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April 20, 2016 : American Academy of Arts and Sciences

NIH’s Distinguished Investigator Warren J. Leonard, M.D., has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Leonard, chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and director of the Immunology Center at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is among the Academy’s 213 new members.  This group includes some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders. The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 8, 2016, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Leonard has spent more than 30 years conducting pioneering research into the immune system.  He is noted for his discovery of the genetic mutations that cause X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (XSCID), also known as the “Bubble Boy” disease, a rare genetic disease made famous by a boy who lived for 12 years in a plastic, germ-free shelter to avoid infections.  Dr. Leonard is the recipient of many honors and awards, including his 2015 election to the National Academy of Sciences, one of science’s top honors, and his 2013 election to the Institute of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

April 6, 2016 : Nature

Studying tissue regeneration in zebrafish, researchers have found evidence for what they are calling a tissue regeneration enhancer element. The work, which involved support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, suggests that tissue regeneration enhancer elements could be potentially harnessed to encourage injury repair through regenerative medicine.

April 4, 2016 : Nature Immunology

Researchers supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute found that expression of the enzyme known as arginase-1 appears to play a role in acute or chronic lung inflammation. Further research into this finding could yield new therapeutic targets for treating inflammatory diseases.

March 21, 2016 : The University of Mississippi Medical Center

NHLBI Director Dr. Gary H. Gibbons shared his vision for the future of cardiovascular health on his visit to the University of Mississippi Medical Center on March 17-18. He highlighted the importance of funding research, understanding human genetics, utilizing technology and precision medicine, and increasing diversity in biomedical science field. The lecture, “Building on the NHLBI Legacy of Hypertension Research: Charting Our Future Together,” was part of 19th Gertrude and Florian Nelson Cardiovascular Research Lecture.

March 4, 2016 : The Washington Post

Rejoice, chocolate lovers: A new study partly funded by NHLBI found that increased chocolate intake appears to be associated with better cognitive function, including improved memory. The study, published in the journal Appetite, was also funded in part by the National Institute on Aging.

February 25, 2016 : Cell

Researchers funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have developed a biochemical platform for investigating changes made to microtubules, intracellular structures that play a role in a number of cellular functions such as cell division. The specific changes they studied are referred to as posttranslational modifications. Their investigation has the potential for benefiting individuals with hereditary paraplegias, inherited disorders that are characterized by progressive stiffness and weakness of the legs.

February 23, 2016 : Popular Science

Researchers are reporting, based on studies in mice, that the deadly sting of a scorpion can be made less poisonous by administering certain commonly-used anti-inflammatory drugs.  The researchers tested the drugs indomethacin and celecoxib, which appear to reduce life-threatening swelling of the lungs.  Their study, funded in part by NHLBI, could lead to an inexpensive, convenient way to treat scorpion stings, which kill 3,000 people each year.

February 15, 2016 : Nature Medicine

Through a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, researchers found that mice with only one good copy of the Rps14 gene — which codes for the ribosomal protein small subunit 14 — experienced a p53-dependent red blood cell formation defect. This defect was associated with programmed cell death and resulted in age-dependent progressive anemia, megakaryocyte dysplasia, and loss of hematopoietic stem cell quiescence (which has been associated with blood stem cell depletion). The authors concluded that an intervention that addresses the effects of this genetic defect could improve red blood cell production and thereby potentially lessen the severity of anemia in some patients.

February 11, 2016 : Cell

Through a study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Bench to Bassinet Program, researchers have discovered how three transcription factors — proteins that govern gene expression — interact with each other and specific genes to influence heart development in an embryo. This discovery may help scientists find new ways to treat congenital heart defects.

February 9, 2016 : Reuters

An NHLBI-supported study sheds new light on patient care at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals.  The study compared hospitalizations due to heart attack, heart failure, or pneumonia among older men at VA hospitals to hospitalizations at non-VA hospitals in the United States.  Researchers found that death rates and readmission rates among patients at VA hospitals and patients at non-VA hospitals were very similar.

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