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Research News from UC San Diego
Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

Minimally Invasive Brain Implant Lessens Seizures

Tue, 2018-02-20 13:03

UC San Diego Health now offers patients with epilepsy another non-pharmacological way to treat seizures. For the more than one million individuals who live with uncontrolled seizures despite taking medications, UC San Diego Health recently began offering the first and only FDA-approved brain-responsive neurostimulation (RNS) system designed for the treatment of refractory epilepsy.

Supercomputers Aid Discovery of New, Inexpensive Material to Make LEDs with Excellent Color Quality

Mon, 2018-02-19 09:00

Computers have helped researchers develop a new phosphor that can make LEDs cheaper and render colors more accurately. An international team led by engineers at UC San Diego first predicted the new phosphor using supercomputers and data mining algorithms, then developed a simple recipe to make it in the lab. Unlike many phosphors, this one is made of inexpensive, earth-abundant elements and can easily be made using industrial methods. As computers predicted, the new phosphor performed well in tests and in LED prototypes.

In Effort to Treat Rare Blinding Disease, Researchers Turn Stem Cells into Blood Vessels

Wed, 2018-02-14 09:33

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health have discovered that a chemical compound that activates ATF6, a gene associated with an inherited vision impairment, also converts patient-derived stem cells into blood vessels.

UC San Diego Chemists Use Light to Pinpoint Gene Expression

Tue, 2018-02-13 10:57

Armed with skill, special tools and light, University of California San Diego Associate Professor Neal Devaraj and a group of his chemistry graduate students activated cellular gene expression with unique precision. By modifying messenger RNA (mRNA)—a group of molecules that carries genetic information from DNA to ribosomes where specifications of gene expression occur—the chemists were able to precisely trigger gene expressions at a specific time and place using laser light. This novel technique will ease future studies of individual protein functions in cells or tissues at different stages of biological development.

Data Released From Adolescent Brain Development Study Led by UC San Diego

Tue, 2018-02-13 10:42

The first datasets from the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States—a project headed by a team of scientists at UC San Diego—were released to researchers around the world today by the National Institutes of Health.

UC San Diego Bioengineering Student Wins Winston Churchill Scholarship

Tue, 2018-02-13 10:23

Aswini Krishnan, a fourth-year bioengineering major at the University of California San Diego, has been awarded a Winston Churchill Scholarship, one of the most prestigious and competitive awards available to American students pursuing science, mathematics and engineering fields. The award provides one year of funding to pursue a master’s degree at Winston Churchill College at the University of Cambridge. Krishnan is the fourth UC San Diego student to receive the award since the program’s inception in 1963.

Ignite @ UC San Diego Extends Innovation Conference to Two Days in Year Two

Fri, 2018-02-09 13:20

On March 6-7, hundreds of investors, innovators, entrepreneurs, and activators will converge at UC San Diego for the second annual Ignite conference. Launched in 2017, the signature innovation event brings universities across Cali-Baja together with leading community partners to support life-changing entrepreneurship. Now the initiative is expanding to feature programming and competitions spanning across two days.

UC San Diego Innovator in Data Storage Technologies Elected to National Academy of Engineering

Fri, 2018-02-09 11:50

Back in 1956, IBM built the first disk drive. It was the size of two refrigerators and held a total of five megabytes—enough storage capacity to handle about 30 seconds of video. That’s a stark contrast to today’s hard drives, which can hold tens of terabytes of data and fit in the palm of your hand. One of the key innovators who helped drive this remarkable evolution is Eric Fullerton, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and nanoengineering at UC San Diego.

New ‘4-D Goggles’ Allow Wearers to be ‘Touched’ by Approaching Objects

Thu, 2018-02-08 11:35

A team of researchers at UC San Diego and San Diego State University has developed a pair of “4-D goggles” that allows wearers to be physically “touched” by a movie when they see a looming object on the screen, such as an approaching spacecraft.

Surprise Finding Points to DNA’s Role in Shaping Cells

Thu, 2018-02-08 10:03

Working at the intersection of biology and physics, scientists at UC San Diego have made a surprising discovery at the root of cell formation. They found that DNA executes an unexpected architectural role in shaping the cells of bacteria. Studying the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, the researchers used an array of experiments and technologies to reveal that DNA, beyond serving to encode genetic information, also “pumps up” bacterial cells.

Enzyme Plays a Key Role in Calories Burned both During Obesity and Dieting

Thu, 2018-02-08 09:00

Ever wonder why obese bodies burn less calories or why dieting often leads to a plateau in weight loss? In both cases the body is trying to defend its weight by regulating energy expenditure. In a paper publishing in Cell on February 8, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers identify the enzyme TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) as a key player in the control of energy expenditure during both obesity and fasting.

Peptide Improves Glucose and Insulin Sensitivity, Lowers Weight in Mice

Wed, 2018-02-07 09:36

Treating obese mice with catestatin (CST), a peptide naturally occurring in the body, showed significant improvement in glucose and insulin tolerance and reduced body weight, report University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers.

Children Affected by Prenatal Drinking More Numerous than Previously Estimated

Tue, 2018-02-06 09:59

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found a significant number of children across four regions in the United States were determined to have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The new findings may represent more accurate prevalence estimates of FASD among the general population than prior research.

UC San Diego Health Selected as Accountable Care Organization

Tue, 2018-02-06 08:34

UC San Diego Health has been selected by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as one of 561 Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), ensuring as many as 10.5 million Medicare beneficiaries across the United States have access to high-quality, coordinated care.

Active Genetics Technology Opens New Horizons

Tue, 2018-02-06 05:00

Employing CRISPR/Cas9 advancements, UC San Diego researchers are using new active genetics technology to reveal new fundamental mechanisms that control gene activity. The authors also provide experimental validation for using active genetics as an efficient means for targeted gene insertion, or “transgenesis,” and single-step replacement of genetic control elements.

What Makes a Good Egg?

Mon, 2018-02-05 09:00

In approximately 15 percent of cases where couples are unable to conceive, the underlying cause of infertility is not known. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and in the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego have identified a protein in mice that must be present in eggs for them to complete normal development. Without the protein, called ZFP36L2, the eggs appear ordinary, but they cannot be fertilized by sperm.

UC San Diego Conference to Address Alternatives to the U.S.-Mexico War on Drugs

Fri, 2018-02-02 09:05

The War on Drugs has been ongoing for several decades, yet its failure can be felt on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border­­­­­­­­­­­­­­. In the last sixteen years, the opioid epidemic has claimed close to 125,000 lives in the U.S., whereas in Mexico the war on drugs has produced an estimated 200,000 deaths and over 30,000 disappearances in the last decade.

Tasty and Pink, Sea Urchin Species May Be a Climate-Tolerant Food Source

Wed, 2018-01-31 10:19

Sea urchin is a delicacy in Asia, South America, Europe, and increasingly in California, where the uniquely flavored roe, or uni, is used in sushi, gourmet cuisine, and products such as sauces and flavorings. But the large red sea urchin (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) caught off the coast of Southern California—the primary urchin fishery in the U.S.—is vulnerable to increased water temperatures and ocean acidification.

Novel Technologies Reveal Key Information About Depleted East Pacific Green Sea Turtles

Mon, 2018-01-29 09:21

Using new technologies developed to extract life history information from bones, researchers at UC San Diego are learning more than ever about populations of green sea turtles living in the eastern region of the Pacific Ocean. While their numbers remain dangerously depleted, the new data show that green sea turtles are spending more time offshore, increasing their risk as fishing bycatch.

Repurposed Drug Found to be Effective against Zika Virus

Thu, 2018-01-25 09:51

In both cell cultures and mouse models, a drug used to treat Hepatitis C effectively protected and rescued neural cells infected by the Zika virus — and blocked transmission of the virus to mouse fetuses. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil and elsewhere, say their findings support further investigation of using the repurposed drug as a potential treatment for Zika-infected adults, including pregnant women.