MCDB Ph.D. student Olga Azarenko, working with others in the labs of Les Wilson Mary Ann Jordan, discovered that sulforaphane, a chemical present in cruciferous vegetables, has similar effects on breast cancer cells as the commonly used anticancer drug taxol. In a paper published in the December 2008 issue of the journal Carcinogenesis, they show that sulforaphane reduces the rate at which microtubules grow and shrink, and this stabilization of microtubules interferes with cell division in cancer cells.
Congratulations to MCDB Professor Herb Waite, who has been honored by election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science! Herb was recognized for his "fundamental studies of the chemical and physical aspects of biological adhesion leading to new biomimetic materials". Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.
MCDB is pleased to welcome new Assistant Professor Tony DeTomaso from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine station. Dr. De Tomaso received his BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford University in 1987, and his Ph.D. from Washington University (St. Louis). Dr. De Tomaso went on to carry out innovative post-doctoral research with Dr. Irving Weissman at Stanford in a very different area: allorecognition in colonial tunicates. Dr. De Tomaso is currently an independent investigator in the Department of Biology at Stanford University.
MCDB scientists Douglas Heithoff and Michael Mahan believe their recent research suggests that it might be possible in the not-too-distant future to create a vaccine that might protect against 2,500 strains of salmonella. In a paper to be published in the November edition of the journal Infection and Immunity, the researchers detail the path to creating a vaccine that confers protection against multiple strains of bacteria
MCDB Professor Herb Waite and colleagues have discovered a unique materials strategy employed by the Humboldt squid in the makeup of its razor sharp beak. As reported in the journal Science, the tip of the beak is stronger and stiffer than any synthetic polymer, but stiffness is graded from tip to base. The findings may have applications in the design of novel synthetic materials consisting of mechanically mismatched materials.
The University of California, Santa Barbara has been awarded nearly $2 million from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation for innovative research in Alzheimer's disease. The grant will support an interdisciplinary investigation of the microtubule associated protein tau, which makes up the neurofibrillary tangles that are found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. The research effort will be led by MCDB Professor Kenneth Kosik, co-director of UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute and Harriman Professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.