Research Roundup

Search Research Roundup

Keywords:   

Helpful Interference — Dr. Deborah Palliser has been awarded a $2 million grant over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to investigate RNAi, a recently identified method of silencing specific genes, as a potential microbicide against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including genital herpes virus and HIV.  Using an animal model of genital herpes infection, Dr. Palliser will evaluate a panel of RNAi molecules for their ability to silence viral and host genes, and she will determine the effect of any associated host immune responses on RNAi-mediated protection. She also will attempt to identify potential RNAi uptake receptor(s) expressed by vaginal cell surface proteins. This work aims to refine the technology and elucidate the mechanism of RNAi-mediated protection against STIs, with the long-term goal of developing a clinical therapy. Dr. Palliser is assistant professor of microbiology & immunology.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Safe and ProtectedDr. William Jacobs, Jr. has been awarded a $6 million grant over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop a novel vaccine for tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial disease whose extensive drug resistance, along with socioeconomic realities, has stymied global control efforts. Using a genetically engineered strain of bacteria called IKEPLUS, which was shown to be safe and to stimulate an enhanced protective immune response in a mouse model, the researchers will evaluate the efficacy of IKEPLUS used both alone and in combination with the traditional BCG vaccine.  Additionally, the laboratory will develop a manufacturing process for a human IKEPLUS vaccine and will establish biomarker assays to determine how well the vaccine protects against TB. This project represents a key effort to develop and optimize a promising vaccine for TB. Dr. Jacobs is professor of microbiology & immunology and of genetics at Einstein, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Salty Observations — Should the amount of sodium (salt) in food be restricted to prevent cardiovascular disease—or would a low-sodium diet actually aggravate health problems? To help answer that question, Drs. Michael Alderman, and Hillel W. Cohen, carried out a systematic review of nearly 30 observational studies and randomized clinical trials that have looked at dietary sodium’s association with health outcomes. They concluded that the data strongly suggest a “J-shaped” relation of dietary sodium intake to cardiovascular outcomes. This means that adverse outcomes are experienced at the extremes of sodium intake—by people ingesting very little sodium and by those ingesting a great deal of it. Their findings appear in the May 24, 2012 issue of the American Journal of Hypertension. Dr. Alderman is distinguished university professor emeritus of epidemiology & population health and of medicine; Dr. Cohen is  professor of clinical epidemiology & population health.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Chain of Events — Diabetes causes nerve damage—“diabetic neuropathy”—in the majority of people with this disease. Painful diabetic neuropathy is the most incapacitating neuropathy syndrome.  A paper in the May 13 issue of Nature Medicine describes for the first time the molecular chain of events responsible. Among the paper’s chief authors was Dr. Michael Brownlee, Einstein Diabetes Center’s Associate Director for Biomedical Sciences and the Anita and Jack Saltz Chair in Diabetes Research. The authors found that elevated levels of a toxic by-product of glucose metabolism called methylglyoxal (MG) bind to and change the structure of a sodium channel called Nav 1.8, found only in neurons involved in signaling pain. Consequences of this change in the “pain channel” include an increase in its electrical excitability. These findings may provide new therapeutic options for treating painful diabetic neuropathy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Moving Forward — A team of Einstein researchers led by Dr. Hernando Sosa, has been awarded $1.7 million over four years by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to study the regulation of kinesins, a group of proteins involved in transporting materials between different parts of the cell, as needed.  In contrast to most kinesin regulation research, which has focused on accessory parts of the protein, Dr. Sosa’s laboratory will employ advanced biophysical, microscopical, and computational techniques to study the regulation of its functional core.  Because the kinesins chosen for study play key roles in fundamental cellular processes in a variety of tissues, improved understanding of kinesin functionality will provide a foundation for the development of therapeutics in many human diseases, including motor neuron diseases and Alzheimer’s disease.  Other researchers involved with the grant include Drs. Gary Gerfen, Ao Ma, and David Sharp. Drs. Sosa and Gerfen are associate professors of physiology & biophysics;  Dr. Ma is assistant professor of physiology & biophysics;  and Dr. Sharp is professor of physiology & biophysics.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Helping Families — The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded a grant of nearly $1 million to Drs. Karen Bonuck and Anne Murphy to evaluate a relationship-based parent-child therapy aimed at reducing the potential for child maltreatment among at-risk youngsters from infants through age 3. Dr. Murphy has used this innovative treatment with promising results among more than 100 families during the past five years; it seeks to build secure parent-child relationships in place of the standard parents-only skills training often used to prevent maltreatment. Through the rigorous trial Bonuck-Murphy team has designed, 100 at-risk Bronx families will be randomly assigned to either the new modality or to parent-only classes. A panel of child welfare policy and practice professionals will review their findings to determine whether the therapy may be translated to other treatment settings and geographic locales. Dr. Bonuck is professor of family & social medicine and of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health. Dr. Murphy is assistant professor of pediatrics.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Shaping Human Existence — Einstein scientists have shown that man’s closest known extinct relatives—Neandertals and Denisovans—were infected by Human Endogenous Retrovirus K (HERV-K). The researchers accomplished this by finding unique HERV-K DNA insertions in the complete genome sequences of Neandertals and Denisovans obtained recently by other researchers using DNA derived from ancient bone fragments. The Einstein scientists (Drs. Lorenzo Agoni, Aaron Golden, Chandan Guha and Jack Lenz) published their findings as a letter in the June 4 issue of Current Biology. They showed that Neandertals and Denisovans were infected by HERV-K both before and after the time that the Neandertal-and-Denisovan lineage separated from the lineage leading to modern humans and, subsequently, from each other. The researchers note that their results raise the possibility that such retroviral infections might have contributed to shaping the genomes of the different hominin species—the Neandertals and Denisovans as well as Homo sapiens. Dr. Agoni, who is an M.D., is a Ph.D. student in the department of pathology working in the laboratory of Dr. Guha and also with Dr. Lenz. Dr. Guha is professor and vice chair of radiation oncology and professor of pathology; Dr. Lenz is professor of genetics and of microbiology & immunology; and Dr. Golden is associate professor of genetics.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Enhancing Integration — Autism has been characterized as a disorder in social cognition and communication that may  be related to defects in integrating corresponding multisensory social stimuli, such as auditory information in speech sounds and visual information from accompanying lip movements. In work published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, graduate student Alice Brandwein investigated the neurophysiological basis of previously reported sensory integration abnormalities in children with autism by examining how their brain integrates very basic, non-social audiovisual information.  In testing a large group of high-functioning autistic children, the researchers found severe  integration deficits in the processing of audiovisual inputs that were apparent a mere fraction of a second after the audiovisual stimulus. Their findings indicate that there are underlying neurophysiological differences in how children with autism integrate basic audiovisual information, which might contribute to characteristic social communication deficits. In future work, the investigators plan to test whether video game-based interventions directed at enhancing integration of multisensory inputs translate to gains in the ability of autistic patients to process complex audiovisual social information Ms. Brandwein conducted her research under Dr. Sophie Molholm, associate professor of pediatrics and of neuroscience, and the Muriel and Harold Block Faculty Scholar in Mental Illness.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Unraveling CancerDr. Matthew Gamble has been awarded $1.7 million over five years by the National Cancer Institute to study the relationship between macroH2A, a type of histone or protein around which long strands of DNA are spooled, which also is known to play a role in regulating gene activity and cancer.  Because decreases in macroH2A have been associated with a variety of cancers, the Gamble laboratory will explore what precipitates this decrease and its downstream effects on cancer cell growth and survival.  Additionally, these studies will inform ongoing efforts to fine-tune the use of PARP inhibitors in cancer treatment, which are known to interact with macroH2A.  Dr. Gamble is assistant professor of molecular pharmacology.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 

Global Access — Evidence-based medicine has increasingly become the standard for which U.S. medical care strives, and the Internet is one of the most important tools for accessing updated, evidence-based clinical guidelines. In resource-limited settings (RLS), however, access by health care workers (HCW) to such medical resources is comparatively scarce.  In order to determine whether Internet-based medical information resources would be useful in such settings, the publishers of UpToDate, a leading online medical knowledge database, donated their resource to four hospitals within Rwanda, Malawi and South Africa, and teamed up with Dr. Johanna Daily to track its usage in these RLS.  Dr. Daily’s study found that the majority of HCW accessed the database at least weekly and searched a variety of topics, and that all users reported that the tool increased their clinical knowledge.  This suggests that the provision of Internet-based medical resources could enhance global health care initiatives and improve patient outcomes.  Dr. Daily is associate professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
 
First Page | Previous Page | Page of 36 | Next Page | Last Page