Posts Tagged ‘epigenetics’

Stem cell research and other bed time stories

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-05-2011

Dr David Schaffer

Bedtime stories in Dr David Schaffer’s childhood home were often not standard fairy tales. With both parents in careers as biomedical researchers (his mother in drug development and clinical trials for a major pharmaceutical company and his father, in cardiovascular research and a pharmacology professor) much of the conversation as far back as Schaffer can remember centered on biology and science. “I remember being five years old and sitting on my father’s lap, while he was teaching me the names of microorganisms,” says Schaffer. In many ways, a life dedicated to solving biological problems seemed predetermined, but Schaffer did deviate slightly from the examples and influences of his parents and initially concentrated on the engineering aspects of the field.

Schaffer completed his undergraduate work at Stanford University in chemical engineering and graduate work in chemical engineering at MIT. His postdoctoral work was in the laboratory of Dr Fred Gage, a neurobiologist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. “For two years, I was the only engineer at the Salk Institute, and had immersed myself in the rich world of biology in a lab that had been making some paradigm-shifting discoveries in the field of neural stem cells and understanding how the adult brain continues to add neurons,” says Schaffer. It was during this pivotal period that Schaffer became fascinated with applying engineering approaches to the study of problems in stem cell biology.

Click to read more…

Why your brain is not so stable after all

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 10-02-2011

Don’t worry if your brain’s not so stable after all. Neither is mine!

Johns Hopkins scientists investigating chemical modifications across the genomes of adult mice have discovered that DNA modifications in non-dividing brain cells, thought to be inherently stable, instead underwent large-scale dynamic changes as a result of stimulated brain activity. Their report, in the October issue of Nature Neuroscience, has major implications for treating psychiatric diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, and for better understanding learning, memory and mood regulation.

Specifically, the researchers, who include a husband-and-wife team, found evidence of an epigenetic change called demethylation — the loss of a methyl group from specific locations — in the non-dividing brain cells’ DNA, challenging the scientific dogma that even if the DNA in non-dividing adult neurons changes on occasion from methylated to demethylated state, it does so very infrequently.

Click here for more.

The rapid evolution of Neanderthal research

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-30-2011

A recent study published in Science has shown that potential interbreeding between Neanderthals, Denisovans and Modern Humans may have helped boost modern man’s immune system. Many reviews have already been published on this subject (see Science 2.0 for a good review or the ScienceDaily news release) and so we won’t dwell on the subject in this post. However, in light of these findings we would like to share with you a YouTube interview with Svante Pääbo, a Neanderthal researcher, produced by The DNA Learning Center in 2009.

It’s interesting to see how far we’ve come in just 2 short years!

Money available for studying Diabetes

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-10-2011

GenomeWeb News is reporting that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases will award up to $15 million next year in grants to fund Diabetes Research Centers that will conduct a range of ‘omics-based and other interdisciplinary and translational research efforts.

Click here for more.

7 Great Resources for HRM Analysis

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-04-2011

Bio-Rad Laboratories recently launched the Precision Melt Supermix, which is a high-perfomance supermix for both genotyping and epigenetic analyses.

In honor of this launch, we invite you to review some of the resources (including technical notes, review articles and video tutorials) that we have posted on high resolution melt analysis. Feel free to to click on any of the links below for further details: