Leaks from the Lab

Long time, no see: Peabody Museum scientist rediscovers species of fairy shrimp

Eric A. Lazo-Wasem, senior collections manager in the Peabody’s division of invertebrate zoology, recently collected specimens of Eubranchipus holmani, a small species of shrimp that has not been seen in 50 years. Lazo-Wasem, who was on a quest to track down the rare species, is currently fighting to help it thrive. Now that he has identified a population of this type of fairy shrimp, Lazo-Wasem wants to add Eubranchipus holmani to the endangered-species list.

Yale researchers discover DNA sequences that viruses may use to “spy” on host cells

A team of Yale biologists may have recently gained valuable insight into how viruses successfully hijack host cells. The researchers found that bacteriophage viral DNA contains sequences coding for “riboswitches,” or sections of messenger RNA that control gene expression. The virus may use these RNA molecules to gather information about physiological transformations occurring in its host.

Cancer cells found to imitate normal cell processes, Yale scientists say

Chimeric proteins, products of rearranged RNA molecules, were believed until last week to be indicators of cancerous cells. However, Yale researchers discovered chimeric proteins in normal, healthy cells. The study calls into question the potential serious side effects of anti-cancer drugs, such as Gleevec, that target all cells containing chimeric proteins.

Tiny tubes for tumor treatment

A group of scientists from the departments of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering at Yale found that single-walled carbon nanotube bundles provide an optimal base for the proliferation of T-cells within a patient’s blood when combined with antibody treatment in immunotherapy. This advancement will improve therapy for advanced melanoma and other tumors.

What’s the matter?

Two Yale physics professors, Keith Baker and Paul Tipton, will use the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to search for a new ordinary particle responsible for dark matter, which comprises a fourth of the universe’s mass. The LHC, located near Geneva, Switzerland, is a 17-mile-long accelerator that will begin operating today.

Advancements in testing detect the undetectable

Professor Michael Levene’s biophotonics lab is developing new approaches to blood testing that are faster, cheaper and more effective. The new testing ideally will be able to detect common blood-clotting disorders such as HIV and AIDS, which are currently difficult or impossible to detect with current blood tests.

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