Study finds how proteins self assemble to reflect different wavelengths of light.
Carol W. Greider, a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Greider shares the Nobel with Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak. The three were honored for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase. While a UCSB undergraduate in the College of Creative Studies, Dr. Greider did research in the lab of MCDB Professor Les Wilson, and after graduating went on to do her prize-winning Ph.D. work with Elizabeth Blackburn at U.C. Berkeley.
The green mussel is known for being a notoriously invasive fouling species, but researchers in the lab of MCDB & Chemistry and Biochemistry Professor Herb Waite have discovered that it also has a very powerful form of adhesion in its foot. The stickiness of the mussel's foot could possibly be copied to form new man-made adhesives.
The Burnham Institute for Medical Research and the University of California, Santa Barbara have named leading biomedical researcher and MCDB faculty member Jamey Marth director of a new joint Center for Nanomedicine that will be established at UCSB. The collaborative biomedical research partnership merges UCSB's core expertise in engineering, materials sciences, nanotechnology, and physics with Burnham's strengths in the biological sciences and biomedical research.
New work from the laboratory of MCDB Professor Zach Ma has found an unsuspected role for a protein previously known to be a nuclear protein that modifies gene expression. The protein, mDpy-30, is a component of histone lysine methyltransferase complexes that modify chromatin structure and increase or decrease expression of genes. The Ma lab found that mDpy-30 is located not only in the nucleus of cells but also is found in the trans-Golgi network.
A team lead by MCDB professor Ken Kosik has made a significant discovery in understanding the way human embryonic stem cells function. New research by CIRM-funded postdoctoral scholar Na Xu, working with UCSB Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering Co-Director James Thomson, explain nature's way of controlling whether stem cells will renew, or differentiate to become a brain cell or heart cell, or any other part of the human body. The study is reported in the May 1 issue of the journal Cell.
UC Santa Barbara has received a $1.2 million training grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to continue an interdisciplinary training program in stem cell biology and engineering. The three-year grant will make it possible for pre-doctoral and postdoctoral students to participate in groundbreaking research in two broad but interrelated areas: the fundamental molecular biology of stem cell proliferation and differentiation, and bioengineering approaches to develop novel biotechnologies for stem cell research.
UCSB researchers led by MCDB scientist Steven Fisher have been awarded a grant from the Macula Vision Research Foundation to develop a mouse model of the eye disease central serous chorioretinopathy (CSR). In humans with this disease, abnormal fluid accumulation leads to retinal detachment. Recently, a mouse strain was identified that spontaneously develops serous retinal detachment similar to the human disease. Fisher and his collaborators will characterize the cellular and molecular changes occuring in this mouse model of CSR.
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.