MMI News

Ptpn11 deletion in CD4+ cells does not affect T cell development and functions but causes cartilage tumors in a T cell independent manner

The ubiquitously expressed tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 (encoded by Ptpn11) is required for constitutive cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, and the regulation of immune responses. During development and maturation, subsets of T cells express a variety of inhibitory receptors known to associate with phosphatases, which in turn, dephosphorylate key players of activating receptor signaling pathways. We hypothesized that SHP-2 deletion would have major effects on T cell development by altering the thresholds for activation, as well as positive and negative selection.


Parasex Generates Phenotypic Diversity de Novoand Impacts Drug Resistance and Virulence in Candida albicans

Candida albicans is a diploid fungus that is a frequent cause of mucosal and systemic infections in humans. This species exhibits an unusual parasexual cycle in which mating produces tetraploid cells that undergo a non-meiotic program of concerted chromosome loss to return to a diploid or aneuploid state. In this work, we used a multipronged approach to examine the capacity of parasex to generate diversity in C. albicans. 

The salivary microbiome is consistent between subjects and resistant to impacts of short-term hospitalization

In recent years, a growing amount of research has begun to focus on the oral microbiome due to its links with health and systemic disease.  Previous studies have demonstrated that the gut microbiome is extremely sensitive to short-term hospitalization and that these changes are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Here, we present a comprehensive pipeline for reliable bedside collection, sequencing, and analysis of the human salivary microbiome. We also develop a novel oral-specific mock community for pipeline validation. 

Matthew Hirakawa receives the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Matthew Hirakawa on receiving the Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation Award for this thesis titled "Intra-species variation and parasexual reproduction in Candida albicans"! This award is granted to only four Ph. D. candidates each year, each representing the four academic disciplines. Matthew will receive this award at this year's Commencement exercises. 

New Grant Extends IMSD Across All Sciences 

With a new $3.3 million federal grant, Brown University will extend to its phyisical sciences, engineering and mathematics departments a program that has significantly increased the diversity of doctoral students in the life sciences and supported enhanced academic achievement among the students it serves.

The new five-year award from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences, along with new funding from the Office of the Provost at Brown, will more than double the scope of the University’s Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD). The program will now support up to 20 doctoral students a year in 21 programs instead of just eight students in the Division of Biology and Medicine and the School of Public Health, said Andrew G. Campbell, who has co-directed IMSD since its inception a decade ago and became dean of the Graduate School last year.

IMSD Program Receives Renewed  Funding 

Congratulations to the Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) Program, which has received a renewal of funding for an additional five years from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. The program, active since 2008, currently provides research training support for PhD students from U.S. underrepresented groups to increase participation within the fields of biomedical and behavioral research and also fosters partnerships with minority-serving institutions. The recent renewal of the grant allows for the expansion of the current program from supporting 8 PhD students a year to 12 students a year and to extend the program  beyond the Division of Biomed and the School of Public Health. New programs that are part of IMSD include Chemistry, Cognitive, Linguistics & Psychological Sciences, Computer Science, Physics, Applied Mathematics, and the School of Engineering.