Newly tenured biological engineer Ernest Fraenkel goes where the numbers lead. 

MIT Ernest Fraenkel 01

Cells are incredibly complicated machines with thousands of interacting parts — and disruptions to any of those interactions can cause disease.

Tracing those connections to seek the root cause of disease is a daunting task, but it is one that MIT biological engineer Ernest Fraenkel relishes. His lab takes a systematic approach to the problem: By comparing datasets that include thousands of events inside healthy and diseased cells, they can try to figure out what has gone awry in cells that are not functioning properly.

“The central challenge of this field is how you take all those different kinds of data to get a coherent picture of what’s going on in a cell, what is wrong in a diseased cell, and how you might fix it,” says Fraenkel, an associate professor of biological engineering.

Researchers develop novel strategy to probe 'genetic haystack'

by Mark Wheeler

In ongoing work to identify how genes interact with social environments to impact human health, UCLA researchers have discovered what they describe as a biochemical link between misery and death. In addition, they found a specific genetic variation in some individuals that seems to disconnect that link, rendering them more biologically resilient in the face of adversity.

Perhaps most important to science in the long term, Steven Cole, a member of the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and an associate professor of medicine in the division of hematology-oncology, and his colleagues have developed a unique strategy for finding and confirming gene–environment interactions to more efficiently probe what he calls the "genetic haystack."

Scientists have long pondered the seeming contradiction that taking broad-spectrum antibiotics over a long period of time can lead to severe secondary bacterial infections. Now researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine may have figured out why.

The investigators show that "good" bacteria in the gut keep the immune system primed to more effectively fight infection from invading pathogenic bacteria. Altering the intricate dynamic between resident and foreign bacteria – via antibiotics, for example – compromises an animal’s immune response, specifically, the function of white blood cells called neutrophils.

Could treat infraction or induce blood supply for engineered tissues

Results: MIT engineers have boosted stem cells’ ability to regenerate vascular tissue (such as blood vessels) by equipping them with genes that produce extra growth factors (naturally occurring compounds that stimulate tissue growth). In a study in mice, the researchers found that the stem cells successfully generated blood vessels near the site of an injury, allowing damaged tissue to survive.

best in science, biology, virus, skin cancerCOLUMBUS, Ohio – A virus discovered last year in a rare form of skin cancer has also been found in people with the second most common form of skin cancer among Americans, according to researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

We have 94 guests and no members online

This news service is provided by Good Samaritan Institute, located in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

WE PUBLISH PEER_REVIEWED SCIENCE
GSI is a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of medical research by improving communication among scientists.