Professor Dean Burkin from the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine discovered that a naturally occurring protein named Laminin-111 prevents muscle damage in mouse models of muscular dystrophies. This discovery holds promise as a possible treatment for congenital muscular dystrophy in humans.
Watch out corn, you might just have some competition from the tequila plant in the modern day quest for biofuels. The DOE is funding a new $14.3M multi-lab project to study the CAM pathway in drought tolerant plants like agave, a hearty desert succulent. Dr. John Cushman in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Reno is receiving a new $7.6M grant, with a portion going to the University Liverpool in England as collaborators. The rest of the grant, $6.3M, is being divided between the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Newcastle University, and UT Knoxville. The name of this substantial new grant is: Engineering CAM Photosynthetic Machinery into Bioenergy Crops for Biofuels Production in Marginal Environments. Reno's high desert climate is an ideal center for this innovative biofuel research at a time when rainfall is becoming scarce and new solutions are going to have to be found if we plan to adapt to climate change.