Bar Harbor, ME, United States
Bar Harbor, ME, United States

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a United States non-profit medical research organization based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. It was founded by the American businessman Howard Hughes in 1953. It is one of the largest private funding organizations for biological and medical research in the United States. HHMI spends about $1 million per HHMI Investigator per year, which amounts to annual investment in biomedical research of about $825 million. The institute has an endowment of $16.9 billion, making it the second-wealthiest philanthropic organization in the United States and the second best endowed medical research foundation in the world. HHMI is the former owner of the Hughes Aircraft Company - an American aerospace firm which was divested to various firms over time. Wikipedia.

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Stern D.L.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2013

The evolution of phenotypic similarities between species, known as convergence, illustrates that populations can respond predictably to ecological challenges. Convergence often results from similar genetic changes, which can emerge in two ways: the evolution of similar or identical mutations in independent lineages, which is termed parallel evolution; and the evolution in independent lineages of alleles that are shared among populations, which I call collateral genetic evolution. Evidence for parallel and collateral evolution has been found in many taxa, and an emerging hypothesis is that they result from the fact that mutations in some genetic targets minimize pleiotropic effects while simultaneously maximizing adaptation. If this proves correct, then the molecular changes underlying adaptation might be more predictable than has been appreciated previously. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Keller P.J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Science | Year: 2013

Morphogenesis, the development of the shape of an organism, is a dynamic process on a multitude of scales, from fast subcellular rearrangements and cell movements to slow structural changes at the whole-organism level. Live-imaging approaches based on light microscopy reveal the intricate dynamics of this process and are thus indispensable for investigating the underlying mechanisms. This Review discusses emerging imaging techniques that can record morphogenesis at temporal scales from seconds to days and at spatial scales from hundreds of nanometers to several millimeters. To unlock their full potential, these methods need to be matched with new computational approaches and physical models that help convert highly complex image data sets into biological insights.

Paull T.T.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Annual Review of Biochemistry | Year: 2015

The ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein kinase is a master regulator of the DNA damage response, and it coordinates checkpoint activation, DNA repair, and metabolic changes in eukaryotic cells in response to DNA double-strand breaks and oxidative stress. Loss of ATM activity in humans results in the pleiotropic neurodegeneration disorder ataxia-telangiectasia. ATM exists in an inactive state in resting cells but can be activated by the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) complex and other factors at sites of DNA breaks. In addition, oxidation of ATM activates the kinase independently of the MRN complex. This review discusses these mechanisms of activation, as well as the posttranslational modifications that affect this process and the cellular factors that affect the efficiency and specificity of ATM activation and substrate phosphorylation. I highlight functional similarities between the activation mechanisms of ATM, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases (PI3Ks), and the other PI3K-like kinases, as well as recent structural insights into their regulation. Copyright © 2015 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

Chan D.C.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Annual Review of Genetics | Year: 2012

Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that continually undergo fusion and fission. These opposing processes work in concert to maintain the shape, size, and number of mitochondria and their physiological function. Some of the major molecules mediating mitochondrial fusion and fission in mammals have been discovered, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are only partially unraveled. In particular, the cast of characters involved in mitochondrial fission needs to be clarified. By enabling content mixing between mitochondria, fusion and fission serve to maintain a homogeneous and healthy mitochondrial population. Mitochondrial dynamics has been linked to multiple mitochondrial functions, including mitochondrial DNA stability, respiratory capacity, apoptosis, response to cellular stress, and mitophagy. Because of these important functions, mitochondrial fusion and fission are essential in mammals, and even mild defects in mitochondrial dynamics are associated with disease. A better understanding of these processes likely will ultimately lead to improvements in human health. © 2012 by Annual Reviews.

Freeman J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Nature methods | Year: 2014

Understanding brain function requires monitoring and interpreting the activity of large networks of neurons during behavior. Advances in recording technology are greatly increasing the size and complexity of neural data. Analyzing such data will pose a fundamental bottleneck for neuroscience. We present a library of analytical tools called Thunder built on the open-source Apache Spark platform for large-scale distributed computing. The library implements a variety of univariate and multivariate analyses with a modular, extendable structure well-suited to interactive exploration and analysis development. We demonstrate how these analyses find structure in large-scale neural data, including whole-brain light-sheet imaging data from fictively behaving larval zebrafish, and two-photon imaging data from behaving mouse. The analyses relate neuronal responses to sensory input and behavior, run in minutes or less and can be used on a private cluster or in the cloud. Our open-source framework thus holds promise for turning brain activity mapping efforts into biological insights.

Collapse of membrane lipid asymmetry is a hallmark of blood coagulation. TMEM16F of the TMEM16 family that includes TMEM16A/B Ca(2+)-activated Cl(-) channels (CaCCs) is linked to Scott syndrome with deficient Ca(2+)-dependent lipid scrambling. We generated TMEM16F knockout mice that exhibit bleeding defects and protection in an arterial thrombosis model associated with platelet deficiency in Ca(2+)-dependent phosphatidylserine exposure and procoagulant activity and lack a Ca(2+)-activated cation current in the platelet precursor megakaryocytes. Heterologous expression of TMEM16F generates a small-conductance Ca(2+)-activated nonselective cation (SCAN) current with subpicosiemens single-channel conductance rather than a CaCC. TMEM16F-SCAN channels permeate both monovalent and divalent cations, including Ca(2+), and exhibit synergistic gating by Ca(2+) and voltage. We further pinpointed a residue in the putative pore region important for the cation versus anion selectivity of TMEM16F-SCAN and TMEM16A-CaCC channels. This study thus identifies a Ca(2+)-activated channel permeable to Ca(2+) and critical for Ca(2+)-dependent scramblase activity during blood coagulation. PAPERFLICK: Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Shulman G.I.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2014

Type 2 diabetes currently affects more than a third of a billion people worldwide and is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, nontraumatic loss of limb, and blindness in working adults, with estimated annual worldwide health care costs exceeding half a trillion dollars. 1 Furthermore, the worldwide prevalence of type 2 diabetes is projected to increase by more than 75% during the next two decades, with the largest increases occurring in Asia and the Indian subcontinent. 1 Although impaired beta-cell function is ultimately responsible for the progression from normoglycemia to hyperglycemia, insulin resistance predates beta-cell dysfunction and plays a major role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. 2,3 After carbohydrate ingestion, glucose is deposited primarily in muscle and the liver as glycogen, and alterations in insulin responsiveness in these organs result in fasting and postprandial hyperglycemia. 4,5.In this review, I focus on recent studies using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) that have implicated ectopic lipid accumulation in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance in muscle and the liver and have clarified the role of muscle-specific insulin resistance in promoting increased hepatic lipogenesis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and atherogenic dyslipidemia. I then propose a potential link between inflammation and macrophage-induced lipolysis in the progression from ectopic lipid-induced insulin resistance to impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. Copyright © 2014 Massachusetts Medical Society.

Moazed D.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Cell | Year: 2011

Studies in eukaryotes ranging from yeast to mammals indicate that specific chromatin structures can be inherited following DNA replication via mechanisms acting in cis. Both the initial establishment of such chromatin structures and their inheritance require sequence-dependent specificity factors and changes in histone posttranslational modifications. Here I propose models for the maintenance of epigenetic information in which DNA silencers or nascent RNA scaffolds act as sensors that work cooperatively with parentally inherited histones to re-establish chromatin states following DNA replication. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Deisseroth K.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Nature Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Over the past 10 years, the development and convergence of microbial opsin engineering, modular genetic methods for cell-type targeting and optical strategies for guiding light through tissue have enabled versatile optical control of defined cells in living systems, defining modern optogenetics. Despite widespread recognition of the importance of spatiotemporally precise causal control over cellular signaling, for nearly the first half (2005-2009) of this 10-year period, as optogenetics was being created, there were difficulties in implementation, few publications and limited biological findings. In contrast, the ensuing years have witnessed a substantial acceleration in the application domain, with the publication of thousands of discoveries and insights into the function of nervous systems and beyond. This Historical Commentary reflects on the scientific landscape of this decade-long transition.

Wallingford J.B.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2012

Planar cell polarity (PCP), the orientation and alignment of cells within a sheet, is a ubiquitous cellular property that is commonly governed by the conserved set of proteins encoded by so-called PCP genes. The PCP proteins coordinate developmental signaling cues with individual cell behaviors in a wildly diverse array of tissues. Consequently, disruptions of PCP protein functions are linked to defects in axis elongation, inner ear patterning, neural tube closure, directed ciliary beating, and left/right patterning, to name only a few. This review attempts to synthesize what is known about PCP and the PCP proteins in vertebrate animals, with a particular focus on the mechanisms by which individual cells respond to PCP cues in order to execute specific cellular behaviors. Copyright © 2012 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

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