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Biological ‘Rosetta Stone’ Brings Scientists Closer to Deciphering How the Body is Built
An international research team co-led by Richard Mann, PhD, from the Department of Systems Biology, have discovered a method that can systematically identify the role each Hox gene plays in a developing fruit fly. Their results, reported recently in Nature Communications, offer a new path forward for researchers hoping to make sense of a process that is equal parts chaotic and precise, and that is critical to understanding not only growth and development but also aging and disease.
Awards and Grants
Dr. Tal Korem Named an Early Career Global Scholar
Tal Korem, PhD, assistant professor of systems biology, has been named a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar, a fellowship that supports leading early-career researchers in science and technology. As a global scholar, Dr. Korem joins CIFAR’s Humans and the Microbiome research program, where his work will focus on harnessing human microbial communities to identify and develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
Research News
Detailed Map Gives Scientists a New Window into how Human-Infecting Viruses Work
Columbia University biologists leveraged a computational method to map protein-protein interactions between all known human-infecting viruses and the cells they infect. The method, along with the data that it generated, has spawned a wealth of information toward improving our understanding of how viruses manipulate the cells that they infect and cause disease. Among its findings, the work uncovered a role for estrogen receptor in regulating Zika Virus infection, as well as links between cancer and the human papillomavirus. The research, led by Dr. Sagi Shapira, appears Aug. 29 in the journal, Cell.
Research News
Designer Proteins Come with Built-In Safeguards
By merging two genes into a single DNA sequence, Columbia University synthetic biologists have created a method that could prevent human-engineered proteins from spreading into the wild, as well as stabilize synthetic proteins so they don’t change over time. The work, recently published in Science, was developed by Harris Wang, PhD, assistant professor of systems biology, with graduate student, Tomasz Blazejewski and postdoctoral scientist, Hsing-I Ho, PhD. Read more about their new technique, CAMEOS, which creates a single DNA sequence containing two genes that encode two separate proteins.
Research News
Sampling Neighborhoods of the Gut Microbiome
The gut microbiome–composed of hundreds of different species of bacteria–is a complex community and a challenge for scientists to unravel. One specific challenge is the spatial distribution of different microbes, which are not evenly distributed throughout the gut. A new method developed by the lab of Dr. Harris Wang should help scientists locate and characterize these neighborhoods, which could shed light on how microbes influence the health of their hosts.