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Atoh1, a potential Achilles’ heel of Sonic Hedgehog MB
Articles / brain cancer

Atoh1, a potential Achilles’ heel of Sonic Hedgehog MB

Medulloblastoma is the most common type of solid brain tumor in children. Current treatments offer limited success and may leave patients with severe neurological side effects, including psychiatric disorders, growth retardation and cognitive impairment. Sonic Hedgehog, one of the four biologically distinct subtypes of medulloblastoma, is named after the cellular pathway that is impaired in … Continue reading

DNA loops matter for NFIA gene expression in brain tumors
Articles / brain cancer

DNA loops matter for NFIA gene expression in brain tumors

The nuclear factor I-A (NFIA) gene is important for both normal brain development and brain tumor growth. One way to discover paths that can lead to brain malignancy is to first better understand the process of normal brain development. The Deneen lab has followed this strategy. They have studied the mechanisms by which normal brain … Continue reading

Breakdown of neuron-glia partnership can pave the way to neurodegeneration
Articles / Neurodegeneration

Breakdown of neuron-glia partnership can pave the way to neurodegeneration

In 2015, Dr. Lucy Liu, now a Ph.D. graduate in neuroscience from the Bellen lab, discovered that a number of genes involved in neurodegeneration promote damage to neurons and glia by inducing high levels of free radicals (oxidative stress) and accumulation of lipid droplets in glia. Liu continued this line of research and in 2017 … Continue reading

How having too much or too little of CHRNA7 can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders
Articles / Genetics / Neuropsychiatric disorders

How having too much or too little of CHRNA7 can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders

Studying the genetic code allows researchers to know whether some patients with neuropsychiatric disorders either have extra copies of the CHRNA7 gene or are missing copies. However, little was known about the functional consequences of this genetic imbalance in brain cells. “For several years we have been studying patients with these conditions in different ways … Continue reading

Analyzing cryo-electron tomography images just got faster
Articles / Cryo-electron tomography

Analyzing cryo-electron tomography images just got faster

Researchers use cryo-electron tomography to visualize macromolecules frozen in action and details of structures inside of cells. This method provides 100 times better resolution than the best light microscope; this information cannot be obtained by any other current method. “However, the need for about one man-week of effort to manually annotate all of the 3-D … Continue reading

How estrogen regulates gene expression
Articles / Endocrinology / estrogen

How estrogen regulates gene expression

Estrogens are a group of hormones that are essential for normal female sexual development and for the healthy functioning of the reproductive system. They also are involved in certain conditions, such as breast cancer. Estrogen also plays a role in male sexual function. These hormones carry out their functions by turning genes on and off … Continue reading

This two-step approach can expedite finding answers to complex genetic conditions
Articles / neurodevelopmental disorders

This two-step approach can expedite finding answers to complex genetic conditions

To function normally, the human brain requires the right amount of a number of proteins, including MeCP2. Having twice the normal amount of MeCP2, the result of having an extra copy of the gene MECP2, causes severe neurological disorders that include intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, motor dysfunction and other medical complications. “Animal models that … Continue reading