2017 News Archive

Oct 2, 2017

MCDB's Distinguished Professor Charles E. Samuel, an internationally recognized pioneer and leader in the study of interferons, will give the talk “Viral Threats to Humankind — Antivirals and Lessons Learned from Interferons,” Thursday, Oct. 5, as UCSB’s 62nd Annual Faculty Research Lecture. The highest honor bestowed upon a UCSB professor by his or her peers, the lecture recognizes extraordinary scholarly distinction. The event will take place at Corwin Pavilion in the campus’s University Center, with the lecture beginning at 4 p.m., followed by a reception at 5 p.m.

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Sep 21, 2017

A multidisciplinary team of researchers, including MCDB Assistant Professor Michael Goard, has been awarded $9 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop and widely share state-of-the-art optical brain-imaging techniques. The group of neuroscientists, electrical engineers, molecular biologists, neurologists, bioengineers and physicists was recognized for its collaborative NEMONIC (NExt generation MultiphOton NeuroImaging Consortium) project, which pushes the boundaries of brain imaging.

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Sep 7, 2017

We humans aren’t the only creatures drawn by the smell of a good meal. Fruit fly larvae, it turns out, are equally susceptible to food scents, although the odors that attract them may not appeal to us. “Larvae have relatively simple brains compared to vertebrates, which make them good candidates for study,” said corresponding author Matthieu Louis, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

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Professor Robert Sinsheimer
Aug 23, 2017

Bob Sinsheimer (1920-2017) was one of the early pioneers of molecular biology, focusing on the small bacterial virus ΦX 174. He demonstrated that the ΦX genome in the viral particle was single stranded (publishing this work in the very first issue of Journal of Molecular Biology), that the phage genome was a circular molecule of DNA, that upon infection the replicative form of the DNA was double-stranded, and that in vitro-synthesized viral DNA was infectious. He led the Biology division at Cal Tech for many years, served as Chancellor of U.C. Santa Cruz where he helped foster the idea of sequencing the human genome, and was a valued colleague and friend here at MCDB for several decades. On July 15, 2017, MCDB and the Sinsheimer family hosted a celebration of Bob Sinsheimer's rich life, with talks by family and scientific associates, attended by numerous friends, colleagues, and former students and postdoctoral fellows. A video of the event and a biography of Bob Sinsheimer can be viewed at www.mcdb.edu/sinsheimer

Jul 19, 2017

The Aedes aegypti mosquito may be tiny but it can wreak major havoc on human health, spreading diseases such as Zika, dengue fever and yellow fever. Those little suckers are about to face the fight of their life. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded up to $14.9 million to a team of researchers from six University of California campuses, including MCDB professor Craig Montell, to study how to use gene editing as a way to control disease-spreading mosquitoes. 

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Han and Kosik
Jul 12, 2017

While much about Alzheimer’s disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease’s progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons. Yet how this protein transitions from its soluble liquid state to solid fibers has remained unknown — until now. Discovering an unsuspected property of tau, UC Santa Barbara physical chemist Song-I Han and MCDB professor Kenneth S. Kosik have shed new light on the protein’s ability to morph from one state to another.

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Jul 5, 2017

It’s a tiny marine invertebrate, no more than 3 millimeters in size. But closely related to humans, Botryllus schlosseri might hold the key to new treatments for cancer and a host of vascular diseases. Using Botryllus — more commonly known as star ascidian — researchers led by MCDB professor Anthony De Tomaso have developed a new way to study the biology of blood vessels that may one day contribute to just such scientific discoveries. Their findings appear in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell.

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Jun 6, 2017

When a patient is prescribed the wrong antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, it’s not necessarily the physician who is at fault.

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May 15, 2017

Nothing beats nature. The diverse and wonderful varieties of cells and tissues that comprise the human body are evidence of that.

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May 10, 2017

Anyone who has experienced jet lag knows that changing time zones can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythms. Modulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature, the roughly 24-hour cycles in our physiological processes are extremely sensitive. Humans aren’t the only creatures whose circadian rhythms are dictated by light. The tiny Drosophila melanogaster — known more commonly as the fruit fly — sets its regular day-and-night-activity cycles in response to light.

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