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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Democratizing high-throughput single molecule force analysis

Now, a research team led by Wesley Wong has made a major advance by developing an inexpensive method that permits analysis of the force responses of thousands of similar molecules simultaneously.

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DNA breaks in nerve cells' ancestors cluster in specific genes

Study reveals new avenue for thinking about brain development, brain tumors and neurodevelopmental/psychiatric diseases

Microptosis: Programmed death for microbes?

Over the last couple of years Judy Lieberman’s lab has uncovered evidence for what could be an evolutionarily ancient form of immune defense directed against intracellular pathogens. In a 2014 Cell paper, her lab revealed that the immune system’s T-cells can kill intracellular bacteria directly by pummeling infected cells with three proteins: perforin, granulysin and granzymes

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Putting structure around the genetic basis of some immune diseases

In a recent Cell paper, a team led by Hao Wu, PhD, used electronic microscopy to reveal how RAG1 and 2 interact at a structural level, both with each other and with DNA.

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Sequence-Intrinsic Mechanisms that Target AID Mutational Outcomes on Antibody Genes

Researchers in Dr. Fred Alt's laboratory used a novel in vivo mouse model system to resolve longstanding questions regarding the influence of DNA sequences on AID targeting and mutational outcomes during antibody diversification.

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Improved cell cloning technique makes the jump from mice to humans

In a new paper in Cell Stem Cell, Dr. Yi Zhang's team report that they’ve extended their work to improve the efficiency of SCNT in human cells.

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Genomic loops keep genes and enzymes on track and out of trouble

A study, reported in Cell, of where and how an enzyme cuts DNA may have inadvertently revealed a basic principle of gene regulation. This study suggests that the cell can lock or "sandbox" genes and enzymes that act on them within loops of DNA and protein, confining their activity to minimize the risk of genetic disaster.

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A bias towards efficiency in antibody class switching

A team in Frederick Alt's laboratory, led by Junchao Dong, Rohit A. Panchakshari, and Tingting Zhang, have made important strides towards resolving a long-standing question about how different classes of antibodies are made.

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How our neutrophils might sabotage wound healing in diabetes

Delayed wound healing in people with type 1 or 2 diabetes can be caused by complications such as reduced blood flow, neuropathy and impaired signaling between cells. According to research by Denisa Wagner, PhD, a poorly understood feature of our immune system’s neutrophils may be one more ingredient in the storm.

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The Art of Endocytosis

An 880-pound digital media sculpture, "Absorption", by artist Rudolfo Quintas, is the result of discussions had with Dr. Tomas Kirchhausen, Principal Investigator in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, regarding the essential cellular process of endocytosis.

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When HIV and TB coexist: Digging into the roots of IRIS

Millions of people worldwide suffer from co-infection with tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. While prompt antibiotic and antiretroviral treatment can be a recipe for survival, over the years, physicians have noticed something: two or three weeks after starting antiretrovirals, about 30 percent of co-infected patients get worse.

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Can breast cancer cells tell each other to metastasize?

Not all cancer cells are created equal. To call a cancer a cancer, in the singular, is something of a misnomer. A patient could be said to have cancers, as every tumor is actually a mixture of cells with different mutations and capabilities. One of those capabilities is the ability to escape the main tumor and spread, or metastasize, to other sites in the body.

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A simpler way to measure complex biochemical interactions

Life teems with interactions. Proteins bind. Bonds form between atoms, and break. Enzymes cut. Drugs attach to cell receptors. DNA hybridizes. Those interactions make the processes of life work, and capturing them has led to many medical advances.

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Featured News Story

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

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

An AIDS vaccine able to fight any HIV strain has thus far eluded science. HIV frequently mutates its coat protein, dodging vaccine makers’ efforts to elicit sufficiently broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Yet sometimes HIV-infected people can produce such antibodies on their own. This usually requires years of exposure to the virus, allowing the immune system to modify its antibodies over time to keep up with HIV mutations. But the goal is generally achieved too late in the game to prevent them from being infected.

“Only a small fraction of patients are able to develop broadly neutralizing antibodies, and by the time they do, the virus has already integrated into the genomes of their T-cells,” says Ming Tian, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Program… Read More »


Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee was awarded the Cancer Research Institute Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship

Dr. Cheng-Sheng Lee was awarded the Cancer Research…

During this fellowship Dr. Lee will investigate how recombination activating gene endonuclease (RAG) mediates recombination between bona fide RAG recognition sequences (RRSs). Specifically,… Read More »

Dr. Isabel Beerman awarded a NIH Career Development Grant (K01) from the National Institute of Aging

Dr. Isabel Beerman awarded a NIH Career Development…

Dr. Beerman, an Instructor in Pediatrics in Dr. Derrick Rossi's laboratory, has received a five-year career development award to establish the potential of aged blood cells to be reprogrammed to cells… Read More »

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