F1000 Research Publishes First Articles

In February, the Faculty of 1000 (F1000) launched F1000 Research, an innovative, new open access publishing program for biology and medicine. Last week, F1000 announced the publication of F1000 Research’s first few articles [1].

F1000 Research

NIH Human Microbiome Project Defines Normal Bacterial Makeup of the Body

Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival. For the first time, a consortium of researchers organized by the National Institutes of Health has mapped the normal microbial makeup of healthy humans, producing numerous insights and even a few surprises.

Human microbiome

Vitamin D Regulates Genes Associated with Susceptibility to Autoimmune Diseases

Vitamin D is, at this point, probably one of the trendiest vitamins around. Everyone suddenly seems to be getting their vitamin D level tested (specifically vitamin D3 or 25(OH)D, also called calcidiol) and, when levels are found to be deficient, taking supplements. In November 2010, the Institute of Medicine tripled its daily recommendations for vitamin D from 200 International Units to 600 [1]. Severe vitamin D deficiency causes rickets, which leads to a softening and weakening of the bones, so milk has been fortified with vitamin D to prevent rickets. Less dramatic vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in ailments ranging from cancer to heart disease to schizophrenia to autoimmune diseases to colds and the flu. But how does vitamin D act in the body — how can it contribute to so many different physiological processes?

Functions of vitamin D

President Obama Resists Cuts to Biomedical Research Funding

In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last month, he argued that government support for research and development to fund innovation is a necessary and critical investment that must be made, even in the face of a rising national debt. A coalition of biomedical researchers support his vision on science. The 2012 budget President Obama sent to Congress earlier this month seeks an increase in funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and in basic science at other agencies, while making cuts and freezes in many other areas of government.

Obama and biomedical research funding

NHGRI Vision to Move Genomic Medicine from Base Pairs to Bedside

A new strategic plan from an arm of the National Institutes of Health envisions scientists being able to identify genetic bases of most single-gene disorders and gaining new insights into multi-gene disorders in the next decade. This should lead to more accurate diagnoses, new drug targets and the development of practical treatments for many who today lack therapeutic options, according to the plan from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Base pairs to bedside