MCDB is home to a newly created endowed chair in biomedical research. This endowed chair was made possible by a generous gift of the Wilcox family in support of biomedical and translational research. The inaugural holder of the chair will be Professor Dennis Clegg who is being recognized for his pioneering research in regenerative eye research and for his leadership of the UC Santa Barbara Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. Professor Clegg is Co-Director of the California Project to Cure Blindness, an effort to develop a stem cell-based therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The new chair was established by Sue and Gary Wilcox, both of whom are alumni of UCSB. Gary is currently Chairman and CEO of Cocrystal Pharma, Inc. and is Chairman of ADRx, Inc., companies founded to develop life-saving therapies through the application of leading-edge science. Gary and Sue are active in numerous UCSB boards and activities, among which are the UCSB Board of Trustees, UCSB Alumni Association and Sciences Dean’s Cabinet.
UCSB played an important role in revealing how illness-linked genetic variation affects neurons. Scientific consensus holds that most major mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, are genetically rooted diseases of synapses, the connections between neurons in the brain. New research has demonstrated how a rare mutation in a suspect gene corrupts the on-off switches of dozens of other genes underlying these connections in patients’ cells. The study appears online in the current issue of the journal Nature and was co-authored by MCDB’s Ken Kosik and members of his Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Lab.
Sophomores and juniors selected for UCSB's Research Mentorship Program are spending six weeks this summer studying stem cells
About 70 high school students from Santa Barbara County — and far beyond — crowded into the Hatlen Theater at UC Santa Barbara this week, bright-eyed and waiting for a stimulating talk about the latest brain control research.
Dr. Denise Montell is the Duggan Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University, and afterwards completed an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship at the Carnegie Institute of Science. She served as a faculty member at the Carnegie Institute and Johns Hopkins University before joining the faculty at UC Santa Barbara. Denise is with us today to tell us about her journey through life and science.
Kosik and collaborators simulate the benefits of a hypothetical megafund devoted to Alzheimer’s therapeutics
Britney Pennington is a PhD candidate in BioMolecular Science & Engineering. She received Bachelor’s degrees in both Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2008. She has served as a Teaching Assistant for General Biochemistry, Neurobiology II, and Introductory Biology laboratory, and volunteered as a TA for Stem Cell Biology in Health & Disease. She is noted not only as an excellent teacher by her students, but also as an accomplished and motivated researcher by her faculty colleagues. As one of her faculty references states, “In my 25 years at UCSB, she ranks at the very top in terms of teaching ability and enthusiasm for science education and teaching. She is also an intelligent and capable researcher with a strong and passionate commitment to science, and she is already making an impact on the field. She is one of a kind!”
Imagine being an undergraduate student surrounded by the intensive scientific research activity of a world-class research university and experiencing the close engagement and intimate atmosphere of a small liberal arts college. A $1.5 million award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to UC Santa Barbara will make that experience possible for biology students.
What do sled dogs and cell clusters have in common? According to research by MCDB’s Denise Montell, they both travel in groups and need a leader to make sure they all follow in the same direction. Montell, Duggan Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, and colleagues worked on three independent projects involving E-cadherin, a protein found in epithelial cells throughout the body. The researchers used fruit-fly ovaries to uncover the role played by E-cadherin in collective cell migration. Their findings are reported today in the journal Cell.
New research by MCDB’s Kenneth S. Kosik, Harriman Professor of Neuroscience, reveals some very unique evolutionary innovations in the primate brain. In a study published online today in the journal Neuron, Kosik and colleagues describe the role of microRNAs — so named because they contain only 22 nucleotides — in a portion of the brain called the outer subventricular zone (OSVZ). These microRNAs belong to a special category of noncoding genes, which prevent the formation of proteins.
With the discovery of a novel cell process called anastasis, UC Santa Barbara biologist Denise Montell has taken a giant step forward in developing fundamentally new approaches to regenerative medicine. Her research, which holds promise in establishing revolutionary therapies for the treatment of heart disease, degenerative diseases and cancer, has received a huge boost in the form of a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. “The scope of the project is huge because this is a brand-new cellular process about which we know nothing,” said Montell, the Duggan Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at UCSB. “We have to learn everything. It’s basically starting a whole new field.”