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 combat disorders...
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 reproductive system...
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 their...
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 Carnegie, Soonchunhyang...
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, “Allan is a legend in...
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 how this...
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 regulate the...
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 management skills,...
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 Department of...
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 graduate student...
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 is published in the...
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 of grooves and...
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 researchers...
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—science, education,...
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 about stream ecology.GM...
Baltimore, MD— As we age, the function and regenerative abilities of skeletal muscles deteriorate, which means it is difficult for the elderly to recover from injury or surgery. New work from Carnegie’s Michelle Rozo, Liangji Li, and Chen-Ming Fan demonstrates that a protein called b1-integrin is crucial for muscle regeneration. Their findings, published by Nature Medicine, provide a promising target for therapeutic intervention to combat muscle...
Baltimore, MD— Tiny transparent zebrafish are changing lives through the BioEYES program. A former BioEYES student in Baltimore, Sih Oka Zeh, shared that BioEYES was the catalyst for following a career path in the sciences: “I had BioEYES in 7th grade. Before they came I was told we were going to do an experiment with fish and microscopes. I wasn’t interested. But then they showed up with all this equipment I’d never seen before. We got to work...
Baltimore, MD—New work from Carnegie’s Allan Spradling and Lei Lei demonstrates that mammalian egg cells gain crucial cellular components at an early stage from their undifferentiated sister cells, called germ cells. This mechanism had previously only been documented in lower animals, and may be a key to understanding the egg’s unique properties. Their work is published via Science First Release. Egg cells are the only cells in humans and other...
Washington, D.C.—Matthew Sieber, a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Embryology, has been honored for his extraordinary accomplishments, through a new program that recognizes exceptional Carnegie postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated both scientific accomplishments and creative endeavors beyond what is expected. Nominations for the Postdoctoral Innovation and Excellence (PIE) Awards are made through the department directors, and...
Baltimore, MD— Reproduction is highly dependent on diet and the ability to use nutrients to grow and generate energy. This is clearly seen in women, who must provide all the nutritional building blocks required to support a growing embryo. As a result, metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity are closely linked with several female reproductive disorders such as: Infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, and ovarian cancer. However, the precise...