Tag Archives: microbiology

UCLA nanoscientists are first to model atomic structures of three bacterial nanomachines

Cryo electron microscope enables scientists to explore the frontiers of targeted antibiotics

Researchers at UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute have become the first to produce images of the atomic structures of three specific biological nanomachines, each derived from a different potentially deadly bacterium — an achievement they hope will lead to antibiotics targeted toward specific pathogens. (more…)

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From Mentee to Mentor, Berkeley Lab’s Education Programs Inspire Scientists

Question: “What did you do this summer?” Answer: “I built the Advanced Light Source.”

It’s the rare undergraduate who can say they spent their vacation building a third-generation synchrotron, but that’s exactly what Seno Rekawa did in the summer of 1991 as an intern at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was an auspicious start to his career. Less than five years later, he was working as a full-time engineer at Berkeley Lab and now is a regular mentor to budding high school and college engineers.

Berkeley Lab’s Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE), with its range of internship offerings, helps to fulfill one of the Lab’s mandates, which is to inspire and prepare this country’s next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians. This year more than 70 current and recent college students and almost 20 high school and college instructors participated in a CSEE program, working with Berkeley Lab researchers on science projects spanning from cancer research to cosmology to biofuels. (more…)

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Monitoring concrete

UD professors study microbes as potential biomarkers for damaged concrete

Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. However, many concrete roadways and bridges crack due to internal chemical reactions, temperature fluctuations or external chemical and physical stresses.

One internal chemical reaction is the Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) that destroys the concrete from within.  (more…)

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Going Viral to Kill Zits: UCLA/Pitt Scientists Uncover Virus with Potential to Stop Pimples

Watch out, acne. Doctors soon may have a new weapon against zits: a harmless virus living on our skin that naturally seeks out and kills the bacteria that cause pimples.

The new findings by scientists at UCLA and the University of Pittsburgh are published in the Sept. 25 online edition of the American Society for Microbiology’s journal mBio. (more…)

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Immune Systems of ‘Bubble Babies’ Restored by Gene Therapy, UCLA Researchers Find

UCLA stem cell researchers have found that a gene therapy regimen can safely restore immune systems to children with so-called “bubble boy” disease, a life-threatening condition that if left untreated can be fatal within one to two years.

In the 11-year study, researchers were able to test two therapy regimens for 10 children with ADA-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), which has come to be known as “bubble boy” disease because some of its victims have been forced to live in sterile environments. (more…)

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UCLA Scientists Engineer Blood Stem Cells to Fight Melanoma

Researchers from UCLA’s cancer and stem cell centers have demonstrated for the first time that blood stem cells can be engineered to create cancer-killing T-cells that seek out and attack a human melanoma. The researchers believe the approach could be useful in about 40 percent of Caucasians with this malignancy.

Done in mouse models, the study serves as the first proof-of-principle that blood stem cells, which make every type of cell found in the blood, can be genetically altered in a living organism to create an army of melanoma-fighting T-cells, said Jerome Zack, the study’s senior author and a scientist with UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. (more…)

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NSF Announces Major Awards for Biodiversity Research, WHOI Scientists Selected

The 1977 discovery of deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems that obtain energy through chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis greatly expanded the perception of life on Earth. However, an understanding of their underlying microbiology and biogeochemistry still remains elusive.

A newly funded project, one of several major awards announced by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Dimensions in Biodiversity research program, stands to change that through a multi-disciplinary, international collaborative research effort led by Associate Scientist Stefan Sievert of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. (more…)

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Making Germs Glow: New Test Helps Save Lives and Cuts Costs

*Replacing conventional laboratory tests with a new DNA sequence-based technology to identify pathogens causing bloodstream infections dramatically lowered mortality and health-care costs, a clinical study conducted by an interdisciplinary UA research team found.*

Unlike conventional laboratory tests, a new technology called PNA-FISH is designed to rapidly identify bloodstream pathogens by their genetic code. Results are available within hours instead of days providing pharmacists and physicians with information they can use to rapidly customize antimicrobial treatment for patients with infections.

PNA-FISH is an abbreviation for “peptide nucleic acid fluorescence in situ hybridization.” Rapid reporting of PNA FISH results to pharmacists and physicians cut the mortality of ICU patients with enterococcus or streptococcus bloodstream infections by almost half and slashed mortality from yeast infections by 86 percent. In addition, the intervention resulted in healthcare cost reduction of almost $5 million per year. (more…)

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