Every day brings Yale researchers closer to new breakthroughs in medicine, science and engineering:
New Class of Antibiotics
Ron Breaker, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, and professor of biophysiology and biochemistry
After imagining and "inventing" riboswitches, RNA sequences that can bind and act as sensors in various molecules, Breaker discovered natural riboswitches in the genomes of microorganisms. Riboswitches act as major control elements for gene expression. Yale startup BioRelix was established to use these genetic elements for designing a new class of antibiotics.
Genome Analysis for Brain Aneurysm
Dr. Richard Lifton, chair of genetics, professor of medicine and of molecular biophysics and biochemistry
Lifton is one of the world's leading advocates of genome-wide analysis of human populations to find genetic links to diseases. For example, Yale neurobiologist Dr. Murat Gunel and Lifton recently discovered a genetic link to brain aneurysms, and their findings could lead to new tests to spot those at greatest risk.
RNA Snippets and Stem Cells
Haifan Lin, director of Yale's Stem Cell Research Center
Lin is among the world's leading investigators of how tiny snippets of RNA can have profound effects on physiological activity in organisms. His lab has studied how stem cells renew themselves in sex cells, and his work on various so-called small RNAs has many medical applications.
Ruslan Medzhitov, professor of immunobiology
The focus of Medzhitov's research is the innate immune system, which alerts the host to infectious assaults and triggers a cascade of responses — known as the adaptive immune response — that is the basis for vaccine activity. Improved vaccines could be developed by introducing the immune system with disease antigens that are physically linked to particular polypeptide activators of the innate immune response. A Yale startup, VaxInnate, has several vaccine candidates in clinical trials that are based on Dr. Medzhitov's technology.
Jan Schroers, professor of mechanical engineering
Schroers and his team have been exploring a class of materials called amorphous metals or bulk metallic glasses, BMGs, that can be molded like plastics and are more durable than silicon or steel. He has created a process for making computer chips at the nano-scale that may revolutionize such production by exploiting these novel metals.
Biomarkers for Disease Risk
Frank Slack, professor of molecular, cellular & developmental biology
Joanne Weidhaas, professor of therapeutic radiology
The Yale Cancer Center researchers discovered a potential diagnostic test to pinpoint genetic biomarkers to help identify those individuals who are most predisposed to lung cancer, ovarian cancer and other types of the disease. A Yale startup, Mira DX, has already launched a diagnostic test based on Slack's and Weidhaas' discoveries.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
Stephen Strittmatter, professor of neurology
Strittmatter helped discover the existence of a molecule, called Nogo, that shows incredible promise in animal models for treating spinal cord injury, for which there is no current effective treatment. Axerion, Inc, a Yale startup, is seeking to develop new therapies for spinal cord injury and stroke based on Dr. Strittmatter's work.
New Class of Semiconductors
Hong Tang, professor of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering
While the force of light is too weak to be used to power devices in everyday use, he and his engineering team have found that it can be harnessed to drive machines — when scaled to nano-proportions. This research is opening the door to a future new class of semiconductor devices operated by the force of light.
Electrodes to Predict Epileptic Seizure
Hitten Zaveri, associate research scientist in neurology
Dr. Dennis Spencer, chair and the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery
These two scientists are creating wireless electrodes for detecting epilepsy and more accurate ways of measuring epileptic seizure onset. Spencer pioneered new surgical treatments for the disorder that have been adopted by medical centers around the world.