, 2013

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have identified a key target protein of glucocorticoids, the drugs that are used to increase red blood cell production in patients with certain types of anemia, including those resulting from trauma, sepsis, malaria, kidney dialysis, and chemotherapy.

Image of GATOR1's location in cells where it is functional and nonfunctional

Protein complex in key cell-growth pathway could help predict response to cancer therapy

May 30, 2013

Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a protein complex that, when mutated, sends the master growth regulatory pathway known as mTORC1 into overdrive. Researchers believe that mutations in this complex could serve as biomarkers to predict response to rapamycin treatment in cancer patients.

Whitehead Member and new Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator

Whitehead Member Peter Reddien named an HHMI Investigator

May 9, 2013

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced today that Whitehead Member Peter Reddien is among 27 biomedical researchers nationwide to be appointed as HHMI investigators.

Cartoon of CRISPR/Cas technique

Scientists revolutionize the creation of genetically altered mice to model human disease

May 2, 2013

Using a bacteria-based technique, Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch has efficiently created mouse models with multiple gene mutations in a matter of weeks.

Diagram comparing enhancers and super-enhancers of two cell types

Genetic master controls expose cancers’ Achilles’ heel

April 11, 2013

In a surprising finding that helps explain fundamental behaviors of normal and diseased cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have discovered a set of powerful gene regulators dubbed “super-enhancers” that control cell state and identity.

Best Places to Work logo

For third year running, Whitehead Institute takes top place for postdocs

April 1, 2013

In the final year of the “Best Places to Work: Postdocs” ranking, Whitehead Institute has again come out on top. This is the fourth time in 10 years that Whitehead has emerged as number one—more than any other institution in the history of the rankings, published annually by The Scientist magazine.

Model for a function for Mot3 prion switching in teh repiro-fermentative cycle of wine yeasts

Protective prion keeps yeast cells from going it alone

March 28, 2013

A team of scientists from Whitehead Institute and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has added markedly to the job description of prions as agents of change, identifying a prion capable of triggering a transition in yeast from its conventional single-celled form to a cooperative, multicellular structure. This change, which appears to improve yeast’s chances for survival in the face of hostile environmental conditions, is an epigenetic phenomenon—a heritable alteration brought about without any change to the organism’s underlying genome.

Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert Weinberg

Whitehead’s Weinberg among those earning cancer research group’s highest honor

March 25, 2013

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is including Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert Weinberg in its inaugural class of Fellows of the AACR Academy.

Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert Weinberg

Whitehead’s Robert Weinberg to receive new Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences

February 20, 2013

Whitehead Institute Founding Member Robert Weinberg is among 11 scientists to receive the new Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, intended to recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.

Model of mitochondrion

Engineering cells for more efficient biofuel production

February 17, 2013

Whitehead Institute and MIT chemical engineers and biologists have now devised a way to dramatically boost isobutanol production in yeast, which naturally make it in small amounts. They engineered yeast so that isobutanol synthesis takes place entirely within mitochondria, cell structures that generate energy and also host many biosynthetic pathways.


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