Sep 18, 2013

The female common market squid – AKA Doryteuthis opalescens – may not be so common after all. Researchers led by MCDB professor Daniel Morse have discovered that this glamorous cephalopod possesses a pair of stripes that can sparkle with rainbow iridescence. These flank a single stripe, which can go from complete transparency to bright white. This marks the first time that switchable white cells based on reflectins – the proteins responsible for reflecting light as color – have been observed. The findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

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Yali Zhang and Craig Montell
Sep 9, 2013

If you’ve ever wondered how you learn to like a food you dislike, a new study conducted by Craig Montell, Duggan Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, may offer an answer. The work addresses a central question in neurobiology — how experience can alter animal behavior. The research, just published in Nature Neuroscience, was conducted by Montell’s team, which includes lead author Yali Zhang, Rakesh Raghuwanshi, and Wei Shen.

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Aug 22, 2013

Thomas Weimbs, one of the world's leading experts on polycystic kidney disease and an associate professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and at the campus’s Neuroscience Research Institute, has been appointed as a member of the Center for Scientific Review’s Kidney Molecular Biology and Genitourinary Organ Development (KMBD) study section. The Center for Scientific Review is the portal for National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant applications and their review for scientific merit. “It is an honor to be a member of an NIH study section,” said Weimbs. “It goes to emphasize that there is a lot of medically relevant research being conducted at UCSB even though we don’t have a medical school here.”

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Aug 21, 2013

Fruit flies have a lot to teach us about the complexity of food. Like these tiny little creatures, most animals are attracted to sugar but are deterred from eating it when bitter compounds are added. A new study conducted by Craig Montell, Duggan Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, explains a breakthrough in understanding how sensory input impacts fruit flies’ decisions about sweet taste. The findings were published today in the journal Neuron.

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Aug 12, 2013

Using human pluripotent stem cells and DNA-cutting protein from meningitis bacteria, researchers led by MCDB professor James Thomson have created an efficient way to target and repair defective genes.

Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team's findings demonstrate that the novel technique is much simpler than previous methods and establishes the groundwork for major advances in regenerative medicine, drug screening, and biomedical research.

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Mary Baum, Amitabh Ghoshal, Daniel G. DeMartini and Daniel E. Morse Credit: George Foulsham
Jul 25, 2013

Color in living organisms can be formed two ways: pigmentation or anatomical structure. Structural colors arise from the physical interaction of light with biological nanostructures. A wide range of organisms possess this ability, but the biological mechanisms underlying the process have been poorly understood. Now, the group of MCDB professor Dan Morse has delved deeper to uncover the mechanism responsible for the dramatic changes in color used by such creatures as squids and octopuses. The findings - published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science - are featured in the current issue of The Scientist.

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Kenneth S. Kosik
Jun 26, 2013

Building on research published eight years ago in the journal Chemistry and Biology, MCDB faculty member Kenneth S. Kosik, and his team have now applied their findings to two distinct, well-known mouse models, demonstrating a new potential target in the fight against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

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Jun 20, 2013

The journal "Neuron" is celebrating it's 25th anniversary, and selected one paper for each year to highlight. They selected Craig Montell's 1989 paper, which reported the first TRP channel, as the 1989 paper of the year.

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Craig Montell in his UCSB lab.
Jun 13, 2013

Next time you see a fruit fly in your kitchen, don't swat it. That fly could have a major impact on our progress in deciphering sensory biology and animal behavior, including someday providing a better understanding of the human brain.

UC Santa Barbara researchers in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) and the Neuroscience Research Institute (NRI) have been studying the mechanisms underlying salt taste coding of Drosophila (fruit flies). And they have made some rather remarkable discoveries. Their findings appear today in the journal Science.

Graduate Student Appreciation, Ice Cream Social and Reception
May 21, 2013

The MCDB and BMSE Graduate Programs honored students in the two programs during UCSB’s Graduate Student Appreciation week with an Ice Cream Social and Reception.