Author Archive

Tweaks Behind the Rebirth of Nearly Discarded Organic Solar Technologies

A solar energy material that is remarkably durable and affordable is regrettably also unusable if it barely generates electricity, thus many researchers had abandoned emerging organic solar technologies. But lately, a shift in the underlying chemistry has boosted power output, and a new study has revealed counterintuitive tweaks making the new chemistry successful.

Plant-rich diet protects mice against foodborne infection, UTSW researchers find

Mice fed a plant-rich diet are less susceptible to gastrointestinal (GI) infection from a pathogen such as the one currently under investigation for a widespread E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce, UT Southwestern researchers report. A strain of E. coli known as EHEC, which causes debilitating and potentially deadly inflammation in the colon with symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and vomiting, is implicated in several foodborne outbreaks worldwide each year.

Vicious Circles: Ring-shaped DNA Provides Cancer Cells with a Malignant Twist

Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA encodes information, not only in its sequence but also in its shape. Building upon previous revelatory work, a team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California San Diego, the UC San Diego branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Stanford University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, report that in cancer, distinct doughnut-shaped circles of extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) are found abundantly in human tumor cells; change how cancer-related oncogenes are expressed; promote aggressive malignant behavior; and play a key role in the ability of tumors to evolve quickly and resist threats, such as chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments.

Non-Coding DNA Located Outside Chromosomes May Help Drive Glioblastoma

One of the ways a cancer-causing gene works up enough power to turn a normal cell into a cancer cell is by copying itself over and over, like a Xerox machine. Scientists have long noticed that when cancer-causing genes do that, they also scoop up some extra DNA into their copies. But it has remained unclear whether the additional DNA helps drive cancer or is just along for the ride.

Large Study Reveals PTSD Has Strong Genetic Component Like Other Psychiatric Disorders

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, affecting some 8 million adults at some point in their lifetime in the United States. Despite this, it is not clear why only some people who experience a traumatic event develop PTSD. Some researchers have suggested that the disorder is only a social construct, but previous studies have hinted that genetics plays a role. A new study identifies a clear biological basis for PTSD.