Given the widespread use and abuse of alcohol for recreation, a drug that could interrupt its effects would have enormous value in treating alcoholism. Since addiction is based on stimulating pleasure centers, scientists have been looking for a way to block that interaction between alcohol and the brain. The challenge has been to find a key protein that carries out this transmission and identify its binding site. Now, biologists in the Harris Lab at the University of Texas Austin have made a major research breakthrough validating the importance of certain ligand-gated ion channels in that process and locating a cavity where the binding takes place. Remarkably, they were able to push their research forward thanks to an obscure alpine cyanobacteria recently sequenced in France.
Science Market Update
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a richly-funded science research environment, which is especially evident given recent NSF and NIH research funding statistics. In total, the University of Wisconsin-Madison received $335.9 million in research funding from the NSF and NIH in 2012. The NSF awarded the university $106 million. Of that money, $13.8 million went to bio research projects alone. For our readers’ convenience, we have spotlighted the top five NSF-funded bio research projects broken down by funding program, project title and research funding below.
Tags: 2014, Midwest, 2013, UW, WI, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Madison, UWiscRP, UWisc, University of Wisconsin Research Park, UW Madison, bio research, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Research Funding, Front Line event, Madison, Front Line, NIH funding, NSF funding
By now we all know that DNA is an informational molecule encoding the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms and many viruses (Wikipedia). But very recently, Harvard University bio engineers at the Wyss Institute have shown that deoxyribonucleic acid can also be used as a tool. Specifically, two teams have published eye-opening studies on using DNA creatively to:
Tags: CA, University of California San Diego, Stem cell research, Southwest, California, 2012, biology research, bio research, biology research scientists, Neuroscience, San Diego, UCSD, La Jolla, Biotechnology Vendor Showcase, Salk, cord blood
Given that the ubiquity of sweat glands over the surface of the body is such a defining aspect of human physiology (and evolution), it's a wonder how little basic research has been done to understand how they work at the cellular level. Until Rockefeller University cell biologists published their recent findings in Cell, we didn't even know if sweat glands had unique stem cells. It turns out they do. The study also demonstrated that, while sweat glands are close cousins to mammary glands, adult stem cell activity is markedly different in the two systems (though they have a common progenitor), and in fact that there are four separate stem cell types that regulate maintenance and repair of glands and their epidermal-level counterparts throughout our lives.
Anyone who's ever pulled an all-nighter to finish a project knows how it wreaks havoc with your metabolism. The fact is, it's not just a nicety to be awake and active during the day and sleep at night: it's the way bodies are hard-wired. Scientists have long-suspected that upsets in a person's biological clock could play a factor in the development of metabolic disorders like diabetes. Now a team of researchers from three Southern California universities has made surprising discoveries that support that hypothesis. Not only have they isolated the protein that regulates the biologic clock (and named it cryptochrome), but they have found a molecule called KL001 that dictates when cryptochrome gets sent to the proteasome recycling bin. Which is to say, they now know a lot more about this complex circadian system that not only tells the body when to sleep and wake, but also how the body should manage glucose levels in those periods of relative activity and dormancy. The bio research study was published in the July 13 advance online issue of the journal Science.
Tags: CA, University of California San Diego, University of Southern California, Diabetes, Southwest, California, 2012, University of California Santa Barbara, USC, Los Angeles, Biochemistry, Scripps, biology research, bio research, Front Line event, NSF
By now you've probably heard about 3D bio printing, a bioengineering technique for literally building functional replacement tissue and eventually organs. (Read an earlier blog of ours on the subject.) While still in the early stages of development in terms of actually producing a human organ for transplant, the technology is advancing and critical problems are being met with innovative solutions. In the July issue of Nature Materials, University of Pennsylvania scientists, in conjunction with MIT and Harvard researchers, published an article documenting their success creating a blood vessel network using sugar.
Tags: Pennsylvania, Northeast, University of Pennsylvania, UPenn, 2012, Cell Research, bioprinting, bio research, Philadelphia, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Research, Front Line event, PA, BRPF, scientist solutions, science solution
Sometimes it makes more sense to start from scratch and get it right than to try and retrofit and modernize older lab buildings. That's just what Ohio State University in Columbus decided to do for its Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building (CBEC). The new 225,000 gsf lab building broke ground last month and will replace 4 older facilities that had deferred maintenance and lacked proper floor-to-floor height, structural dimensions, and environmental stability. The New Koffolt Laboratories will be LEED-certifiable (possibly Silver) and will constitute a substantial upgrade with their science wet labs, computational research spaces, shared core laboratories, instructional spaces, and offices. The $126M project is due to be completed in September 2014.
Tags: Midwest, Ohio State University, Ohio, Bioresearch, University of Cincinnati, New research facilities, new science wet labs, 2012, Biochemistry, bio research, BioResearch Product Faire Event, Cincinnati, research laboratories, Columbus, OH, new construction, BRPF, OSU, UC