Exploring Diverse Microbes Among Remote Amerindians

A population of Amerindian hunter-gatherers, who until recently had lived in isolation in the remote Venezuelan Amazon, is yielding a trove of information for scientists at Mount Sinai who are studying their microbiome and finding the most diverse levels of bacteria and bacteria-encoded functions ever discovered in humans. The human microbiome—comprised of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies—is believed to play a critical role in the well-being of the host. Read more

Clinical Trial Reveals Benefits of Peanut Allergy Skin Patch

Mount Sinai researchers—leading the largest clinical trial on peanut allergy desensitization—have concluded that a skin patch that gradually exposes the body to small amounts of peanut allergen appears to be safe and effective, and holds promise as a potential treatment for peanut allergies.

Research results from the Phase IIb clinical trial were presented at the 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology by Hugh A. Sampson, MD, Dean for Translational Biomedical Research and Director of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, who served as the Co-Principal Investigator of the study. Dr. Sampson is also Professor of Pediatrics, and Immunology, at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Read more

Study Reveals Mechanisms that Activate Depression

New research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai sheds light for the first time on how depression and emotional resilience operate on a molecular level. The findings, published in the December 4, 2014, issue of Nature, bring fresh perspective to an area that has eluded researchers for decades by outlining the mechanisms within cells that activate depression and laying the groundwork for new treatments. Current drugs for depression focus on neurotransmitters, or communication between cells, but identification of this novel biochemical pathway could pave the way for more effective drugs with very different mechanisms. Read more

Uncovering a Stronger Link Between Obesity and Genes

Researchers from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, participating in the largest genetic study yet on obesity, have helped uncover stronger links between genes and body weight and body fat distribution.

The trailblazing discoveries were published in two companion papers in the February issue of the journal Nature, and were the result of a four-year international research project conducted by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) consortium. Other key participating institutions included the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, the University of Michigan Health System, and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Read more

Restorative Surgery That Patients Can Smile About

Joshua D. Rosenberg, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is one of only a handful of U.S. surgeons who is using an innovative new procedure to restore the ability to smile in patients with facial paralysis.

The procedure, called cranial nerve V and VII transfer, helps to ameliorate the disfiguring effects of severe Bell’s palsy and, to a lesser extent, certain head and neck cancers. It calls for the surgeon to reroute the patient’s robust masseter nerve—which activates the chewing muscles—in order to power the paralyzed facial nerves and restore facial muscle function, specifically the muscles involved in smiling. Read more

A New Era for Bone Marrow Transplantation

Seminal research led by James Ferrara, MD, DSc, Ward-Coleman Chair in Cancer Medicine, has produced a promising approach to treating patients with graft-versus-host disease (GVHD)—a sometimes fatal complication of bone marrow transplantation in which the donor’s immune cells attack the recipient’s body. Bone marrow transplants are often used to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood diseases. Read more