Research

Research at Whitehead

Whitehead Institute provides researchers with the resources and freedom to follow their scientific instincts, form novel collaborations, and conduct high-risk research. While probing basic biological processes, the Institute’s 16 faculty Members and 2 Fellows develop innovative technologies and lay the foundation for projects that improve human health. They run pioneering programs in cancer, immunology, developmental biology, stem cell science, regenerative medicine, genetics, and genomics.

Members

 

Fellows

Research News

December 15, 2014

Family of neural-associated RNA-binding proteins found to regulate cell state in breast cancer

A widely conserved family of RNA-binding proteins known to be expressed in neural stem cells and other stem cell types has now been shown to play a role in controlling both the state and behavior of breast cancer cells.

Schematic depicting creation of stable induced neural stem cells (iNSCs)

November 6, 2014

Direct generation of neural stem cells could enable transplantation therapy

Induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) hold promise for therapeutic transplantation, but their potential in this capacity has been limited by failed efforts to maintain such cells in their multi-potent NSC state. Now, Whitehead Institute scientists have created iNSCs that remain in the multi-potent state—without ongoing expression of reprogramming factors. This allows the iNSCs to self-renew repeatedly to generate cells in quantities sufficient for therapy.

October 30, 2014

Blocking a fork in the road to DNA replication

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered the surprising manner in which an enigmatic protein known as SUUR acts to control gene copy number during DNA replication. It’s a finding that could shed new light on the formation of fragile genomic regions associated with chromosomal abnormalities.  

Detailed depiction of the structure of the mouse Y chromosome

October 30, 2014

What’s mighty about the mouse? For starters, its massive Y chromosome

An exhaustive effort to sequence the mouse Y chromosome reveals a surprisingly large and complex biological beast, at the same time providing remarkable insight into a heated battle for supremacy between mammalian sex chromosomes.

Diagrams of DNA "goody bags"

October 7, 2014

Special chromosomal structures control key genes

Scientists have long theorized that the way in which the roughly three meters of DNA in a human cell is packaged to fit within a nuclear space just six microns wide, affects gene expression. Now, Whitehead Institute researchers present the first evidence that DNA structure does indeed have such effects—in this case finding a link between chromosome structure and the expression and repression of key genes.

Image of yeast cells

October 2, 2014

Scientists develop novel approach to boost biofuel production

MIT and Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a new way to boost yeast tolerance to ethanol simply by altering the composition of the medium in which the yeast are grown. They believe this finding could have a significant impact on industrial biofuel production.

Diagram of the Sestrins' role in mTORC1 regulation

September 25, 2014

New protein players found in key disease-related metabolic pathway

Cells rely on the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) pathway—which senses the availability of nutrients—to coordinate their growth with existing environmental conditions. The lab of Whitehead Member David Sabatini has identified a family of proteins that negatively regulate the branch upstream of mTORC1 that senses amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

Diagram of pseudouridylation of mRNA

September 15, 2014

Scientists discover RNA modifications in some unexpected places

Deploying sophisticated high-throughput sequencing technology, dubbed ψ-seq, a team of Whitehead Institute and Broad Institute researchers collaborated on a comprehensive, high-resolution mapping of ψ sites that confirms pseudouridylation, the most common post-transcriptional modification, does indeed occur naturally in mRNA.

Recent papers

October 2, 2014

mRNA Destabilization Is the Dominant Effect of Mammalian MicroRNAs by the Time Substantial Repression Ensues.

Mol Cell. 2014 Oct 2;56(1):104-15.


October 1, 2014

Negative Self-Regulation of TLR9 Signaling by Its N-Terminal Proteolytic Cleavage Product.

J Immunol. 2014 Oct 1;193(7):3726-35.


October, 2014

Poised chromatin in the mammalian germ line.

Development. 2014 Oct;141(19):3619-26.


All research papers

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