News Archive

 

Model behavior

May 5, 2004

Last month, 152 high school students ceded much of their cherished week-long school vacation, putting their X-Boxes and PlayStations, trips to the mall, and skateboard activities on hold, in order to spend some quality time with Whitehead scientists during the Spring Lecture Series for High School Students.

Study examines link between science literacy and public opinion

April 28, 2004

Many scientists claim public opposition to biotechnology is primarily a product of ignorance. But a report published by researchers at the University of Trento in Italy may contradict that belief. The researchers found that access to scientific information does not necessarily promote postive attitudes about biotechnology.

Study confirms Rett syndrome begins in neurons

April 21, 2004

Scientists have known for some time that mutations in a gene named MeCP2 lead to Rett syndrome, a major cause of mental retardation in girls. Now, a Whitehead Institute research team has provided evidence for the long accepted, but previously unproven theory that Rett syndrome is caused by loss of MeCP2 exclusively in neurons.

Communications Office wins award for science writing

April 21, 2004

The Office of Communications and Public Affairs has received a Gold Medal for Excellence in Science News Writing for a package of articles about Whitehead research on prions, microRNAs, the Y chromosome and efforts to create a biological library of molecules with drug-development potential.

Branching out

April 14, 2004

Whitehead biologist Steve Rozen has explored the family tree of the male-determing Y chromosome, looking for information about a genetic mutation that raises interesting questions about the evolution of the Y.

Tools of the trade

April 7, 2004

In the film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” an angel shows a suicidal George Bailey how his small town would have fared had he never been born. For years, scientists have conducted countless George Bailey experiments on genes, identifying their function by knocking them out with specially designed complex molecules, then observing what happens to the cell.

Developmental science

March 31, 2004

When Kathleen Collins joined the lab of Whitehead Institute Member Paul Matsudaira as a graduate student in the late 1980s, she felt anything was possible. “The enthusiasm there was contagious,” says Collins, now an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “You were always aware of a driving motivation to do good science. And life’s too short not to do good science.”

Fungi have systems to sense and respond to plant signals, study suggests

March 24, 2004

Yeast and other fungi normally live on the outside of a plant, a nutrient-poor environment. Microorganisms can utilize wounds as opportunity for infection, thereby gaining access to the nutrient rich environment inside of the plant. Just how fungi identifies a wound on a plant, though, is a mystery.

Study examines how cells tell each other apart

March 24, 2004

The idea of self vs. nonself may sound more like an existential identity crisis than a question in cellular biology. But to Whitehead Institute Associate Member Andrew Chess, the concept could offer information about how cells tell each other apart, a cellular self-awareness that ensures the correct wiring of neurons in the brain.

Study offers new model for breast cancer

March 22, 2004

The last few years have witnessed critical advances in breast cancer therapies. Still, the disease afflicts one in eight American women, and scientists have yet to develop a living model with which they can study the intricacies of human breast-tumor behavior. Now, a team in the lab of scientist Robert Weinberg at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has successfully grafted human breast tissue into the mammary glands of mice.

Alex d’Arbeloff named to Whitehead Institute Board of Directors

March 17, 2004

Teradyne, Inc. founder and former Chairman of the MIT Corporation Alex d’Arbeloff has been named to the Board of Directors for Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. d’Arbeloff is presently a professor of practice at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and honorary chairman of the MIT Corporation.

Study answers questions on ancestry of yeast genome

March 8, 2004

In work that may lead to a better understanding of genetic diseases, researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard University and Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research show that baker’s yeast was created hundreds of millions of years ago when its ancestor temporarily became a kind of super-organism with twice the usual number of chromosomes and increased potential to evolve.

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