Research and Achievements (2012)

October 1, 2012
Past and present JCC Fellows and BSA members make the news

Scientists identified more than 70 genes that promote axon growth after injury, according to work published in the September 22, 2011 issue of the journal Neuron. JCC Fellow Zhiping Wang, who recently finished his JCC fellowship in Yishi Jin’s lab at UC San Diego, worked on the collaboration, which also identified six genes that inhibit nerve regeneration.

Ali Shilatifard, Stowers Institute for Medical Research investigator and former JCC Fellow, confirmed that the molecular mechanics of a key regulatory complex implicated in human leukemia are the same throughout the evolutionary ladder, from yeast to fruit flies to humans. Hanz-Martin Herz, who completed his JCC fellowship last June, contributed to the work, which was published in the November 1, 2011 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Researchers have created the first transgenic mouse model of a rare type of autism, known as Timothy Syndrome, which is associated with a mutation in the voltage-gated L-type calcium channel. The mouse exhibits repetitive physical behaviors, altered social behaviors, and impaired communication abilities. JCC Fellow Michael R. Tadross contributed to the work, which appeared in the September 13, 2011 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Huda Zogbi, Baylor College of Medicine researcher and new member of the JCC Board of Scientific Advisors, recently demonstrated that the loss of the protein MeCP2 in a special group of inhibitory nerve cells in the brain reproduces nearly all features of Rett syndrome, a devastating neuropsychiatric disorder. Mingshan Xue, contributed to the study, which was published in the November 10, 2010 issue of Nature. Xue is now a JCC Fellow in Massimo Scanziani’s lab at the University of California San Diego.

In 2010, Andrew Elia was awarded a research grant from The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), a $200,000 two-year award presented each year to a board-eligible physician or physicist in radiation oncology or a radiobiologist who is within the first three years of his or her junior faculty appointment. Elia recently completed his JCC Fellowship with Stephen J. Elledge at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Sue Biggins, an investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and former JCC Fellow, and her colleagues isolated the the kinetochore outside of the cell and discovered that “finger-trap” tension stabilizes cells’ chromosome-separating machinery during cell division. The findings were reported in the November 25, 2010 issue of Nature.

Robert Eisenman, molecular biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 “for his path-breaking studies on the role of oncogenes in the transcriptional regulation of cell growth and proliferation.” Eisenmen served as a member of the JCC Board of Scientific Advisors from 1999 until 2007.