To improve health monitoring, simply trip the ‘nanoswitch’

An easy to use, low-cost ‘NLISA’ platform for detecting biological signatures could shake up the way we monitor our health

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Fred Alt and Ming Tian received Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Award

Congratulations for Drs. Fred Alt and Ming Tian who received a 3-year Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Award to develop physiologically relevant mouse models for testing candidate HIV-1 vaccine strategies.

Finding what fuels the “runaway train” of autoimmune diseases

A team led by Michael Carroll revealed that rogue B cells can trigger an “override” that launches the body into an autoimmune attack. Adding insult to injury, B cells’ immune targeting instructions can rapidly expand to order an attack on additional tissue types within the body.

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Shapeshifter” that regulates blood clotting is visually captured for the first time

A team in the Boston Children’s Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the HMS Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, co-led by Springer and Wesley P. Wong, PhD, has revealed exactly how von Willebrand factor (VWF) senses and harnesses mechanical forces .

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Gene Silencer

Scientists at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital have identified a mechanism that regulates the imprinting of multiple genes, including some of those critical to placental growth during early embryonic development in mice.

A surprising new link between inflammation and mental illness — and a potential drug to protect the brain

Up to 75 percent of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, an incurable autoimmune disease commonly known as “lupus”, experience neuropsychiatric symptoms. Michael Carroll's lab set out to uncover the mechanisms underlying lupus’ effects on the brain and made a surprising finding that points to a potential new drug for protecting the brain from the neuropsychiatric effects of lupus.

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On Friday, March 17th, Dr. Xuetao Cao delivered the 2017 Edwin J. Cohn lecture, titled "Innate Immune Molecules in Inflammation and Cancer." Hosted by PCMM, the event was held in the Armenise Amphitheater.

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Transfusing engineered red blood cells to protect against autoimmune disease

Scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, MIT and the Whitehead Institute think they may have found a targeted way to protect the body from autoimmune disease. Their approach, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses transfusions of engineered red blood cells to re-train the immune system.

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Seeking a way to keep organs young

A study by Dr. Denisa Wagner and her team, published recently by the Journal of Experimental Medicine, pinpoints a gene responsible for fibrosis and identifies some possible therapeutic solutions.

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UTX makes NKT

Published this week in Nature Immunology, the Winau lab in collaboration with Stuart Orkin’s group revealed how the histone demethylase UTX regulates the development of natural killer T cells through multiple epigenetic mechanisms.

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Modulation of Scramblase: a novel paradigm to fight chronic infection and cancer

Reporting this week in JEM, the Winau lab identified a new pathway involving scramblase TMEM16F that preserves efficient T cell responses to control viral infection. These findings provide a novel target for therapy against chronic diseases, such as cancer, HIV and hep B virus infections.

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Keeping up with HIV mutations: Building a nimble vaccine test system

A group led by Frederick Alt, developed a technology to greatly speed up HIV development in mice. The group’s method generates mouse models with built-in human immune systems. The model rapidly recapitulates what the human immune system does, enabling researchers to continuously test and tweak potential HIV vaccines.

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CD1a molecule as a potential therapeutic target in inflammatory skin diseases

The Winau Lab has discovered a new mechanism for skin inflammation. This work, recently published in Nature Immunology, forms the basis for future therapeutic strategies against inflammatory skin diseases, such as poison ivy dermatitis and psoriasis.

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When antibiotics fail: A potential new angle on severe bacterial infection and sepsis

Reporting this week in Nature, scientists in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (PCMM) describe new potential avenues for controlling both sepsis and the runaway bacterial infections that provoke it.

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Featured News Story

To improve health monitoring, simply trip the ‘nanoswitch’

To improve health monitoring, simply trip the ‘nanoswitch’

Engineered strands of DNA — nanoscale tools called “nanoswitches” — could be the key to faster, easier, cheaper and more sensitive tests that can enable high-fidelity detection of biomarkers indicating the presence of different diseases, viral strains and even genetic variabilities as subtle as a single-gene mutation.

“One critical application in both basic research and clinical practice is the detection of biomarkers in our bodies, which convey vital information about our current health,” says Wesley Wong, PhD. “However, current methods tend to be either cheap and easy or highly sensitive, but generally not both.”

That’s why Wong and his team have adapted their DNA nanoswitch technology — previously demonstrated to aid drug discovery and to measure of biochemical interactions —  into a new platform… Read More »

Announcements

Jianbin Ruan and Lan Jiang, were awarded a post-doctoral…

Congratulations to Jianbin Ruan and Lan Jiang, who were awarded a post-doctoral fellowships from the Charles A. King Trust.

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Congratulations to Amelia Chang, Joyce Hwang, Vipul…

Congratulations to Amelia Chang, Joyce Hwang, Vipul Kumar and Sherry Lin. All four graduate students in the Alt laboratory have successfully defended their Ph.D. theses.… Read More »

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