Research Achievements

Whitehead Institute research has delivered new understandings to fundamental problems in biomedicine and transformed the landscape of contemporary biology.

Over the years, Institute scientists have focused on human genetics, cancer, heart disease, immunology, and developmental biology. Whitehead was the core institution for one of the six original National Cooperative Vaccine Development Groups for AIDS (established by the National Institutes of Health to speed the development of an AIDS vaccine).

By the mid-1990s, the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research emerged as the leading center for the newly organized U.S. Human Genome Project. The Center made the single largest contribution to the completion of the project by sequencing one-third of the reference human genome.

In recent years, Institute scientists have been recognized for their advances in stem cell research, protein folding, cancer stem cells, regenerative biology, disease modeling, non-coding RNAs and more.

For a glimpse at Whitehead contributions to these and other fields, click on the topical tabs above.


Cancer

Illustration of egg with sperm swimming toward it

APRIL 9, 2019

A TROUBLING INHERITANCE

Researchers have found that certain epigenetic changes in mice that appear to be inherited by offspring can lead to increased cancer rates


 


Genetics + Genomics

Immunofluorescence microscopy for meiotic markers in adult mouse testes

FEBRUARY 27, 2019

START SIGNAL FOR SEX CELL CREATION

One protein is responsible for regulating a large network of genes that prompt cells to begin meiosis, the type of cell division that produces sex cells


Immune System

Representation of the Zika virus's surface

APRIL 22, 2019

HOW TO BE A GOOD HOST (FOR ZIKA VIRUS)

Using a genome-wide CRISPR screen in neural progenitor cells, Whitehead Institute scientists uncover what the Zika virus needs to infect human cells

Nervous System
Development + Function

Illustration of a hand assembling a brain jigsaw puzzle

OCTOBER 9, 2018

ONLY IN YOUR HEAD

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


Protein Function

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) cells lose form and fail to replicate after degradation of GAPM proteins.

January 23, 2019

How one parasite stays in shape

Researchers in Whitehead Institute Member Sebastian Lourido’s lab identify the linchpin proteins of parasite Toxoplasma gondii’s cytoskeleton.

Stem Cells +
Therapeutic Cloning

Photo of two planarians

APRIL 8, 2019

A SUPPORTIVE ROLE FOR PLANARIANS’ MULTIFACETED MUSCLE

In planarians, muscle is critical not only for movement and regeneration of body parts, but also for producing the body’s architectural support system around cell

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