A Pluripotent Stew

HHMI Bulletin | February 2007

Embryonic stem (ES) cells are plain enough to look at, forming a nondescript clump within the hollow ball of an early embryo. But that generic character is key to their magical rejuvenating potential. Unlike all other cells, which are preordained toward a specialized form and function, ES cells have a clean slate. The developing embryo can mold them into any cell type it needs. 

Sharper Image

HHMI Bulletin | November 2006

Last year, the two inventors—both unemployed at the time—developed an elegant procedure out of an idea they had begun exploring together in the 1990s. Instead of having a muddle of fluorescently labeled proteins glowing at once, sloshing light waves everywhere, they found a way to turn on just a few molecules at a time.  read in full issue (pdf)

Scientists Crack Code for Motor Neuron Wiring

HHMI Bulletin | February 2006

As you turn the pages of this Bulletin, motor neurons that project from your spinal cord are coordinating the precise actions of more than 50 muscles in each of your arms. Each muscle is individually controlled by its own motor neuron cluster, which has a distinct identity and pattern of connectivity.  read in full issue (pdf)

Protein-Pairing Method May Yield New Drug Targets

HHMI Bulletin | February 2006

Using robots and other high-throughput technologies, the researchers screened more than 32,000 protein combinations, identifying 2,846 unique pairwise interactions in their study. Even so, says Fields, “We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s out there.”   read in full issue (pdf)