Baltimore, MD—The interactions that take place between the species of microbes living in the gastrointestinal system often have large and unpredicted effects on health, according to new work from a team led by Carnegie’s Will Ludington. Their findings are published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of hundreds to thousands of microbial species living within the human body...
Baltimore, MD—Since Carnegie Institution’s Barbara McClintock received her Nobel Prize on her discovery of jumping genes in 1983, we have learned that almost half of our DNA is made up of jumping genes—called transposons. Given their ability of jumping around the genome in developing sperm and egg cells, their invasion triggers DNA damage and mutations. This often leads to animal sterility or even death, threatening species...
Carnegie’s Department of Embryology scientist Steven Farber and team have been awarded a 5-year $3.3-million NIH grant to identify novel pharmaceuticals for combating a host of diseases associated with altered levels of lipoproteins like LDL (“bad cholesterol”). Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, and metabolic syndrome have all been linked to changes in plasma lipoproteins.  Lab efforts, led by...
Tasuku Honjo, a postdoctoral fellow in the Brown Lab at the Department of Embryology 1971-1973, shares the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The AsianScientist quoted Honjo as saying: "After I moved to the US as a postdoctoral researcher in the 70s, I met my mentor, Dr. Donald Brown, at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Baltimore. He told me that the major question of immunology at the time was, how do we create...
Baltimore, MD— Body organs such as the intestine and ovaries undergo structural changes in response to dietary nutrients that can have lasting impacts on metabolism, as well as cancer susceptibility, according to Carnegie’s Rebecca Obniski, Matthew Sieber, and Allan Spradling. Their work, published by Developmental Cell, used fruit flies, which are currently the most-sensitive experimental system for such detecting diet-induced...
Ethan Greenblatt, a senior postdoctoral associate in Allan Spradling’s lab at the Department of Embryology, has been awarded the eleventh Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence Award. Greenblatt has made a major impact on biological science, particularly with his research identifying genetic factors underlying fragile X syndrome, the most common cause of autism. Recipients of these postdoctoral awards are given a cash prize for their...
Baltimore, MD—The Pew Charitable Trust has awarded Carnegie’s Steve Farber and colleague John F. Rawls of Duke University a $200,000 grant to investigate how dietary nutrients, such as fats, alter the ability to sense glucose in the gut—a process that involves the microbial ecosystem in the gut. Results from this research could reveal how microbes and nutrients in the gut environment interact and could provide new strategies to...
Baltimore, MD—New work from Carnegie’s Ethan Greenblatt and Allan Spradling reveals that the genetic factors underlying fragile X syndrome, and potentially other autism-related disorders, stem from defects in the cell’s ability to create unusually large protein structures. Their findings are published in Science. Their research focuses on a gene called Fmr1. Mutations in this gene create problems in the brain as well as the...
Baltimore MD—Almost half of our DNA sequences are made up of jumping genes—also known as transposons. They jump around the genome in developing sperm and egg cells and are important to evolution. But their mobilization can also cause new mutations that lead to diseases, such as hemophilia and cancer. Remarkably little is known about when and where their movements occur in developing reproductive cells, the key process that ensures...
The Department of Embryology is thrilled to welcome Dr. Will Ludington to our team as our newest Staff Member. Dr. Ludington joins us from the University of California – Berkeley, where he started his lab as a Bowes Fellow (PI). Dr. Ludington’s work focuses on complexity in the gut microbiome-host relationship. His lab develops the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster gut microbiome as a model. By studying the fly’s naturally low...
Baltimore, MD—A tremendous amount of genetic material must be packed into the nucleus of every cell—a tiny compartment. One of the biggest challenges in biology is to understand how certain regions of this highly packaged DNA can be called upon, so that the genes encoded in them can be “turned on,” or expressed and used to manufacture RNA and proteins. New work published in Molecular Cell by a team of biologists from...
Baltimore, MD—Allan C. Spradling, Director Emeritus of Carnegie’s Department of Embryology, has been awarded the 23rd March of Dimes and Richard B. Johnson, Jr., MD Prize in Developmental Biology as “an outstanding scientist who has profoundly advanced the science that underlies our understanding of prenatal development and pregnancy.” Department director and Carnegie co-interim president Yixian Zheng remarked,...
Marnie Halpern's Mendel talk In September, Embryology staff member Dr. Marnie Halpern spoke at an event to honor the work of famed czech geneticist Gregor Mendel. Dr. Halpern spoke along with Dr. Ondrej Dostal, Director of the Mendel Museum at the Abbey where Mendel did his genetics work. Mendel’s research paved the way for the research performed at Embryology today, and Dr. Halpern spoke about the influence Mendel's work has had on agriculture...
Predoctoral Fellow James Thierer of the Farber lab wins poster award Each year, Johns Hopkins’ University, of which the Department of Embryology is an affiliate, hosts a Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics (CMDB) retreat, complete with a poster session. During the retreat in Fall 2017, the Farber Lab’s predoctoral fellow James Thierer won a poster award with his poster "Illuminating beta-lipoprotein dynamics with larval...
On Monday, April 16th, the Department of Embryology’s Dr. Joe Gall hosted Nobel Laureate Dr. Carol Greider as a special seminar speaker in the weekly seminar series. Dr. Greider is currently the Daniel Nathans Professor & Director of Molecular Biology & Genetics at Johns Hopkins Medicine.   Dr. Greider was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 for her work on telomeres, along with Drs. Elizabeth Blackburn and...
Washington, DC—Not too long ago, biologists would induce mutations in an entire genome, isolate an organism that displayed a resulting disease or abnormality that they wanted to study, and then work backward to determine which gene was responsible for the defect.  This process often took years to yield definitive results. Now, thanks to the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing tool, biologists can target specific genes for mutation and then see...
Baltimore, MD— The brain is the body’s mission control center, sending messages to the other organs about how to respond to various external and internal stimuli. Located in the forebrain, the habenular region is one such message-conducting system. Two new papers from Carnegie scientists explain how the habenulae develop and their unsuspected role in recovering from fear. Found in all vertebrates, the bilaterally paired habenulae...
Washington, D.C.--Yixian Zheng has been selected to direct Carnegie’s Department of Embryology in Baltimore, Maryland. She has been Acting Director since February 1st of 2016. Carnegie president Matthew Scott remarked, “Yixian has been an exceptional leader of the department as Acting Director. We are extremely pleased that she took on this job permanently.  Her fascinating science, independent thinking, vision, extraordinary...
Washington, D.C.—BioEYES was accepted to participate in a National Science Foundation (NSF) video competition on May 15-22, 2017. BioEYES supporters are encouraged to go to the competition website at stemforall2017.videohall.com and share and vote for the BioEYES video! (Note the guidelines for the three ways to vote. Watch the video directly here http://stemforall2017.videohall.com/p/1025) Project BioEYES, based at Carnegie’s...
Baltimore, MD—Studying how our bodies metabolize lipids such as fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol can teach us about cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health problems, as well as reveal basic cellular functions. But the process of studying what happens to lipids after being consumed has been both technologically difficult and expensive to accomplish until now. New work from Carnegie’s Steven Farber and his...
Baltimore, MD—A first-of-its-kind study on almost 20,000 K-12 underrepresented public school students shows that Project BioEYES, based at Carnegie’s Department of Embryology, is effective at increasing students’ science knowledge and positive attitudes about science. Younger students had the greatest attitude changes. The study covered five years and tested students before and after the one-week BioEYES program. The research...
Baltimore, MD— New work led by Carnegie’s Steven Farber, with help from Yixian Zheng’s lab, sheds light on how form follows function for intestinal cells responding to high-fat foods that are rich in cholesterol and triglycerides. Their findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Enterocytes are specialized cells that line the insides of our intestines. The intestinal surface is like a toothbrush, with lots...
Baltimore, MD---Athletes, the elderly and those with degenerative muscle disease would all benefit from accelerated muscle repair. When skeletal muscles, those connected to the bone, are injured, muscle stem cells wake up from a dormant state and repair the damage. When muscles age, however, stem cell number and function declines, as do both tissue function and regenerative ability.  Carnegie’s Christoph Lepper and team*, including...
Washington, D.C.—  Zehra Nizami has been a graduate student and postdoc in Joe Gall’s lab at the Department of Embryology. She is the fourth recipient of the Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Award, which are made through nominations from the department directors and chosen by the Office of the President. Her career at Embryology includes outstanding accomplishments in the three areas recognized by the PIE Award...
Baltimore, MD--BioEYES, the K-12 science education program headquartered at  Carnegie's Department of Embryology, was recognized with four other organizations by the General Motors Foundation, at the GM Baltimore Operations plant where they make transmissions. The BioEYES group was honored for their environmental education program, “Your Watershed, Your Backyard, a middle school learning experience that teaches students...