Plant pathogens like the one that led to the notorious Irish Potato Famine of the 1840's are still the subject of intense research at institutions like the University of California Riverside, as the battle continues between mega-crop farmers and diseases that have learned to infiltrate the plant’s immune system. Just what the genetic mechanism is that allows for that infiltration has remained elusive until recently. Studying the notorious oomycete pathogen Phytophthora in its multiple forms, UC Riverside researchers have identified a crucial step in the disease attack of the cell, namely the activity of virulence proteins in blocking RNA silencing pathways, which leads to immune system compromise. The role of RNA silencing as an important immune component is a new research direction and one that is being pioneered at UCR.
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Biomedical science researchers have worked tirelessly at the University of California, Riverside since the discovery of a crucial link involving mice, humans, and Alzheimer's disease. Back in 2006, UCR researchers, in a collaborative effort with the University of South Florida, discovered an interesting connection between the immune system and Alzheimer's disease while experimenting on lab mice. Professor Douglas Ethell, the assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences at UCR, along with the USF's own Professor Gary Arendash of the Johnnie B. Byrd Institute, was instrumental in this find.