In the race for better treatments and possible cures, rare diseases are often left behind. In a collaboration of researchers at The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the New York Genome Center, an unusual mutation has been found that is strongly linked to one such disease: a rare liver cancer that affects teens and young adults. More »
December 6, 2013
Pearl Meister Greengard prize winner followed a gut feeling for 16 years
“Pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist Huda Y. Zoghbi won Rockefeller University’s 10th annual Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, which on Thursday night she attributed in part to following ‘a gut feeling.’ For 16 years, she tracked down a gene mutation that causes Rett Syndrome, a form of autism that only affects girls. None of her male colleagues supported her hunch that Rett Syndrome could be a genetic disorder.”
This week’s announcement that two physicists have received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of the Higgs boson is also a victory for thousands of scientists, including several from Rockefeller, who worked to collect data and analyze results from particle collisions. More »
A collaboration between researchers in Hermann Steller’s Strang Laboratory of Apoptosis and Cancer Biology and Elaine Fuchs’s Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development has revealed a new function for a gene previously shown to prevent stem cells from turning cancerous. The gene, Sept4/ARTS, has now been shown to regulate programmed death in skin stem cells, a finding that may have implications for wound healing, regeneration and cancer. More »
Casanova, whose research established for the first time that a predisposition to infectious diseases in children can be genetically determined, has been named one of 27 new investigators with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His appointment brings the total number of Rockefeller scientists supported by HHMI to 16. More »
An international team of scientists led by Rockefeller University researchers has identified the defective gene responsible for a rare disorder in which children are born without a spleen, which makes them susceptible to life-threatening bacterial infections early in life. The findings may lead to new diagnostic tests and raises new questions about the role of this gene in the body’s protein-making machinery. More »
April 2, 2013
Obama to Unveil Initiative to Map the Human Brain
President Obama on Tuesday will announce a research initiative, starting with $100 million in 2014, to invent and refine new technologies to understand the human brain. Rockefeller's Cori Bargmann will help lead a study of the brain in action.
February 21, 2013
How Stress Gets Under the Skin: Q&A With Neuroscientist Bruce McEwen
In a Q&A for Time Magazine, RU’s Bruce McEwen counters the notion that all stress is bad, and says some individuals are genetically inclined to thrive in a stressful environment.
February 20, 2013 |science news
Cori Bargmann, Titia de Lange win inaugural Breakthrough Prizes worth $3 million
Two Rockefeller University scientists are among 11 winners of the first annual Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, an award established by six tech entrepreneurs dedicated to advancing breakthrough research. At $3 million each, the prizes are worth more than twice the amount of the Nobel. They were created to recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extended human life.
Administered by a new non-profit organization, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation, the prize is founded by Art Levinson, chairman of the board of Apple and former CEO of Genentech; Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google Inc.; Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe; Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, and his wife Pricilla Chan; and Yuri Milner, founder of the Russian internet company Mail.ru.
January 26, 2013
Scarred for life? The biology of childhood hardship
“Elsewhere, research by one of us, Bruce McEwen, has closed in on how pre- and postnatal stress affects a complex set of interactions between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands (the HPA axis). These are all part of the body’s neuroendocrine system, which controls our reactions to stress and regulates many things, including digestion, the immune system, emotions, sexuality and the storage and expenditure of energy.”
November 28, 2012 |campus news
Robert Darnell named president of New York Genome Center
Darnell will direct all aspects of the NYGC, including its scientific and research activities, and the recruitment and development of a world-class scientific team in genomic research and medicine. Founded in 2010, the NYGC will be one of the largest genomics research facilities in North America, integrating sequencing, bioinformatics and data management.
October 25, 2012 |science news
Neurotransmitters linked to mating behavior are shared by mammals and worms
New research from Rockefeller University has shown that chemicals in the brain — neuropeptides known as vasopressin and oxytocin — play a role in coordinating mating and reproductive behavior in animals ranging from humans to fish to invertebrates.
October 20, 2012
Cuddle Your Kid!
Columnist Nicholas Kristof writes in support of parents showing physical affection toward their children, citing studies of rat families conducted by Michael Meaney, a McGill University neurologist and former RU postdoc.
September 28, 2012
Have Researchers Found the 'Mom Gene'?
'Good Morning America' segment highlights new RU 'Mom Gene' study.
September 25, 2012
'Mom gene' discovered in mice: Do you have it?
Researchers at RU have identified a gene, which could be responsible for a woman's maternal feelings towards her children.
July 1, 2012
Sweet Smell of Success
With persistence and pluck, Leslie Vosshall managed to snatch insect odorant receptors from the jaws of experimental defeat.
June 14, 2012 |awards and honors
Vanessa Ruta named Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences
Vanessa Ruta, head of the Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Behavior, has been chosen as a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences by The Pew Charitable Trusts. She is among twenty-two early-career researchers who are being honored for showing outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health.
July 2, 2012
Waging a losing war against mosquitoes
"We had no winter in the Northeast this year, and so there’s a lot of predictions from mosquito control experts that we’re going to have a really huge season of high populations of mosquitoes, and so with that, more disease transmission,” said Leslie Vosshall, who runs Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior in New York City. Along with her staff, she’s trying to find out exactly how mosquitoes hunt humans."
May 31, 2012 |awards and honors
Cornelia Bargmann receives Kavli Prize in Neuroscience
Bargmann is among the first women scientists to receive the prize, which is awarded biennially for outstanding achievement in advancing our knowledge and understanding of the brain and nervous system.
May 20, 2012
Out for Blood
“‘They’re hunters,’ says Leslie Vosshall, the Robin Chemers Neustein Professor at the Rockefeller University of New York, an expert on the science of smell and someone who is not afraid to put her arm into a chamber of mosquitoes and get bitten a lot. ‘And they’ve adapted to be very sensitive to the smell of their prey, be it birds or humans.’”
May 15, 2012 |awards and honors
Vanessa Ruta honored with McKnight Scholar Award
Vanessa Ruta, assistant professor at The Rockefeller University and head of the Laboratory of Neurophysiology and Behavior, has been honored with a McKnight Scholar Award for her research on the functional organization of the neural circuits underlying olfactory learning. The 2012 awards, presented by the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, were given to six early-career scientists who have established their own independent laboratories and who have demonstrated a commitment to neuroscience.
May 4, 2012 |awards and honors
American Philosophical Society elects Cori Bargmann to membership
Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at The Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society in the biological sciences. The Society elects new members each year who have shown extraordinary accomplishments in their fields. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, it is the United States’ first learned society, and unique among its peers for the wide variety of academic disciplines represented by its membership.
April 9, 2012 |awards and honors
Cori Bargmann honored with Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award
Cori Bargmann, head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, is being recognized for her work in deciphering the neural networks that define individual and group behaviors. The Dart/NYU Biotechnology Achievement Award recognizes the role of pure science in the development of pharmaceuticals and honors those scientists whose work has led to major advances to improving care provided at the patient’s bedside.
March 28, 2012
'Towering Figures' in Cell Research to Share America's Most Distinguished Prize in Medicine
Two New York City scientists whose pioneering achievements in understanding how our genes are regulated and expressed have helped medical professionals and researchers improve health and combat diseases are the recipients of the 12th annual Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. The two recipients, both from The Rockefeller University, will share the $500,000 award, the largest in medicine and science in the United States. They are: James E. Darnell Jr., M.D., who is considered the "father" of RNA processing and cytokine signaling, and; Robert G. Roeder, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of gene transcription in animal cells.
March 21, 2012 |awards and honors
Jeffrey V. Ravetch and Michael W. Young to receive Canada Gairdner International Awards
The Gairdner Foundation is recognizing Jeffrey V. Ravetch for his work demonstrating how our immune system can be both protective and harmful and Michael W. Young for his nearly three decades of research on circadian rhythms, the biological clocks that regulate our bodies' patterns of sleep and wakefulness, metabolism and response to disease. The Gairdner, which is Canada's highest scientific award, is considered among the top ten most prestigious international prizes in science. The scientists will each receive $100,000 from the Gairdner Foundation.
March 19, 2012 |awards and honors
Marc Tessier-Lavigne to receive Friesen International Prize
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne will receive the Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research, established by the Friends of Canadian Institutes of Health Research in collaboration with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences to recognize exceptional innovation by a visionary health leader of international stature.
March 15, 2012 |awards and honors
Titia de Lange to receive Heineken Prize
De Lange is honored for her work on telomeres, the protective DNA sequences located at the tips of chromosomes which play a crucial role in such processes as ageing and cancer.
March 1, 2012 |awards and honors
Elaine Fuchs to receive 2012 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology
The award recognizes Fuchs's contributions to our understanding of skin biology and skin stem cells, including discoveries that have led to advancements in treating skin cancer and severe burns.
February 27, 2012 |grants and gifts
$15 million gift from Helmsley Trust to fund research on digestive diseases
Funds will establish a new center, to be known as the Center for Basic and Translational Research on Disorders of the Digestive System, which will support interdisciplinary basic research and foster collaborations among some 20 Rockefeller labs that study biological processes related to the digestive system.
February 24, 2012
Charlie Rose: The Cost of Alzheimer's
In this three-minute video clip from last night's episode of Charlie Rose Brain Series 2, titled "Generalized Defects in Cognition," Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Eric Kandel were featured prominently. The full discussion aired on Charlie Rose.
view full episode
December 1, 2011
The story of a group of high school students who, with the help of a Rockefeller University researcher, conducted and published studies on the biological provenance of sushi and teas from around New York City.
November 9, 2011
The Two Year Window
The new science of babies and brains—and how it could revolutionize the fight against poverty. P&S Faculty Advisor, Bruce McEwen, is quoted.
November 3, 2011 |campus news
University joins 10 leading medical and research institutions to form New York Genome Center
The New York Genome Center, which will become one of the largest genomic facilities in North America, will begin operations as early as spring 2012 in its 120,000 square foot Manhattan facility
October 24, 2011
Can humanity handle the unprecedented rise in population? In this op-ed pieceRockefeller professor, Dr. Joel E. Cohen, calls for global investments in children, stressing the importance of pre-natal and early childhood care as well as access to good nutrition.
October 17, 2011 |&honors and awards
Marc Tessier-Lavigne elected to Institute of Medicine
A world leader in the study of brain development, Tessier-Lavigne has pioneered the identification of the molecules that direct the formation of connections among nerve cells to establish neuronal circuits in the mammalian brain and spinal cord. Tessier-Lavigne is among 65 new members and five foreign associates elected to the Institute this year.
October 3, 2011 |&honors and awards
Rockefeller University scientist Ralph Steinman, honored today with Nobel Prize for discovery of dendritic cells, dies at 68
Rockefeller University cell biologist Ralph M. Steinman, who discovered the immune system's sentinel dendritic cells and demonstrated that science can fruitfully harness the power of these cells and other components of the immune system to curb infections and other communicable diseases, is this year's recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, announced today. He shares half the prize with Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann.
September 20, 2011 | gifts and grants
Papavasiliou and Stavropoulos receive "transformative" NIH grant
Rockefeller University's Nina Papavasiliou will receive a grant from the National Institutes of Health under a program designed to encourage high-risk, high impact research. The grant will fund efforts to develop new ways of engineering therapeutic antibodies that could lead to novel vaccines for a number of communicable diseases ranging from HIV to flu as well as non-communicable diseases, such as various cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and drug addiction.
September 19, 2011
Across town at the Rockefeller University, the new science facility, by Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, exists for no other purpose than to bring people out of isolation. It's an addendum, a voluptuous glass link, seven stories high, interposed between two preexisting laboratory buildings. You enter what appears to be a modest lobby, and ahead of you the space opens up, Guggenheim-like, into an atrium whose floorplan is elliptical and whose side elevation is shaped like an hourglass. Everything about this unusual building tells you that scientific research can be conducted in an environment of both zest and dignity
July 22, 2011 | grants and gifts
Rockefeller University receives $36.1 million to help translate science into cures
Rockefeller University's Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS), a center aimed at accelerating the pace of translating science into real-life solutions for patients, has received $36.1 million from the National Institutes of Health to expand its work over the next five years. The CCTS is among 10 institutes nationwide to receive the renewed funding, in recognition of their successes during the first five years of the NIH's Clinical and Translational Science Awards program.
July 21, 2011
DNA testing by high school students shows many teas contain unlisted ingredients
Unlisted ingredients identified by DNA barcoding technology include weeds such as annual bluegrass and herbal plants such as chamomile. Though mostly harmless, the surprise ingredients could affect a tiny minority of consumers with acute allergies.
July 5, 2011
Less-Educated Women Have More Children. Or Is It the Other Way Around?
It makes sense that education would impede childbearing. In nearly every country, women with more education tend to have fewer children than less-educated mothers. But new research, led by Rockefeller's Joel Cohen, suggests it may actually work the other way around: having more children hamstrings women's education.
May 18, 2011 | science news
Genes help worms decide where to dine
A recent study by Rockefeller University researchers identifies natural variations in several genes that help determine when and where microscopic C. Elegans worms feast. The impact of the gene variants on the worms' foraging behavior was the most significant in borderline decisions, the researchers says, when the bacteria available to eat were neither scarce nor plentiful.
May 5, 2011 | honors and awards
Jean-Laurent Casanova honored with Belgium's highest scientific prize
Jean-Laurent Casanova has received the 2011 InBev-Baillet Latour Health Prize, Belgium's most important scientific prize, for his pioneering work on the identification of genes that predispose for human infectious disease.
May 3, 2011 | honors and awards
Michel C. Nussenzweig elected to National Academy of Sciences
Michel C. Nussenzweig, Sherman Fairchild Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences at the Academy's annual meeting today, in recognition of his deep contributions to our understanding of the workings of the innate and adaptive immune systems.
April 27, 2011
To tell different wines apart, a good memory is required,' says Leslie Vosshall, a professor at Rockefeller University. 'It would be like going to a museum where someone shows you 10 paintings and then you have to express some preference about them. It would help if you could say, well in the first painting, I really liked the way the skirts were painted, and in the second, the facial expressions were really good.
April 25, 2011 | science news
Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce effectiveness of SSRI antidepressants
Scientists have shown that anti-inflammatory drugs, which include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen, reduce the effectiveness of the most widely used class of antidepressant medications, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, often prescribed for depression and obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders.
April 4, 2011 | science news
Researchers put potent staph killer to the test, hope for new drug treatment
The ever escalating war between evolving bacteria and antibiotics could be taking a promising turn in favor of the humans. Scientists have genetically engineered a powerful killer of one of the most dangerous bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It's been tested on MRSA in the test tube, on infections in mice and a clinically trial has begun to probe its ability to kill MRSA infected cells from psoriasis lesions in people. Next up, per the recommendation of the FDA, is a test in minipigs. "It's the start of a new class of drugs," says the lead researcher, and early signs suggest it's stronger than anything of its kind currently on the market.
March 29, 2011 | honors and awards
Bruce S. McEwen to receive Scolnick Prize for research on brain hormones
Bruce S. McEwen, a pioneer in understanding how hormones affect the brain, will receive the 2011 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience from the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. McEwen is being honored for research on how hormones affect the brain's structure, how they shape responses to stress, how they contribute to sexual differences and how they affect our health and well-being.
March 25, 2011 | science news
Bullying alters brain chemistry, leads to anxiety
Bruce S. McEwen, a pioneer in understanding how hormones affect the brain, will receive the 2011 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience from the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. McEwen is being honored for research on how hormones affect the brain's structure, how they shape responses to stress, how they contribute to sexual differences and how they affect our health and well-being.
March 16, 2011 | campus news
Marc Tessier-Lavigne becomes Rockefeller's tenth president
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, a leading neuroscientist and the former chief scientific officer of Genentech, takes over as president of The Rockefeller University today, replacing Paul Nurse, who has left to become president of the Royal Society in London.
January 20, 2011
LHS Senior Daniel Kramer Named Intel Semifinalist
Daniel Kramer earned a semifinalist spot in prestigious Intel Science Talent Search science research competition after spending the past summer conducting research at Rockefeller University under the guidance of Alex Proekt, a visiting fellow in Donald Pfaff's laboratory.
January 18, 2011 | science news
Research shows when stem cell descendants lose their versatility
The precocious progenitors of every cell in the body — stem cells — have commitment issues. They must remain unattached to maintain the versatility they need to respond to injuries, regenerate tissues and do their other jobs. New research defines the point at which a developing lineage of hair follicle stem cells do settle down, however, and commit to their mission to grow new hair. The findings also reflect a new concept in stem cell biology: that the newly specialized cells send signals back to the stem cells from which they originated, regulating their behavior.
January 11, 2011
"Donald Pfaff, a professor at the Rockefeller University, provides some interesting context for the battle of the sexes. His main idea is that the sex differences in our brains and our behavior are caused by X and Y chromosomes, hormones and the environment. For instance, testosterone can trigger male aggression, but a different cocktail of hormones reliably incites females to protect their young — by violent means, if necessary."
January 10, 2011
"Modern society has resulted in a round-the-clock lifestyle, in which natural connections between rest-activity cycles and environmental light-dark cycles have been degraded or even broken," wrote researchers led by neuroscientist Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University in a Dec. 11 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study. "However, the ramifications of chronic disruption of the circadian clock for mental and physical health are not understood."
December 29, 2010
"The story of sex determination starts with DNA, since your genes launch you onto a male or female trajectory. But as Donald Pfaff explains, if for any reason your hormones fail to follow suit, you can grow up assuming the other gender. Even if your genes and hormones are in synch, environmental factors can reroute the gender train. ... What's more, the process of sex determination is not over by birth, but continues into life, up to and including puberty. And, when it comes to humans and sex, variety is infinite."
November 12, 2010 | campus news
New Rockefeller University lab building opens
The Collaborative Research Center, a 125,000 square foot, $500 million building designed specifically to help foster scientific collaboration and encourage interactions between scientists, has opened on Rockefeller's campus.
October 14, 2010 | science news
Gene identified that prevents stem cells from turning cancerous
Stem cells have tremendous regenerative power, but their potency can also be lethal. Now researchers have identified a gene that prevents stem cells from turning into tumors in mice by regulating the process of programmed cell death, or apoptosis. The work is the first to show that interfering with the programmed death of stem cells can have fatal consequences.
October 11, 2010
"One of the most striking new buildings to be completed in Manhattan this year is hidden from public view. On the gated campus of Rockefeller University between York Avenue and the East River, a renovated research center includes a new building with a curving, five-story glass facade that leans forward like the side of an inverted cone. The new glass building is the centerpiece of the Collaborative Research Center, a $380 million renovation effort that grew out of years of deliberation over how to modernize the historic university's research facilities."
October 11, 2010 | honors and awards
Two Rockefeller scientists elected to Institute of Medicine
Rockefeller University scientists Robert B. Darnell, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-oncology, and Titia de Lange, head of the Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics, have been elected to the Institute of Medicine, the health and medicine branch of the National Academy of Sciences.
September 21, 2010 | honors and awards
Jeffrey M. Friedman receives Albert Lasker Award for discovery of leptin
This year's Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the most prestigious American prize in science, honors Rockefeller University's Jeffrey M. Friedman, who discovered leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and body weight.
September 9, 2010
"The No. 2 research official at Genentech will become the next president of Rockefeller University, in the first departure from the company's top scientific ranks since its acquisition by Roche in March 2009. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who is executive vice president for research and the chief scientific officer at Genentech, will become the first president of Rockefeller University to come from industry, Russell L. Carson, the chairman of the university's board of trustees, said in an interview Wednesday."
September 8, 2010 | campus news
Marc Tessier-Lavigne named Rockefeller University's tenth president
The university's Board of Trustees has elected Tessier-Lavigne to succeed Paul Nurse on March 11, 2011. A leader in the study of brain development, he is currently executive vice president for research and chief scientific officer at Genentech, one the world's leading biotech companies.
August 9, 2010 | campus news
Ted Scovell named director of university's science outreach program
A former high school teacher himself, Scovell works to give new generations of young scientists access to the facilities — and mentors —that can take them well beyond the frogs and earthworms of their high school classrooms.
July 27, 2010 | science news
Protein found to control the early migration of neurons
Long before our nervous system is able to see, smell, touch, hear or speak, the earliest neurons that make it up must be precisely guided to the proper layers in the developing brain. Exactly how this early neuron migration happens has been elusive, but a better understanding of it could lead to insight into myriad developmental problems, including autism and schizophrenia. New research identifies a gene that works behind-the-scenes to control a closely related adhesion gene that helps keep young neurons on the right track.
July 2, 2010 | science news
New HIV vaccine trial first to target dendritic cells
HIV has been able to outmaneuver every vaccine that's been tried on the virus since it was first discovered in 1981. But no vaccine has yet to directly employ what is arguably the most powerful weapon the human immune system, the dendritic cells that orchestrate the body's response to infection. Now that's about to change. Researchers at Rockefeller University, where dendritic cells were discovered in 1973, are building on decades worth of research to launch a novel vaccine trial in hopes of mustering an immune response strong enough to defeat the deadly virus. It's the first clinical trial of a dendritic cell based vaccine against infection, and researchers hope it will mark a turning point in the battle against AIDS.
June 18, 2010 | science news
New research shows how experience shapes the brain's circuitry
The adult brain, long considered to be fixed in its wiring, is remarkably dynamic, according to new research by Rockefeller University scientists. The finding explains how the circuitry of a region of the mouse brain called the somatosensory cortex, which processes input from the various systems in the body that respond to the sense of touch, is continually modified by experience.
June 18, 2010 | appointments and promotions
Microbiologist to join Rockefeller faculty
Rockefeller's newest faculty member is Luciano Marraffini, a microbiologist who studies how bacterial pathogens modulate the transfer of foreign DNA into their genomes. His work sheds light on how bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus evolve, including how they gain the ability to resist antibiotic drugs.
May 25, 2010 | honors and awards
Donald W. Pfaff and Bruce S. McEwen will share 2010 Foundation Ipsen Neuronal Plasticity Prize
Donald W. Pfaff and Bruce S. McEwen share the 2010 Foundation Ipsen Neuronal Plasticity Prize for their studies on the neuroendocrine control of behavior. The French foundation presents the award to researchers who publish remarkable, pioneering studies.
May 12, 2010 | grants and gifts
Rockefeller immunologist receives Gates Foundation Grand Challenges grant
Jean-Laurent Casanova will launch a new project aimed at understanding how a collection of genetically diverse errors in immunity leads to susceptibility to tuberculosis in children under 15 years old.
April 23, 2010 | campus news
Paul Nurse to resign as Rockefeller president to become president of Royal Society of London in December
Paul Nurse, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist, has served as Rockefeller University's president since 2003.
April 21, 2010 | honors and awards
Titia de Lange receives AACR Clowes Award
Titia de Lange is the 50th annual recipient of the American Association of Cancer Research's award to an individual with outstanding recent accomplishments in basic cancer research.
March 29, 2010
"Children, Elaine Fuchs says, have a natural fascination with science. She remembers that she did. 'I think like many of the children in our world, I got interested in science just from having a butterfly net and from having a few strainers and some boots and going down to the streams and creeks and being out in the fields,' says Fuchs."
March 27, 2010
"Forget the sweet smell of success. When it comes to scents in the city, New Yorkers rank vanilla as the most pleasant. That's according to Dr. Leslie Vosshall, who led a five-year study of what smells please or annoy New Yorkers, how we interpret odors and 'how does smell affect our daily experiences.' Isovaleric acid — the odor of sweaty socks — has the baddest bouquet, according to New Yorkers who rank it as the least pleasant essence. They also find the smell of buttered popcorn 'pretty unpleasant,' Vosshall said."
March 23, 2010 | books
New book by population biologist asks why we educate children
Rockefeller University's Joel E. Cohen hopes to launch an international conversation on the rationales for educating children, informed by diverse perspectives on why education should be a goal at all
March 14, 2010
"Why do some people succumb to whatever illness is going around while other soldier on, seemingly unaffected? It's all in the genes. Research from the Rockefeller University in New York presented at the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia annual conference recently revealed a strong genetic link to a person's ability to survive infection. 'There is solid evidence which shows that during the course of an infection some people remain asymptomatic, while others may end up with a life-threatening disease,' said pediatrician and immunologist Jean-Laurent Casanova. 'That is to do with a number of known factors, such as family background and the population the person is living in. However, now we have proven the genetic link, too.'"
March 10, 2010 | science news
Scientists track variant of gene-regulating protein in embryonic stem cells
The path to fully developed cells from embryonic stem cells requires that the right genes are turned on and off at the right times. New research from Rockefeller University shows that tiny variations between gene-regulating histone proteins play an important role in determining how and when genes are read. The finding shows that each region of the genome may be even more specialized than previously expected and may open a new avenue of investigation regarding the mysterious causes of the human genetic disease known as ATR-X syndrome.
February 22, 2010 | science news
Mouse model reveals a cause of ADHD
New research in a mouse model of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder suggests that the root of the psychiatric disorder might be the over-activity of a protein that regulates the brain's reward-motivation system. The work suggests a path toward new treatments for symptoms including inattentiveness, over-activity and impulsivity.
February 9, 2010 | science news
Research identifies gene with likely role in premenstrual disorder
Some women are especially sensitive to the natural flux of hormones in the menstrual cycle. New research points to a gene that likely influences how women respond to swings in estrogen levels and could help diagnose and treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a condition marked by extreme mood swings and irritability. The work also provides insight into the historically understudied area of medically relevant differences between men and women.
January 27, 2010 | science news
Brain arousal heightens sexual activity in male mice
Ever since the dawn of time, teenage boys have been defined by their sexual urges. Stereotype or not, the same fate has now befallen male mice. In new research that harkens back to those awkward high school moments and uncomfortable coming-of-age memories, scientists now show that male mice genetically selected for high levels of nervous energy act like sex-crazed teenage boys: highly motivated, but awkward and inefficient.
January 8, 2010 | science news
Loss of epigenetic regulators causes mental retardation
New findings, published in recent issues of Neuron and Science, indicate that malfunction of a protein complex that normally suppresses gene activation causes mental retardation in mice and humans and may even play a role in promoting susceptibility to drug addiction.
December 26, 2009
"Few of Brenda Tan's classmates at Trinity School in Manhattan understood what she was doing when she went around requesting a single strand of hair from each of them. But after subjecting the hair to DNA testing and research, she was able to repay their trust with a reassuring conclusion. 'They were all human,' Ms. Tan said. The test was part of a project that Ms. Tan, 17, and another Trinity student, Matt Cost, 18, conducted with Rockefeller University and the American Museum of Natural History to study DNA barcoding. That process involves identifying species based on a single gene rather than the compete set of genes in a cell or organism."
November 23, 2009 science news
Acute stress leaves epigenetic marks on the hippocampus
Scientists are learning that the dynamic regulation of genes — as much as the genes themselves — shapes the fate of organisms. Now the discovery of a new epigenetic mechanism regulating genes in the brain under stress is helping change the way scientists think about psychiatric disorders and could open new avenues to treatment.
November 3, 2009
"More new research also confirms the negative effects of changing the timing of sleep—which happens in jet lag and shift work — by looking at how this affects mice. Rockefeller University researchers found that mice which had their biological clocks disrupted by shifts in exposure to light became more impulsive, were slower to learn a maze and gained weight after only six to eight weeks of exposure to less light."
October 28, 2009
"A new study presented at the 2009 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience shows how disrupting your sleep cycle can interfere with your health and cognitive function. Researchers from Rockefeller University disrupted the circadian rhythms of mice by exposing them to 10 hours of light followed by 10 hours of darkness. After two months of this, the mice were in need of more than a little nap. They had difficulty learning. They were more impulsive. And they got fat, thanks in part to changes in appetite hormones and metabolism."
October 7, 2009
"2008 National Medal of Science to Dr. Elaine Fuchs, The Rockefeller University, for her pioneering use of cell biology and molecular genetics in mice to understand the basis of inherited diseases in humans and her outstanding contributions to our understandings of the biology of skin and its disorders, including her notable investigations of adult skin stem cells, cancers, and genetic syndromes."
October 5, 2009 | science news
Transgenic songbirds provide new tool to understand the brain
Over the decades, scientists have learned a lot about the basic life processes shared by many animals — including people — by manipulating the DNA of the "lower" species, such as mice and worms. But to date, they have been unable to readily probe the genetic contribution to one higher cognitive capacity of particular interest — the ability to learn language from one another. Now scientists have worked out a method for altering the genes of the zebra finch, one of the handful of social animals that learn to "speak" in a way that is analogous to humans.
September 28, 2009 | honors and awards
Obesity researcher wins Keio Medical Science Prize
Jeffery Friedman shares the 14th Keio Medical Science Prize, awarded annually to researchers for outstanding achievements in the fields of life sciences and medicine, for the "discovery of leptin and the study of its physiological functions."
September 17, 2009 | honors and awards
Elaine Fuchs receives 2008 National Medal of Science
Elaine Fuchs, Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor, is being honored "for her pioneering use of cell biology and molecular genetics in mice to understand the basis of inherited diseases in humans and her outstanding contributions to our understanding of the biology of skin and its disorders, including her notable investigations of adult skin stem cells, cancers and genetic syndromes."
September 10, 2009
Jeffrey Friedman: "So if you are thin, it might be more appropriate for you to thank your own 'lean' genes and refrain from stigmatizing the obese. A broad acceptance of the biologic basis of obesity would not only be fair and right, but would also allow us to collectively focus on what is most important—one's health rather than one's weight."
August 17, 2009
"As though it weren't bad enough that chronic stress has been shown to raise blood pressure, stiffen arteries, suppress the immune system, heighten the risk of diabetes, depression and Alzheimer's disease and make one a very undesirable dinner companion, now researchers have discovered that the sensation of being highly stressed can rewire the brain in ways that promote its sinister persistence. ... According to Bruce S. McEwen, head of the neuroendocrinology laboratory at Rockefeller University, the new findings offer a particularly elegant demonstration of a principle that researchers have just begun to grasp. 'The brain is a very resilient and plastic organ,' he said. 'Dendrites and synapses retract and reform, and reversible remodeling can occur throughout life.'"
July 22, 2009 | science news
New imaging studies reveal mechanics of neuron migration
In the developing brain, generations of young neurons undergo a staged migration, with the earliest-born cells staying relatively close to their birthplace and subsequent generations traveling further, ultimately stratifying into six neuronal layers in the mature brain. For the first time, imaging studies have identified the "motors" that propel this unique form of cell migration, giving insight into the delicate layering of the brain that underlies the formation of synaptic circuitry.
July 1, 2009 | honors and awards
Michael Young receives Gruber Foundation's 2009 Neuroscience Prize
Michael W. Young, Richard and Jeanne Fisher Professor and head of the Laboratory of Genetics at Rockefeller University, has received the 2009 Neuroscience Prize of the Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation for groundbreaking discoveries of the molecular mechanisms that control circadian rhythms in the nervous system.
June 16, 2009 | honors and awards
Jeffrey Friedman receives Shaw Prize for discovery of leptin
Jeffrey Friedman, Marilyn M. Simpson Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller, received the 2009 Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine. He shares the $1 million award, known as the Nobel Prize of the East, with the Jackson Laboratory's Douglas L. Coleman for their work leading to the discovery of leptin, a hormone that regulates food intake and body weight.
June 2, 2009 | science news
Report identifies early childhood conditions that lead to adult health disparities
The origins of many adult diseases can be traced to early negative experiences associated with social class and other markers of disadvantage. Confronting the causes of adversity before and shortly after birth may be a promising way to improve adult health and reduce premature deaths, researchers argue in a paper published today in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.
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