Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus picture

Using Genes to Redefine Disease

Dr. Atul Butte of Stanford University is at the forefront of the nascent field of translational bioinformatics—a field that seeks to create new diagnostics and therapeutics from genome-era information and data. Here he highlights how new uses for publicly available data have enabled us to ask new questions, including rethinking the nature of disease. Dr. Butte gathers this data on gene activity for scores of diseases. He is looking not at the symptoms or physiological measurements of disease, but at their genetic underpinnings. He performs statistical analyses to map disease based on similarities in their patterns of gene activity. Dr. Butte is able to show how using genes to redefine disease enables the discovery of new causes for disease, suggests novel roles for drugs in the treatment of disease, and, for the first time, allows us to probe the inner commonality across diseases that previously seemed dissimilar.

Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus picture

Molecules to Spy on Cells

Time: April 8, 2009 from 12pm to 1pm
Location: B369 Rayburn House Office Building
City/Town: Washington, DC
Event Type: congressional, biomedical, research,caucus, briefing
Organized By: Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus

Dr. Martin Chalfie’s discussion highlights his ground-breaking research on green flourescent protein (GFP). He and colleagues revolutionized how scientists study the mechanics of cells by getting a visual fix on how organs function. GFP is a small, inert, and relatively nontoxic molecule, easily diffused through living tissue. Researchers now have the ability to follow various cells with the help of GFP. They can study nerve cell damage during Alzheimer’s disease, how insulin-producing beta cells are created in the pancreas of a growing embryo, or how cancer cells spread. In one spectacular experiment, researchers succeeded in tagging different nerve cells with a kaleidoscope of colors in the brain of a mouse.

Dr. Chalfie is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, where he is also chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Roger Y. Tsien for the discovery and development of the green fluorescent protein, GFP.

Briefing on NIH Stimulus Funds

Time: February 18, 2009 from 3pm to 5pm
Location: AAAS Auditorium
Street: 1200 New York Avenue, NW
City/Town: Washington, DC
Event Type: briefing
Organized By: RSVP to [email protected]
Latest Activity: Feb 18, 2009

On Wednesday, February 18, at 3 p.m., NIH Acting Director Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D., will present a public briefing on the implementation plans for the NIH funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This briefing will take place in the AAAS Auditorium, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

Please RSVP for this briefing with your name and
organization/institution to Hayzell Gollopp at [email protected]

AAAS is located on 12th Street, N.W., with entrances at H Street and New York Avenue. The nearest Metro stop is Metro Center.