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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

News releases

May 2015arrow

Surgery for terminal cancer patients still common

May 1, 2015

The number of surgeries performed on terminally ill cancer patients has not dropped in recent years ­, despite more attention to the importance of less invasive care for these patients to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. But new research from UC Davis also finds that the morbidity and mortality among patients with terminal cancer has declined because surgeons are selecting to operate on healthier patients.

April 2015arrow

NCI funding boosts breast CT scanning research and development

April 29, 2015

John M. Boone, a UC Davis medical physicist and professor of radiology, has been awarded a $2.88 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to further develop and research computed tomography (CT) to detect breast cancer.

Higher BMI associated with reduced costs, better health for diabetics

April 28, 2015

It’s a paradox: Diabetics with above-normal weight use health care less and report overall better physical health than their diabetic counterparts with normal weight, according to two new studies from UC Davis Health System.

UC Davis makes breakthrough in understanding Canavan disease

April 27, 2015

UC Davis investigators have settled a long-standing controversy surrounding the molecular basis of an inherited disorder that historically affected Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe but now also arises in other populations of Semitic descent, particularly families from Saudi Arabia.

Rare mutation causes vitamin A deficiency and eye deformities

April 23, 2015

Researchers at the University of Michigan and UC Davis have solved a genetic mystery that has afflicted three unrelated families, and possibly others, for generations. These families have been plagued by a variety of congenital eye malformations, including small eyes with poor vision and the complete absence of eyes. But until now, no one could figure out the genetic basis for these conditions. [en español]

Comprehensive genomic tumor profiling comes to UC Davis

April 20, 2015

The UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine have entered into a collaboration with Foundation Medicine, a leading molecular information company. The collaboration brings comprehensive genomic profiling into standard of care at UC Davis, allowing physicians to prescribe the most effective, targeted cancer treatments to patients based on the genomic information specific to each individual’s cancer.

More work is needed to find the causes of flu vaccine disparities for the elderly

April 20, 2015

Public health specialists need to look beyond traditional solutions — such as expanding access to health insurance and primary care — to increase flu vaccination rates among older African Americans and Hispanics, according to a new study from UC Davis Health System and UCLA Health System.

UC Davis researchers win grant to answer key questions in surveillance of small lung nodules

April 15, 2015

Two UC Davis researchers will help run a major national study to improve surveillance practices for patients with small lung nodules identified on CT imaging and extremely low risk for lung cancer.

A mother's genes can influence the bacteria in her baby's gut, researchers at UC Davis have found

April 9, 2015

Researchers at UC Davis have found that a gene, which is not active in some mothers, produces a breast milk sugar that influences the development of the community of gut bacteria in thier infants. The sugars produced by these mothers, called "secretors," are not digested by the infant, but instead nourish specific bacteria that colonize their babies' guts soon after birth.

Women, regardless of their backgrounds, seek help for the 'got to go' feeling

April 7, 2015

 Regardless of their racial, ethnic, educational or socioeconomic background, women seek help for a frustrating — and ubiquitous — feature of becoming "a woman of a certain age:" the need be close to the women's room.

Study finds characteristic pattern of protein deposits in retired NFL players' brains

April 7, 2015

A brain-imaging technique may enable the early detection of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

No-cost mapping services available for California-based labs to meet Meaningful Use requirements

April 6, 2015

As part of national Meaningful Use initiative, which aims to improve the coordination of care and electronic exchange of patient information among hospitals, labs, physicians and other health care organizations, providers must be able to receive and incorporate structured lab results from clinical laboratories using universal code systems for identifying laboratory and clinical observations, specifically LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes) and SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms).

Small RNA plays big role suppressing cancer

April 2, 2015

The micro RNA miR-22 has long been known for its ability to suppress cancer. However, questions remain about how it achieves this feat. For example, which molecules are regulating miR-22, and which are miR22 targets?

March 2015arrow

International team of researchers led by UC Davis receives $4 million NIH grant to study skull disorder in infants

March 31, 2015

Simeon Boyd, UC Davis professor of genetics and pediatrics, has received a nearly $4 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to lead a team of physicians and scientists from more than 10 centers in the United States and seven international sites, including Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and the United Kingdom, to study craniosynostosis, the premature fusion of the bony plates of the skull in infants.

Protein may improve liver regeneration

March 31, 2015

Researchers at UC Davis have illuminated an important distinction between mice and humans: how human livers heal. The difference centers on a protein called PPARα, which activates liver regeneration. Normally, mouse PPARα is far more active and efficient than the human form, allowing mice to quickly regenerate damaged livers. However, the research shows that protein fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) can boost the regenerative effects of human PPARα.

UC Davis receives $10 million grant to establish center to study schizophrenia

March 26, 2015

UC Davis will establish a prestigious, leading-edge center to advance innovative research into the origins of schizophrenia: A Silvio O. Conte Center for Basic or Translational Mental-Health Research, one of only 15 such centers in the United States.

Nation's first conference on career flexibility for biomedical faculty features insights from Howell

March 19, 2015

In what was the first-ever convening of its kind, medical school leaders from across the nation met in Boston last week to discuss how academic physicians and scientists can have thriving careers with better work-life flexibility in an era of austere academic budget cuts.

Firearm violence trends in the 21st century

March 19, 2015

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 was published today in the Annual Review of Public Health.

Randi Hagerman receives International Sisley-Lejeune Foundation Award

March 18, 2015

Randi Hagerman, medical director of the UC Davis MIND Institute, has received the prestigious International Sisley-Jerome Lejeune Award 2014 from the Paris-based Jérôme Lejeune Foundation, for her groundbreaking work developing targeted treatments for individuals with fragile X syndrome, a leading cause of intellectual disability and the leading single-gene cause of autism spectrum disorder.  

Commentary says study affirms that varied factors contribute to cognitive decline throughout adulthood

March 16, 2015

A study published online today in JAMA Neurology that finds associations between reduced hippocampal volume (HVa) and being male, but not the gene APOE ɛ4, suggests that there are multiple factors contributing to cognitive decline throughout adulthood, according to an accompanying commentary by UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center Director Charles DeCarli.

UC Davis School of Medicine ranks among nation's best in primary care, research

March 10, 2015

U.S. News & World Report has ranked UC Davis School of Medicine among America's best medical schools for the quality of its educational programs in primary care and research. The news magazine's annual listing appeared today on the publication's website and will be published in its guidebook “Best Graduate Schools 2016.”

Lim to receive Kun-Po Soo Award from American Psychiatric Foundation

March 6, 2015

Russell Lim, director of Diversity Education and Training for the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has received the 2015 Kun-Po Soo Award from the American Psychiatric Foundation, for his contributions to understanding the importance of addressing culture in mental-health issues.

UC Davis scientists describe novel drug mechanism that fights brain cancer

March 3, 2015

Researchers at UC Davis have developed and characterized a molecule that interferes with the internal regulation of cancer cells, causing them to self-destruct. This novel mechanism was found to be effective against glioma cells – responsible for a usually fatal type of brain cancer – and could be applicable to other highly aggressive cancers.