Tag: Jaenisch Lab

Illustration of a hand assembling a brain jigsaw puzzle

Only in your head

October 9, 2018

Researchers uncover how a ubiquitously expressed mutation causes a brain-specific disorder.

Astrocytes infected with Zika virus

Stem cell-derived Zika model suggests mechanisms underlying microcephaly

June 19, 2018

Infected microglia cells can ferry Zika virus to developing brain

Illustration of scientist looking at a neuron

Fragile X syndrome neurons restored using CRISPR/Cas9-guided activation strategy

February 15, 2018

Fragile X syndrome is the most frequent cause of intellectual disability in males, affecting 1 out of 3600 boys born. For the first time, researchers at Whitehead Institute have restored activity to the fragile X syndrome gene in affected neurons using a modified CRISPR/Cas9 system they developed.

Landon Clay, Lavinia Clay, and Charles Ellis in front of portrait of Edwin C. "Jack" Whitehead

In Memoriam: Landon T. Clay

July 31, 2017

The Whitehead Institute community has lost Landon Clay, a true friend and an avid supporter of the Institute’s scientific mission and research. 

Scientists engineer gene pathway to grow brain organoids with surface folding

January 3, 2017

Whitehead researchers provide insight into a specific gene pathway that appears to regulate the growth, structure, and organization of the human cortex. They also demonstrate that 3D human cerebral organoids--miniature, lab-grown versions of specific brain structures--can be effective in modeling the molecular, cellular, and anatomical processes of human brain development. And they suggest a new path for identifying the cells affected by Zika virus.

Still images of a microglia-like cell branching

Derived neural immune cells enable new facet of neurodegeneration research

September 26, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have devised a protocol for pushing human pluripotent stem cells to become microglia—the specialized immune cells that maintain the brain and care for it after injury. Microglia play an important role in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and studying these cells has been very difficult until now.

Diagram of how editing methylation can change cells

Scientists use CRISPR/Cas9 to flip DNA methylation states in vivo

September 22, 2016

Whitehead Institute scientists have deciphered how to use a modified CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system to change genes’ methylation state, thereby activating or silencing those genes. Proper methylation is critical for normal cellular operations and altered methylation has been linked to many diseases, including neurological disorders and cancer.

Image of mouse cerebellum section with cells having different imprinted methylation

Inherited parental methylation shifts over time, may have functional effects in the brain and other tissues

September 20, 2016

Inherited methylation—a form of epigenetic regulation passed down from parents to offspring—is far more dynamic than previously thought and may contribute to changes in the brain and other tissues over time. This finding by Whitehead Institute scientists challenges current understandings of gene regulation via methylation, from development through adulthood.  

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.

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 Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch

Whitehead’s Rudolf Jaenisch named a Fellow of the AACR Academy

April 5, 2016

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) announced today that Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch is one of 11 newly elected Fellows of the AACR Academy.

Photo of chimera mouse with dark hairs

New mouse-human modeling system enables study of disease development in vivo

January 25, 2016

Whitehead Institute researchers have created a new mouse-human modeling system that could be used to study neural crest development as well as the modeling of a variety of neural crest related diseases, including such cancers as melanoma and neurofibromatosis. 

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