The NIH Director's Early Independence Award supports exceptional early career scientists with the intellect, scientific creativity, drive, and maturity to flourish independently by bypassing the traditional post-doctoral training period.
Silencing the X Chromosome
How long non-coding RNA (lncRNAs) work to control gene regulation is largely unknown due to technical limitations in viewing lncRNAs in the cell. Dr. Guttman, a 2012 awardee, published a paper in Nature describing a new approach to viewing lncRNA complexes in cells, allowing researchers to decipher how they are involved in gene regulation. Using this approach, Guttman deciphered the mechanisms of X chromosome silencing during female development.
Are Gut Bacteria the Key to Treating Low Serotonin Levels?
Dr. Elaine Hsiao, a 2013 awardee, published a paper in Cell showing that gut microbes can regulate the neurotransmitter serotonin in mammals. Hsiao identified the bacteria in mice and humans capable of regulating host serotonin levels and the metabolites involved in the regulation. She further found when microbe-free mice suffering from low serotonin levels were given the serotonin-regulating bacteria, symptoms associated with low serotonin disappeared. These findings raise the question of whether microbes can be used to treatment serotonin deficiencies.
Can the Intellectual Disability Caused by Kabuki Syndrome be Reversed?
Dr. Hans Tomas Bjornsson, a 2013 awardee, published a paper in Science Translational Medicine, showing a deficiency of dentate gyrus neurogenesis may underlie some of the neurological dysfunction seen in a mouse model of Kabuki syndrome, a rare Mendelian cause of intellectual disability.
Yakeel Quiroz Featured in NIH Director's Blog
Save the date for the 2015 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Symposium on December 7-9 at Natcher Conference Center, NIH, Bethesda, MD!