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2022 SUMMER JOURNAL CLUBS


To request sign language interpreters or CART Services, you can contact NIH Interpreting Services by phone at 301-402-8180, by using the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339, or by submitting a request online. If you have other, disability-related accommodation requests for an event, please email OITE-EventServices@od.nih.govRequests should be made at least 5 days in advance of the event.


The journal club information is listed below in alphabetic order. Please read through the descriptions, then register for the journal club that matches your interests (The OITE will share the passcode via email; watch for it). If you would like more information, visit our Summer Intern Journal Club webpage.

NOTE: All times are ET.

Remember: Journal Clubs are for 2022 Summer Interns ONLY; use the passcode that was sent to you to register.


  1. Adding green spaces and improving the built environment will increase physical activity – Is it really that simple?
  2. Data-Driven Biology: The Future of Medical Research
  3. Decision-making in the brain: Behavior, Physiology, and Modeling
  4. Disease Detectives: The Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  5. Drosophila: a model for human diseases [CANCELLED]
  6. Everyone's Unique: Evaluating Inflammation using Single Cell RNA Sequencing
  7. Fantastic “omics” data and how to play with them
  8. Fantastic Microbes and Where to Find Them - The Curious World of Commensals, Pathogens, and those in between within the Human Microbiome
  9. How RNA modifications alter the innate antiviral immune response
  10. Game of Immune Cells: Recent Developments in Cancer Immunotherapy
  11. How to Wire a Brain: trans-synaptic interactions and their role in establishing and maintaining synapses
  12. Lost in Translation: Evaluating Animal Models in Biomedical Research [CANCELLED]
  13. Making Sense of the World
  14. May the Force be with you! - Mechanical forces in regulation of cell behavior [CANCELLED]
  15. Mitochondrial Metabolism in Muscle Performance, Health, and Disease
  16. Mystery, mirage, and mind: How illusions and neuroimaging reveal the working brain
  17. Neurobiology of Sex, Gender and Sexuality: A Critical Review
  18. Neurodegenerative Disease: Bench to Bedside
  19. Neurodegenerative Diseases
  20. Oh, the places you’ll go: shuttling cargo on the axonal microtubule highway [CANCELLED]
  21. Outbreak or Contagion: how do scientists trace viruses?
  22. Prions: Mysterious Seeds of Destruction
  23. Sex on the brain: how sex chromosomes, hormones, and evolution have impacted the human brain
  24. Sneaky business: How viruses use non-coding RNAs to trick humans [CANCELLED]
  25. Spectroscopy/microscopy tools studying biophysical phenomena
  26. The Dx, Tx, and Gx of Cancer Immunotherapies
  27. The gut microbiota–brain axis: a highway to healthy and happy people
  28. The signals that can lead to cancer
  29. Traversing the Energy Balance Beam: the ups and downs of measuring human metabolism [CANCELLED]
  30. Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis 
  31. Under pressure! How mechanical constraints on the nucleus of a (stem) cell can shape its fate. 

  1. Adding green spaces and improving the built environment will increase physical activity – Is it really that simple?
Adding green spaces and improving the built environment in communities is a sure-fire way to increase physical activity and improve the health of others, or is it?  In this journal club, we will explore the relationship between green spaces, the built environment, physical activity, and health. We will examine definitions and measurement of green spaces and the built environment, discuss disparities in access to walkable neighborhoods, and critique literature which examines the impact of green spaces and the built environment. We will also review popular interventions targeting the built environment. In the final week, we will apply what we have learned and debate whether our city’s resources should be.
 
Co-leaders: Lauren Reid, postdoc, NIMHD; Xia Shi, postdoc, NIMHD
Dates: Wednesday, June 15th; Wednesday, June 22nd; Wednesday, June 29th; Wednesday, July 6th; Wednesday, July 13th; Wednesday, July 20th 
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Data-Driven Biology: The Future of Medical Research
The future is here! Omics data has become an essential commodity in medical research. It helps to obtain mechanistic insights into important biological conundrums, especially in disease-related research. Moreover, it enables researchers to have a holistic view of complex biological systems. This journal club will focus on the application of computational (in-silico) techniques used to analyze different omics data and/or integrate multi-omics data in recent publications (published in 2021-2022). The club members will learn about the state-of-the-art computational methods in medical research and how to critically appraise scientific publications.
 
Co-leaders: Muhammad Arif, postdoc, NIAAA; Suraj Joshi, postbac, NCI; Karl Kuntzelman, research fellow, NIMH
Dates: Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 5; Tuesday, July 12; Tuesday, July 19; Tuesday, July 26
Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Decision-making in the brain: Behavior, Physiology, and Modeling
The survival of an organism depends on its ability to make sense of its environment and take appropriate actions. This involves the animal making hundreds of decisions regarding the sensory information it receives, its upcoming motor action, or the cost/benefit of its actions.  Hence the science of decision-making is a popular area of study among philosophers and scientists alike for centuries. The advent of the scientific method (Bacon, 1620), and technological advancements equipped researchers to understand the brain mechanisms of decision-making. Significant progress toward understanding the neural and computational mechanisms of decision making has been achieved using behavioral, electrophysiological optical, and computational techniques.   
 
In this journal club, we aim to introduce the summer interns to this exciting area of research. We will focus on two topics – 1) perceptual decision making and 2) value-based decision making - that are widely studied by theorists and experimentalists alike. An overview of basic concepts and research techniques involved in studying perceptual and value-based decisions in laboratory experiments will be provided. Using a blend of classical and modern research studies we will discuss in-depth more advanced cutting-edge topics such as behavioral and neurophysiological investigations as well as computational models of decision-making. At the end of the journal club, we expect to generate excitement about the field, and motivate summer interns to pursue this topic in their future projects.
 
Co-leaders: Bharath Chandra Talluri, postdoc, NEI; Ciana Deveau, graduate student, NIMH; Atul Gopal Pookkottee Alanchery, postdoc, NEI
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 13; Wednesday, July 20; Wednesday, July 27
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Disease Detectives: The Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
Epidemiology is the study of the Who, Where, When, Why, and How of disease at the population level, and the application of that study to control and prevention. In this journal club, we will explore how epidemiological methods apply to infectious disease research: from determining who is at highest risk of disease to how environmental factors influence our susceptibility to infection. We will cover the four categories of epidemiological studies over the course of the summer: cross-sectional, case-control, and cohort studies, and clinical trials.
 
The first two weeks of the club will focus on an introduction to epidemiology and epidemiological study design, and how to read an epidemiological paper. The four remaining weeks will be used to discuss infectious disease epidemiology articles that cover one each of the following topics: airborne/droplet transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, vector-borne diseases, and environmental pathogens.
 
Co-leaders: Rachel Mercaldo, postdoc, NIAID; Julia Marshall, postbac, NIAID
Dates: Monday, June 13; Tuesday, June 21; Monday, June 27; Monday, July 11; Monday, July 18; Monday, July 25
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Platform: Microsoft Teams
 
  1. Drosophila: a model for human diseases [CANCELLED]
For over more than a century, Drosophila has served as a powerful system to study cellular and developmental processes, evolutionary mechanisms, disease pathogenesis etc., as evident from several Nobel prizes that have been awarded to Drosophila research. Over the years, Drosophila has emerged as a strong model to study human diseases’ mechanisms- from identifying the genes and the pathways involved, uncovering pathology and progression of the disease to identifying new drug targets. The benefits of using Drosophila, primarily are their shorter life span, low maintenance cost, amenability to genetic manipulation and the conservation of disease causing genes. In this journal club, we will discuss recent publications on application of Drosophila to gain insights into specific diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, infectious diseases etc., and finally, the recent state-of-the-art techniques available in Drosophila biology that allow performing large-scale genetic screens and pharmacological screens possible in a shorter time-frame.
 
Co-leaders: Shree Chaitranjali Yadla, research fellow, NHLBI; Chaitali Khan, postdoc, NHLBI
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 13
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Everyone's Unique: Evaluating Inflammation using Single Cell RNA Sequencing
This course aims to build a fundamental understanding of the exciting new technologies involving RNA sequencing at the single-cell level. We will highlight its uses in the context of innate immune driven inflammation, with a particular focus of the brain and kidney.
 
Co-leaders: Tilo Freiwald, research fellow, NIDDK; Brendan Snaar, research fellow, NIAID
Dates:  Thursday, June 23; Thursday, June 30; Thursday, July 7; Thursday, July 14
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Fantastic “omics” data and how to play with them
In human genetics research, the majority of genetic loci that have been implicated in various health outcomes explain only a fraction of the heritability of diseases. Complex traits, such as height, diabetes etc., that are considered polygenic, usually result from changes in gene regulation. Another consideration is that the same genetic variants can contribute to different outcomes, depending on environment and genetic background. Multi-omics include the global assessment of a set of molecules (i.e., genomic, epigenomic, transcriptomic, proteomics, metabolomics, and microbiomes). Studying multi-omics can provide a greater understanding of information flow, from DNA, RNA, and protein, and how these molecular types interact across environmental factors. This journal club will include discussion of seminal papers on current applications, challenges, and future directions of multi-omics approaches in human health and disease. Members will also learn some state-of-the-art methods, including data integration, visualization, and interpretation for analyzing the multi-omics data.
 
Co-leaders: Jasmine Mack, graduate student, NIEHS; Ziyue Wang, postdoc, NIEHS
Dates: Thursday, June 16; Thursday, June 23; Thursday, June 30; Thursday, July 7; Thursday, July 21
Times: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Fantastic Microbes and Where to Find Them - The Curious World of Commensals, Pathogens, and those in between within the Human Microbiome
The human microbiome is a myriad of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other eukaryotes. This journal club will focus on the bacteria and fungi that live in various niches on the human body including the skin and gut. We will likely cover topics like community structure, commensalism, pathogenicity and microbe-microbe interactions with only limited discussion of host interactions and immunology. The goal of this Journal Club is to illustrate the diversity of organisms that live in the human microbiome, attempt to understand what types of interactions are occurring between organisms and in some cases with the host, and to try to have engaging conversations about these topics in a friendly learning environment.
 
Co-leaders: Sean Conlan, staff scientist, NHGRI; Jonathan Nicklas, graduate student, NHGRI
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 20; Wednesday, July 27
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Game of Immune Cells: Recent Developments in Cancer Immunotherapy
Ever wonder how immunotherapy works? What is the latest cutting-edge research around this? Immunotherapy is changing the face of cancer treatment. The discovery that the immune system can be reprogrammed to launch a targeted attack against tumor cells was integral in our understanding of cancer biology. Unlike cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs which had been the main focus of research efforts, this next generation cancer immunotherapy showed promise of being highly effective with minimal side effects. What began as an idea years ago, has quickly evolved into what many claim is the future of cancer treatment. Immunotherapy has shown great success to date. It is already being used to treat leukemia and melanoma, to name a few. Like all therapies there is still much to be learned, and our approaches are constantly advancing with the aim to increase the rate of positive outcomes while introducing refinements to decrease unwanted effects. This interactive journal club will showcase the latest developments in the exciting field of immunotherapy. Members will get a glimpse into the most recent advancements in cancer immunotherapy and gain insight into how basic research conducted at the laboratory bench reaches the patient bedside in the clinic, all while learning how to critically read and understand original research articles.
 
Co-leaders: Teri Hatzihristidis, postdoc, NICHD; Avik Dutta, postdoc, NICHD; Layla Ahmadi, postbac, NICHD
Dates: Monday, June 27; Monday, July 11; Monday, July 18; Monday, July 25
Time: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. How RNA modifications alter the innate antiviral immune response
This 6-weeks long journal club (1 hour/week) aims to discuss recent scientific articles on the role of RNA modifications during host innate immune response against viruses. Students will learn how to read and present a scientific paper and will discuss different scientific techniques (including but not limited to basic molecular biology techniques, high-throughput sequencing, and methods in structural biology). No prior knowledge is needed.
 
RNA modifications are ubiquitous in the cell. Their roles are to expand the genetic code beyond the four canonical A, U, G and C bases and regulate interactions of RNAs by impacting their structure. Changes in RNA modification levels can have dramatic impact on human health. Diseases related to changes in RNA modifications were recently termed as “modopathies”. Additionally, RNA modifications play a critical role in the arms race between the host immunity and viruses. This has important implications for public health and even on how RNA vaccines are designed today. During this journal club we will discuss recent findings on the interplay of RNA modifications and mechanisms of host antiviral innate immunity.
 
Co-leaders: Agnes Karasik, postdoc, NIDDK; Charles Bou-Nader, postdoc, NIDDK
Dates: Friday, June 17; Friday, June 24; Friday, July 8; Friday, July 15; Friday, July 22; Friday, July 29
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. How to Wire a Brain: trans-synaptic interactions and their role in establishing and maintaining synapses
Synapses are connections between neurons that allow for neuronal communication. During brain development, neurons must establish synapses on specific targets to establish neuronal circuits. In the mature brain, these synapses must be maintained and fine-tuned to encode new information. These processes are guided by trans-synaptic interactions. Our journal club will explore these interactions on a cellular and molecular level and chart a path from early developmental processes, like axon guidance and synapse specification, to regulatory mechanisms of the mature synapse.
 
Co-leaders: Erin Fingleton, graduate student, NINDS; Kathryn McDaniel, graduate student, NINDS
Dates: Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 13; Wednesday, July 20; Wednesday, July 27
Time: 10:30 am - 11:30 am 
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Lost in Translation: Evaluating Animal Models in Biomedical Research [CANCELLED]
This debate-style journal club will compare the relative advantages of several animal models commonly encountered in translational research. Before each meeting, students will be randomly assigned to read one of two (2) scientific articles that research the same topic (e.g., Alzheimer's Disorder) but in different species. The first half of the meeting will be spent evaluating the merits of each animal model, and the second half of the meeting will involve structured (friendly) debate where participants explain which model they think is most translationally valid. Ultimately, this journal club aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for biodiversity within the biomedical sciences!
 
Co-leaders: Spencer Waters, graduate student, OD; Charday Waters, NIH staff, NIMH
Dates: Tuesday, June 14; Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 12; Tuesday, July 19
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Making Sense of the World
How do mice sniff urine to find a mate? And humans feel when we need to pee? How do bats use echoes to hear where they are? And humans know where our hands are? How do predators use electricity to track their prey? And mosquitos know where best to bite us? From electric eels to pheromonal mice, all animals have evolved specialized senses that enable survival. In this journal club, we will learn how the brains of different animals have developed unique abilities which allow them to detect different aspects of the world – both in the external environment and inside their own bodies.
 
Through reading and discussing papers that focus on a particular sense and species, we will learn about the experimental tools and approaches neuroscientists use to link brain function with animal behavior and human psychology. We’ll take a multidisciplinary view and look at the molecules, anatomy, and behaviors that help animals, including ourselves, to sense the world. Importantly, by restricting ourselves to the weirdest and most wonderful senses, there’ll be something for everyone and no chance of a boring paper! Meetings will be held every Wednesday at noon starting June 15th. Feel free to bring your lunch and enthusiasm!
 
Co-leaders: Donald Iain Macdonald, postdoc, NCCIH; Jonathan Seaman, graduate student, NCCIH
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 13
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. May the Force be with you! - Mechanical forces in regulation of cell behavior [CANCELLED]
Remember while being a kid, you were handed a present and asked to guess what it was? Most of us first touched the present, trying to feel if it was soft or hard, so that we would know more about it before we started guessing. This is what cells in our body do as well, when they try to interpret their environment. By pushing and pulling on the extracellular matrix, cells can get mechanical information about their surroundings and adjust their behavior based on this information.
 
Our journal club will provide an overview of how physical forces together with cell and tissue mechanics influence cell behavior. We will cover how cells probe mechanical properties of their surroundings and translate this information into biochemical signaling pathways, leading to cellular responses. We will take a look at how different external forces give rise to various molecular changes in cells and ultimately adjusts cell behavior.
 
Co-leaders: Martina Lerche, postdoc, NHLBI; Zbigniew Baster, postdoc, NHLBI
Dates: Monday, June 13; Wednesday, June 22; Monday, June 27; Monday, July 11
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Mitochondrial Metabolism in Muscle Performance, Health, and Disease
Mitochondria, the "powerhouses of the cell," metabolize carbohydrates or fatty acids to generate most of the ATP required by the cell for energetically unfavorable reactions. Mitochondrial metabolism is a broad term often used to describe catabolic and anabolic reactions that occur within the mitochondria. Over the course of this journal club, we will explore mitochondrial metabolism from the perspective of catabolic reactions – reactions that break down large molecules. For example, pathways required to convert organic compounds into reducing equivalents for oxidative phosphorylation such as beta-oxidation or the citric acid cycle (TCA). We will spend 5 weeks exploring mitochondrial metabolism in healthy and diseased heart or skeletal muscle. Further, we will use literature examples to highlight how mitochondrial metabolism adapts to external stimuli including exercise, how disease leads to dysfunction and, alternately, how dysfunction contributes to disease. If you love mitochondria or have an interest in energy metabolism, this is the journal club for you!
 
Co-leaders: Abigail Giles, graduate student, NHLBI; Hailey Parry, postdoc, NHLBI
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 13; Wednesday, July 20
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Mystery, mirage, and mind: How illusions and neuroimaging reveal the working brain
The human brain is a mysterious mass of neuronal tissue that houses the cognitive and perceptual functions that we rely on in our daily lives. For millennia, the study of the brain was limited to dissection, theory, and speculation. However, with the advent of neuroimaging, scientists and clinicians have been able to non-invasively study brain structure and function. A fruitful application of neuroimaging has been in the study of illusions, which are subjective experiences dissociated from physical reality – apparent glitches in brain processing. In this journal club, we will explore how combining illusions and neuroimaging helps scientists reveal the underlying neural mechanisms from which cognition and consciousness emerge.
 
Co-leaders: Sharif Kronemer, postdoc, NIMH; A. Tyler Morgan, postdoc, NIMH
Dates: Thursday, June 30; Thursday, July 7; Thursday, July 14; Thursday, July 21
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Neurobiology of Sex, Gender and Sexuality: A Critical Review
Behavioral sexual dimorphism is well documented in nearly all non-human vertebrates. The neurobiological substrates underlying sexually dimorphic behaviors have gained increased attention in recent years. Yet, whether such bonafide biological differences between sexes exist in humans is still an open question. In this journal club we shall critically evaluate literature on sexual dimorphisms in brain circuits across species along with data on underlying mechanisms of how these are established. Finally, we shall critically evaluate literature on the relationship between sexually dimorphic neuroanatomy and human sexual partner preference and a latest study examining genetic underpinnings of the same.
 
Co-leaders: Prithviraj Rajebhosale, postdoc, NINDS; Dana Freeman, postdoc, NINDS
Dates: Monday, June 13; Monday, June 27; Monday, July 11; Monday, July 18
Time: 2:00 - 3:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Neurodegenerative Disease: Bench to Bedside
This journal club will go through the process of drug discovery for neurodegenerative disorders from uncovering their underlying molecular mechanisms to conducting clinical trials.
 
Co-leaders: Aman Kumar, postdoc, NEI; Fady Guirguis, graduate student, NINDS
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 6
Time: 5:00 pm -6:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Neurodegenerative Diseases
We will focus on studies using basic and translational techniques to study neurodegenerative diseases. Each week, we will pick an article that uses a different technical approach in their research. Areas of focus will include neuroimaging, animal models, and genomics.
 
Co-leaders: Gretchen Greene, graduate student, NINDS; Patrick Wright, postdoc, NINDS
Dates: Tuesday, June 14; Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 12; Tuesday, July 19
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Oh, the places you’ll go: shuttling cargo on the axonal microtubule highway [CANCELLED]
A neuron’s long axon, scaffolded by the microtubule cytoskeleton, is a bustling highway along which organelles and RNAs are transported to distal functional sites. How this diverse set of cargoes (and interlopers like viruses) are coordinately trafficked along these tracks and the critical importance of this trafficking to neuronal function is an exciting area of study. Multiple papers will be offered up for each week’s topic ranging from in vitro, cell biological, and in vivo studies.  Students can then choose one which most fits their interest and gain an appreciation of neuronal transport across different methodologies and scales.
 
Co-leaders: Stephanie Sarbanes, postdoc, NINDS; Veronica Ryan, postdoc, NINDS
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 22; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 13; Wednesday, July 20; Wednesday, July 27
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. Outbreak or Contagion: how do scientists trace viruses?
SARS-CoV-2, HIV, Ebola, or such Flu strains as H3N2 invaded human population rather recently. But how one knows when and where it happened? Can those events be traced back? Are there ways to predict what will happen to viruses that are ‘here to stay’?
 
In this journal club, we will discuss how genomics, computational and evolutionary biology help scientists to pursue Sherlock-Holmes-like various traces to answer such questions. During our journal clubs we will discuss a lot about viruses themselves and evolutionary concepts, but also cover the importance of proper data collection and experiment planning. We will cover a variety of different viruses, so don’t worry: It won’t be only SARS-CoV-2.
 
And even before we start, you can check a story about genomic surveillance of the Ebola outbreak 2014: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.1259657
 
Co-leaders: Pascal Mutz, postdoc, NLM; Sonya Garushyants, postdoc, NLM
Dates: Tuesday, June 14; Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 5; Tuesday, July 12
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Prions: Mysterious Seeds of Destruction
This journal club will be centered around prions, which are misfolded proteins capable of inducing detrimental cellular dysfunction.
 
Week 1: What is a Prion?
Week 2: Prions and Human Neurodegeneration
Week 3: Prions and Liquid Condensates
Week 4: Yeast Prions
Week 5: Prions in Wildlife
Week 6: Prions Conclusion: What We Know and Future Research Directions
 
Co-leaders: Joan Reger, graduate student, NINDS; Andrii Kopach, postdoc, NINDS
Dates: Tuesday, June 14; Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 5; Tuesday, July 12
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Sex on the brain: how sex chromosomes, hormones, and evolution have impacted the human brain
Sex differences in the brain are reflected in gene expression, neuroanatomy, behavior, and risk for neuropsychiatric disorders. Understanding sex differences requires an understanding of the various factors that influence trait differences in males and females, including gonadal hormones, and sex chromosomes. In this journal club we will explore sex differences in the brain pulling information from neurodevelopmental and evolutionary biology, covering both genetic and neuroimaging techniques in humans and animal models.
 
Co-leaders: Elisa Guma, postdoc, NIMH; Alex Decasien, postdoc, NIMH
Dates: Wednesday, June 22; Monday, June 27; Monday, July 11; Monday, July 18; Monday, July 25
Time: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm (1:00 pm - 2:00 pm on Wednesday, June 22)
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Sneaky business: How viruses use non-coding RNAs to trick humans [CANCELLED]
RNA molecules that are not translated into proteins are called non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). ncRNAs are emerging as critical regulators of gene expression—influencing various diseases including cancer, viral infection, and Alzheimer’s disease. This journal club will cover recent publications at the intersection of ncRNA biology and viral pathogens. Each week will focus on a different class of ncRNAs including microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, circular RNAs, transfer RNAs, and ribosomal RNAs. We will discuss key features of ncRNA structure and synthesis, in particular how their lack of immunogenicity makes them uniquely suited for viral manipulation of the host. Members will learn about methods and protocols for studying ncRNAs and viruses as well as how to critically evaluate scientific publications.
 
Co-leaders: Sarah Dremel, postdoc, NCI; Takanobu Tagawa, postdoc, NCI
Dates: Friday, June 17; Friday, June 24; Friday, July 1; Friday, July 8; Friday, July 22
Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm 
Platform: Microsoft Teams
 
  1. Spectroscopy/microscopy tools studying biophysical phenomena
In our journal club, we discuss about key papers that describes how spectroscopy/microscopy is used in the field of biophysics. For the first two weeks, we put particular focus on NMR spectroscopy to study protein-ligand, and protein-DNA interactions. For the next two weeks, For the next two weeks, we are going to focus on various photophysical tools based on fluorescence based techniques (FCS and FRET) and light based techniques (optical tweezer and other scatting methods) to study various biological questions. At the end, students will get exposed to various photophysical tools for biological research. We hope to inspire students to pursue research career knowing the available tools. At the end, students will get exposed to various photophysical tools for biological research. We hope to inspire students to pursue research career knowing the available tools.
 
Co-leaders: Yusuke Okuno, postdoc, NIDDK; Woong Young So, postdoc, NCI
Dates: Thursday, June 16; Thursday, June 23; Thursday, July 14; Thursday, July 21
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Platform: Webex
 
  1. The Dx, Tx, and Gx of Cancer Immunotherapies
We will discuss recent high-impact research articles that pertain to diagnosis, treatment, and genomics components of cancer immunotherapies, including papers that intersect the fields of tumor immunology, cancer genomics, and the tumor microenvironment.
 
Co-leaders: Franklin Ning, graduate student, NCI; Neha Wali, graduate student, NCI; Yasemin Cole, graduate student, NCI; Cristie Contreras Burrola, graduate student, NCI
Dates: Friday, June 17; Friday, June 24; Thursday, June 30; Friday, July 8; Friday, July 15; Thursday, July 21
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. The gut microbiota–brain axis: a highway to healthy and happy people
The gut bacteria interact with human hosts to regulate the development, physiology, and cognitive functions of the brain through a dynamic bidirectional communication along the ‘gut–brain axis’. Therefore, the gut bacteria play an important role in human health. The intestinal microbiome varies greatly in content across individuals and is influenced by many factors such as method of delivery at birth, age, and antibiotic usage, among others. However, once established, the composition of the gut microbiota is relatively stable across the lifespan. Growing evidence indicates that changes in this complex microbial system increase the chance of developing diseases. Importantly, the composition of the human intestinal microbiome is largely shaped by the host’s diet. In this journal club, students will gain a deeper understanding of how people’s lifestyle can promote imbalance in the intestinal microbiota and consequently increase the risk of developing neurological pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
 
Co-leaders: Laura Campello-Blasco, research fellow, NEI; Jayshree Advani, postdoc, NEI
Dates: Thursday, June 16; Thursday, June 23; Thursday, June 30; Thursday, July 7
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. The signals that can lead to cancer
The journal club “The signals that can lead to cancer” will take the participants through some of the most commonly altered signaling pathways in cancer such as AKT, p53, RB and Ras. We will give the participants an overview of the techniques used to investigate these signaling pathways and take them through some of the therapies used to perturb the pathways to fight cancer.  The objective of this summer journal club is to give the participants a better understanding of cancer signaling while teaching the participants how to interpret scientist literature.
 
Co-leaders: Natasha Hill, research fellow, NIAMS; Amy Coxon, NIH staff, NIAMS; Lingling Miao, research fellow, NIAMS
Dates: Tuesday, June 14; Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 12; Tuesday, July 19
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Traversing the Energy Balance Beam: the ups and downs of measuring human metabolism [CANCELLED]
Total daily energy expenditure is a measurable representation of an individual’s energy requirements and plays a vital role in many aspects of health. When an individual’s total daily energy expenditure equals their caloric intake, they will maintain a stable weight and are said to be in energy balance. However, this delicate balance is often difficult to maintain since both food intake and energy expenditure vary from day to day, across life stages, and in various disease states. This summer journal club will present the state-of-the-art modalities used to measure human metabolism in the NIDDK Metabolic Clinical Research Unit. We will give an overview of the criterion measures for energy expenditure and discuss the advantages, limitations, and different use-cases for each modality. We will showcase some of the specialized resources used in the MCRU to conduct detailed studies of metabolism, including whole-room indirect calorimetry and doubly labeled water. Additionally, we will cover the components of energy balance, body composition measurement techniques, and considerations for measuring metabolism in clinical populations.
 
Co-leaders: Samuel LaMunion, postdoc, NIDDK; Reed Thomas, postbac, NIDDK; Asuka Ishihara, postdoc, NIDDK
Dates: Wednesday, June 15; Wednesday, June 29; Wednesday, July 6; Wednesday, July 13; Wednesday, July 22; Wednesday, July 27
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Platform: Zoom
 
  1. Tumor Microenvironment and Metastasis 
Various components of the tumor microenvironment including immune and stromal populations and the extracellular matrix and how they contribute to tumor growth and development. We will strive to present how numerous technologies have expanded our understanding of this field.
 
Co-leaders: Cristie Contreras, graduate student, NCI; Alice Browne, graduate student, NCI
Dates: Thursday, June 16; Thursday, June 23; Thursday, July 14; Thursday, July 21
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Platform: Microsoft Teams
 
  1. Under pressure! How mechanical constraints on the nucleus of a (stem) cell can shape its fate.
Organs are made up of an ensemble of different, functionally specialized cell types that are derived from stem cells through a process called differentiation. Most cells contain a nucleus which holds within it genetic information of the entire body, but only a tightly selected subset of genes is expressed in individual cells to generate and maintain a given cell type. In other words, each cell contains a book with instructions for every cell of the body to perform its functions and get to the right places. During development, those cells need to flip to the correct pages (express the correct genes), and ignore the incorrect ones (suppress expression of incorrect genes), to optimally carry out their functions required to determine their fate and maintain healthy function of the organism. The process of flipping to the correct pages occurs as stem cells differentiate, where they need to decide what specialized cells to become, and part of that decision making process involves the cell’s ability to feel the forces in their environment. Indeed, cells in living organisms are subject to external physical stresses, including compression, stretching and deformations. A growing body of evidence in embryonic, blood, heart and skin cell lineages suggest that the nucleus not only can respond to external mechanical stimulation, but also forces generated by the cell itself. The forces the cells can feel might be instrumental for making cell-fate decisions, and a better understanding of how cells and nuclei can ‘feel’ these mechanical cues could potentially pave the way for enhancing the understanding and control of stem cells, which hold huge potential in improving medicine and health. During this Journal Club, we will feature high impact papers exploring the emerging idea of the nucleus as a mechanosensory element that can sense and respond to mechanical forces to direct stem cell differentiation.
 
Co-leaders: Mehdi Hamouda, graduate student, NHLBI; Solene Herve, postdoc, NIDDK; Rebecca Stephens, postdoc, NIDDK
Dates: Tuesday, June 14; Tuesday, June 21; Tuesday, June 28; Tuesday, July 5
Times: 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Platform: Webex
 

Register for a Summer Journal Club!