Human Biology Division

Image: Human Biology laboratory

Integrating fundamental, applied and translational scientists to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer and other diseases.

Human Biology researchers come together to form a multidisciplinary team that is influenced by individual advances. Their diverse expertise include molecular and cell biology, genomics, genetics, virology, infectious disease, computational biology, pathology and clinical research. Grounded in high-quality basic science, the research performed in Human Biology blends fundamental, applied, and translational research performed in model organisms and in vitro systems.


Highlight 1
To end the loss of lives caused by the HIV epidemic, the only possibility is a vaccine that either prevents the infection or controls the progressive loss of immune cells that eventually leads to AIDS. To accomplish either, we need a better understanding of the natural mechanisms that block the virus at the entry site or its replication. Caitlin Milligan and coworkers from Julie Overbaugh's group work to understand what mechanisms are involved in reducing transmission or mortality rate in a cohort of neonates born from HIV+ mothers.
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Highlight 2
The human body consists of hundreds of different cell types, each with a different form and function. Transcription factors, such as MyoD and NeuroD2, are master regulators of cell type identity that function to switch on specific sets of genes in each cell type. Dr. Abraham Fong, a research associate from Dr. Stephen Tapscott's lab, addresses which domains of MyoD and NeuroD2 are important for cell type determination.
Highlight 3
In many animals, sex is determined by the presence of sex chromosomes. In humans, males have X and Y, whereas females have two X chromosomes. Both X and Y chromosomes evolved from non-sex chromosomes, and it remains unclear how the Y became dissimilar from the X. Many questions remain unanswered regarding the sequence of events that led to recombination suppression, DNA sequence degeneration, and mechanisms that restore gene dosage balance. A new study from Dr. Catherine Peichel's lab led by Dr. Michael White uses threespine stickleback fish to infer sequence evolution and compensation.
Highlight 4
Desert Horse-Grant, director of strategic planning and operations for Solid Tumor Translational Research (STTR), is among four "2015 Women to Watch in Life Science Award" honorees selected by the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association.
Highlight 5
Muscle cells and neurons are very different both in their form and function. However, by manipulating a segment of a muscle-specific protein with a corresponding segment of neuronal protein pushes that cell down the path of neuronal development. Dr. Stephen Tapscott is investigating how these mutations in the key proteins can affect cancer and muscular dystrophy.
Highlight 6
A new Fred Hutch study led by graduate student Kris Blair in the lab of Dr. Nina Salama and collaborators from the University of British Columbia, solved the structure of the gene Csd4 in order to elucidate its mechanism of action. The Csda4 gene is in the bacterium Helicobacter pylori which is estimated to persistently infect about half of the world's population.
Read more about their findings  >
Highlight 7
Together Fred Hutch, UW Medicine and SCCA are working to develop the most precise treatment options for patients with solid tumor cancers. The primary goal is to translate laboratory sciences into the most precise treatment options for patients with solid tumor cancers.
Learn more about STTR >
Highlight 8
Glioblastomas (GBMs) are the most common and deadly form of brain cancer. They can be divided into different classes based on the varying characteristics. Drs. Tatsuya Ozawa and Eric Holland have addressed the question of the clinical relevance of GBMs subtypes, and whether they originate from a common precursor.
Read more about Dr. Ozawa and Dr. Holland's findings  >
Highlight 9
Dr. Brian Reid was invited to speak as part of the National Cancer Institute's Excellence in Molecular Diagnostics lecture series.
Highlight 10
The genetic basis for behavioral differences across and within species remains poorly understood. For example, the formation of social groups. Previous studies in the lab of Dr. Catherine Peichel developed a model school assay that used an artificial school of model fish to demonstrate distinct differences in different populations. In a new Fred Hutch study, led by staff scientist Anna Greenwood in the Peichel lab, the investigators attempted to increase the experimental power of the model assay by employing several innovations.
Read more about their study  >
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Dr. Andrew Hsieh, presenting his research at a recent Fast Pitch event
at Fred Hutch.

Faculty & Labs

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