This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
JENNY STONE ’85 IS LEARNING HOW BIRDS REGENERATE INNER-EAR HAIR CELLS; IF HUMANS COULD DO THAT, WE’DHAVEALOTLESS HEARING LOSS.


Stone hopes her research will lead to a biological treatment. “Instead of electronic or stimulant devices, a biological treat- ment would provide an actual replacement of the hair cells themselves—the very structure that is specialized to perform the function of hearing.” By studying the cellular and molecu- lar mechanisms of hair-cell progenitors (stem cells that can de- velop into hair cells) in birds, Stone and her team hope to un- derstand the link between certain genes and the processes re- quired for hair-cell regeneration. Each step toward a full under- standing of the regeneration process in birds brings them closer to identifying ways to promote this process in mammals.


They recently made an encouraging discov- ery: After hair-cell dam- age, mammalian hair-


“IF SCIENCE LEADS THE WAY TO UNDERSTANDING OUR WORLD, THEN ART ALLOWS US TO INTERPRET AND REINTERPRET SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION.”


cell progenitors do initiate the early steps of regeneration, which later stalls. “This is an exciting development that pro- vides us with more hope that we can stimulate regeneration in mammals,” she says. “We are trying to identify where and why progenitor cells become stalled, and to find ways to push the cells past these stall points.” Stone’s work just might take her from exotic-looking cells to a revolutionary hearing-loss treatment, proving that science is, in fact, just as beautiful as art. —Robin Dale Meyers


24 SCOPE WINTER 2012


One gutsy researcher Yashoda Sharma ’95 had researched the genetics of hearing in fruit flies and adult stem cells in mice, so when she arrived for her new job at Yale’s med school, she was armed with a love of science and a PhD in molecular biology. But she had no experi- ence with digestive disorders, which are the focus of Yale’s In- flammatory Bowel Disease Genetics Consortium, where she’s program administrator.


“I’ve had to learn on the job,” she says. “It’s been challeng- ing, but it’s one of the things that keeps the job interesting.” In- teracting with clinicians and researchers and doing “a lot of reading” has helped. The consortium, formed by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, is made up of the inflammatory-bowel programs from Yale, Johns Hop- kins, the University of Pittsburgh, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Universities of Montreal and Toronto, and a data-coordinat- ing center at the University of Chicago. The consortium works with clinicians, researchers, and analysts throughout North America and Europe.


Sharma and her colleagues are working toward better control and treatment of IBDs such as Crohn’s, which involves inflam- mation and ulcers in the large and small intestines, and ulcera- tive colitis, which affects the large intestine. IBD patients tend to have a genetic predisposition for it, and the symptoms can be exacerbated by environmental factors, including stress—though stress does not cause it, Sharma says. There’s also “no direct sci-


JOEL LEVIN


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72