Research highlights

Tab 1

Year

Milestone

Kevin Mills

2010

Jackson Associate Professors Kevin Mills, Ph.D., and Joel Graber, Ph.D., discovered telltale variations in mRNA processing—the cell’s protein-building function—that correspond to cancer. The team showed that they could distinguish among similar tumor subtypes with at least 74 percent accuracy, a dramatic increase over current molecular cancer diagnostics.

Bob Braun

2010

In research that could lead to new methods of male contraception as well as insights into male infertility, Jackson Laboratory Vice President for Research Bob Braun, Ph.D., and colleagues showed that sperm precursor cells have several different paths to becoming sperm.

Lenny Schultz

2010

Researchers including Jackson Professor Leonard Shultz, Ph.D. announced the first mouse model for typhoid fever. The model will allow researchers to study typhoid fever and to develop new treatments and vaccines to battle this serious threat to health in the developing world.

Simon John

2011

A research team led by Jackson Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Simon John, Ph.D., designed an analysis technique that detects early stages of glaucoma in mice, and successfully blocked the disease by targeting some of the molecular events in those early stages.

 

Sue Ackerman

2012

Jackson Laboratory research team led by Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator Susan Ackerman, Ph.D., discovered a defect in the RNA splicing process in neurons that may contribute to neurological disease.

John Eppig

2012

Jackson Laboratory researchers led by Professor John Eppig, Ph.D., found a gene that controls multiple processes essential to building a viable mammalian egg, making it a master regulator of egg development.

Yijun Ruan

2012

Probing human genomic data with a variety of computational tools—including some borrowed from social media networks—JAX Professor Yijun Ruan, Ph.D., and colleagues discovered that interactions vital to transcriptional regulation are organized in a large-scale, three-dimensional network.

Michael Stitzel, Ph.D. 2013

A research team led by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, M.D,, Ph.D., and including JAX Assistant Professor Michael Stitzel, Ph.D., published a report on the important role of "stretch enhancers"—long genomic sequences that act as a kind of rheostat to amp up gene expression levels—in coordinating cell type-specific regulatory programs.

David Harrison

2013

A research team led by JAX Professor David Harrison, Ph.D., reported that acarbose, a drug that is frequently prescribed in Europe for type 2 diabetes, extends the lifespan of mice, with male mice showing a more pronounced effect than the females.

Gareth Howell

2013

Jackson Laboratory researchers led by Assistant Professor Gareth Howell used gene profiling for the first time to detect early brain changes in the hypothalamus and early changes to insulin signaling in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

Kevin Mills

2013

JAX Associate Professor Kevin Mills and colleagues identified a molecule that prevents repair of some cancer cells, providing a potential new "genetic chemotherapy" approach to cancer treatment that could significantly reduce side effects and the development of treatment resistance compared with traditional chemotherapy. 

Lenny Shultz

2014

A JAX research team led by Professor Lenny Shultz, Ph.D., reported that a protein, iRhom2, involved in wound healing and tumor growth could be a potential therapeutic target. By introducing mutations in Rhbdf2, the gene that encodes the iRhom2 protein, the researchers extended the protein’s duration and wound-healing power.

Susan Ackerman

2014

A research team led by JAX Professor and Howard Hughes Investigator Susan Ackerman, Ph.D., pinpointed a surprising mechanism behind neurodegeneration in mice, one that involves a defect in a key component of the cellular machinery that makes proteins, known as transfer RNA or tRNA.

2014

Krishnakumar Kizhatil, Ph.D., an associate research scientist in the laboratory of Simon W.M. John, and colleagues reported on an exhaustive exploration of an eye structure known as Schlemm’s canal, a key gatekeeper for the proper flow of eye fluid, presenting a number of insights relevant to glaucoma and other diseases.

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Tab 2

Year

Highlight

Tatyana Golovkina

2001

Tatyana Golovkina discovers that I/LnJ mice—first derived by L.C. Strong at Jackson in 1926—are impervious to mammary tumors caused by retrovirus infections.

 

2002

A draft of the mouse genome is published in Nature by the publicly supported Mouse Genome Sequencing Consortium, including Jackson scientists Carol Bult and Wayne Frankel.

J?rgen Naggert and Patsy Nishina

2002

The laboratories of Jürgen Naggert and Patsy Nishina announce the first human gene discovered at The Jackson Laboratory. A mutation in the gene, ALMS1, causes Alström syndrome, a very rare condition but with implications for understanding common human conditions including obesity and diabetes.

Susan Ackerman

2002

Susan Ackerman and colleagues pinpointed the molecular basis for why a particular strain of mice is a useful model for late-onset neurodegenerative disease, suggesting an emerging hypothesis for Alzheimer's disease.

David Serreze

2003

David Serreze leads a team that develops a way to protect engrafted pancreatic beta cells in diabetic mice, opening the possibility of reversing type 1 diabetes without putting patients on immunosuppressive drugs.

Barbara Knowles

2004

Barbara Knowles and Jackson Laboratory colleagues shed light on the genetic events that help orchestrate changes at the earliest stages of life, when mammalian eggs are fertilized and become embryos.

Derry Roopenian

2004

Jackson researchers led by Derry Roopenian identify a novel therapeutic target, FcRn, for treating autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Simon John

2005

Simon John and Douglas Gould discover a genetic link to porencephaly, a rare but devastating neurological condition in newborns that weakens blood vessels in the brain.

 

2005

Research in Beverly Paigen’s lab led by Xiaosong Wang identifies gene that increases susceptibility to high-fat diet-induced atherosclerosis.

 

Joerg Bewersdorf 

2006

Employing the unprecedented resolution of the 4Pi microscope, researchers led by Joerg Bewersdorf are able to visualize the initial cellular response—“first aid”—to DNA damage.

 

Shaoguang Li 

2006

Shaoguang Li and colleagues discover a reason why some patients do not respond well to Gleevec, a drug that has dramatically improved clinical treatment of many leukemias. Li also isolates leukemic stem cells in the mouse for the first time.

 

Bo Chang 

2007

Bo Chang collaborates with colleagues at the University of Florida to use gene therapy to restore sight in mice with achromatopsia, a form of hereditary blindness.

2007

David Serreze receives the Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Dr. John Eppig receives the Pioneer in Reproduction Research Award from the Frontiers in Reproduction Research Program.

Douglas Coleman

2009

Douglas Coleman receives the Shaw Prize—the "Nobel of the East"—for his work with leptin.

David Harrison

2009

David Harrison leads a study that documents, for the first time, a drug (rapamycin) that leads to a longer life span in mammals.

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Tab 3

Year

Highlight

Elizabeth Russell

1960s

Jackson's Elizabeth Russell pioneers the use of bone marrow transplantation to cure a blood disorder in a mouse.

Douglas Coleman

1966

Douglas Coleman initiates a series of landmark experiments, postulating in 1973 that the ob mouse has a genetic defect in its "satiety factor" and that the db (diabetes) mouse has a genetic defect in its "satiety center." His theories led to the successful cloning of the genes behind the ob and db defects by researchers at Rockefeller University in 1995.

Donald Bailey

1971

Donald Bailey develops the first recombinant inbred strains of mice by crossing two inbred strains. The resulting mice prove useful for genetic mapping and gene hunting.

Eva Eicher and Wes Whitten

1978

Eva Eicher, Wes Whitten and Wesley Beamer publish a report on the BALB/c strain as the first animal model for some human sex chromosome abnormalities.

Joseph Nadeau

1984

Joseph Nadeau and Ben Taylor's analysis of 83 genes in mice and humans indicates that the mouse genome is an extremely good model for the human genome—but with 150 rearrangements.

Leonard Shultz

1990s

A team, led by Dr. Leonard Shultz, successfully transplants human immune system cells into the scid (severe combined immune deficiency) mouse, generating an important new model for AIDS research.

Simon John

1990s

Dr. Simon John develops the first mouse models for glaucoma.

1990s

Dr. Wesley Beamer and colleagues discovered genetic variability in adult bone density among different kinds of mice. For the first time, researchers were able to use a range of new mouse models for osteoporosis research.

Wayne Frankel 

1990s

Dr. Wayne Frankel identified the gene that is defective in a new mouse model known as "slow-wave epilepsy." This is considered to be the most effective model yet for petit mal epilepsy in humans.

 

1991

Encyclopedia of the Mouse Genome software published.

 

1995

Mouse Genome Database established at The Jackson Laboratory.

Muriel Davisson 

1995

With colleagues at Johns Hopkins, Muriel Davisson publishes findings on the Down syndrome mouse model she developed.

John Eppig

1996

John Eppig publishes breakthrough research on the world's first mammals produced using primordial oocytes taken from newborn mice and grown and fertilized completely outside the body.

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Tab 4

 

   Year

Highlight

William Castle

1908

William Castle opens Harvard's Bussey Institution, where many early mouse geneticists, including Clarence Cook Little, get their start.

C. C. Little Painting

1909

C.C. Little begins to develop the first inbred mouse strain, designated DBA for dilute, brown, and non-agouti.

Black Six

1921

Using a pair of black mice from the Granby farm, C.C. Little develops the C57BL and C57BR strains. C57BL/6J (“Black Six”) will become the world’s most essential inbred strain.

Elizabeth Fekete

1935

The first successful transfer of fertilized ova is achieved by Elizabeth Fekete.

 

1936

Jackson Laboratory researchers (in the world's first group publication) announce the first link between cancer and viruses in mammals. This leads to the discovery of a cancer-causing virus passed through breast milk, a key finding for the later understanding of oncogenes and cancer. 

Peter Gorer 

1937

Peter Gorer shows in mouse studies at Jackson that transplant rejection is primarily governed by what he calls the H2 genetic locus, later described as the major histocompatibility complex, a key component of immunity. 

 

1940s

The first successful transplantations of ovaries between female mice are performed by Dr. William Russell. 

George Snell

Late 1940s

George Snell develops congenic strains of mice—identical but for a small chromosomal segment—by breeding for differences only at the H2 locus. This opens new areas of immunological research and earns Snell a Nobel Prize in 1980. 

Margaret Dickie 

1950

The obese (ob) mouse is discovered by Margaret Dickie. The first animal model for obesity, the mouse later proves to have a key mutation in the leptin gene. 

Leroy Stevens 

1954

Leroy Stevens develops an ovary transplant procedure that enables mutant strains to be propagated even if the mutation prevents the animal from living long enough to reach reproductive age. 

 

1958

Margaret Green starts a card-file database of mouse linkages and loci, forming the foundation of the Mouse Genome Database. Eventually, the National Institutes of Health begins supporting the database.

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