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.
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.
When a patient is prescribed the wrong antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection, it’s not necessarily the physician who is at fault.
Nothing beats nature. The diverse and wonderful varieties of cells and tissues that comprise the human body are evidence of that.
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.
Congratulations to MCDB professor Stu Feinstein, who has been awarded the 2017 Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.
MCDB is sad to announce the passing of MCDB Emeritus Professor Robert Sinsheimer
Bob was one of the early pioneers of molecular biology, led the Biology division at Cal Tech for many years, served as Chancellor of U.C. Santa Cruz, and was a valued colleague and friend here at MCDB for several decades.
Foltz, a graduate student in the lab of MCDB professor Dennis Clegg, delivered an engaging summary of recent strides in stem cell research and how her lab uses this biological material to study blinding diseases. Her research explores whether scientists will one day be able to use someone’s own cells to cure their blindness. Foltz’s lively delivery earned her a first-place finish in the campuswide competition. Now she’s headed to San Francisco to test her mettle Thursday, May 4, against participants from the nine other University of California campuses.
MCDB professor Chuck Samuel has been selected as this year’s Faculty Research Lecturer, which is the highest honor the UCSB faculty can bestow on one of its members. Dr. Samuel was selected by his peers in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in research and scholarly work, as well as his outstanding professional competence and international impact in his field. One component of this award is the honor of presenting a lecture of interest to a broad community of scholars and a cultivated public during an event in fall quarter of 2017 with an associated reception.
It’s a problem that parents know all too well: a child won’t eat because their oatmeal is too slimy or a slice of apple is too hard. Is the kid just being finicky? Or is there a biological basis for disliking food based on its texture? The work highlighted in the NIH Director’s blog by Zhang, Montell and colleagues, provides some of the first evidence that biology could indeed play a role.