Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

February 2012 NetLetter

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CSHL in the News

The Atlantic 

A whole-brain scanning system

January 25, 2012



Genome Technology magazine    

Storage saga
December 2011/January 2012  



Expert: LI should follow San Diego on tech
January 18, 2012

Financial Times
Is a cure for cancer in sight?
January 6, 2012

January 4, 2011

Choice Review Online
CSHL Press book in Choice top 25 book list
January 4, 2012

DNA center lauded for online teaching tool
January 2, 2012


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Brain scanning innovation could be a game changer for neuroscience research


whole brain imaging
3-D rendering of coronal section of a mouse brain

CSHL neuroscientists led by Associate Professor Pavel Osten recently published in Nature Methods a novel technique that has great implications for 3-D whole-brain mapping - a method critical to the study of neuroanatomy. The innovation automates and greatly accelerates the process of collecting individual "sections" or slices of tissue and building a composite map of the brain.


In addition to reducing costs, this advance saves a significant amount of time, allowing experiments that take a week using conventional methods to be completed in a day.  While this tool is sure to positively impact collaborative efforts, such as the Allen Brain Atlas, to build high-resolution brain maps and atlases of neuronal connectivity, Osten plans to deploy his new tool in his own research and with CSHL collaborators to understand how brain networks are altered in mouse models of autism and schizophrenia.


Pruning to shape the brain's neural network

Manipulating the 'clock' to boost tomato fruit yield       


A new paper from Professor Josh Huang's group explains how some neurons connect with each other to form stable synapses while other neurons are eventually expelled from the network. The new work shows that the signaling molecule GABA acts as a neuronal shear, pruning back synapses between biochemically or functionally incompatible neurons. Still to come: GABA's pruning mechanism, which the team is trying to understand.




Tomato enthusiasts might want to take note: your favorite plant can might be pushed into yielding more fruit not by an extra dose of Miracle-Gro, but by tweaking a molecular timer or so-called "maturation clock" that determines the number of branches that make flowers. The clock is described in a new study published by Assistant Professor Zach Lippman's group, who show that a slower clock increases branching, thereby increasing the number of flowers and fruits.   

Genetics Society of America honors DNALC's David Micklos

Book from CSHL Press makes Top-25 list


The founder and executive director of CSHL's
David Micklos, is no stranger to awards that honor innovation in science education. His latest is the 2012 Elizabeth W. Jones Award for Excellence in Education, given by the Genetics Society of America (GSA). The award honors Micklos for bringing "the excitement of DNA science into the educational curriculum for thousands of students, high school teachers, and undergraduate faculty."




 2011's "25 Outstanding Academic Titles" by Choice magazine recognizes a volume published recently by CSHL Press. The critically acclaimed  RNA: Life's Indispensable Molecule by Dr. James Darnell of Rockefeller University explores fundamental concepts involving RNA molecules and presents evidence that they likely initiated life on Earth -- topics of intense interest to RNA biologists, students of molecular biology and biochemistry, and science historians.

Community philanthropy bolsters cancer research @ CSHL

High schoolers are invited to be 'Professor for a Day' 

Research on breast and brain cancer received a much-appreciated boost from two local organizations.The Manhasset Women's Coalition Against Breast Cancer awarded $50,000 to Dr. Mikala Egeblad to study the effects of chemotherapy on a type of immune cell that infiltrates breast tumors. A $20,000 grant from the Christina Renna Foundation will support Dr. Linda Van Aelst's research on brain cancers that affect children. Deepest thanks to everyone who participated in these efforts.



Working on the premise that it's never too early to educate young scientists-to-be about what a life in science entails, CSHL is offering a new "Professor for a Day" program that gives high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to observe the day-to-day happenings within a scientific community.  


Applications for the first of the events are due mid-March.  

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Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. CSHL is ranked number one in the world by Thomson Reuters for impact of its research in molecular biology and genetics. The Laboratory has been home to eight Nobel Prize winners. Today, CSHL's multidisciplinary scientific community is more than 350 scientists strong and its Meetings & Courses program hosts more than 11,000 scientists from around the world each year. Tens of thousands more benefit from the research, reviews, and ideas published in journals and books distributed internationally by CSHL Press. The Laboratory's education arm also includes a graduate school and programs for undergraduates as well as middle and high school students and teachers. CSHL is a private, not-for-profit institution on the north shore of Long Island.