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 Bruce Appel, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics
In this manuscript, Dr. Appel describes signaling interactions between neuronal axons and glial oligodendrocytes that determine how axons are wrapped by insulating myelin membrane (Hughes and Appel, Nat Commun. 2019). These signaling interactions might mediate how myelin is formed on axons in response to brain activity, thereby contributing to learning and memory.
Joseph Brzezinski, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Dr. Brzezinski and colleagues show that mouse retinas and human retinal organoids can be treated to become cone photoreceptor-dominant (Kaufman et al., Dev Biol, 2019). They go on to profile the transcriptional changes that occur as stem cells differentiate into cones. These findings are being used to probe the mechanisms that control cone photoreceptor development.
Andrii Rozhok, Ph.D., Instructor, Department of Dermatology
James DeGregori, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Drs. Rozhok and DeGregori report computational studies demonstrating that aging-dependent changes in selection for cancer-causing mutations is sufficient to explain the late-life increases in cancer risk (Rozhok and DeGogori, eLife, 2019). Importantly, this paper overturns dogma in the cancer field that posits that aging-associated cancer risk is due to the time- dependent accumulation of mutations. Instead, they show that physiological changes in our tissues associated with old age dramatically alter selection for oncogenic mutations.
Santos Franco, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Dr. Franco and colleagues define the role of a gene in the brain whose function was previously uncharacterized (Gutierrez, et al., eNeuro, 2019). They determined that this gene, Csmd2, is a component of synapses—the connections between brain cells. They show that it interacts with other proteins at synapses and determine that Csmd2 is required for normal development of neurons.
James Hagman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Immunology, National Jewish Health
In this paper, Dr. Hagman and colleagues show that CHD4, a protein that opens or closes chromosomes, which in turn allows genes to be turned on or off, respectively, is essential for transcriptional repression and lineage progression in B lymphopoiesis (Arends et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2019).
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