In this week's Science Translational Medicine, a multi-institute team of scientists report on the use of an algorithm to build a database of human genes that are rhythmically expressed in biological time regulated by the circadian clock. The researchers applied the algorithm — called cyclic ordering by periodic structure, or CYCLOPS — to the gene expression collection of 13 tissues from 632 human donors and identified rhythms in gene expression across the body. Nearly half of protein-coding genes were shown to be cycling in at least one of the 13 tissues analyzed, and 1,000 of the cycling genes were found to encode proteins that either transport or metabolize drugs or are themselves drug targets. "These results provide a useful resource for studying the role of circadian rhythms in medicine and support the idea that biological time might play a role in determining drug response," the researchers write.
And in Science Signaling, a pair of INSERM researchers discuss the importance of clinical experience to non-physician scientists. "Tremendous efforts have been put into training medical students and early career doctors in basic research practices," they write, yet "so-called non-physician scientists do not generally receive training or are formally taught translational science." This lack of clinical training for non-clinical scientists can mean that "their work in the laboratory might remain completely disconnected from clinical reality, thereby limiting the impact on human health." The researchers highlight a program at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine in which a basic science PhD student can choose a clinical mentor, and suggest that an expansion of such programs can help create a population of sensitized non-physician scientists who can use a common language with clinicians, are anchored in the clinical workflow, and can consolidate existing consortia, they conclude.