Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Researchers looking for biomarkers to predict rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups have discovered a never-before-seen type of cell. Dubbed PRIME cells, they accumulate in the bloodstream seven days before a flare, but strangely disappear during the flare.
  • Olfactory signals can switch fat storage mechanisms on and off without having any effect on appetite or eating habits, says a Baylor research team that's traced the way olfactory nerves regulate fat metabolism in C. elegans worms.
  • The developing field of connectomics – the attempt to produce a neuron-and-synapse-level wiring diagram of the brain – has taken a major leap forward, as a Janelia team with the help of Google has released a full map of the hemibrain of a fruit fly.
  • Science
    A completely new category of microscopy has been invented by researchers in the US. Dubbed DNA microscopy, the technique tags RNA molecules with a range of DNA "barcodes" which in turn flag the identity and location of the molecules, even when they're stacked on top of each other.
  • Using techniques borrowed from astronomy, biologists have developed a new microscopy technique that delivers extraordinary 3D video of cells moving around inside living tissue. It's a fascinating window into just how busy and complex life is at the cellular level.
  • Back in January, researchers from Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) outlined plans to fit dragonflies with tiny electronic backpacks, allowing them to be controlled remotely. In a new video, their cyborg dragonflies have taken flight for the first time.
  • Researchers have developed a system that a living dragonfly can wear like a backpack, allowing engineers to steer it remotely to deliver payloads, conduct reconnaissance and even guide pollination.
  • Science
    ​Electron microscopes are useful for creating a topographical map of cell structures, but grayscale images are produced. Researchers have developed a new method for producing electron micrographs with several colors, highlighting different components and details that normally wouldn’t be visible.
  • A new test developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) can test for both past and current infections by analyzing a single drop of patient blood. The researchers consider the method superior to existing techniques, which only search for a single virus at a time.
  • While environmental factors and genetics play a role in the development of cancer, scientists at Johns Hopkins University have used statistical modeling to show that two-thirds of adult cancers may be attributable to "bad luck," or random mutations, rather than lifestyle.
  • Science
    Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) have genetically engineered mosquitoes to alter their sense of smell, which could provide the understanding required to block the pesky pests attraction to humans.