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Current Molecular Biology News and Events, Molecular Biology News Articles.
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Stem cell-derived 'mini-brains' reveal potential drug treatment for rare disorder
Using 'mini-brains' built with induced pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with a rare, but devastating, neurological disorder, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say they have identified a drug candidate that appears to 'rescue' dysfunctional cells by suppressing a critical genetic alteration. (2015-09-08)

Molecular bodyguards for immature membrane proteins
During their formation within the cells, many proteins rely on the assistance of molecular protectors, so-called chaperones. They help the proteins to fold correctly and thus ensure the right final structure. Researchers at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and ETH Zurich have now shown how chaperones stabilize an immature bacterial membrane protein and guide it in the right folding direction, thus protecting it from misfolding. Their study was published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. (2015-09-07)

2016 Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Awards announced
The Genetics Society of America , the American Society for Human Genetics and The Gruber Foundation are pleased to announce Maria Barna, Ph.D., of Stanford University; and Carolyn McBride, Ph.D., of Princeton University, as the 2016 recipients of the Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator Award. (2015-09-01)

Can marijuana help transplant patients? New research says maybe
Here's another discovery to bolster the case for medical marijuana: New research in mice suggests that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, may delay the rejection of incompatible organs. These findings were published in the September 2015 issue of The Journal of Leukocyte Biology. (2015-09-01)

Inntags: new tools for innocuous protein tagging
A study performed in Barcelona has revealed a new method for protein tagging that preserves protein native functions and structure. (2015-09-01)

Getting a picture of the molecules in a cell in just minutes
Thanks to seven years of work done at the RIKEN Quantitative Biology Center and Hiroshima University, scientists can take a peek into a single plant cell and -- within minutes -- get a view of the small molecules, including metabolites, hormones, nutrients and lipids, inside it. (2015-08-27)

Scientists discover electrical control of cancer cell growth
The molecular switches regulating human cell growth do a great job of replacing cells that die during the course of a lifetime. But when they misfire, life-threatening cancers can occur. Research led by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has revealed a new electrical mechanism that can control these switches. (2015-08-24)

The human genome: A complex orchestra
A team of Swiss geneticists from the University of Geneva, the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the University of Lausanne discovered that genetic variation has the potential to affect the state of the genome at many, seemingly separated, positions and thus modulate gene activity, much like a conductor directing the performers of a musical ensemble to play in harmony. (2015-08-20)

Reducing resistance to chemotherapy in colorectal cancer by inhibition of PHD1
Scientists at VIB and KU Leuven have shown that blocking the PHD1 oxygen sensor hinders the activation of p53, a transcription factor that aids colorectal cancer (CRC) cells in repairing themselves and thus resisting chemotherapy. Chemotherapy resistance remains a major clinical issue in the treatment of CRC. These findings indicate that PHD1 inhibition may have valuable therapeutic potential. The study was published in the leading medical journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, which features molecular biology-driven research. (2015-08-19)

Molecular machine, not assembly line, assembles microtubules
When they think about how cells put together the molecules that make life work, biologists have tended to think of assembly lines: Add A to B, tack on C, and so on. But the reality might be more like a molecular version of a 3-D printer, where a single mechanism assembles the molecule in one go. (2015-08-19)

Researchers study potential cures for congenital blindness
University of Akron assistant chemistry professor Dr. Adam W. Smith and his team received a grant for research that could have promising results for curing congenital blindness. The lab has developed a way to directly measure protein interactions and organization in live cells with a laser-based microscope. 'The results of our work will generate new insights into the chemistry of vision and potential cures for congenital blindness,' says Smith. (2015-08-17)

UK researcher awarded grant to study link between obesity and cancer
The National Cancer Institute recently awarded a $750,000 grant to University of Kentucky researcher Fredrick Onono to study the potential link between obesity and breast cancer. (2015-08-14)

Fifteen scientists named ASBMB award winners
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology this week named 15 scientists the winners of its annual awards. Winners were nominated by colleagues and other leaders in their fields for making significant contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology. The recipients will give talks about their research and teaching at the society's 2016 annual meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference April 2-6 in San Diego. (2015-08-12)

Scientists uncover a difference between the sexes
Many brain disorders vary between the sexes, but how biology and culture contribute to these differences has been unclear. Now Northwestern University neuroscientists have found an intrinsic biological difference between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning and memory, responses to stress and epilepsy. This finding provides a scientific reason to believe that female and male brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain synaptic pathways. (2015-08-12)

Keystone Symposia announces new three-year, multi-million-dollar grant
Keystone Symposia has received a new three-year, $2.25 million grant from the Gates Foundation to fund LMIC meetings in its Global Health Series plus Travel Awards for LMIC investigators. (2015-08-11)

Switching mouse neural stem cells to a primate-like behavior
When the right gene is expressed in the right manner in the right population of stem cells, the developing mouse brain can exhibit primate-like features. In a paper publishing Aug. 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics succeeded in mimicking the sustained expression of the transcription factor Pax6 as seen in the developing human brain, in mouse cortical progenitor cells. (2015-08-07)

The heads of these Brazilian frogs are venomous weapons
It's no surprise that some frogs secrete poison from glands in their skin. But researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on Aug. 6 have discovered the first two species of frog, both living in Brazil, that are actually venomous. Not only do the frogs produce potent toxins, but they also have a mechanism to deliver those harmful secretions into another animal using bony spines on their heads. (2015-08-06)

From pluripotency to totipotency
While it is already possible to obtain in vitro pluripotent cells (i.e., cells capable of generating all tissues of an embryo) from any cell type, researchers from Maria-Elena Torres-Padilla's team have pushed the limits of science even further. They managed to obtain totipotent cells with the same characteristics as those of the earliest embryonic stages and with even more interesting properties. (2015-08-04)

Gout medications might be useful in treating alcohol-induced liver disease
New research in mice shows that two commonly used gout medications, which target uric acid and adenosine triphosphate, may offer protection from alcohol-induced liver disease and inflammation. These findings suggest that clinical trials in humans with alcoholic liver disease should be considered. The report appears in the August 2015 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. (2015-07-31)

RNA-binding protein influences key mediator of cellular inflammation and stress responses
RNA-binding proteins such as RC3H1 regulate the degradation of the mRNA molecules and thus prevent the production of specific proteins. Researchers at the Max Delbrück Center have now shown that ROQUIN binds several thousand mRNA molecules. They demonstrated that ROQUIN also influences the gene regulator NF-kappaB, a key mediator of cellular inflammation and stress responses. (2015-07-31)

Sugar in your cuppa ... not just about a sweet tooth!
New research by scientists at the University of York has given tea and coffee drinkers new information about why their favorite drinks taste as they do. (2015-07-30)

New book on 'Molecular Approaches to Reproductive and Newborn Medicine' from CSHLPress
'Molecular Approaches to Reproductive and Newborn Medicine,' published by CSHLPress, reviews our current understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in conception, pregnancy, placental development, labor, and birth, and how molecular techniques are being applied to reproductive and newborn health. The contributors discuss the gene expression profiles and epigenetic characteristics of sperm, the ovary, the endometrium, and the placenta, as well as the molecules involved in feto-maternal communication, including various endocrine, vascular and immune factors. (2015-07-27)

$1.9 million NIH grant to enhance EPC-based cell therapy for vascular diseases
Wayne State University received a $1.9 million NIH grant (1R01HL128647) titled 'Chemokine Signaling in EPC Angiogenesis: A Role of Lysine Methylation,' aims to provide valuable information and potential therapeutic targets for enhancing endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs)-based cell therapy for certain vascular diseases, as well as advance the field of chemokine receptor biology. (2015-07-14)

New cell division mechanism discovered
Canadian and British researchers have discovered that chromosomes play an active role in animal cell division. This occurs at a precise stage -- cytokinesis -- when the cell splits into two new daughter cells. (2015-07-13)

New book on cognition from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
The scientific results discussed in 'Cognition: Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology LXXIX' shed light on many areas of normal brain function but also offer novel insights into the treatment of psychiatric, neurological, and neurodegenerative diseases. This volume includes state-of-the-art neurobiological research at genetic, molecular, cellular, circuit, and whole brain resolution. The Symposium Proceedings provides an integrative overview of the current state of the field. (2015-07-10)

Ultra-thin, all-inorganic molecular nanowires successfully compounded
The development of metal oxide-based molecular wires is important for fundamental research and potential practical applications. However, examples of these materials are rare. Researchers from Hokkaido University, Kanagawa University, Hiroshima University and Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute/SPring-8, Japan, successfully created ultrathin all-inorganic molecular nanowires, composed of a repeating hexagonal molecular unit made of Mo and Te; the diameters of these wires were only 1.2 nm. (2015-07-08)

Study explains how dengue virus adapts as it travels, increasing chances for outbreaks
A researcher from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is an integral member of a collaborative group that is the first to explain the mechanisms that the Dengue virus has developed to optimize its ability to cause outbreaks as it travels across the globe to new places and revisits old ones. (2015-07-06)

BioMed Central journals see growth in impact
A total of 175 journals in BioMed Central's publishing portfolio now have impact iactors in the recently published Journal Citation Report 2015, of which 104 journals rank in the top half of their categories. (2015-07-03)

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution
Taking advantage of recent research progress and advanced gene sequencing technology, Brown University will join a consortium of European researchers for a three-year, $2.9 million study of how fertilization has evolved in flowering plants. A goal is to improve crop yields. (2015-07-02)

Regenerative medicine biologists discover a cellular structure that explains fate of stem cells
UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists collaborating with University of Michigan researchers have found a previously unidentified mechanism that helps explain why stem cells undergo self-renewing divisions but their offspring do not. (2015-07-01)

FASEB 2016 Excellence in Science Award recipient announced
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) is pleased to announce that Bonnie L. Bassler, Ph.D., has been chosen to receive the FASEB 2016 Excellence in Science Award. The award recognizes women whose outstanding career achievements in biological science have contributed significantly to further our understanding of a particular discipline by excellence in research. This prestigious award carries with it an unrestricted research grant of $10,000. (2015-07-01)

Vitamin A supplementation may cause the immune system to 'forget' past infections
Although vitamin A supplementation can have profound health benefits when someone is deficient, new evidence is emerging to show that vitamin A supplementation above and beyond normal levels may have negative health consequences. A new research report published in the July 2015 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology may help to explain why too much vitamin A can be harmful. (2015-06-30)

Singapore researchers confirm gene p73's role in tumor growth
A team of researchers at National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) and Singapore General Hospital has determined dual functionality gene p73, in both the promotion and suppression in tumor growth. The NCCS team also receives a S$2.5 million grant to aid the research in the next five years. (2015-06-29)

Giving atoms their marching orders
Building self-assembled 'molecular straws' from bis-urea macrocycles, Linda Shimizu of the University of South Carolina has developed a new nanotube system that can be used to directly compare single-file diffusion dynamics with Fickian diffusion dynamics. She and co-author Russ Bowers of the University of Florida use hyperpolarized xenon-129 NMR to study gas transport dynamics in two highly homogeneous nanotubes, one with a narrow-bore, hollow interior that can accommodate xenon gas atoms only in single file. (2015-06-24)

UVA fertilization discovery may lead to male contraceptive
Groundbreaking new reproductive research from the School of Medicine has identified key molecular events that could be playing a critical role as sperm and egg fuse to create new life. The findings might one day lead to the creation of a male contraceptive. (2015-06-23)

SPECTAlung providing patients with thoracic tumors efficient clinical trial access
Our understanding of tumor biology has improved and continues to expand at a rapid pace, and this has opened new opportunities for cancer clinical trials, particularly for thoracic tumors. The identification and molecular alterations in the cancer and the possibility to specifically and selectively target them, has dramatically improved the treatment efficacy in patients with lung cancer. (2015-06-23)

Unpacking the mysteries of bacterial cell cycle regulation
As part of their long-term investigation of regulatory factors in the bacterial cell cycle, molecular biologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst now report finding a surprising new role for one factor, CpdR, an adaptor that helps to regulate selective protein destruction, the main control mechanism of cell cycle progression in bacteria, at specific times. (2015-06-22)

Max Planck Florida scientist awarded Glaxo Smith Kline Neuroscience Discovery Award
The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology has honored Samuel M. Young, Jr. Ph.D., a Max Planck Research Group Leader at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, with the Glaxo Smith Kline Neuroscience Discovery Award. The award will be presented at the Ion Regulation Conference at the end of June. (2015-06-22)

Researchers bring to life proteins' motion
This study, which will be published in the journal Structure, expands scientists' understanding of proteins' normal functioning. Researchers identified how proteins move and change their shape in order to perform specific jobs. This advancement fills a gap in scientific knowledge that persisted for more than 30 years. (2015-06-18)

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Professor Yehudit Bergman from Israel
The Israeli immunologist and cancer researcher Professor Yehudit Bergman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, has been honored with the Helmholtz International Fellow Award for her excellent research. In a prize ceremony at the MDC Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, Germany, MDC's interim director Professor Thomas Sommer presented the certificate to her. The prize had already been awarded to her in 2013, but Professor Bergman was not able to accept it personally until now. (2015-06-18)

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