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HHMI is a science philanthropy whose mission is to advance basic biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. HHMI empowers exceptional scientists and students to pursue fundamental questions in basic science. The scientists come from 21 US institutions and will a community of Investigators who are tackling some of the most challenging problems in biomedical research. And the new cohort of 33 scientists that HHMI announced today represents outstanding science from across the United States.

In North Carolina, a psychiatrist is examining the role of brain electricity in mental health disorders. An Arizona scientist is probing how bacteria can become Bedford woman sex fixtures inside host cells. And a California biologist is on a mission to heal diseased hearts. These scientists and their fellow Investigators could radically change how we think about biology, human health, and disease. HHMI selected the new Investigators from more than eligible applicants. To date, 32 current or former HHMI scientists have won the Nobel Prize — most recently, Jennifer Doudna in for the development of a method for genome editing.

Investigators have made ificant contributions across Bedford woman sex research areas, including HIV vaccine development, microbiome and circadian rhythm research, immunotherapy, SARS-CoV-2 biology, and potential therapies and vaccines for COVIDamong other fields. HHMI is the largest private biomedical research institution in the nation. Our scientists make discoveries that advance human health and our fundamental understanding of biology.

We also invest in transforming science education into a creative, inclusive endeavor that reflects the excitement of research. Chemistry is happening all around us — and even inside us. Harvard University chemical biologist Emily Balskus is revealing the hidden chemical reactions carried out by microbes deep inside our guts. Like trillions of tiny chemists, microbes are continuously building or breaking down molecules.

Scientists are still catag these microbes, called the gut microbiome, and know that they play a role in disease. But just how the microbiome influences human health remains a mystery.

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One challenge is teasing apart the different jobs microbes perform in the complex environment of the intestines. She and her team have figured out important aspects of microbial metabolism, such as how an enzyme in gut bacteria breaks down cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease. And by puzzling out the action of a particular cluster of genes, her team learned how certain gut bacteria produce colibactin, a molecule that scientists have implicated in colorectal cancer.

The team discovered that colibactin damages the DNA of host cells, and then they deed a molecule to block its action. Greg Barton of the University of California, Berkeley, is learning how the immune system makes these choices.

Barton and his team focus on how the innate immune system recognizes microbes, and how the innate and adaptive systems work together. One is that immune cells recognize pathogens by sensing their genetic material, even though similar material exists within our own cells. He has also identified gut bacteria that trigger the immune system, and is learning from them how the immune system knows whether a microbe is harmful.

For instance, certain gut microbes might one day be harnessed to boost immunity, and a better understanding of autoimmunity could spark new Bedford woman sex for immune disorders. In conditions like eczema, asthma, and COVID, for example, the nervous and immune systems go into overdrive, prompting an exaggerated reaction that can be harmful.

The first member of her family to attend college, Bautista has been studying cell aling since graduate school. Bautista first tackled this issue in eczema, a chronic itch disorder. She found that a aling molecule released by epithelial skin cells directly activates immune cells and the nervous system.

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They then looked at airway neurons and lung epithelial cells, as many children with eczema go on to develop asthma and allergies. The team found similar neuronal aling in those cells as well. By looking at cellular-level changes from when infection begins to when breathing problems develop, she hopes to untangle the ways SARS-CoV-2 impacts the nervous system and triggers inflammation. The warning, spurred by a disease surveillance network his team built, touched off emergency lockdowns and other preventative public health measures in Seattle and beyond.

A computational biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Bedford had once felt frustrated that genetic analyses of emerging viruses were typically done too late to help quash the outbreaks. Far better, he thought, to set up a surveillance system that includes genome sequencing to rapidly Bedford woman sex worrisome new viral strains. He co-developed a software platform, Nextstrain, to create such a global surveillance network, and also started the Seattle Flu Study to detect and interrupt transmission of influenza in that vicinity.

The projects led to improved methods for forecasting flu mutations, now used by the World Health Organization to inform vaccine de. Mosquitoes have threatened human health for centuries, transmitting pathogens like malaria. By learning more about the biology of Anopheles mosquitoes and the malaria parasite that develops inside them, Flaminia Catteruccia hopes to find new solutions for disease control that are less harmful to the environment. Female mosquitoes must nourish their developing eggs, and human blood provides an ideal source of nutrients.

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Yet that blood often brings malaria parasites with it. She and her team identified the role of a male steroid hormone that is transferred to the female mosquito during sex. Such tools could crack down on the parasite without having broader health effects on mosquitoes, other insects, or humans. By aiming at the parasite, rather than the mosquito, Catteruccia wants to minimize the emergence of resistance to antimalarial compounds.

In our bodies, nature is continually performing an amazing feat of renewal. Stem cells constantly divide to create two genetically identical daughter cells.

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One daughter is another stem cell. But a mysterious transformation converts the other into something more specialized, like a skin cell or blood cell. How is this molecular sleight of hand achieved when both cells have identical DNA? In award-winning research at the Johns Hopkins University, biologist Xin Chen has shown that the answer involves proteins called histones. Scientists have long known that histones act like a spool around which strands of DNA wrap. But the proteins also contain crucial instructions known as epigenetic information. When the stem cell copies its genes and histones in order to divide, the original histones go to the daughter that remains a stem cell.

Using new methods and tools developed or refined in her lab, Chen has made the first direct observations of this so-called asymmetric epigenetic inheritance in living organisms.

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The research offers a possible new window into diseases that might be caused when this molecular mechanism goes awry, such as cancer or tissue degeneration. Uncovering the three-dimensional structures of biological molecules can bring valuable insights into their function. In the past, most RNA molecules have resisted giving up their structural secrets.

Das is now close to realizing that dream. His team began by adapting computational methods ly used to predict protein shapes. These tools helped reveal the shapes of entire viruses and key biological machines like telomerase — and helped the Das lab win numerous competitions predicting structures of RNA molecules. Still, the shapes of most RNA molecules remain elusive. So Das and his colleagues doubled down on an imaging technique called cryo-electron microscopy.

The effort finally nailed the structure of the first RNA-only enzyme discovered, 40 years after it was first identified. In recent decades, psychiatry has focused on the role of brain chemistry in mental illness. But chemistry is only a part of the picture in the brain, says Duke University psychiatrist Kafui Dzirasa. Electrical als also define neural activity.

His interest is personal. They record the millions of electrical changes that cross the brains of mice Bedford woman sex second and then analyze the rhythmic patterns of those brain waves. The scientists have identified distinct electrical atures in mice that exhibit symptoms of depression.

They also identified Bedford woman sex different ature in healthy mice prone to developing depressive behavior. Over the long term, Dzirasa hopes to devise new treatments for such conditions based on what his team learns about how brain electrical activity gets disrupted. When mortal enemies, infectious microbes and their hosts are locked in an ever-escalating conflict. Nels Elde, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Utah, studies the cellular innovations that result from this arms race.

His lab has discovered a genetic mutation in mice and monkeys that illustrates such a maneuver. A duplicated gene encodes an altered protein that delays the process cells use to bud off pieces of their membranes. The change interferes with the ability of viruses such as HIV and Ebola to coopt this process and escape an infected cell. Elde and his team believe this represents a new type of immunity that arises quickly to protect against short-lived threats.

To overcome host defenses, our adversaries change too — sometimes in sneaky ways. Viruses, for example, are known to capture host genes in their own genomes. How do billions of neurons establish the trillions of connections that make up a human brain? The answer could involve sprawling, star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, says Duke University neuroscientist Cagla Eroglu. Neurons communicate via junctions between cells. A single human astrocyte may interact with two million synapses.

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And the relationship between the two cell types goes both ways, the researchers have shown. Astrocytes grow to their full size and complexity only if neurons are present. To detect and respond to neurons, astrocytes rely on the coordinated action of many different genes. Scientists have linked some of these genes to autism. Deciphering the details of how astrocytes sculpt neural connections and influence brain circuitry will open up exciting possibilities for future investigations, Eroglu says.

In complex organisms like animals, specialized cells called germ cells make the eggs and sperm that enable sexual reproduction. Harvard University biologist Cassandra Extavour is investigating the ancient origins of germ cells.

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No other cells in the body pass on their genes, making germ cells central to the process of evolution. Extavour studies the evolutionary processes that led to the formation of the first egg cell. She wants to understand germ cell evolution on as many different levels as possible, from individual molecules and genes all the way up to ecological interactions between organisms.

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