ISB News

Ilya Shmulevich

‘A Life Like No Other:’ Remembering Beloved ISB Professor Ilya Shmulevich

Devoted husband and father. Animal lover. Accomplished pianist. Avid cyclist. Compassionate human. Exceptional scientist. The ISB community mourns the loss of Professor Ilya Shmulevich, PhD, who died on April 13, 2024. He was 54 years old.

ISB-Town Hall Seattle Event: Hack Your Health

Please join us at Town Hall Seattle on Thursday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. for a fun, informative conversation between “Hack Your Health” director Anjali Nayar and ISB Associate Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons, who will discuss the making of the Netflix documentary, interesting developments in microbiome research, and much more.

Spotlight on ISB Education graphic

2023-24 School Year ISB Education Highlights

Each month throughout the 2023-2024 academic year, we will highlight some of the top projects the ISB Education team is working on. In May, the ISB Education team hosted student visitors from Lincoln High School, dozens of science education leaders who run projects in Washington state’s ClimeTime program, and more.

Making Nutrition and Healthcare Personalized, Predictive, and Preventive

Dr. Sean Gibbons is creating a new precision nutrition platform called My Digital Gut that leverages the gut microbiome to make nutrition and healthcare personalized, predictive, and preventive. In an ISB Research Roundtable presentation, Gibbons spoke about My Digital Gut and other microbiome-related projects studied in his lab.   

STEM Program Models for Students from Historically Marginalized Communities

A new study unveils important insights and actionable protocols into providing equitable STEM experiences for high school students from historically marginalized communities. The research highlights the transformative power of informal STEM learning and the ease with which many organizations could provide these opportunities.

Common Immune Response Protective Across Many Diseases

Infection, autoimmunity and cancer account for 40 percent of deaths worldwide. In a Cell Reports paper, ISB researchers detail how the human immune system works in common ways across diseases – findings that offer promising avenues for exploring multi-disease therapeutic strategies.

Autoimmune Disease and Pregnancy: ISB Study Challenges Prevailing Wisdom, Unveils Nuances

An ISB-led study showed nuanced pregnancy outcomes for pregnant individuals with autoimmune disease. The findings reinforce that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and provides important new avenues for further investigation.

Breakthrough T Cell Discovery Has Huge Potential for Engineering Custom Immune Responses

In a breakthrough discovery that changes how we understand T cells and with implications of how we can better engineer custom immune responses to fight disease, Institute for Systems Biology researchers showed that the different disease-fighting functions of different T cells are determined by the genetically encoded T-cell receptor sequence that are unique to those cells.

ISB Assistant Professor Dr. Sid Venkatesh

Sid Venkatesh Joins ISB as Assistant Professor

Dr. Sid Venkatesh recently joined ISB as assistant professor and is our newest faculty member. In this Q&A, Venkatesh discusses his research, his aspirations in the gut-microbiota field, his philosophy as a scientist, what he does when he’s not in the lab, and more.

ISB Building at dusk

2023 Year in Review

Throughout 2023, ISB research has been published in impactful peer-reviewed journals and our scientists have been featured in major media outlets and popular podcasts. In this 2023 Year in Review, we showcase some of our most important and interesting highlights of the year.

ISB Associate Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons

‘1 in 1,000:’ Dr. Sean Gibbons Named Highly Cited Researcher for 2023

ISB Associate Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons was named a Highly Cited Researcher for 2023. It is the second consecutive year Gibbons has earned the distinction. The Highly Cited Research list is generated annually by Clarivate, which says: “Of the world’s population of scientists and social scientists, Highly Cited Researchers are 1 in 1,000.”

ISB Researchers Find a Chink in the Armor of Tuberculosis Pathogen

By using a computer model to understand the adaptions of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the pathogen that causes tuberculosis, researchers at ISB have identified a network within Mtb that allows it to tolerate and resist drug therapies. This work is published in Cell Reports.

Lifestyle coaching improves cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease trial.

Personalized Coaching Decreases Cognitive Decline in Early-Stage Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

Supplementing the standard of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease patients with personalized lifestyle coaching leads to less cognitive decline compared to standard of treatment alone, according to an ISB-led two-year study. The results were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sarah Clemente

AmeriCorps Member Sarah Clemente Joins ISB as Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassador Coordinator

Sarah Clemente recently joined ISB as a Systems Thinkers in STEM Ambassador Coordinator, and is the third AmeriCorps member to work with us. In this Q&A, Clemente shares what drew her to ISB, what she hopes to accomplish over the next year, and more. 

COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters Are Essential for Maternal-Fetal Health

In light of the recent FDA and CDC decision to approve two updated messenger RNA COVID-19 booster shots, it is imperative to alert the pregnant population of the importance and effectiveness of these vaccines and boosters. 

Baliga Postdoctoral Fellow Training

Genetic Tools Probe Microbial Dark Matter

ISB researchers Nitin Baliga, Serdar Turkarslan, Mario Arrieta-Ortiz and Yaqiao Li collaborated with the University of Washington to present the first glimpse of the molecular mechanisms behind the unusual lifestyle of a group of tiny microbes called Patescibacteria. The breakthrough was made possible by the discovery of a way to genetically manipulate these bacteria, an advance that has opened a world of possible new research directions.

High School Duo Named Champions in DOE-Sponsored AlgaePrize Competition

High school students Ashwin Mukherjee and Rohan Chanani worked with ISB Research Scientist Dr. Jacob Valenzuela on a project to build a machine learning algorithm to count algal cells from microscope images taken from a cell phone. In April, the team was recognized as champions in the DOE-sponsored AlgaePrize competition.

Drs. Jennifer Hadlock and Samantha Piekos

COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters Associated with Lower Rates of Stillbirth, New ISB Study Shows

Pregnant people who are vaccinated are less likely to contract COVID-19 than unvaccinated pregnant people, and those vaccinated and boosted are less likely to get COVID than those who are vaccinated only, according to the first-ever large study of boosters and pregnancy.