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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

News releases

October 2014arrow

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.

September 2014arrow

UC Davis neuroscientists receive prestigious NIH BRAIN Initiative Awards

September 30, 2014

Two UC Davis research teams developing transformational technologies to understand the dynamics of the neural circuitry underlying behavior and cognition have received awards from the federal Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a presidential grand Challenge enterprise.

Cancer center's Brain Innovation Group funded for brain tumor tool

September 24, 2014

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Brain Innovation Group has received a grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to improve brain cancer surgery and treatment using UC Davis-developed biophotonic technology.

Higher nurse-to-patient standard improves staff safety

September 23, 2014

A 2004 California law mandating specific nurse-to-patient staffing standards in acute care hospitals significantly lowered job-related injuries and illnesses for both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, according to a UC Davis study published online in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Mothers of children with autism less likely to have taken iron supplements during pregnancy

September 21, 2014

Mothers of children with autism are significantly less likely to report taking iron supplements before and during their pregnancies than the mothers of children who are developing normally, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found.

Sleep disorders widely undiagnosed in individuals with multiple sclerosis

September 12, 2014

In what may be the largest study of sleep problems among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at UC Davis have found that widely undiagnosed sleep disorders may be at the root of the most common and disabling symptom of the disease: fatigue.

UC Davis-developed target leukemia treatment shows promise

September 11, 2014

Noriko Satake, UC Davis pediatric oncologist and researcher, has demonstrated in laboratory studies that a new, targeted treatment for leukemia is effective.

Intervention in 6-month-olds with autism ameliorates symptoms, alleviates developmental delay

September 8, 2014

Treatment at the earliest age when signs of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) appear – sometimes in infants as young as 6 months old – significantly reduces symptoms so that, by age 3, most who received the therapy had neither ASD nor developmental delay, a UC Davis MIND Institute research study has found. [español]

Breast vs. bottle feeding in rhesus monkeys

September 3, 2014

Infant rhesus monkeys receiving different diets early in life develop distinct immune systems that persist months after weaning, a study by researchers from UC Davis, the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) at UC Davis and UC San Francisco has shown. The study, which compares breast- and bottle-fed infants, appears online September 3 in Science Translational Medicine. [en español]

Brief depression questionnaires could lead to unnecessary antidepressant prescriptions

September 2, 2014

Short questionnaires used to identify patients at risk for depression are linked with antidepressant medications being prescribed when they may not be needed, according to new research from UC Davis Health System published in the September-October issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

August 2014arrow

The early cost of HIV

August 29, 2014

Researchers at UC Davis have made some surprising discoveries about the body’s initial responses to HIV infection. Studying simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the team found that specialized cells in the intestine called Paneth cells are early responders to viral invasion and are the source of gut inflammation by producing a cytokine called interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β).

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers launch study examining autism in girls

August 28, 2014

Autism is far more common in boys than girls - affecting 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls — but little is known about biological differences between boys and girls with autism. A new study, called the ‘Girls with Autism — Imaging of Neurodevelopment’ or GAIN Study, led by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute will explore those differences in very young girls with autism.

Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle

August 26, 2014

mKit Lam and colleagues from UC Davis and other institutions have created dynamic nanoparticles (NPs) that could provide an arsenal of applications to diagnose and treat cancer. Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles can be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. In addition, the particles are biocompatible and have shown no toxicity. The study was published online today in Nature Communications.

University of California brings researchers together for statewide autism summit

August 13, 2014

Bringing together the research prowess of the University of California to address the increase in autism incidence, its public health impacts, and the need to speed the development of treatments for affected individuals and their families, internationally respected scientists from UC campuses at Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Davis will converge at the UC Davis MIND Institute for a daylong summit on innovative translational neurodevelopmental research.

Novel drug action against solid tumors explained

August 11, 2014

Researchers at UC Davis, City of Hope, Taipai Medical University and National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan have discovered how a drug that deprives the cells of a key amino acid specifically kills cancer cells.

Pan awarded grant to test 'smart' chemotherapy drug for bladder cancer

August 7, 2014

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center oncologist Chong-Xian Pan has received a $650,000 grant from the VA Northern California Health Care System to conduct the first clinical trial of a novel chemotherapy-delivery drug he developed for bladder cancer patients.

Observing brain synapses in action

August 6, 2014

Lin Tian’s fascination with neuroscience stems from a deep curiosity about the complexity and elegance of the human brain. As one of only five scientists in the U.S. and Canada — and the first at UC Davis —to be named a 2014 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, Tian will be developing optical sensors and applications to acquire fundamental insights about how the nervous system functions in health and disease.

UC Davis nursing dean selected for national gerontological research award

August 5, 2014

Founding Dean for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, Heather M. Young, was recently named the 2014 recipient of the Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award by the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).