Neurodegenerative disease

Xin Tang is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Rudolf Jaenisch’s lab investigating brain disease and developing approaches to discover new therapies. We sat down with Tang to learn more about him and his experiences in and out of the lab.

Benjamin Sabari was a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member Richard (Rick) Young’s lab investigating how the molecules involved in gene regulation organize into large collective assemblies called condensates. As of January 2020, Sabari is running his own lab at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. We sat down with Sabari to learn more about him and his experiences in and out of the lab.

Izabella Pena is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member David Sabatini’s lab investigating how toxic proteins associated with neurodegeneration are degraded in cells. We sat down with Pena to learn more about her and her experiences in and out of the lab.

Monther Abu-Remaileh is a postdoc in Whitehead Institute Member David Sabatini’s lab investigating the organelles that cells use to remove waste and recycle nutrients. We sat down with Abu-Remaileh to learn more about him and his experiences in and out of the lab.

Whitehead Institute researchers have determined how the master transcriptional regulator of the heat shock response, known as heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), is controlled in yeast. Understanding how HSF1 works, how it is regulated, and how to fine tune it in a cell-type specific way could lead to therapies for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Prions are infamous for causing Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow’s disease. Yet, it’s not likely that’s all they’re good for. Using an unbiased screen in yeast, a team of Whitehead Institute and Stanford University scientists have identified dozens of prion-like proteins that could change the defining characteristics of these unusual proteins. 

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.