News Archive

 

AudioHelicase podcast: Whitehead's Robert Weinberg on cancer research's past, present, and future

January 22, 2018

From his discovery of the first oncogene and tumor suppressor, to his work revealing critical aspects of the mutational basis of cancer, and more recently its metastatic behavior, Whitehead Founding Member Robert Weinberg’s work has been foundational in our understanding of cancer biology.

Image of fish and RNA hairpins

Pairing mismatch helps impaired fish RNA cleavage proceed swimmingly

December 21, 2017

Researchers at Whitehead Institute have uncovered how small changes in the fish Argonaute (Ago) protein, an RNA slicing protein, that happened in its lineage an estimated 300 million years ago greatly diminished the efficiency of RNAi in these animals, while another ancestral feature, in a critical pre-microRNA, was retained that enabled the microRNA to still be produced despite the fish’s impaired Ago protein.

Picture of a golden root plant

Harnessing nature’s riches

December 19, 2017

With unique sustainable engineering method, a team of Whitehead Institute researchers unlocks the biochemistry needed to synthesize key substance from rare medicinal plant.

Images of Arabidopsis seeds

Small RNA mediates genetic parental conflict in seed endosperm

December 19, 2017

When it comes to gene expression in the endosperm of seeds, gene provenance matters. In this specialized tissue, plants actively strive to keep the expression of genes inherited from the mother versus the father in balance, according to Whitehead Institute scientists.

Image of plants with curled leaves due to lack of gene methylation

Epigenetic rheostat helps uncover how gene regulation is inherited and maintained

December 14, 2017

DNA Methylation—the addition of chemical tags to DNA—typically reduces the expression of methylated genes. Whitehead Institute Member Mary Gehring and her lab have identified a mechanism important for maintaining methylation, that when disrupted, results in the demethylation of large sections of the Arabidopsis plant’s genome.

Illustration of neighborhoods within DNA loops

New study prompts rethinking transcription factor’s role in control of gene expression

December 7, 2017

Like proteins, genomes must fold appropriately to function properly; some transcription factors provide the structural support

Whitehead Institute Director David Page

Video: David Page speaks at the Simons Center for the Social Brain Lunch Series

December 5, 2017

In October 2017, Whitehead Institute Director David Page presented Sex and Disease: Do males and females read their genomes differently?” at the Simon Center for the Social Brain speakers series. Dr. Page spoke about the comparative genomic and evolutionary studies of the sex chromosomes of humans, other mammals, birds, and reptiles conducted by him and his colleagues.

Illustration of scientist picking molecules from a tree

Large-scale approach reveals imperfect actor in plant biotechnology

November 27, 2017

Whitehead researchers detect the chemical ‘mistakes’ of common herbicide-resistance enzyme, successfully re-engineer it for enhanced precision

Image of planarians

Surprising roles for muscle in tissue regeneration, study finds

November 22, 2017

Whitehead Member Peter Reddien pinpoints distinct muscle subsets that orchestrate and pattern regrowth

AudioHelicase: Whitehead’s Sebastian Lourido on Toxoplasma, malaria parasites, and global health

November 20, 2017

Whitehead Member Sebastian Lourido discusses his work uncovering how the Toxoplasma parasite causes disease and the importance of understanding parasitic infections such as toxoplasmosis and malaria in the context of global health.

Image of a cell in anaphase

Of highways, engines, and chromosomes

November 16, 2017

Whitehead researchers unravel fundamental molecular machinery that propels chromosome movement

Illustration of scientist opening a cell and looking at a molecule

Key nutrient sensor identified for cellular pathway linking nutrient availability to cell growth

November 9, 2017

Whitehead Member David Sabatini has identified the methionine sensor in the mTOR pathway, which is a crucial metabolic pathway in cells. His work provides interesting data suggesting that the anti-aging and anti-diabetes effects of low methionine and mTOR inhibition may be connected.

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