Inflammation Cuts Lifeline for Blood-Producing Stem Cells

2 days 12 hours ago
Discovery Could Lead to New Approaches for Boosting Blood Cell Counts

Much of human biology is a black box — scientists know the key players and the end results, but not how those outcomes come about. Consequently, it remains a mystery why some medications help patients. A new IRP study has cracked open the black box to reveal how high levels of an inflammatory molecule inhibit blood cell production in some individuals and why a particular medicine helps reverse this life-threatening condition.

Brandon Levy

Tech Tidbits From NIH History

1 week ago

Surrounded as we are with incredible technologies like supercomputers, MRI scanners, and smartphones, it's easy to forget that technologies viewed as antiquated today were once considered cutting-edge. Perhaps learning about some of the gadgets and technological concerns from NIH's past will help spark a greater appreciation for the wonderful gizmos that are spurring new scientific discoveries (and adorable cat memes) today. 

Michele Lyons

Symposium Shows Off NIH Graduate Students' Research

2 weeks 1 day ago

The NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, may have the look and feel of a university campus, but the world-renowned research institution does not grant credentials like an M.D. or Ph.D. Instead, the Graduate Partnerships Program offers graduate students from schools around the world the opportunity to complete research for their Ph.D. dissertations in IRP labs while pursuing advanced degrees from their ‘host’ institutions.

Brandon Levy

Cutting-Edge Technique Simultaneously Edits Multiple Genetic Targets

2 weeks 2 days ago
Alternative to CRISPR/Cas9 May Cause Fewer Undesired Changes

IRP researchers have always worked on the cutting edge of biomedical science, from testing the first successful treatment for childhood schizophrenia to pioneering the first screening technique for HIV. In a new study, an IRP team recently achieved yet another first: simultaneously editing two genetic sites in mice using a brand-new approach called base editing that may prove to be more precise – and therefore safer – than other gene editing methods.

Brandon Levy

Research Symposium Shows Off NIH Graduate Students

2 weeks 6 days ago

The NIH’s main campus in Bethesda, Maryland, may have the look and feel of a university campus, but the world-renowned research institution does not grant credentials like an M.D. or Ph.D. Instead, the Graduate Partnerships Program offers graduate students from schools around the world the opportunity to complete research for their Ph.D. dissertations in IRP labs while pursuing advanced degrees from their ‘host’ institutions.

Brandon Levy

Postbac Life: A Week in an IRP Lab

3 weeks 2 days ago

What does a postbac actually do in the NIH IRP? Maybe you have an image of someone mixing colorful chemicals together like a mad scientist (which sometimes isn’t too far from the truth).

Although I am not creating any diabolical concoctions, I am kept quite busy running tests to examine whether our treatments reverse the effects of lung fibrosis, a thickening and scarring of lung tissue. Here’s what a typical week looks like for me.

Lindsey Jay

Lab-Designed Virus Shows Promise for Inner Ear Gene Therapy

1 month ago
Delivery Method Could Eventually Help Correct Mutations That Cause Hearing Loss

Most people probably think of viruses as villains that bring illnesses like measles, HIV, and the flu, but some viruses are proving to be valuable allies in the fight against genetic diseases. In a new study, a team of scientists from the NIH IRP and their colleagues showed the promise of a lab-designed virus for delivering gene therapies aimed at correcting hereditary hearing loss.

Brandon Levy

Let's Have Some Fun with NIH History

1 month 1 week ago

I've spent the last couple months scouring the NIH archives for the most interesting trivia tidbits I could find. Now you can entertain your colleagues and friends with these 10 fun facts about NIH!

 

1) Native Americans camped along the stream on the east side of campus beginning about 3,000 years ago. They left choppers, arrow heads, and other material evidence behind.

Michele Lyons

Supercomputing Pushes Pregnancy Research Forward

1 month 2 weeks ago

Virtually all parents would agree that having kids is a massive undertaking, and not just after they’re born. Many couples struggle to conceive, and each year thousands of American women experience complications when giving birth. With the help of the NIH’s state-of-the-art supercomputer, Biowulf, IRP senior investigator Rajeshwari Sundaram, Ph.D., develops and refines statistical  tools that can guide prospective parents and their doctors through these challenges.

Brandon Levy

Cholesterol Molecule Yields Insights Into Distressed Lungs

1 month 2 weeks ago
Potential biomarker may contribute to personalized treatments

Until recently, medical treatment has largely been one-size-fits-all, with doctors unable to separate patients into distinct groups that might benefit more or less from a particular approach. However, researchers are increasingly finding that individuals with the same disease can differ markedly in ways that might one day influence their care. A recent IRP study has identified a particular molecule that may have just such an impact for patients with damaged lungs.

Brandon Levy

Supercomputing Pushes Forward Pregnancy Research

1 month 3 weeks ago

Virtually all parents would agree that having kids is a massive undertaking, and not just after they’re born. Many couples struggle to conceive, and each year thousands of American women experience complications when giving birth. With the help of the NIH’s state-of-the-art supercomputer, Biowulf, IRP senior investigator Rajeshwari Sundaram, Ph.D., develops and refines statistical  tools that can guide prospective parents and their doctors through these challenges.

Brandon Levy

Postbac Life: Wading Into Drug Discovery Research

1 month 3 weeks ago

“That machine? You’re gonna have to get up close and personal with it,” Josh, my fellow postbac, told me. I looked at this small metal contraption and nodded, trying to appear as if I understood, while thinking: he just means that people spend so much time sectioning organs on the microtome that it’s like spending an extended amount of time with a loved one, right?

Fast forward a few days, and I find myself breathing warm, moist air onto a paraffin-embedded mouse lung to soften the wax, just before I slice four-micrometer sections of mouse lung tissue that will later be stained and examined under a microscope. “He wasn’t kidding,” I muttered.

Lindsey Jay

Cutting Calories Combats Aging Arteries

1 month 4 weeks ago

While many people think staving off aging means drinking seaweed smoothies and swallowing fish oil supplements, the key to extending life increasingly appears to be not putting things in our mouths. In yet another example of the anti-aging powers of eating less — what scientists call caloric restriction — IRP researchers have identified the specific aging-induced cellular and molecular changes in arteries that are curbed by substantially reducing calorie intake.

Brandon Levy

What's It Like Arriving on NIH's Bethesda Campus?

2 months 1 week ago

We recently sat down with a handful of NIH IRP researchers and support staff to talk about what it’s like to work in the IRP. These meetings between mostly strangers who work at the same massive research campus near Washington, D.C., highlight a wonderful quality of the IRP: Everywhere you go, there are numerous other people who share a love of science and a drive to improve human health, yet also come from markedly different backgrounds and offer wide-ranging perspectives. IRP researchers who reach out to learn from their diverse colleagues and share their thoughts and experiences often find new collaborators and other rewards.

IRP Staff Blogger

Experimental Therapy Reverses Neurological Effects of Malaria

2 months 1 week ago

For Americans and others living outside the tropics, a mosquito bite is nothing more than an itchy inconvenience, but for billions of others, it can lead to a life-or-death battle with malaria. In some cases, the illness can wreak havoc on the brain. A new IRP study has used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to demonstrate that an investigational therapy can reverse that damage in mice.

Brandon Levy

Diversity Video: Coming to the NIH

2 months 1 week ago

We recently sat down with a handful of NIH IRP researchers and support staff to talk about what it’s like to work in the IRP. These meetings between mostly strangers who work at the same massive research campus near Washington, D.C., highlight a wonderful quality of the IRP: Everywhere you go, there are numerous other people who share a love of science and a drive to improve human health, yet also come from markedly different backgrounds and offer wide-ranging perspectives. IRP researchers who reach out to learn from their diverse colleagues and share their thoughts and experiences often find new collaborators and other rewards.

IRP Staff Blogger

What's New In the NIH Archives

2 months 2 weeks ago

The waning weeks of 2018 were busy ones in the Office of NIH History. We're constantly receiving and cataloguing new donations of historic equipment, images, publications, and more. It’s time to see what our donors have given us lately!


"I thought why could you not invert the concept? Instead of laying down hundreds or thousands of probes, how about laying down hundreds or thousands of tissue spots and probing them one antibody or gene probe at a time," remembers Dr. Juha Kononen of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) about his idea that led to this prototype manual microarray. Tissue array technology performs rapid molecular profiling of hundreds of normal and pathological tissue specimens or cultured cells. Dr. Kononen worked with Drs. Olli Kallioniemi and Stephen B. Leighton to design this tissue microarray which was initially used in the Cancer Genomics Branch. Now, the National Cancer Institute's Tissue Array Research Program (TARP) develops and distributes multi-tumor tissue microarray slides to cancer researchers based on this technology. The quote comes from a 2002 article published in The Scientist.


 

Michele Lyons

Science by the Numbers: Modeling Complex Biological Processes

3 months ago

Science is a process of trial and error. Most successful research publications are preceded by at least a few false starts and perhaps weeks or even months of tinkering to get experiments to work. For IRP senior investigator Carson Chow, Ph.D., this process of testing and throwing out one potential solution after another is an essential part of his research, so much so that he may go through thousands of iterations before arriving at one that works. However, rather than test each approach himself, he leverages the IRP’s considerable computing power to considerably accelerate the process of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Brandon Levy

Science by the Numbers

3 months ago

Science is a process of trial and error. Most successful research publications are preceded by at least a few false starts and perhaps weeks or even months of tinkering to get experiments to work. For IRP senior investigator Carson Chow, Ph.D., this process of testing and throwing out one potential solution after another is an essential part of his research, so much so that he may go through thousands of iterations before arriving at one that works. However, rather than test each approach himself, he leverages the IRP’s considerable computing power to considerably accelerate the process of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

Brandon Levy

Life of a Postbac: My Experience Joining the NIH Family

3 months 1 week ago

It was picture day, and I sat stiffly in front of a wrinkly blue curtain, nervously patting my hair into place. “You can smile, but just make sure no teeth are showing,” the person taking my picture told me. I laughed at that, and she also laughed, adding, “Everyone gets a good chuckle out of that one,” as she snapped my photo. A few days later, I picked up my photo, printed (not so) nicely with a vertical stripe running down my face. I didn’t even notice. I thought, this is real, as I proudly held up my official NIH ID badge.

Lindsey Jay