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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

News releases

December 2014arrow

New technique for bioengineering stem cells shows promise in HIV resistance

December 22, 2014

Using modified human stem cells, a team of UC Davis scientists has developed an improved gene therapy strategy that in animal models shows promise as a functional cure for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS.  The achievement, which involves an improved technique to purify populations of HIV-resistant stem cells, opens the door for human clinical trials that were recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Study funded on the clinical, financial effectiveness of telemedicine versus telephone consultations

December 16, 2014

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a $1,198,384 grant to UC Davis pediatrician James Marcin to investigate how telemedicine consultations in emergency departments impact clinical outcomes, including cost effectiveness, compared with telephone consultations. 

Firearm violence trends in the 21st century

December 16, 2014

While the overall death rate from firearm violence has remained unchanged for more than a decade, the patterns for suicide and homicide have changed dramatically, a UC Davis study on the epidemiology of gun violence from 2003 to 2012 has found. The study posted online in the Annual Review of Public Health on Dec. 12 and will appear in the print edition in January.

Too much, too little, just right

December 15, 2014

Scientists have long known the p53 protein suppresses tumors. However, a recent animal study by UC Davis researchers has uncovered a complicated relationship between p53 and another protein, Rbm38, highlighting how the body calibrates protein levels. Too much Rbm38 reduces p53 levels, increasing the risk of cancer. Too little Rbm38 allows p53 overexpression, causing premature aging. The study was published in the journal PNAS on Dec. 15. 

Preeclampsia during mother's pregnancy associated with greater autism risk

December 8, 2014

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were more than twice as likely to have been exposed in utero to preeclampsia, and the likelihood of an autism diagnosis was even greater if the mother experienced more severe disease, a large study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

MIND Institute says "thank you" to hundreds of participants in its research

December 3, 2014

Hundreds of participants in UC Davis MIND Institute research and their families will head into the woods to “Explore the Great Outdoors” during its 12th Annual Thank You Party on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m. The party is held to thank the children, adolescents, adults and their families who make the MIND Institute's groundbreaking research into autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions possible.

November 2014arrow

International study reveals the genetics of malaria-carrying mosquitoes

November 27, 2014

More than 100 scientists, including a team of UC Davis molecular biologists, have sequenced the genomes of 16 Anopheles mosquito species to help define the characteristics that make some of them uniquely capable of transmitting malaria parasites to humans.

'Tis the season to indulge in walnuts

November 13, 2014

Researchers at UC Davis and other institutions have found that diets rich in whole walnuts or walnut oil slowed prostate cancer growth in mice. In addition, both walnuts and walnut oil reduced cholesterol and increased insulin sensitivity.

National study provides insights into childhood head injuries

November 12, 2014

This week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine features an article that highlights an unprecedented analysis of the nation’s childhood head injuries.

UC Davis investigational medication used to resolve life-threatening seizures in children

November 12, 2014

In its first clinical application in pediatric patients, an investigational medication developed and manufactured at UC Davis has been found to effectively treat children with life-threatening and difficult-to-control epileptic seizures without side effects, according to a research report by scientists at UC Davis and Northwestern University.

Lung cancer screening for Medicare patients coming soon to UC Davis

November 10, 2014

UC Davis Medical Center is preparing to screen seniors on Medicare who meet the criteria for lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (CT).

Immunotherapy for cancer toxic with obesity

November 3, 2014

Immunotherapy that can be effective against tumors in young, thin mice can be lethal to obese ones, a new study by UC Davis researchers has found. [en español]

October 2014arrow

UC Davis researchers examine risks, benefits of chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer

October 31, 2014

Treatment for early stage breast cancer is highly effective, and for many women considering treatment choices, chemotherapy may add little to an already high long-term survival rate. Joy Melnikow, professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center for Healthcare Policy and Research at UC Davis, is working to define the potential long-term harms of chemotherapy for these patients, so they can be weighed against the potential benefits.

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers to establish new tests to evaluate cognitive growth in people with intellectual disability

October 30, 2014

Researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute will develop and evaluate tests designed to measure and track changes in the cognitive functioning of people who typically are difficult to assess accurately: those with an intellectual disability, formerly termed mental retardation. The research will be funded through a new, five-year, $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Study on Western diet and role in GI cancer funded

October 28, 2014

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a $2.7 million grant to UC Davis researchers to investigate how the so-called Western diet, which is high in fat and sugar, increases the risk of developing liver and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. In addition, the researchers will study whether bifidobacteria, a common family of bacteria in the human gut, can be enriched to prevent cancer.

UC Davis researchers find promising new treatment approach for ischemic stroke

October 27, 2014

A team of UC Davis scientists has found that administering a small molecule – purmorphamine – in animal models after a stroke results in multiple protective effects, including reducing the size of the stroke, decreasing inflammation and increasing markers for nerve regeneration.

Anti-cancer drug found effective against common stem cell transplant complication

October 24, 2014

Researchers at UC Davis have found that the drug bortezomib effectively treats chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common and debilitating side effect from allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants.

Kravitz honored for outstanding research in health-care communication

October 24, 2014

The American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH) has recognized Richard Kravitz, professor of internal medicine, with its George Engel Award. The award is presented annually for outstanding research contributing to the theory, practice and teaching of effective health-care communication and related skills.

Tarantula venom illuminates electrical activity in live cells

October 20, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, have created a cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound to help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. The probe binds to a voltage-activated potassium ion channel subtype, lighting up when the channel is turned off and dimming when it is activated. 

Cancer Center wins $1.7 million NCI grant to study novel cancer treatment

October 10, 2014

A multidisciplinary team at UC Davis will embark on research to determine whether combining a novel type of immunotherapy with radiation and chemotherapy can make treatment for sarcoma, breast and pancreatic cancers more effective.

Probiotic decreases the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis

October 10, 2014

A team of UC Davis and University of Arizona researchers discovered that adding the bacteria Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (B. infantis) to formula fed to newborn rats reduced the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis, an often deadly intestinal infection.

MIND Institute receives $900,000 grant to study use of sertraline in young children with autism spectrum disorder

October 8, 2014

Focusing on treatments to ameliorate autism symptoms, researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute will launch the first study to examine the effectiveness of the use of sertraline, commonly known as Zoloft®™, in children as young as 2 to 6 years, through a three-year, $900,000 grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Researchers seeking middle-aged and older men for aging study

October 6, 2014

How alterations in a single gene on the X chromosome affects neurological and psychological functioning in men as they age is the subject of a new study by UC Davis MIND Institute researchers.