May 2016 Issue of The Translational Scientist

Welcome to the latest issue of The Translational Scientist! This month, we find out why “dirty” mice might be a better model for the human immune system than their cleaner cousins in the lab. We speak to a cross-disciplinary research team who are creating a human equivalent of the water mazes navigated by lab rats. Then, we take a closer look at the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, as new studies lead researchers to question long-held beliefs about metastasis. Our Toolbox features a novel programming language for living cells, and we sit down with oncogene pioneer Bob Weinberg, who tells us how a childhood love of taking things apart has evolved into a career peering inside cancer’s complex machinery.

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Articles featured in this issue

Disease Area 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.

Disease Area Cancer

Fly Me to the Moon (and Beyond)

| Charlotte Barker

Cancer biology is advancing fast – but does America’s “moonshot” to cure cancer fit the bill?

Research Field Immunology

Mucky Pups

| William Aryitey

New findings have revealed that “dirty” mice can actually recapitulate the human adult immune system better than lab mice

Disease Area Cardiovascular

Light Hearted

| William Aryitey

UV radiation can control cardiomyocyte function – with intriguing therapeutic possibilities

Research Field Biomedical engineering

Mind Over Matter

| William Aryitey

Neural implants and smart software give a paralyzed patient the gift of movement

Tools & Techniques Animal models

One Step Forward...

| William Aryitey

Stem cells restore function to damaged spinal cords in rats

Research Field Biomedical engineering

Bioprinting in the Palm of Your Hand

| William Aryitey

BioPen could allow surgeons to “draw” live cells onto damaged bone

Disease Area Public health

Zika Research Gathers Pace

| William Aryitey

The CDC confirms the Zika–microcephaly link, and in vitro tissue models offer further insight

Research Field Cancer

Cancer Static Shock

| James Strachan

Are the metrics used to measure cancer drug efficacy inherently flawed?

Research Field Biomedical engineering

Image of the Month

| Charlotte Barker

Azad Shademan and Ryan Decker during supervised autonomous in vivo bowel anastomosis.

Tools & Techniques Imaging

Image of the Month Online

| Charlotte Barker

MIT scientists have developed a new super-resolution imaging technique

Tools & Techniques Imaging

The Art of Translation

| Charlotte Barker

A special issue of The Translational Scientist will celebrate the very best images in the field of translational science.

Tools & Techniques Omics

Riding a New Wave of Translation

| Valeria Ossovskaya

Is the overwhelming focus on genomics and transcriptomics in translational science really the best way to help patients?

Outside the Lab Professional development

Perfect Partners?

| Abhay Pandit

When it comes to industry–academia partnerships, it’s quality – not quantity – that counts.

Tools & Techniques Public health

On the Spot Diagnosis

| Laura Lechuga

Mobile devices promise a new future of point-of-care diagnostics for all

Tools & Techniques Animal models

Lost in Translation?

| Pascal Sanchez, Steve Finkbeiner, Kate Possin

Scientists from opposite ends of the translational spectrum have teamed up to help solve a pressing problem in Alzheimer’s research. By creating a human equivalent to the water mazes used in rodent studies, they hope to allow easier comparison of data from animal and human studies.

Tools & Techniques Cancer

Cells on the (Invasion) Front Lines

| Michael Schubert

Long thought to be a key component of the metastatic process, researchers are now questioning long-held beliefs on the role of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition.

Tools & Techniques Cancer

Proceed With Caution

| Shyamala Maheswaran

Two recent studies on EMT may revise the field’s understanding of the process – but it’s important to keep in mind the limitations.

Tools & Techniques Cancer

Tracking the Transition

| Dingcheng Gao

A triple-transgenic mouse model allows researchers to trace the lineage of EMT tumor cells, and reveals the transition’s surprising lack of significance in metastasis

Tools & Techniques Cancer

The PDAC Key

| Michael Schubert

Pancreatic cancer cells don’t seem to rely on EMT for metastasis – but it plays a key role in their ability to resist our best chemotherapy options

Research Field Drug discovery

Arresting ALS

| Joe Beckman

When it comes to prognosis, the mouse models I use to study amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are sadly accurate – like their human counterparts with familial ALS, all mice with these mutations die young. After 20 years of trying – and failing – to find a treatment that could extend life, I was close to giving up, until a new drug candidate came along. Then something amazing happened – a mouse lived.

Research Field Genetics

Ghost in the Cell

| William Aryitey

New software couples computer programming with cell function using the ultimate coding language: DNA

Disease Area Cancer

In Good Company

| Bharathi Vennapusa

What does it take to create a competitive companion diagnostic? Bharathi Vennapusa outlines her role in the development and approval of the ALK CDx – a fully-automated immunohistochemistry assay that identifies lung cancer patients who may be eligible for treatment with Pfizer’s Xalkori (crizotinib).

Outside the Lab Cancer

Cancer Control on a Shoestring

| Rengaswamy Sankaranarayanan

As cancer rates continue to climb, low and middle income countries are ramping up prevention and screening efforts.

Outside the Lab Cancer

Oncogenetic Pioneer

| Robert A. Weinberg

Sitting Down With… Robert A. Weinberg, founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

Other issues of 2016