Research Spotlight

Reproducibility in biological research — or more specifically the lack of it — is an ongoing issue.

As you read these words, hold out your hand. Notice the space between your fingers, the fragments of MacBook you can see through these windows. Think about how these digits formed, precisely arrayed and extended.

Today, HIV infection is no longer a death sentence for those with access to anti-retrovirals. These drugs suppress replication of the virus and keep viral levels low in patients. However, as HIV patients on anti-retrovirals age, they show higher rates of age-related diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Understanding HIV pathogenesis is the focus of the laboratory of Warner C. Greene MD PhD, HIV expert and Director of the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology.

So much of science and medicine comes down to taking pictures. Biology, especially, has long been considered an observational enterprise.

The most lethal part of cancer is that it spreads.

Stopping the spread of cancer, known as metastasis, would be a leap forward in treatment. However, first, we must better understand why and how metastasis happens.

Cancer is not just one disease. Were it, we could imagine a single cure. Instead, we find that cancer is a mix of clinically separable diseases.

Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. These organelles support cellular functions through ATP production and have been implicated in diseases ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s. Additionally, their function extends beyond energy.

Image of neuron.
Consider brains and computers. How are they similar? Both can perform complex, rational tasks. Both take inputs and make decisions. More generally, both occupy physical space, although computers increasingly less so. As part of their physical nature, both can be subdivided into parts, the organization and connectivity of which creates their function.

Tauopathies are a spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases defined by their cellular pathology. Their name refers to the protein tau which aggregates pathologically in clumps known as fibrils.

In 2015, evolution is considered an older discovery, and perhaps seems dusty to a generation piqued by CRISPR gene editing, pluripotent stem cells, and the still opaque mysteries of the microbiome.