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

1 week 1 día 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

1 week 2 días 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

1 week 2 días 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 weeks 2 días 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

4 weeks 2 días 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

1 mes 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

1 mes 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

Diabetes Drug Helps Patients by Modifying the Microbiome

1 mes ago

The more scientists have learned about the community of benign bacteria inside our bodies, known as the microbiome, the more effort they have put into recruiting it in the fight against disease. What’s more, scientists occasionally discover that treatments long thought to work completely independently of our native microbes also relieve symptoms by interacting with them. New IRP research into the most commonly used medication for type 2 diabetes has led to just such a revelation by demonstrating that its benefits stem in part from its ability to kill off a particular species of bacteria in the human digestive tract.

Brandon Levy

Three Billion Base Pairs vs. One Powerful Computer

1 mes 2 weeks ago

 

The human genome comprises roughly three billion base pairs and around 20,000 protein-coding genes, according to recent estimates. That’s a lot of information crammed into the tiny nucleus of a cell, and it doesn’t even include the many genes that do not produce a protein or the fact that most genes come in multiple flavors that vary in different individuals. Add to that the phenomenon of an identical gene being either more or less active in two different people and you can quickly end up with genomic datasets that would overload nearly any computer. Fortunately for IRP senior investigator Daniel Levy, M.D., the NIH IRP has one of the few computer systems in the world that can handle this mountain of information.

Brandon Levy

Shedding Light on the Deep Darkness of Depression

2 meses ago

In 2016, more than one in twenty American adults and one in ten adolescents experienced at least one major depressive episode. For nearly 45,000 of these individuals, their condition was severe enough that it led them to take their own lives. Unfortunately, the medications currently available to treat depression are not always effective and can take up to six weeks to substantially reduce symptoms.

To improve treatment and accelerate symptom relief, IRP senior investigator Carlos Zarate Jr., M.D., is working towards the development of new medications for depression, along with the identification of new drug targets and objective measures called biomarkers that yield information about how a patient is responding to treatment. In recent years, his lab has extensively investigated and assessed the effects of the anesthetic drug ketamine on depression and suicidal thoughts. Many of the patients in his trials have had marked and rapid responses to ketamine, sometimes within a single day or just a couple of hours. 

On Tuesday, November 13, Dr. Zarate participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) to answer questions from the public about the way depression is currently treated and the latest efforts to develop cutting-edge therapies for the condition. Read on for some of the most interesting exchanges that took place or check out the full AMA on Reddit.

Brandon Levy

Smartphone Apps Show Promise for Assessing Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

2 meses ago

The three-quarters of Americans who own a smartphone use them not just for communicating but also keeping a calendar, playing games, scouring the Internet for funny cat memes, and — soon — maybe even evaluating their neurological health. A new study conducted by IRP and University of Maryland researchers has confirmed the potential of smartphone apps for gauging symptoms of the neurological disease multiple sclerosis.

Brandon Levy

Remembering IRP Scientists Who Gave Their Lives for Their Work

2 meses 1 week ago

Scientific research is not all writing grants, giving presentations, and publishing papers. There are real risks to probing the secrets of biology, and sometimes scientists lose their lives during the course of their work. In honor of Veterans Day, we woud like to commemorate NIH staff who made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of knowledge that can help us prevent and treat diseases that impact so many lives.

Michele Lyons

Ultrasound-Based Technique Produces Fertile Ground for Therapeutic Stem Cells

2 meses 2 weeks ago

 

Every good gardener knows the importance of fertilizing the soil before planting seeds, and evidence is accumulating that a similar concept applies to the human body when it comes to experimental stem cell therapies. A new IRP study has uncovered how a medical technology called pulsed-focused ultrasound boosts the healing potency of a particular stem cell treatment.

Brandon Levy

Star-Shaped Brain Cells May Contribute to Marijuana Addiction

3 meses ago

The recent spate of state laws legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes has prompted concerns that increased marijuana use will boost the number of people who become dependent on and abuse the drug, a condition known as cannabis use disorder (CUD). Treating the growing number of patients with CUD will require a greater understanding of how chronic marijuana use can lead to addiction. New IRP research has revealed that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes may play a role in the pleasurable effects of marijuana and contribute to the drug’s addictive properties.

Brandon Levy

CRISPR Pioneer Jennifer Doudna Headlines NHGRI 25th Anniversary Celebration

3 meses 1 week ago

It seems like every day there is a new story in a prominent news outlet about the revolutionary gene-editing approach known as CRISPR/Cas9. What these reports often fail to mention is all the scientific discoveries that paved the way for that groundbreaking technology, including the key contributions of government scientists working in the Intramural Research Program of NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Last week, the NHGRI IRP celebrated its 25th anniversary with a day-long symposium headlined by a keynote from the co-discoverer of CRISPR/Cas9, University of California, Berkeley professor Dr. Jennifer Doudna.

Brandon Levy

Let’s Collaborate! 10 Elements for Building Successful Teams

3 meses 2 weeks ago

What attracts talented scientists to the IRP? And, once they are here, why do they stay? One major factor is the proximity to brilliant colleagues and collaborative relationships across the spectrum of biomedical research.

 

Seeking to understand the key elements that contribute to successful team science, we studied a number of NIH research teams to discover the secrets of their success. The results are examined in the second edition of Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide, which contains new insights from individuals, teams, and organizations around the world.

What are the 10 Elements of Successful Teams? Read on to find out.

L. Michelle Bennett, Christophe Marchand