One of the most pressing pursuits in bioscience is increasing agricultural production. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that, as a planet, we need to produce 70 percent more food by the year 2050 in order to keep up with increasing population. We have already shone our spotlight on several university research teams who are tackling this problem, like the UW team attempting to increase flowering rates and the UIUC team who spliced algae genes to increase photosynthesis. Now we look to Washington University in St. Louis for some novel ideas about optimizing photosynthesis.Read More
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Destroying a tumor is sometimes only the beginning when it comes to fighting cancer. We’ve seen a UCLA team eradicate tumor remnants in the bloodstream and a Cincinnati researcher who developed a method to prevent breast cancer tumors from leaving behind stem cells from which they could regenerate. Now a team at Washington University in St. Louis has discovered a way to shut down the stem cells in the tumors of brain cancer.Read More
For some diseases, one can “carry” the disease without showing any of its symptoms. In the case of Fragile X syndrome, a cause of autism and intellectual disability, there’s no such concept. However, researchers at Washington University at St. Louis are working on a way to reduce these carrier symptoms.Read More
If kidney cancer is diagnosed before it spreads, then doctors have a much better chance of curing it. In fact, 80 percent of kidney cancer patients who get their cancer diagnosed early survive. Unfortunately, most patients don’t find out about their affliction until too late. At Washington University, St. Louis, a group of researchers is working on a more proactive approach to detecting the disease.Read More
As one of only three large-scale, NIH funded genome centers in the United States, the Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has been a large contributer to cancer research and the research of child illnesses since it was founded in 1993.Read More
In June 2015, the Medical School at Washington University in St. Louis will substantially grow thanks to a new medical building that is currently under construction. The new $81 million building, which began construction in 2013, will be composed of 138,000 square-feet of lab space in six-stories for researchers in different life science disciplines. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Read More
Sometimes treatment for some symptoms actually gives rise to other symptoms. These symptoms are called iatrogenic symptoms and reflect quite poorly on the physicians and clinics involved. As such, a focus in clinical biotechnology is to reduce iatrogenic symptoms. A study conducted by Washington University in St. Louis attempted to pinpoint the causes of iatrogenic symptoms after cancer treatment.Read More
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have received an immense amount of additional funding from the National Institute on Aging to assist them on the first large-scale clinical trial to study Alzheimer's disease that is underway. This clinical trial, called the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network Trials Unit (DIAN-TU) will work with people who have dominantly inherited forms of Alzheimer's to identify new drugs that can slow the onset of the disease, or stop it altogether.
Beginning with $5.5 million in funding this year, the trial will continue to receive funding from the NIH over the next five years to total $26 million. The National Institute of Aging has been supporting this research since 2012, when the project began. This new funding will allow the trial to add an additional 300-400 participants to the study, as well as assist the research team in adding new drugs to the study. The trial is being run in locations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia, and this funding will help add 10-15 more locations.Read More
Osteoporosis affects a large portion of the population in the United States. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), over 52 million people currently have osteoporosis or are at the risk of getting it in the future. With such a high amount of people affected, many treatments have been used on patients suffering from bone loss. However, the current treatments for this disease have been linked with an increased risk of getting infections and certain types of cancers later on. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have recently discovered a way to create treatments for osteoporosis that lower the risk of aftereffects.Read More
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.”