Changing Channels

HHMI Bulletin | February 2012

Scott Sternson has always wondered what drives behavior, especially those fundamental motivations required for survival. Hunger, for example, is so crucial that it must be evolutionarily “hard-wired” deep within the brain. After all, as Sternson observes, “if the animal doesn’t eat, it dies.” read story

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. 

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)

Protein Disposal: Gumming Up the Works

HHMI Bulletin | September 2005

For a cell, destroying proteins is as essential as building them. The job of mincing proteins is performed by enzymatic machines called proteasomes. “Proteasomes affect almost all biological processes in the cell,” Verma says. By their deliberate destruction of regulatory proteins, they orchestrate activities from cell division to cell death. read in full issue (pdf)

Eugene W. Myers (Biographical Sketch)

HHMI News | June 2005

Although he has never taken a biology class, Gene Myers’s work gets a lot of notice from biologists. Fifteen years ago, Myers, whose formal training is in computer science, mathematics, physics, and engineering, co-wrote an article for the Journal of Molecular Biology that would become the most highly cited scientific paper of the decade.  read story

Running a Stop Sign

MDA Quest Magazine | April 2005

PTC124 sticks to ribosomes — the cells’ protein factories — and prompts them to interpret a premature stop codon as a normal codon. Instead of aborting assembly of the protein, the ribosome inserts a protein building block — an amino acid — and continues making a complete protein chain until it encounters the normal termination codon, which the ribosome correctly interprets as a stop. read story