TS Picks: May 12, 2015

Harnessing rare, natural HIV immunity; face recognition in monkeys; undergraduate genomicists

By Tracy Vence | May 12, 2015

Genomics Education Partnership staff member Wilson Leung works with junior Sarah Swiezy to find motifs that regulate gene expression or silencing by comparing the DNA of different fruit fly species.MARY BUTKUS/WUSTL PHOTOS

Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • Oncologist Gero Hütter—who treated the “Berlin patient,” Timothy Ray Brown, the only person to have been functionally cured of AIDS because of a natural genetic immunity—today (May 12) told The Guardian that rare genes conferring HIV immunity are the key to developing new treatments. “I believe it’s possible to develop a mass-market single-shot treatment for HIV,” said Hütter. “If we can overcome a few problems, our approach is closer to a complete cure than anything in the last 30 years.” (For even more on HIV Research, see the May issue of The Scientist.)
  • MIT researchers have pinpointed neurons in the macaque brain that help the monkeys to distinguish male from female faces. Experimental suppression of these neurons resulted in a significant reduction in face-discrimination behavioral performance, the team reported in PNAS last week (May 7). (See “A Face to Remember,” The Scientist, November 2014.) (Hat tip: Popular Science)
  • Among the 1,014 authors on a Drosophila genomics study published in G3 this week (May 11) are 940 undergraduate researchers from 63 institutions. “By organizing the efforts of ‘massively parallel’ undergraduates, we can solve problems that would defeat other methods,” Sarah “Sally” Elgin at Washington University in St. Louis, who founded the Genomics Education Partnership that coordinated the study, said in a statement.

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