Editing genes to tackle neurological conditions: Xin Jin, PhD
November 29, 2023
Networks of genes coordinate the formation of brain cells during early life development. However, diverse genetic variants can impact this process and ultimately manifest in different brain disorders and developmental disabilities. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research assistant professor Xin Jin shared how her lab is using cutting-edge technology to discover which brain regions and cell types are involved in disease pathology. Jin’s insights are revealing neurodevelopmental and other disorders, as well as defining a path for new diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions.
Preventing heart disease with machine learning and smartphone technology: Ali Torkamani, PhD
October 25, 2023
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, yet our ability to predict and lower our own risk has been limited. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research professor Ali Torkamani shared how his team is developing app-based digital tools that can analyze genetic markers and predict someone’s future cardiovascular disease risk. Torkamani’s research is being integrated into remote clinical trials that can provide personalized behavioral and therapeutic interventions to improve long-term health outcomes.
Re-engineering a sustainable world: Ahmed Badran, PhD
September 13, 2023
Since the dawn of life, nature has balanced the composition of our planet’s atmosphere by evolving elegant ways of capturing carbon dioxide. Today, humanity’s overuse of fossil fuels has altered this atmospheric balance to bring about environmental disruptions, and nature is poorly equipped to correct them. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research assistant professor Ahmed Badran shared how his lab is developing strategies inspired by plants to help sequester the rising levels of carbon dioxide. His breakthroughs in synthetic biology are guiding revolutionary environmental approaches that could make a lasting impact on the atmosphere and agricultural food systems.
Transforming treatment options for alcohol use disorder: Barbara Mason, PhD
August 23, 2023
Alcohol misuse has risen in recent years, yet the underlying causes of alcohol use disorder (AUD), as well as the future standard of care, remain unclear. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research professor Barbara Mason shared how her team is exploring the neurocircuitry involved in AUD and developing new medicines that could curb alcohol intake. Her research is identifying the most promising drug candidates for clinical trials and changing the way scientists view addiction, withdrawal and relapse.
Visualizing the invisible machinery of life and death: Gabriel Lander, PhD
May 17, 2023
Within each of our cells, countless microscopic molecular machines work to keep the body healthy. But when these machines break down, chronic diseases arise. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research professor Gabriel Lander shared how his lab is using the most powerful microscopes on the planet to visualize the ways these biological motors operate and how they can be controlled to fight chronic diseases. His discoveries are helping us understand how cellular machines communicate within the body, providing avenues for therapeutic intervention in cancer, heart disease and neurodegeneration.
Decoding sugar messages to create new diagnostics and therapeutics: Mia Lace Huang, PhD
April 19, 2023
Sugary molecules called glycans encapsulate our cells, serving as beacons to direct key biological activities, from tissue communication and growth to immune system activation. However, scientists have historically had limited ways to study glycans. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research associate professor Mia Huang shared the innovative tools her lab is using to decode the language of glycans. Her expertise in chemical biology is guiding the creation of new ways to diagnose or treat complex conditions, such as cancer and liver disease.
Paving the way to new therapies for neurodegenerative disease: Sandra Encalada, PhD
February 15, 2023
Learning, memory and behavior depend on the continuous movement of valuable cellular components along axons, narrow nerve fibers through which neurons send signals to other neurons. But when this transport system fails, molecular traffic jams can cause neuronal damage associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and prion disorders. In this Front Row lecture, Scripps Research associate professor Sandra Encalada shared how her lab is unraveling the cellular pathways that lead to the formation of toxic protein clumps seen at traffic jams inside brain cells undergoing neurodegeneration. Her breakthroughs are transforming the way scientists view brain health and identifying new molecules that could treat, and even reverse, complex neurological conditions.
Understanding biological factories to fuel drug discovery: Jamie Williamson, PhD
January 18, 2023
Every organism depends on its ability to make cellular proteins from the core set of genetic blueprints—a process carried out in the cell by ancient biological factories. However, when this building process goes awry, various types of disease can take hold. In this opening lecture of the season, Scripps Research professor and regular Front Row host Jamie Williamson unveiled his lab’s unprecedented exploration of these protein-building machines and the secrets they hold in maintaining cellular health. His cutting-edge research is evolving our view of molecular engineering and uncovering new drug targets for bacterial infections and cancer.