July/August 2021- Volume 17, Issue 7

In this Issue

Editors Insight

The Apollo landed on the moon in 1969.

The microscopic man on the moon

The microscopic man on the moon

The moon landing inspired a generation of scientists. Could the COVID-19 pandemic inspire the next generation?

Neuroscience

A brain sits in the middle of a half blue and half pink background.

Activating a brain circuit relieves pain in male mice, but not in female mice

Activating a brain circuit relieves pain in male mice, but not in female mice

Scientists identified a new sex-specific pain circuit in the brain, laying the groundwork for developing better pain-relieving drugs for both sexes.
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A promising new class of psychotropic drugs

A promising new class of psychotropic drugs

A newly developed drug stabilizes dopamine and serotonin levels using a novel mechanism. It effectively treats psychosis in patients with schizophrenia, and researchers are testing its efficacy for Parkinson’s disease as well.
Light and sound stimulation improves early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Light and sound stimulation improves early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Light and sound stimulation improves early Alzheimer’s disease symptoms

Spending an hour every day listening to a low-pitched thrum and gazing at blinking lights may help prevent structural changes in the brain and cognitive impairments associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Marina Martinez, associate professor in the department of neuroscience at the University of Montreal at work in the lab.

A new neuroprosthetic may revolutionize spinal cord injury treatment

A new neuroprosthetic may revolutionize spinal cord injury treatment

A neuroprosthetic implanted in the brains of rats with spinal cord injuries helped them learn to walk again, and it may help the brain communicate with the spinal cord.

Clinical Trials

A photo of a baby laughing.

Can a probiotic prevent type 1 diabetes in children?

Can a probiotic prevent type 1 diabetes in children?

An upcoming clinical study will test whether a B. infantis probiotic can prevent the development of type 1 diabetes in predisposed infants.
A person scratches at a red rash on the back of their hand.

Depleting skin immune cells helps treat cutaneous lupus

Depleting skin immune cells helps treat cutaneous lupus

A new antibody treatment reduced levels of type I interferon-producing cells in patients with cutaneous lupus, improving skin symptoms during phase 1 clinical trials.
Peanuts on a rustic wood table

Peanuts may be the key to treating peanut allergies

Peanuts may be the key to treating peanut allergies

Promising results from clinical trials show that allergen tolerization works for many patients.
Red antibody structures and blue virus particles intermingle.

COVID-19 may trigger an autoimmune response

COVID-19 may trigger an autoimmune response

Researchers plan to monitor the immune responses of COVID-19 patients for one year to see how they correlate with illness severity and lasting effects. This data will help develop personalized treatments for patients.
A small molecule inhibitor blocks breast cancer's back up plan

A small molecule inhibitor blocks breast cancer's back up plan

A small molecule inhibitor blocks breast cancer's back up plan

Scientists discovered a long sought-after inhibitor for the DNA repair polymerase, Polθ, which may be key to treating drug-resistant BRCA1 and BRCA2-mutant cancers.

Immunology

A photo of the International Space Station floating above the Earth.

Space alters an astronaut’s immune system

Space alters an astronaut’s immune system

From microgravity to radiation, space wreaks havoc on astronauts’ immune systems, potentially putting them at risk of infection from microbes onboard.
A drawing of the International Space Station in blue is shown against a background of stars. The words "Hitchhiking Microbes" are written on top of it with drawings of different microbes on the letters.

Hitchhiking microbes

Hitchhiking microbes

With every launch, spacecraft carrying humans into space bring along a few uninvited guests.
COVID-19 antibody

Designing vaccines with reverse vaccinology

Designing vaccines with reverse vaccinology

Investigating antibodies produced by infectious diseases yields vaccines with broad-acting protection.
A graphic illustration of the skin microbiome showing hair as brown columns and bacteria as purple spheres and orange rods.

Skin cells use epigenetics to tolerate microorganisms

Skin cells use epigenetics to tolerate microorganisms

Unlike other cells in the body that mount a strong immune response against microbial invaders, skin cells use an epigenetic mechanism to ignore most of the microbes they see. These findings reveal a potential new drug target for inflammatory skin diseases.
A next-generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

A next-generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

A next-generation SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

A naturally occurring nanoparticle yields a new type of vaccine that offers broad-acting protection against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. With further development, the approach may lead to a pan-coronavirus vaccine.

Computational Tools

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AI finds new uses for old drugs

AI finds new uses for old drugs

Researchers built a framework to purposefully identify drug candidates for repurposing.
Seeking Intelligence

Special Report: Seeking intelligence

Special Report: Seeking intelligence

Beyond the buzz, is AI just another research tool?
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Keolu Fox revises historical narratives with genome data

Keolu Fox revises historical narratives with genome data

A native Hawaiian, anthropologist, and genome scientist, Keolu Fox investigates how mutations found in indigenous populations contribute to human health and emphasizes the importance of considering who benefits from research involving indigenous genomes.

Milestone

A close up of a mouse crawling in the gloved hands of a researcher

Science Milestone: The first transgenic mice

Science Milestone: The first transgenic mice

Transgenic mice play pivotal roles in scientific and therapeutic discovery, but how did they become a staple model system?
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