Science News magazine has named brothers Benyam and Isaac Kinde among the world’s ten up-and-coming scientists who are likely to make lasting impact in their fields.
Benyam Kinde(Right): Benyam Kinde studies how genetic changes affect brain cells’ activity in Rett syndrome.
Isaac Kinde(Left): He helped create a technology that can spot cancers early to give patients a better chance at survival.
Just as in baseball, politics and Hollywood, science has its up-and-coming stars. They just don’t always get as much publicity as, say, Bryce Harper or Lupita Nyong’o. Most scientists are lucky to get a media mention as a name attached to a discovery. But their personal stories and change-the-world goals are worth some attention.
To identify some of the early-career scientists on their way to more widespread acclaim, Science News surveyed 30 Nobel Prize winners to learn whose work has caught their attention. From those names, Science News editors chose 10 to feature in this special report. All have demonstrated high-caliber research leading to noteworthy achievements.
The good news is our list could have been longer. The researchers on these pages are representatives of a much greater number of young people likely to turn up prominently in a future issue of Science News as they pursue a diverse array of ambitious research questions.
When MeCP2 grabs onto DNA, it can limit the activity of genes to which it attaches. Kinde, along with former postdoctoral researcher Harrison Gabel and colleagues, went looking for common features in genes controlled by MeCP2 and those altered by the protein’s absence.
In June, the researchers reported that MeCP2 prefers to attach to a specific cluster of DNA and chemicals found mainly in the brain. The genes that MeCP2 normally turns down are longer than average, and are most active in brain cells. In Rett syndrome, when MeCP2 is reduced, these long genes are overactive. Kinde and his colleagues found that a chemical that disables DNA-winding proteins can quiet such overactive genes. These insights could help researchers design treatments for Rett syndrome and similar developmental and autism spectrum disorders. The work appeared in Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.