Roughly 2 percent of Americans have some form of paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. It is impossible to restore function and movement lost in this sort of paralysis…or at least, it has been up until now. A bioresearch team at the University of California, Irvine has discovered the perfect concoction to cure such paralysis using, of all things, a protein transplant from salmon.
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Research lab scientists at the University of California, Irvine receive millions of dollars in life science research funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation every year, often dwarfing the research budgets of lesser known schools. Did you know that graduate students at the University of California, Irvine receive a remarkable number of life science research grants as well?
The botulism toxin is one of the most dangerous toxins known to us, with as little as one microgram having enough spores to be fatal to a human adult. These neurotoxins are produced from the bacteria Clostridium Botulinum and cause important communications between muscles and nerve cells to be corrupted. This bacterium causes the botulism illness by inducing paralysis and, in extreme cases, respiratory arrest by blocking these vital nerve functions.
Your body's circadian clock is responsible for making sure you stay healthy, by regulating metabolism and carrying out internal housekeeping chores on a steady 24-hour schedule. About 15% of genes are controlled by your bodily clock, including some important ones in your intenstines that keep infectious bacteria like salmonella in check. Dr. Paolo Sassone-Corsi is a professor of biological chemistry at the UC Irvine School of Medicine and Director of UCI's Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism. Together with his colleague, microbiologist Manuela Raffatellu of UCI's Institute for Immunology, the Irvine bio research team has recently published an article in PNAS revealing how the immune system, specifically as it works in your intestinal track, is strongly directed by circadian rhythms. Upset that biological timing and you put yourself at greater risk of getting sick.
[Drs. Sassone-Corsi and RAffatellu, courtesy of Jocelyn Lee / University Communications at UCI]
Tags: 2014, CA, 2013, University of California Irvine, Immunology, epigenetics, Southwest, California, University of California, Immune System, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Irvine, UCI, biological clock
One of the ways to measure how well a program or department at a university is doing is to look at their graduate programs. To be able to offer the PhD in a specialized area, you need qualified faculty willing and able to take on teaching and mentoring responsibilities; a strong reputation for excellence in the area; research opportunities (and RA funding) for those doctoral students; and equipment and laboratory facilities, to name just a few factors. So when you see an institution win a major grant to launch a PhD program, you know that's a hot area for research and facilities expansion as well.
In a recent round of new funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), two UC Irvine stem cell research labs and their collaborators at other California universities and private labs have been awarded some $37M, of which approximately $12M will go directly to UCI. The two funded projects involve translational research to develop eventual clinical trials for Alzheimer's disease, in the one study, and retinitis pigmentosa in the other. The new awards bring Irvine's total CIRM funding over the years to $96.25 million, most carried out at the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center (right) which opened its cutting-edge facility on campus 2 years ago.
Did you know you can be considered a "pot-head" without ever touching, let alone smoking, marijuana? When early neuroscientists went looking for the mental hardware that allowed the body to respond to the active ingredient in the cannabis sativa plant (called THC), they found much more than they were bargaining for. They did in fact identify a perfectly-shaped receptor in the brain. Puzzled at why it would exist (surely the human body was not designed with cannabis-intake in mind?), they went on to discover that the body itself makes a cannabis-like substance, called an endocannabinoid, and that it is part of a complex system regulating appetite, pain, pleasure, and immunity. So, technically, your brain is already wired for pot, and your body produces it all by itself.
It's summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and in most places that means mosquitos are out for our blood, which wouldn't be much to give up if it weren't for the itchy -- and in many parts of the world, deadly -- package that the tiny insect leaves behind. Plasmodium falciparum is the human malaria pathogen that kills over a million people annually around the world (largely infants, young children and pregnant women, most of them in Africa). One approach to combatting the spread of the disease is to genetically engineer a mosquito that cannot transmit the parasite and yet is able to reproduce with mosquitos that do, in order to infiltrate and alter the population overall to become one that is benign (except for the itching).
In 2010, the vendor show on campus at UC Irvine attracted researchers from multiple departments around campus. The most active attendee participation included researchers from the following departments:
The University of California, Irvine and French scientists have discovered the switch that causes healthy brain cells to become epileptic. This breakthrough may help treat and prevent the most common form of epilepsy, temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).