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Extras on Newsmaking Research

Want to know more about some of the research topics making headlines today? Follow the links below to explore related resources available on the NIGMS Web site. 

Modeling Pandemic Flu
What could happen if bird flu does become easily transmissible between people? To answer this question, a network of scientists participating in the NIGMS Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study is using high-performance computers to simulate the spread of a hypothetical flu pandemic and to evaluate the potential effectiveness of different interventions.

NIGMS Nobelists
NIGMS could be considered a “Nobel Prize Institute” because of its strong track record of funding scientists who receive this high honor. These investigators perform cutting-edge basic research that is the foundation for understanding normal life processes and disease. Nobel Prizes and other awards recognize the breadth and significance of these findings.

Personalized Medicine
Everyone responds differently to medicines. One reason: differences in genes. NIGMS-supported scientists nationwide are studying how a person’s genetic makeup affects his or her response to certain drugs, including treatments for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and asthma. The results ultimately could lead to more accurate doses, new drugs, and improved health care.

RNA Interference
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural process that cells use to turn down, or silence, specific genes. Since its discovery in 1998 scientists have developed RNAi into a powerful research tool that is now used in thousands of labs worldwide. RNAi also holds promise for treating certain diseases, such as cancer and viral infections.

Stem Cell Research
Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. NIGMS-supported investigators across the country are using these cells to better understand how humans and other organisms develop and how we replace damaged cells with healthy ones throughout our lives. Stem cell research could also ultimately lead to cell-based therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

Telomeres and Telomerase
Like the plastic caps on the ends of shoelaces, telomeres seal the tips of our chromosomes and prevent them from fraying. The NIGMS-supported discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that maintains these chromosomal caps, was a breakthrough in the world of biomedical research. Countless investigators worldwide are now working to clarify the role telomerase plays in cellular aging and cancer.

This page last updated November 19, 2008