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Division of Intramural Research News Features 2008 - 2016


Researchers identify genomic signature in some aggressive prostate tumors

Read moreA key challenge health care providers face in treating prostate cancer is distinguishing aggressive, potentially life-threatening tumors from curable, less aggressive tumors. NHGRI researchers and their collaborators have identified a specific genomic signature of some aggressive prostate tumors, which may help pinpoint specific treatment options. Findings from the study were published April 14 online in The American Journal of Human Genetics. Read more

Fearfulness changes impact of genomic information in overweight women

Read moreNew research suggests that fearful patients who received information about the role of genomics in being overweight viewed the information as threatening and were less likely to take steps to improve their health habits than those in a neutral or angry state. The study, by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NHGRI's Social and Behavioral Research Branch was published in an advanced online issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine on February 5, 2016. Read more


T-cell transcription factor may offer new pathway for vaccine research

Read moreThe gold standard for a successful vaccine is the creation of long-lasting antibodies that will defend the body against disease for years. Now, a team headed by scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has found a promising new area for vaccine developers to explore in search of that gold. The new discovery involves a protein called a transcription factor - a molecular switch that turns a gene or a cascade of genes on or off. Read more

Dr. Bob Blakesley, director of the NISC sequencing group, rides off into the sunset

Read moreRobert Blakesley, Ph.D., director of the sequencing group at the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (NISC) in Rockville, Maryland, will retire on December 31st after a long, distinguished and singularly productive career in DNA sequencing. Known for his meticulous attention to detail, technical expertise and calm nature, Dr. Blakesley credits most of his success to his NISC team, a "fine group of individuals who work very hard." Read more

NHGRI researchers to present talks, posters at ASHG annual meeting

Read moreNational Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) researchers will present four platform talks and 55 posters to highlight the institute's diverse portfolio at the 65th annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). More than 6,500 scientific attendees and 200 exhibitors are expected to attend the October 6-10 meeting, held this year at The Baltimore Convention Center. Read more

An ancient tumor in dogs might teach new tricks about cancer in people

Read more An ancient, sexually transmitted dog cancer has baffled researchers until now. Canine transmissible venereal tumor, CTVT, spreads when cancer cells move from one dog to another during sexual contact. By comparing the genomes of 186 healthy dogs to two of the dog tumor genomes, NHGRI researchers discovered genetic mutations that prevented the dogs' immune systems from detecting and fending off invading cancer cells. Findings were reported in the July 31, 2015 journal, Genome Research. Read more

Investigating why cancer comes back

Read moreFor a patient with cancer, two of the most important words in the oncologist's lexicon begin with the letter "r": remission and relapse. Why do some patients stay in remission, while others see their cancer return? In recent research published online in July in the journal Leukemia, Paul Liu, M.D., Ph.D., a senior investigator, and Raman Sood, Ph.D., an associate investigator, in the Translational and Functional Genomics Branch at NHGRI, are trying to understand why leukemia patients relapse, and if there are any DNA-level mutations that account for the leukemia coming back. Read more

Intramural trainees represent NHGRI at 2015 plain language competition

Read moreNHGRI intramural trainees and representatives from other NIH institutes recently participated in a high-energy science communications contest called the Three-minute Talk (TmT). Five NHGRI intramural trainees competed as finalists, taking on the challenge to use plain language and one Powerpoint slide to explain their research in three-minutes or less. Talks by Dr. Gustavo Sudre (right) and Dr. Melissa Harris placed second and third. Read more

Genomic knowledge is power in the fight against obesity

Read more Although many doctors are wary about discussing weight loss with their overweight patients - for fear of alienating the patients or being ignored - two recent research studies from a team led by NHGRI's Susan Persky, Ph.D., suggest that doctor-patient talks about the genomic underpinnings of obesity can pay off. Read more

Studying cancer from the inside out: What the epigenetic code can tell doctors about disease

Read more How tumors differ from each other - either in different organs or within the same organ - can yield useful clues about cancer prognosis and treatment. Ultimately, that knowledge may lead to precision medicine, where a doctor is not just treating a tumor, but tailoring treatment to the patient's specific tumor. A massive new analysis of tumors, published online April 17 in Epigenetics and Chromatin, is leading medicine closer to these goals. Read more

LabGenius: The next step toward a digital laboratory

LabGeniusThe HHS Ignite Accelerator program, inspired by Silicon Valley start-up methods, nurtures innovative ideas that might improve government operations. Now this seed funding and mentorship program could help create a digital "LabGenius" and, according to NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., "has the potential to streamline our labs ... which could have a big impact." Read more

Zebrafish a weapon against metastaic cancer

ZebrafishFor many cancer patients and their doctors, the deadliest enemy is metastasis - the migration of cancer cells from the original tumor to other places in the body. Now, a team of National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists has proposed a promising new approach for finding ways to impede or halt this deadly process. NHGRI's Dr. Shawn Burgess and his colleagues have published that approach online in Disease Models & MechanismsRead more

Dogs may help researchers sniff out new cancer detection and treatment strategies

Read moreScientists at NIH, Purdue and Tufts University have discovered that a genetic mutation that triggers bladder cancer in dogs is identical to a mutation that is implicated in multiple human cancers. Find their research in the March 12, 2015, advance online issue of Molecular Cancer Research. NHGRI's Heidi Parker, Ph.D., and Elaine Ostrander, Ph.D., chief of NHGRI's Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch, contributed to the research. Read more

NHGRI/Smithsonian collaboration to sequence North America's oldest dog relics

Read moreWhen Smithsonian archeologist Dr. Daniel Stanford attended a talk on canine (dog) genomics by NHGRI's Dr. Elaine Ostrander, he realized the potential of the NMNH collection of ancient dog bones to canine genome research. With new sequencing tools and techniques now available - and the complete sequence of the dog genome - both hope to unlock the secrets of this ancient dog DNA, perhaps the oldest in North America. Read more


California girl's NIH visit includes happy excursions around the nation's capital

Kareena with momIn mid-December, Kareena Hijjawi and her mother flew to the National Institutes of Health for a series of important clinical consultations with the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP). But before the week was out, Kareena would be flocked by a group of dancing ballerinas, dazzled by the opulence of this year's the White House holiday tour, and even get a chance to pet the Obama family dogs, Sunny and Bo. Read more

The skin microbiome: More than skin deep

UDN mapSkin microbiota plays an intricate role in the human immune system, directing many immune functions and defending against invading bacterial pathogens. In a review article in the Nov. 21, 2014, issue of Science, Julie Segre, Ph.D., Head of the Microbial Genomics Section at NHGRI, and Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D., head of the Mucosal Immunology Section at NIAID, review the advantages and downsides, of this intimate partnership. Read more

Baylor College of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin to conduct DNA sequencing for Undiagnosed Diseases Network

UDN mapThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee will be providing DNA sequencing for the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN).  Each site will receive more than $2.5 million over four-years, pending availability of funds. (more)

NHGRI study uses social media to recruit

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Researchers from NHGRI's Social and Behavioral Research Branch are using the power of social media and mobile phones to study what people around the world think about the intersections between genomics, genetics and society, as a part of the Social Genomics Project. The three-year project is comprised of seven surveys that ask questions about health risks, the flow of health information among family and friends, the use of genomic information to make important life and health decisions, as well as ancestry and race. (more)

CCGO awards exome sequencing to NIH intramural investigators

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Ten intramural investigators will receive exome sequencing data as part of their clinical research projects at the NIH Clinical Center through awards just announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Intramural Research (OIR). The awards are part of a two-year initiative, called the Clinical Center Genomics Opportunity (CCGO), which is encouraging NIH institutes to jumpstart genomic medicine by increasing the use of genomic data in clinical research. (more)

NIH researchers use a new cell model of a rare disease to develop therapeutic compounds

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NIH researchers reporting in the June 11, 2014, issue of Science Translational Medicine say they've cleared a major obstacle to testing potential drug therapies for a genetic condition called Gaucher disease. After creating a successful cell model that exhibits the signature traits of the disease, they've now tested a drug compound that has successfully corrected Gaucher's malfunctioning cells. (more)

NHGRI's Division of Intramural Research implements new structure

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NHGRI Scientific Director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., has implemented the reorganization of NHGRI's 45 intramural investigators and associated research programs into a new arrangement of nine branches. The Division of Intramural Research reorganization was announced today at the 71st meeting of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research. (more)

NIH program to jump-start genomic medicine

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A new, two-year NIH initiative called the Clinical Center Genomics Opportunity (CCGO) will build an infrastructure for clinical genomic sequencing so clinical researchers can use genomic data for clinical research. CCGO will underwrite the DNA sequencing and analysis of 1,000 exomes, the functionally important 1-2 percent of the genome that codes for proteins. (more)

NHGRI celebrates the10th anniversary of the Social and Behavioral Research Branch

Read more Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, NHGRI's Social and Behavioral Research Branch (SBRB) has spent the past few months reflecting on the place of social science research within NHGRI, which is recognized foremost as a bastion of basic research innovation. On January 13, 2014, SBRB will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a celebration featuring guest speakers, posters and interactive exhibits. (more)


NHGRI participates in annual American Society of Human Genetics meeting

Read more The World Series is just one of the passions heating up in Boston this week. The other is the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) annual meeting, involving DNA bases rather than those on a baseball diamond. Researchers and staff from NHGRI will be among the 6,500 presenters, exhibitors and attendees for the meeting that runs Oct. 22-26, 2013 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Read the study

NHGRI and NIH Clinical Center honored with "Sammies"

Sammies awardeesThis award event feature was delayed due to the government shutdown.
On Oct. 3, A team of scientists from NHGRI and the NIH Clinical Center received a Service to America Medal (Sammie) for their efforts to protect patients from infections with drug-resistant bacteria. They demonstrated a new way to trace transmission routes using cutting-edge genomic techniques and state-of-the-art infection control that will help hospitals facing similar crises in the future.(more)

NHGRI researchers help identify new metabolic disorder caused by faulty gene expression

Deana and MaxNational Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) researchers, participating in an international study with colleagues at the University of Colorado in Denver, McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and University Children's Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland have described a new disease involving a defect in the body's ability to process vitamin B12, or cobalamin. The rare inherited disorder that has been only been found in boys, can cause severe neurological symptoms, including developmental delay, epilepsy, and brain malformations. (more)

Alyssa's angels: one family's partnership with NIH research

Group photoFor 15-year-old Alyssa Meisel, juggling schoolwork, horseback riding, softball and piano is easy. Managing her methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) - a rare metabolic condition that limits her body's ability to metabolize protein - presents a greater challenge that she faces daily with the support of her family and her doctors. (more)

Study suggests the gene variants that cause rare disorder are a risk factor for common form of dementia

Lewy bodyAccording to a recent study by an international research team that included the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), people who carry gene alterations that cause Gaucher disease - a rare disease in which a fatty substance (lipid) accumulates in cells and certain organs - also have an elevated risk for Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), one of the most common types of progressive dementia. (more)

Study finds regions of the human genome in people of African ancestry associated with BMI

Woman on a scaleA large study by a consortium that includes researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute's Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health has identified genome regions associated with body-mass index (BMI) among people with African ancestry. The study appears in the April 12, 2013 advance online issue of Nature Genetics. (more)

Expanding the limits of modern medicine

Dunham, Michelle and three-year-old Lilly Aurelius.
Photo used with permission, by Anne StaveleyIn recognition of Rare Disease Day, read a story of one patient's medical odyssey. Dunham Aurelius became patient 37 in the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program. The NIH Common Fund is currently implementing an initiative to expand the work of diagnosing difficult cases like Aurelius' to a network of clinical sites around the country. (more)

NHGRI researchers provide insights on the genetics of dog skull variation

Dog skulls Breeding has fostered remarkable craniofacial diversity in the domestic dog - from the elongated snouts of Collies to the compressed faces of Pugs. NHGRI researchers review the biology and genetics of canine skull formation in an article appearing in the journal Genetics. (more)

NIH researchers link enzyme deficiency with faulty DNA replication and cancer

DNA replicationNIH researchers have discovered a cancer-causing flaw that can occur when ATAD5, one of many enzymes in the replication process, is deficient. The defect causes DNA replication to stall and the normal precision of replication proteins to become chaotic. The study appeared in the Dec. 31, 2012, advance online issue of the Journal of Cell Biology. (more)


NHGRI's Intramural Training Office challenges young scientists to imagine their future

Read moreEarly career scientists in the National Human Genome Research Institute intramural training program (NHGRI) say that their biggest concern is a challenging job market and what lies ahead for them after their time at NHGRI. To address these worries, NHGRI's Intramural Training Office convened faculty and trainees at the Bolger Center in picturesque Potomac, Maryland, for a one-day meeting. (more)

Bioluminescent comb jellies begin to shed light on the evolution of vision

Ctenophone Bioluminescent sea creatures that emit and detect light are providing clues to the evolution of sight and may, in time, shed light on our understanding of eye diseases. Research published in the December 21 issue of BMC Biology has pinpointed the genes involved in making and sensing light in this organism. (more)


Same gene, different alteration causes another rare, autoinflammatory disease

Read moreNIH researchers have found a second, ultra-rare autoinflammatory disease caused by the same gene that just 10 months ago they attributed to a similar disease discovery. Both diseases cause ultra-rare autoinflammatory conditions, but the involved gene, PLCG2, is altered in different ways and each disease presents distinct symptoms. (more)

San Francisco hosts 62nd annual meeting of ASHG, Nov. 6-10

Read moreThe American Society for Human Genetics (ASHG) convenes in San Francisco Nov. 6-10, 2012, will feature National Human Genome Research Institute research, with presentions on gene discovery in human genetics, progress on gene therapy, cancer genetics, clinical and social implications of genomics and more. (more)

FDA approves crystal-dissolving eye drops, a major milestone for NIH rare disease researchers

EyesRead the heroic story about how an experimental eye-drop solution containing a drug called cysteamine eliminates the the painful and destructive crystalline shards in the eyes of patients suffering from a rare, inherited condition called nephropathic cystinosis. Learn how the eyedrop went from clinical trial, to FDA approval and availability for use on Oct. 3, 2012, The research was spearheaded by NHGRI Clinical Director, William Gahl, M.D., Ph.D. (more)

CIDR quenches scientists' thirst for high quality genotyping and sequencing services

ResearcherThe Center for Inherited Disease Research (CIDR) provides billions of high-quality genotypes and DNA sequences by the gigabase to help investigators identify genes that contribute to human health and disease. CIDR recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary with a $101 million, five-year renewal contract. Learn more about this NHGRI-managed program. (more)

Genomics in Medicine Lecture Series resumes

Dan KastnerOn September 7, NHGRI scientific director and inflammatory disease expert Dan Kastner, M.D., begins the 2012-2013 Genomics in Medicine Lecture Series with Horror Autoinflammaticus: Adventures in the Genomics of Inflammationas. The monthly series, begun in December 2011, aims to enhance how we understand the intersection between genomics and medicine. (more)

Tracking infectious outbreaks by their genomes

Drs. Segre and PalmoreLast year, the NIH Clinical Center dealt with an outbreak of antibiotic resistant . Read the full story of how NHGRI and genome sequencing helped discover how the microbe had spread and identified unexpected modes of transmission. The report is published in the August 22, 2012 online edition of Science Translational Medicine. (more)

NIH researchers use brain imaging to understand a genetic link between Parkinson's and a rare disease

PET scanA rare metabolic disorder is helping researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) uncover new clues about the biology underlying Parkinson's disease. The results of their six-year study, published online in the July 30, 2012, issue of the journal Brain, may explain how people with alterations in the gene involved in Gaucher disease are more likely to develop Parkinson's - and provide a window to potential inner workings of Parkinson's itself. (more)

NHGRI finds "off" switch that underlies rare genetic disease affecting boys

Jennifer Cannons, Roseanne Zhao, Pam SchwartzbergA rare, genetic disease found only in boys is helping researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) unlock secrets about how the body fends off infection. Studying a mouse model of an inherited disease called X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome (XLP), they have discovered new details explaining how a missing protein can disrupt communication between two important types of white blood cells, T and B cells, which play key roles in immunity. (more)

NHGRI researchers find susceptibility mutations in patients with no cancer history

Letters of A T C G with human silhouettesNHGRI researchers report in the American Journal of Human Genetics that gene variants in a patient's DNA that are classified as incidental or secondary gene variants are medically important. They identified cancer susceptibility mutations in DNA sequence collected as part of an NIH study called ClinSeqtm. (more)

Study delivers new insights about effects of metabolic disorder on cognition and learning

BabyThe baby seems normal at birth, but as he or she starts to eat the vomiting begins. Other symptoms might include dehydration, panting, lethargy, failure to thriveand then it gets really bad: seizures, encephalopathy and stroke. If the disease isn't picked up by a newborn screening test - usually a heel stick that produces a drop of blood for testing up to 40 disorders - terrified parents present their deteriorating baby for answers. (more)

High-throughput screening finds surprising properties for antioxidants

Robotic armsAntioxidants have long been thought to have anti-aging properties. The story now appears to be much more complicated. A National Institutes of Health research team has demonstrated that some anti-oxidants damage DNA, yet may be good for treating cancer. The findings are published today, March 19th, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (more)

Bert Vogelstein considers the cancer genome at 10th annual NHGRI Trent Lectureship

Dr. VogelsteinResearchers have published 852 studies describing the genomes of 23 different cancers over the past half century and a number of things have become clear. Though every cancer is different, tumors tend to have a very similar number of gene mutations, Bert Vogelstein, M.D., told a National Institutes of Health (NIH) audience of more than 500 attending the 10th annual Jeffrey M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research on Feb. 29, 2012. (more)

Researchers use genomics to differentiate two ovarian cancer subtypes

Serous adenocarcinoma ovarian cancer subtypeResearchers from NHGRI's Genome Technology Branch have distinguished among particular ovarian cancer subtypes based on signals that turn a gene on or off, a process known as DNA methylation. The findings, published in the March 5, 2012, issue of PLoS One, could lead to the precise classification of ovarian cancer tumors and improve treatment strategies. (more)

Rare lethal disorder traced to variant of the PIGA gene on the X chromosome

chromosomes Next-generation genomic sequencing - technologies that streamline the processing and analysis of DNA - are well suited to rare disease discovery, as a recent study led by National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) researchers demonstrates. (more)

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NHGRI supports seven young investigators on research career paths

Four National Human Genome Research Institute postdoctoral fellows and three NHGRI-supported researchers at university laboratories recently received National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pathway to Independence Awards. The prestigious NIH award program helps young investigators make the transition from postdoctoral training to research independence. (more)

Next-Gen 101: Video Tutorial on Conducting Whole-Exome Sequencing Research

PanelOn September 28, 2011, the National Human Genome Research Institute offered a daylong course to help researchers use the new and more affordable technique called whole-exome genome sequencing. NHGRI now offers archival video of the presentations for those unable to participate. (more)

NIH researchers achieve better understanding of skin cancer

Melanoma cellsNHGRI's Dr. Yardena Samuels and an NIH-led team studying the genetics of melanoma have found that mutations in the metabotropic glutamate receptor-3 (GRM3) gene cause some cases of melanoma. The study is published in the September. 25, early online issue of Nature Genetics. (more)

William Gahl honored with prestigious Service to America Medal

Dr. Gahl at the podium On September 15, the Partnership for Public Service, awarded NHGRI's William A. Gahl, M.D., Ph.D., the Science and Environmental Medal, one of nine Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the "Sammies") the Partnership bestowed at a Washington D.C. gala event. Sammies are awared to outstanding public servants for remarkable work assisting Americans in need, keeping us safe and advancing our national interests. (more)

Dr. Chris Amos cuts through the smoke at NHGRI's Annual Trent Lecture

Chris Amos, Ph.D. at the Trent lecture podiumOn September 7, Christopher I. Amos, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology and biomathematics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, took the Masur Auditorium podium on the National Institutes of Health Bethesda campus and described the evolution of our current understanding of the complex genetic and environmental relationship between smoking tobacco and lung cancer risk. His talk was the ninth annual Jeffery M. Trent Lectureship in Cancer Research. (more)

NHGRI researchers serve up mysterious disease diagnosis - three ways

This microscopic image depicts the mitochondria within a skin cell, which appears in white in the top left image. Red that shows up in the top right image and green in the bottom left image highlights ACSF3, the cause of CMAMMA. ACSF3 is localized to the mitochondria. The bottom right image is a composite of the three viewsCombined malonic and methylmalonic aciduria, or CMAMMA is a disorder whose unwieldy name refers to the types of chemicals that accumulate in the blood and urine instead of being metabolized or converted to energy as in healthy people. A team led by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute has discovered the gene mutation that causes CMAMMA. The study is published in the August 14, 2011 advance online issue of the journal Nature Genetics. (more)

NHGRI researchers identify gene for inherited bleeding disorder

Platelets An eight-year gene hunt has culminated successfully for National Human Genome Research Institute researchers studying the inherited bleeding disorder gray platelet syndrome (GPS). The researchers found that mutations in the NBEAL2 gene cause GPS. The study was published in the July 17, 2011, early online issue of Nature Genetics. (more)

Paul Liu Named NHGRI Deputy Scientific Director

Paul LiuP. Paul Liu, M.D., Ph.D., a tenured senior investigator who joined the National Institutes of Health in 1993, has been named deputy scientific director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. He will help provide scientific and administrative leadership in the Institute's Division of Intramural Research.. (more)

Researchers identify potential treatment for the lethal premature aging disorder progeria

Nuclei treated with rapamycinResearchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health, the University of Maryland and Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that cells from patients with the rare premature aging condition Hutchinson-Gilford progeria respond to treatment with the antibiotic rapamycin. The results of the study could lead to a potential therapy for the lethal genetic condition and advance biological understanding of the normal aging process. (more)

May 31, 2011: Researchers identify key to molecular signals in disease affecting Mediterranean populations

ResearcherNational Institutes of Health researchers studying familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) have discovered a novel pathway triggering inflammation in these patients. These findings provide fundamental insights into the innate immune system, the body's first line of defense against infection, and may improve treatment options for patients with FMF and other inflammatory conditions. The study was released in the May 19, 2011, early online edition of Immunity. (more)

May 2, 2011: NHGRI Scientific Director Daniel Kastner is inducted into the National Academy of Sciences

Dan KastnerOn April 30, NHGRI Scientific Director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., was inducted as a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) at a ceremony in Baltimore. NAS is an elite body of approximately 2,100 distinguished U.S. scientists and engineers who advise the federal government on science and technology. (more)

April 18, 2011: Parents favor genetic tests that might detect children's susceptibility to common diseases

Drawing of parents and childrenParents are generally willing to allow genetic testing to determine their children's susceptibility to eight, adult-onset health conditions, according to new study published in the April 18, online edition of the journal Pediatrics. NHGRI's Social and Behavioral Research Branch Chief Dr. Colleen McBride is the paper's senior author. (more)

April 7, 2011: In Mouse Study, NIH Investigators Observe the Immune-Boosting Properties of Vitamin A

Raw carrots in the shape of the letter AA new study in which National Human Genome Research Institute researchers collaborated with colleagues from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease helps shed light on how vitamin A regulates the immune system at mucosal surfaces - the moist linings of the mouth, lungs and gastrointestinal track. (more)

April 4, 2011: Symposium ushers in NIH-Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program

Dr. KastnerThe dual role of the physician-scientist is part biomedical research and part clinical care. To nurture this training tradition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established the NIH-Lasker Clinical Research Scholars Program. A symposium to kick off the program, featuring talks by four exemplars of the physician-scientist experience, took place March 31 in the Masur Auditorium on NIH's Bethesda campus. (more)

February 21, 2011: NHGRI Researchers Win AAAS Prize for Neanderthal Genome Analysis

Drs. Hansen and Mullikin On February 19, two researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), along with members of the Neanderthal Genome Analysis Project, won the Newcomb Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for the article, A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome. (more)

February 14, 2011: NHGRI's William Gahl Honored with Top Governmental Service Award

Bill Gahl On Feb. 9, William A. Gahl, M.D., Ph.D., clinical director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), received the American Medical Association's (AMA) Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service for his work establishing the National Institutes of Health Undiagnosed Diseases Program, a trans-NIH initiative that aims to provide diagnoses to patients with mysterious medical conditions. Dr. Gahl accepted the award on behalf of the thousands of patients with rare and undiagnosed disorders. (more)

January 24, 2011: NIH and Wellcome Trust Launch

Logo for the H3Africa website Scientists at African medical research institutions are collaborating with a new initiative called Human Heredity and Health in Africa - or H3Africa - to advance African capacity and expertise in genomic science. H3Africa, announced in June 2010, is organized and supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Wellcome Trust, a global charity based in London. Now, H3Africa organizers have launched a new website to serve as a repository for research resources and information about H3Africa. (more)

January 10, 2011: Penetrating Spider Bites and Neuropsychiatric Insights

Black Widow Spider The female black widow spider is notorious for both her venomous bite and her reputation for using it on her own partner after mating. That venom, containing latrotoxin, places the black widow at the center of a fascinating web - one connecting this neurotoxin to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (more)

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December 2010: NHGRI Researchers Achieve Successful Gene Therapy in Mice

Mouse with DNA tail Propionic acidemia, a potentially fatal metabolic disorder that affects as many as one in 50,000 American babies, can be treated in mice using gene therapy, according to a National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) study published in the October 2010 advance online issue of Human Gene Therapy. (more)

November 2010: NIH researchers identify genetic cause of anemia disorder

Red blood cells One of the most common types of familial anemia, hereditary spherocytosis (HS), is caused by a defect in a gene's barrier insulator, a DNA element that keeps a gene's switch in the 'on' position. A team led by researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and Yale University School of Medicine report on their findings in the early online issue of the Nov. 22, 2010, Journal of Clinical Investigation. (more)

October 2010: New Genetic Findings Explain Some Obesity Risk and Body Types

Feet on scaleAn international team of scientists, including researchers from NHGRI's Genome Technology Branch, have identified 13 regions of genetic variation associated with body fat distribution, and 18 regions of genetic variation associated with increased susceptibility to obesity. (more)

September 2010: Exploring the Human Microbiome to Improve Care for Patients with Eczema and Skin Infections

Dr. Julie SegreAbout 15 percent of infants and children and 2 percent of adults experience the red, itchy patches of skin caused by atopic dermatitis, or eczema. Dermatologists have a number of treatments to offer, but a study to sequence and analyze the genomes of the colonies of bacteria residing on human skin aims to take the guesswork out of which treatment is optimal for different patients.(more)

August 2010: Diversity of Canine Traits Attributed to Simple Genetic Architecture

Three dogs of different size and shapeThe domestic dog (Canis familiaris) diverged from the gray wolf on the canine family tree more than 15,000 years ago. Today, due to selective breeding by humans, dogs exhibit an extremely wide range of body types and canine behaviors. Now, a national team that includes researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute's Cancer Genetics Branch, has found that a surprisingly simple genetic architecture underlies the great variation in domestic dogs. The study appears in the August 10, 2010 issue of PLoS Biology. (more)

July 2010: The Alaskan Sled Dog - A Genetic Breed Apart

Heather Huson and her Alaskan sled dog KestrelHeather Huson has applied a passion for sled dogs to her genetics research with NHGRI's Cancer Genetics Branch. Now, NHGRI graduate student Huson is the lead author of a study on the genetic origins of sled dogs, published in the July 22, 2010 online issue of the BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genetics. (more)

June 2010: NHGRI Genetic Development Researchers Find Trigger for Cell's Internal Compass

Multiplex InitiativeDevelopmental geneticists find that the planar cell polarity signaling pathway is a key mechanism for the placement of organs and other structures on either side of the body. Their study of left-right asymmetry in vertebrate development, and the role of planar cell polarity in initiating it, appeared in the June 20, 2010 early online edition of the journal Nature. (more)

June 2010: Multiplex Initiative Showcases Outcomes of Genetic Test Study at Detroit Symposium

Multiplex InitiativeA team of researchers that included National Human Genome Research Institute investigators convened in Detroit on May 27 to present data and analysis from a study of how healthy, young people use genetic risk-susceptibility tests. The one-day symposium, entitled The Multiplex Initiative: Implications for Personalized Medicine, dealt with a range of provocative issues.(more)

May 2010: NHGRI Investigator Wins ASGCT Outstanding New Investigator Award

Dr. Charles P. VendittiThe American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy awards Charles P. Venditti, M.D., Ph.D., its 2010 Outstanding New Investigator Award for his work in the still evolving field of human gene therapy. He will receive the award on May 20, 2010 during the ASGCT's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (more)

April 2010: Mice Study Reveals A Mystery of The Developing Brain

Neural stem cells of a mouseA congenital defect called microcephaly causes small brain size and varying degrees of mental impairment in humans and animals alike. NHGRI researchers, and others, recently identified a gene in mice that can cause this developmental brain disorder when inactivated. The study was published in the April 4, 2010, early online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience (more)

March 2010: Genetic Variant Greatly Increases Lung Cancer Risk for Light, Non-Smokers

Lit, smoking cigarette with child and two adults in silhoutte in front of lung imageNIH researchers and collaborators on a major, genetic epidemiology study of lung cancer, have identified a genetic variant that greatly increases the risk of disease for individuals who inherit it, even if they have never smoked or are light smokers. The finding suggests that any level of tobacco exposure increases susceptibility for lung cancer in this group, underscoring the dangers from any type of cigarette smoke exposure. The study is published in the March 9, 2010 early online issue of the journal Cancer Research. (more)

February 2010: Researchers Identify Gene Associated with ADHD Susceptibility

DNA double-helix with chromosomesAn international team led by researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has discovered that certain variants in the Latrophilin 3 gene (LPHN3) act as a trigger for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (more)

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November 2009: Researchers Analyze First Complete DNA Sequence Generated at National Institutes of Health

A group of more than a dozen gene hunter from the National Human Genome Research Institute recently gathered at the National Institutes of Health Intramural Sequencing Center in Rockville, Md. to analyze data from the first complete DNA sequence of an NIH Clinical Center patient enrolled in the ClinSeqTM study, a trans-NIH effort to understand the genetic roots of coronary heart disease and the challenges of using genome sequencing tools for personalized health benefit in a clinical research setting. (more)

November 2009: Taking Aim At Trypanosomes

Robotic technologiesThe NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC), administered by the National Human Genome Research Institute, is training its leading-edge technology on two ancient scourges: Chagas disease and African sleeping sickness. In two studies published Nov. 11 in the online edition of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, NCGC researchers, along with collaborators from the University of California-San Francisco, identified a group of compounds with the potential to inhibit parasitic Trypanosoma microbes and unveiled a public dataset that will aid the entire field of drug discovery. (more)

October 2009: NHGRI Researchers Create New Database of Drug-Metabolizing Enzymes

In their quest to find new and better drugs, researchers weigh many factors. Among the most important factors is how a compound will interact with a family of liver enzymes, known as the cytochrome P450s (CYPs), that play an essential role in drug metabolism. (more)

September 2009: Prepublication Data Sharing: The Toronto Statement

Cover of NatureInternational experts have updated guidelines for the rapid release of genomics data and proposed extending the prepublication release principles to other biological data sets. Two NHGRI researchers are among the authors of an Opinion article about rapid data release published, now in the journal Nature.(more)

April 2009: Novel Gene Found Critical for Regeneration in Zebrafish

ZebrafishNHGRI researchers have identified a gene that plays a crucial role in the ability of zebrafish to regenerate vibration-detecting hair cells, like those in the human inner ear. Named phoenix, the gene may help unlock the secrets of these amazing regenerative powers and the possibility of restoring human hearing and balance. (more)

April 2009: Familial Lung Cancer Gene Located

Image of ACTGs and lungs. Image courtesy of Broad Institute Communications A consortium that includes scientists from the National Human Genome Research Institute has identified a gene associated with an increased susceptibility for lung cancer in members of families with a history of the disease. The new finding is reported in the April 15, 2009 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research. (more)

March 2009: NHGRI Research Helps to Demystify Dyslexia

Immunofluorescent image of KIAA0319 protein in cells. Dyslexia is one of the world's most common learning disorders. NHGRI researchers are helping to open a new window on this complex condition with a new genomic discovery reported in the journal PLoS Genetics. (more)

January 2009: Darwin @200

Darwin at 200. Evolution Genomics Medicine February 12, 2009, marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and the 150th year since publication of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species. The National Human Genome Research Institute will observe Darwin's life and accomplishments at events at the NIH's Bethesda campus and at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. (more)

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December 2008: Two NHGRI Intramural Investigators Selected for Presidential Award

Elliott Marguiles and Daphne Bell Two National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) investigators - cancer geneticist Daphne W. Bell, Ph.D., investigator in the Cancer Genetics Branch, and bioinformatician Elliott Margulies, Ph.D., investigator in the Genome Technology Branch - have received the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). They are among 12 PECASE awardees supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the only NIH intramural investigators among this year's awardees. The awards were presented at a White House ceremony on Dec. 19, 2008. (more)

November 2008: Chemical Genomics Screen Uncovers Clues to Fat Storage

Robotic technologies In a study published in the Nov. 25, 2008 issue of PLoS Biology, a team from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the NIH Chemical Genomics Center - an affiliated center with NHGRI - identified a cellular pathway that regulates fat storage and showed that interrupting the pathway boosts the amount of fat stored by human cells. (more)

May 2008: NHGRI Research Reveals Humans Share a Common Set of Skin Microbes

Pseudomonas bacteria A team of researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), led by Julie Segre, Ph.D., a senior investigator in the Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), has found that healthy humans share a common set of microorganisms living in and on the area of skin around the inner elbow, an area where atopic dermatitis (eczema) is known to develop, research published a study in the online issue of Genome Research. (more)

April 2008: Dr. Pamela Schwartzberg Inducted into Association of American Physicions

Pamela Schwartzberg, M.D., Ph.D.Pamela Schwartzberg, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator in the Genetic Disease Research Branch, is a 2008 inductee into the Association of American Physicians (AAP). She was inducted at the AAP's annual meeting in Chicago, April 25-27, 2008. (more)

February 2008: Finding What's Toxic Fast

Kalypsys robot Chemical compounds - from household cleaners to pesticides - require testing to reveal hazards that they may pose to human health. An effort now underway by three collaborating federal research groups seeks to rapidly evaluate larger numbers of chemicals for risks to humans while reducing the role of laboratory animals in regulatory testing. (more)

January 2008: Pam Schwartzberg Wins AAI Investigator Award

Pamela Schwartzberg, M.D., Ph.D. Pamela L. Schwartzberg, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator and head of the Cell Signaling Section of the Genetic Disease Research Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), will receive the AAI-BD Biosciences Investigator Award from the American Association of Immunologists (AAI). (more)

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Last Updated: April 14, 2016