A new male birth control pill passed tests of safety and tolerability when healthy men used it daily for a month, and it produced hormone responses consistent with effective contraception, according to researchers at two institutions testing the drug. The Phase 1 study results were presented March 24 at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in New Orleans.  Stephanie Page, a professor…
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Earlier Detection for a Deadly Lung Disease

Just to the left of Dr. Guang-Shing Cheng’s office computer is a photo of a smiling young woman. It’s been there for more than a year, always in the background as Cheng writes emails and research proposals and notes in patient records. It’s been there ever since the young woman, one of the first patients Cheng treated in Seattle, died. Cheng couldn’t…
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At the turn of the century, Dr. Qiang Tian signed on as a postdoctoral fellow with legendary scientist Dr. Lee Hood. He was in for a wild ride. In 2000, Hood co-founded the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), where Tian became the institute’s first-ever postdoc. In the nearly two decades since, Tian ascended to become a senior research scientist at ISB and…
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When starved for nutrients such as nitrogen, algae accumulate copious amounts of energy-rich lipids, which can be harvested and used as biofuel. Algae-based biofuel has the potential to serve as a sustainable replacement for fossil fuels. However, for biofuels to become a commercially viable solution, it is essential to more than double the total amount of lipids accumulated within algae. “This is…
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Researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington have demonstrated the first fully automated system to store and retrieve data in manufactured DNA — a key step in moving the technology out of the research lab and into commercial datacenters. In a simple proof-of-concept test, the team successfully encoded the word “hello” in snippets of fabricated DNA and converted it…
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It’s Day 1 again for Seattle-based Spiral Genetics. The decade-old DNA analysis startup has left its parent company Fabric and is sparking its re-launch by partnering with Microsoft to analyze the genomes of people with heart disease. Led by CEO Adina Mangubat, Spiral Genetics also just graduated from the Silicon Valley Y Combinator accelerator program. Mangubat founded the startup in 2009, shortly after…
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Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) has named Margaret McCormick, PhD, as its executive director/chief operating officer and Virginia Mason Medical Center vice president of Research. Dr. McCormick previously served as BRI’s chief administrative officer, with direct oversight of operational functions including human resources, finance, facilities and safety. “In her fourteen months with BRI, Dr. McCormick has already made…
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Shortly after she was diagnosed with melanoma in January, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan found herself in a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance waiting room. She anxiously glanced around. Her fellow patients spanned all ages and spoke multiple languages, but they all had the same look in their eyes: a mixture of hope and fear. On Wednesday, March 13, Durkan visited Fred…
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Meet PNRI Scientist: Rick McLaughlin

Rick McLaughlin, PhD spent his childhood observing nature. “Even though I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, I had collections of insects and rocks,” he says. “When we visited family in rural areas, I spent my time exploring at the creek.” As an adult, he turned that love of nature into an exciting research career at the Pacific Northwest Research…
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Most people use a map to understand the physical world around them. Now, genetic researchers have a map of their own to understand how developmental diseases work at the genetic level. In a recent study, UW graduate student Junyue Cao and Dr. Malte Spielmann from the Max Planck Institute profiled approximately 2 million cells from 61 mice embryos between 9 and 14 days old,…
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