August 2012

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Focus On:

Description: Carlos F. Barbas IIIProfessor Carlos F.
Barbas III

A safer strategy for targeting AIDS

In 2006, an American HIV-positive patient living in Berlin lost all signs of infection shortly after receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia. Scientists have attributed the change to the fact that the bone marrow donor had a gene variant that makes a receptor on T cells highly resistant to infection.

Now, Scripps Research Institute Professor Carlos F. Barbas III has designed a new method that seeks to replicate that dramatic effect on a wider scale.

The new technique he discovered allows scientists to disrupt specific genes in a cell in a safer and simpler way. This could have significant implications for HIV/AIDS patients as well as those suffering from a number of other major diseases.

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Milestones in Medical Science:

Description: Brain tissue with Alzheimer'sBrain tissue affected by Alzheimer's disease.

A cell process with links to cancer and Alzheimer's

Scripps Research investigators have lifted the curtain on one of the cell's most basic engines, identifying a series of intricate biochemical steps that lead to the successful production of proteins.

The study sheds light on the assembly of a structure called the ribosome, a large and complex protein-producing machine inside all living cells. Ribosomes are the targets of many antibiotics and represent a promising area of research because of the importance of ribosome assembly and function for cell growth.

Defects in ribosome assembly have been linked to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's, making this pathway a potential target for new drug development.

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Other News:

Description: Jin-Quan YuProfessor Jin-Quan Yu

An easier way to make drugs

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have
developed a powerful new technique for manipulating the building-block molecules of organic chemistry. The technique enables chemists to add new functional molecules to previously hard-to-reach positions on existing compounds – making it easier for them to build new drugs and other organic chemicals.

"This is a basic tool for making novel chemical compounds, and it should have a wide range of applications," said Jin-Quan Yu, Scripps Research professor and author of the new report published in the journal Nature.

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Facts & Figures

Despite advances in prevention, 34 million people worldwide have HIV/AIDS. In 2010, 2.7 million people were newly infected.

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The scientific power of visualization

A powerful 3-D animation tool created by a Scripps Research alumnus was the winning video in the 9th Annual International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.

For the National Science Foundation-sponsored competition, Graham Johnson created a prototype version of a project to visually simplify complex 3-D data sets collected in his lab through an imaging technique known as tomography. The tool lets scientists compare and contrast multiple parameters of complicated structures.

View it on YouTube.

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