March 2016 Issue of The Translational Scientist

This month we ask top pain researchers why it has proven so hard to translate promising targets into much–needed new painkillers. Upfront has everything from fly eyes, to night vision for cells, plus we discover the origins of rage (at least in mice). Toolbox focuses on detecting protein conformational changes, and fragment screening by X-ray crystallography. This month’s Translated case study follows the 20-year journey to a vaccine for dengue – otherwise known as breakbone fever. Finally, we sit down with John Doench, the Broad Institute’s gene genie.

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Articles featured in this issue

Tools & Techniques Cancer

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.

Tools & Techniques Cancer

Immune U-Turn

| Charlotte Barker

“Extraordinary” results from a T-cell therapy trial offer hope to leukemia patients – and to researchers toiling in unfashionable fields.

Research Field Neuroscience

Seeds of Alzheimer's

| William Aryitey

Another study supports potential surgical transmission of amyloid beta plaques – but the discussion is far from closed

Research Field Cancer

Dendrimer DeLivery

| William Aryitey

How can we get drugs to the liver to treat its dysfunction, without making it worse?

Tools & Techniques Cell & molecular biology

Cellular Night Vision

| William Aryitey

French physicists have developed a thermal imaging technique that maps heat across a single cell

Research Field Cancer

Fly Eyes Run Amok

| William Aryitey

What can Drosophila eyes tell us about the origins of cancer?

Research Field Neuroscience

When Mice Attack

| William Aryitey

Researchers can control aggression in mice by turning on specific neurons – but what are the implications for human rage?

Disease Area Public health

Tracking Zika

| William Aryitey

What do we know so far?

Tools & Techniques Cell & gene therapy

Stemming the Flow

| Paris Margaritis

A gene therapy approach for hemophilia-causing Factor VII deficiency shows early promise

Disease Area Immunology

Image of the Month

| Charlotte Barker

How do birds transmit potentially fatal fungal infection to humans without being infected themselves?

Outside the Lab Professional development

Open Your Mind

| Jackie Hunter

Open innovation is more than just the latest pharma industry buzzword. Done right, it can help overcome funding challenges and accelerate discovery across the board.

Outside the Lab Professional development

Why Doctors Make Great Entrepreneurs

| Arlen Meyers

There is an assumption that doctors and business don’t mix. But I believe physicians are ideally placed to bring new clinical innovations from a bright idea to a brand new product.

Outside the Lab Public health


| Abraar Karan

The Ebola epidemic spurred a tremendous amount of R&D in search of vaccines and treatments – and yet it was a relatively low impact global emergency compared with malaria.

Disease Area Pain & critical care

The Problem With Pain

| Charlotte Barker

Hundreds of potential drug targets have been discovered by researchers mapping pain pathways, but clinical trials have proved unsuccessful in most cases. Can we pick our way through the translational maze to find much-needed new analgesics?

Disease Area Pain & critical care

Crossing the Threshold

| Michael S Gold

Basic and clinical researchers must join forces to fight pain.

Disease Area Pain & critical care

The Pain Puzzle

| Roger B. Fillingim

Chronic pain is the most prevalent and expensive public health problem in the developed world, but as a society we consistently fail to recognize the scale of the public health issue.

Disease Area Pain & critical care

Growing Pains

| Suellen Walker

Does pain in early childhood have a profound impact later in life?

Disease Area Pain & critical care

The Mouse Trap

| Jeffrey Mogil

How and what we measure in animal studies of pain has huge implications for clinical translation.

Tools & Techniques Diagnostics & prognostics

Viruses Face the Ultimate Test

| William Aryitey

Shotgun sequencing is a powerful tool in microbial genomics, but viral genomes have proven tough to crack.

Research Field Analytical science

The Shape of Proteins to Come

| Charlotte Barker

A new technique allows scientists to see conformational changes caused by ligand binding in real time, opening up new screening options for drug discovery.

Research Field Analytical science

Fragment Screening at (Almost) the Speed of Light

| Frank von Delft

The XChem facility offers drug discovery scientists streamlined, highly sensitive fragment screening, by harnessing the power of synchrotron light.

Research Field Infectious diseases

Breaking the Back of Breakbone Fever

| Bruno Guy, Marie-José Quentin-Millet

Developing a dengue vaccine has been like a 20-year game of Snakes and Ladders – but in this game, there are four billion winners, as the prize could help protect half the world’s population.

Tools & Techniques Diagnostics & prognostics

Analyzing Humanity

| Joanna Cummings

As the judges deliberate over this year's winner, we speak with three of the top-placed entrants from the 2015 Humanity in Science Award.

Outside the Lab Genetics

Gene Genie

| John Doench

Sitting Down With…John Doench, Associate Director, Genetic Perturbation Platform, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Other issues of 2016