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Male Brains Wired to Ignore Food in Favour of Sex, Study Shows

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Douglas Portman, Ph.D.

Douglas Portman, Ph.D.

Males can suppress their hunger in order to focus on finding a mate, a new scientific study of a species of worm has shown.

The study, conducted by Douglas Portman at the University of Rochester Medical Center, points to how subtle changes in the brain's circuitry dictate differences in behaviour between males and females.

Marit Aure, PhD, Shares 1st Place in World-Wide Dental Research Contest

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Postdoctoral associate Marit Aure, PhD, of the Center for Oral Biology in the Eastman Institute for Oral Health and member of Catherine Ovitt's lab, tied for first place at the highly-competitive International Association for Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition held recently in Cape Town, South Africa.

The judges determined that the science presented by Aure and Joo-young Park, affiliated with the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health, was exemplary in both projects, surpassing 36 other researchers from around the world in their category. There was no second place winner.

Aure had qualified for the international competition by earning second place in the American Association of Dental Research/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition, held in Charlotte, North Carolina in March. For the international round of the competition, all participants were required to condense the research talk into a four-slide, 10-minute presentation to be given in front of three judges.

Telling the whole story in 10 minutes and four slides was especially challenging, said Aure, who said the poker-faced judges had some very tough questions. My reaction to winning was a mix of surprise, excitement and joy! It feels really good to get positive feedback and exposure for the salivary research we’re doing.

Read More: Marit Aure, PhD, Shares 1st Place in World-Wide Dental Research Contest

Wilmot Cancer Institute Scientists Receive $2M Award from NCI

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The National Cancer Institute awarded more than $2 million to a team at the Wilmot Cancer Institute to continue their study of a gene network that controls cancer progression, with a focus on pancreatic cancer.

The five-year grant will fund a series of new scientific experiments involving a gene known as Plac8. In earlier work, Wilmot investigators showed that by inactivating Plac8 they could stop or slow pancreatic tumor growth in mice and significantly extend survival – making Plac8 an attractive target for drug development.

Principle investigator Hartmut Hucky Land, Ph.D., and co-investigator Aram Hezel, M.D., had been studying a wider system of genes and cellular events involved in cancer, when they discovered that Plac8 is a key driver in malignancies but is not essential to the function of normal tissue.

Read More: Wilmot Cancer Institute Scientists Receive $2M Award from NCI

Five Recognized for Research Excellence

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Five Eastman Institute for Oral Health professionals were recognized at this month’s American Association for Dental Research’s local meeting.

Thirty researchers from the Rochester area participated in oral and poster presentations covering a wide range of basic and translational science topics, such as fluoride varnish effectiveness, use of therapy dogs in pediatric dental settings and the success of implants, among many others.

Dr. Catherine E. Ovitt, Ph.D., associate professor of Biomedical Genetics in EIOH's Center for Oral Biology, delivered the keynote address, Saving Saliva: Where do We Start? where Marit Aure, Ph.D. a Postdoctoral Associate in Dr. Ovitt's lab, won the William H. Bowen award for her poster presentation, Mechanisms of Acinar Cell Maintenance in the Adult Salivary Gland.

Read the full article.

Gene Discovery Links Cancer Cell ‘Recycling’ System to Potential New Therapy

Thursday, May 1, 2014

University of Rochester scientists have discovered a gene with a critical link to pancreatic cancer, and further investigation in mice shows that by blocking the gene’s most important function, researchers can slow the disease and extend survival.

Published online by Cell Reports, the finding offers a potential new route to intrude on a cancer that usually strikes quickly, has been stubbornly resistant to targeted therapies, and has a low survival rate. Most recent improvements in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, in fact, are the result of using different combinations of older chemotherapy drugs.

The research led by Hartmut Hucky Land, Ph.D., and Aram F. Hezel, M.D., of UR Medicine's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, identifies a new target in the process of garbage recycling that occurs within the cancer cell called autophagy, which is critical to pancreatic cancer progression and growth.

Read More: Gene Discovery Links Cancer Cell ‘Recycling’ System to Potential New Therapy

Two NGP Students Win Schmitt Program on Integrative Brain Research Travel Awards

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Grayson Sipe, a 4thNGP student in Dr. Ania Majewska's lab and Heather Natola, a second-year student in Dr. Christoph Pröschel and Margot Mayer-Pröschel labs won the travel awards. Grayson used this award to attend the EMBL Conference: Microglia: Guardians of the Brain, March 26-29, 2014, held in Berlin, Germany, and Heather used it to travel to the 45th annual American Society of Neurochemistry meeting in Long Beach, CA, March 8-12, 2014

Allison Greminger Defends Thesis & Receives Prize for Best Graduate Student Publication at Toxicology Retreat

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Allison Greminger successfully defended her thesis entitled, Characterizing the Neurodevelopmental Sequalae in a Dual Insult Model of Gestational Iron Deficiency and Lead (Pb) Exposure. Her work was especially acknowledged at the Annual Retreat Dinner and Awards Ceremony on May 29th, where she received the prize for the best publication by a graduate student in the 2014 Environmental Medicine Toxicology Training Program.

Congratulations Allison!

Marit Aure Places 2nd in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Marit Aure, a Postdoctoral Associate from Catherine Ovitt's lab, has earned 2nd place in the AADR/Johnson & Johnson Hatton Awards Competition. She will now compete in the IADR Unilever Hatton Competition and Awards at the 92nd General Session & Exhibition of the IADR in Cape Town, South Africa, June 25-28, 2014.

Congratulations Marit!

Researchers Awarded $3.5 Million in NYS Stem Cell Grants

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Six scientists from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry have been recommended awards of more than $3.5 million by NYSTEM. The grants are for a wide range of research programs in the fields of neurological disorders, bone growth and repair, and cancer.

The diversity of these awards demonstrates that stem cell biology has become an essential research tool in a wide range of diseases, said Mark Taubman, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. State investments in stem cell research – both for individual research programs and to create resources such as the Upstate Stem Cell cGMP Facility – has enabled many promising discoveries in this field to continue to move forward. In many instances, this research may have otherwise stalled for lack of funding support from other sources.

Among the 6 researchers are Biomedical Genetics' own Wei Hsu, Mark Noble, Margot Mayer-Pröschel and Jianwen Que.

Read More: Researchers Awarded $3.5 Million in NYS Stem Cell Grants

Local Researchers Develop Possible Treatment for Parkinson's

Monday, February 10, 2014

Astrocyte Photo

Researchers in Rochester have developed a new cell therapy that could treat Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder which affects motor function. The study from the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests this new approach could not only halt progression of the disease, but also reverse its impact on the brain.

Now, researchers have found a way to use supporter cells known as astrocytes to spur wider recovery throughout the brain. So we can think of them as a work crew that delivers multiple tools at the same time, each of which can target a different cell population, says lead author Chris Proschel.

Proschel says they were careful to begin their treatment only after their lab mice had developed signs of Parkinson’s disease. He says this delay is important because it mimics the way therapies are actually used in humans, where damage has occurred and symptoms have presented before any treatment is carried out.

Read More: Local Researchers Develop Possible Treatment for Parkinson's

Finding Points to Possible New Parkinson’s Therapy

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A new study shows that, when properly manipulated, a population of support cells found in the brain called astrocytes could provide a new and promising approach to treat Parkinson’s disease. These findings, which were made using an animal model of the disease, demonstrate that a single therapy could simultaneously repair the multiple types of neurological damage caused by Parkinson’s, providing an overall benefit that has not been achieved in other approaches.

One of the central challenges in Parkinson’s disease is that many different cell types are damaged, each of which is of potential importance, said Chris Proschel, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Biomedical Genetics at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study which appears today in the European journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. However, while we know that the collective loss of these cells contributes to the symptoms of the disease, much of the current research is focused on the recovery of only one cell type.

Read More: Finding Points to Possible New Parkinson’s Therapy