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January 2016 Issue of The Translational Scientist

Welcome to the very first issue! This month, we’ve got everything from cellular prostheses for psoriasis, to how screening can cut ovarian cancer mortality rates. Meet the scientists mapping a route through the complexities of Alzheimer’s in our in-depth cover feature. In “Toolbox” we explore alternatives to animals for preclinical research, oncotherapy goes viral in “Translated” and “In Perspective” makes the case for early involvement of social scientists in translational research. Finally, we’re “Sitting Down With” Jennifer Grandis, who heads translational science at UCSF.

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Articles featured in this issue

Research Field Neuroscience

Video: Inside The Translational Scientist

| Charlotte Barker

Want a lightning-fast tour of the latest issue? Take a look at our new video sneak preview.

Outside the Lab Professional development

Welcome to the Translational Scientist

| Charlotte Barker

Telling stories from across the translational spectrum

Research Field Neuroscience

From Astrophysics to Astrocytes

| James Strachan

A galaxy-mapping statistical model suggests that star-shaped astrocytes are repelled by Alzheimer’s plaques

Research Field Cell & gene therapy

Changing the Leopard’s Spots

| James Strachan

Holding back the “guardian of the genome” opens the gates to more efficient transdifferentiation

Tools & Techniques Biomedical engineering

Cellular Prostheses for Psoriasis

| James Strachan

Could cell-based synthetic circuits make pills and ointments a thing of the past for chronic disease?

Outside the Lab Cancer

Does Screening Save Lives?

| Ian Jacobs

Data from a large-scale trial suggest that screening cuts ovarian cancer mortality rates by 25 percent – but some remain skeptical

Tools & Techniques Genetics

CRISPR Controversy

| David Baltimore, Jonathan Moreno, John Harris, David Lemberg

CRISPR has brought gene editing into the mainstream – but where should we draw the line?

Research Field Metabolism & Diabetes

A Single-Edged Sword for Diabetes?

| James Strachan

Autocrine-based screening has identified a more selective anti-diabetic drug candidate

Tools & Techniques Cell & gene therapy

Image of the Month

| Charlotte Barker

Researchers at MIT have programmed induced pluripotent stem cells to form rudimentary livers, complete with different tissues, by engineering expression of GATA6.

Disease Area Personalized medicine

Making It (Im)personal

| Julian Solway

Better understanding of human biology presents us with an opportunity to combat disease on two fronts – targeting individual variation on one hand and universal mechanisms on the other.

Outside the Lab Professional development

Collaborate or Die

| Richard Holland

In the pharma industry of the future, only the strongest companies will survive – and that means those with the most successful collaborations.

Research Field Public health

Stimulating Regulatory Science

| Jan Johannessen, Ameeta Parekh

We need better tools for assessing new medicines – and to develop them, we must work together.

Research Field Neuroscience

Navigating Alzheimer’s

| Charlotte Barker

Our understanding of the mechanisms that trigger Alzheimer’s disease is growing fast, but many secrets still lurk in the shadowy recesses of the brain.

Research Field Neuroscience

Untangling Tau

| Bradley Hyman

As a neurologist, Bradley Hyman has seen first-hand the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on patients and their families.

Tools & Techniques Drug delivery

The Overactive Brain

| Michela Gallagher

Michela Gallagher was studying aging in lab rats when an unusual finding launched her on a translational journey that now sees her poised to initiate a Phase III trial of a drug to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Research Field Metabolism & Diabetes

Food for Thought

| Ewan McNay

When Ewan McNay was eight years old, he decided that he wanted to do two things: live forever and find out how the brain works.

Research Field Cancer

Personalized Medicine × Nanotechnology

| Tamara Minko

The combination of genomic profiling and high-tech targeted drug delivery is opening up a new front in the fight against cancer.

Tools & Techniques Cardiovascular

Lessons I’ve Learned, With Jenny Van Eyk

| Jennifer Van Eyk

From hardcore peptide biochemist to translational scientist, it’s been an unconventional journey for Jennifer Van Eyk, Director of the Advanced Clinical Biosystems Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles.

Research Field Animal models

Animal Alternatives

| James Strachan, Charlotte Barker

Could the lab rat be heading for retirement? A new breed of in vitro tissues and organs are being engineered to replace animal models – and the developers aim to make them accessible to all.

Disease Area Biomedical engineering

Enter the Matrix

| Cathy Merry

Now I have a lab of my own, I’ve found that the best research comes from finding the right collaborators.

Research Field Neuroscience

Bargain Brains

| Diane Hoffman-Kim

In some ways, we biomedical engineers are really just control freaks. By designing our own small world in a dish, we can stage manage every aspect and push the boundaries in a way that’s not always possible in an animal model.

Outside the Lab Cancer

Oncotherapy Goes Viral

| Robert Coffin

Robert Coffin tells the bench-to-bedside story of how the first FDA-approved oncolytic virotherapy, talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), was translated from a colleague’s cold sore to a potential global game changer.

Outside the Lab Public health

The Missing Link

| Helen Lambert

Whether you are a scientist working on a new intervention or a policy-maker trying to solve major public health problems, social and cultural factors are crucial pieces of the puzzle – ignore them at your peril. Here, I explain how social science can help.

Outside the Lab Cancer

Perfecting the Translational Balancing Act

| Charlotte Barker

Sitting Down With… Jennifer Grandis, Professor, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Associate Vice Chancellor – Clinical and Translational Research, University of California, San Francisco, USA.

Other issues of 2016