Science Market Update

WUSTL Microbiologists Zombify Bacteria to Fight Infection

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Sep 25, 2014

When it comes to fighting bacteria, it’s all about understanding the enemy. Bacteria are especially good at rapidly dividing; in fact, they are more efficient than cells at self-replication. Microbiologists at the Washington University, St. Louis decided to go straight to the root of the problem and find out how to turn bacteria into zombies that can’t reproduce.

The first step in shutting down bacterial replication was determining just why bacteria are so good at it, instead of just taking the fact for granted. Petra Levin (left), associate professor of biology at WUSTL, notes that “people spoke of the bacterial cell cycle as somehow magically coordinated even though there was no mechanism for doing so. Things just somehow worked out fine even though no control system had been identified.”

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Tags: Washington University St. Louis, Missouri, WashU, Microbiology, 5-Star Program

New Research Facility for Grain Studies at WSU Pullman Gets $5M Grant

Posted by Jennifer Nieuwkerk on Fri, Sep 19, 2014

Washington State University, Pullman is home to one of the top plant science research departments in the country. Plant science research is a pressing issue for today’s scientists because it affects how we respond to climate change, helps us grow enough food and protects food from pests and pathogens. It’s exciting for both WSU researchers and interested readers alike, then, that the Washington Grain Commission announced they will give $5 million in life science funding towards a new research facility expansion that will advance grain studies at Washington State University, Pullman.

“When the Washington Grain Commission asked researchers at WSU what they felt the biggest limiting factor for moving their research forward was, they told us they needed more greenhouse space,” said Washington Grain Commission Chairman Steve Claassen. “This will be a huge benefit to Washington grain growers as they will be able to plant improved varieties of wheat and barley and they will be available sooner.”

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Tags: 2014, Washington University St. Louis, WSU Pullman, Washington State University Pullman, WSU

WUSTL Biochemist Seeks Naturally Occurring Antibiotics

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Mar 20, 2014

When it comes to creatively solving problems in biotechnology, time and time again nature takes the cake. In our recent history, we’ve seen the University of Minnesota use the kava root to prevent lung cancer and Michigan State University take cues from a mouse to develop new anesthetics. Now researchers at University of Washington, St. Louis are looking to nature to solve a problem where biotechnology is at its wit’s end: developing an effective antibiotic.

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Tags: 2014, Washington University St. Louis, Midwest, Missouri, WashU, BioResearch Product Faire Event, St Louis

Releasing Malaria's Grip at St. Louis

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Jan 16, 2014

The most deadly and contagious strain of malaria actually isn’t found in Africa- it makes its home in Southeast Asia and South America. Plasmodium vivax, as the strain is known, has been a worldwide challenge to treat and prevent. However, thanks to groundbreaking lab work from Washington University in St. Louis, researchers are developing an understanding of how this form of malaria works and what can be done against it.

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Tags: 2014, Washington University St. Louis, Midwest, Missouri, WashU, BioResearch Product Faire Event, St Louis

WUSTL Bioresearchers Link Internal Clocks to Alzheimer's

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Dec 05, 2013

Determining the causes behind Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult task. Symptoms appear seemingly without provocation, and scientists have been so far unable to pinpoint a clear reason for their onset. Now bioresearchers at Washington University at St. Louis have found a possible explanation, in the form of a gene that regulates our internal clock.

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Tags: 2014, Washington University St. Louis, Midwest, 2013, Missouri, WashU, WUSTL, BioResearch Product Faire Event, St Louis

St. Louis Researchers Earn Funds to Study Gene-Shifting Salamanders

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Jul 11, 2013

Physical adaptation is usually thought of as a very slow process. It might take a species of bird several generations to evolve a beak suited for eating fruit compared to, say, pecking wood. This change would involve the death of several birds with “incorrect” sets of genes and the survival of one type of bird with a “correct” set of genes. But what if a creature had a huge library of genes, so that they might bypass natural selection by simply expressing the right genes for their environment? That’s what researchers at Washington University at St. Louis have found occurs in the versatile fire salamander.

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Tags: 2014, Washington University St. Louis, Midwest, 2013, Washington University, Missouri, WashU, WUSTL, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MO, St Louis

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