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News and Updates

Pluripotent Stem Cells Shed Light on How COVID-19 Infects the Pancreas and Liver and Its Relationship with Diabetes

The study of human pluripotent stem cells, which can develop into any cell type in the body, is providing Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian investigators with new insights into the virus that causes COVID-19 and how it may infect organs such as the pancreas and liver.

The study, published June 19 in Cell Stem Cell, demonstrates that the severe acute...

New "Photoswitchable Ligand" Technique Allows Detailed Study of Neural Receptors

A new technology developed by Weill Cornell Medicine and Max Planck Institute for Medical Research scientists allows the controlled, on-and-off “switching” of neural receptors with unprecedented efficiency and precision. The technology is likely to be widely adopted for studying these receptors and their links to behavior, and potentially will enable the development of better drugs for treating depression,...

Scientists Identify Protein that Promotes Brain Metastasis

A protein that breast, lung and other cancers use to promote their spread—or metastasis—to the brain, has been identified by a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian investigators. The protein, CEMIP, will now be a focus of efforts to predict, prevent and treat brain metastases, which are a frequent cause of cancer deaths.

In their study, published Nov. 4 in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists found...

Researchers Uncover Pathways Leading to Heart Defects in Genetic Syndrome

Two molecular signaling pathways underlie the cardiac defects associated with one type of the inherited disorder Noonan syndrome (NS), researchers from Masonic Medical Research Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medicine find in a new study. The investigators built the first patient-derived stem cell model of the RAF1 mutant form of NS to investigate the defect, a severe thickening of the...

Enzyme Digests Amyloid-Beta Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease

An enzyme found in brain cells can break apart the precursors to plaques that accumulate in the organ and cause toxicity in Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study led by Weill Cornell Medicine scientists.

The study, published Jan. 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, illuminates where the enzyme, tripeptidyl peptidase 1 (TPP1), cuts these plaque precursors—formed by peptide fragments...

Biochemistry Post-Doc Honored with 2017 Tri-Institutional Breakout Award

Dr. Ghazaleh Ashrafi

Dr. Ghazaleh Ashrafi, a postdoctoral associate in biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medicine, has won a 2017 Tri-Institutional Breakout Award for Junior Investigators.

The awards, which honor outstanding postdoctoral investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering and The Rockefeller University, are given annually to up to six promising postdoctoral trainees based on their research accomplishments, the impact of their science and the prospect of their success as...

Researchers Discover New Mechanism of Synapse Control

Close-up purple and yellow cell

A tiny tubular structure directly controls synapses, the junctions through which communication signals flow between nerve cells, according to a paper published Feb. 8 in Neuron. The research could eventually help scientists better understand and treat a variety of neurological diseases, including spastic paraplegia, which leads to stiffness, weakness and spasms in the legs, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the...

Brain Cells, Like Muscle Cells, Mobilize Sugar in Response to Increased Activity

Green and purple cells

New research provides insights into why the brain is so reliant on sugar to function. 

In a study published Jan. 19 in Neuron, a research team led by Weill Cornell Medicine investigators discovered that brain cells recruit a specific sugar, glucose, to fuel the transmission of electrical signals that enable people to think, breathe and walk. The findings suggest that the brain uses the same process to...

On the Fast Track

Cellular Tubes

By Heather Salerno

Portraits by John Abbott

It's a rare, heartbreaking disease. Niemann-Pick Type C — which is often called "childhood Alzheimer's" because its adolescent victims deteriorate mentally as well as physically — lacks a cure or even a treatment. Patients most severely affected by the rare, hereditary, neurodegenerative disorder generally don't live beyond age 20. "We're also starting to realize that it's usually misdiagnosed," notes...

Graduate School Commencement Speaker Uses Small Discoveries to Bring Big Change

Dr. Igor Dikiy is just one small cog in the bigger machine that is the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences — or at least, that's how he sees it.

During his six years studying biochemistry in the graduate school, he was always more interested in looking at how smaller pieces added up to a big picture. Sometimes that meant shifting focus from a protein's specific involvement in Parkinson's disease to...

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