Human & Animal Health

Engineers Invent Machine to Shake up UC Davis’ COVID-19 Testing

UC Davis engineers have invented shaking and inversion machines that are a critical part of the UC Davis Genome Center’s award-winning asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. These machines, designed and built by biological and agricultural engineering (BAE) development engineer Dennis Sadowski, professor Stavros Vougioukas and postdoctoral researcher Zhenghao Fei in just six weeks, help treat saliva samples so they can be tested for the virus.

Researchers Identify a Potentially Safer Approach to Opioid Drug Development

Opioids are powerful painkillers but their use is hindered because patients become tolerant to them, requiring higher and higher doses, and overdoses can cause respiratory depression and death. A recent study from researchers at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience contradicts existing thinking about how opioid drugs cause tolerance and respiratory depression, and suggests a new, balanced approach to developing safer analgesics. The work was published July 13 in Neuropsychopharmacology.

Evolutionary Thinking

We watch a ball as it falls into our glove. We hear a strange sound in another part of the house and listen intently. In neuroscience, the act of narrowing our senses in response to an environmental event is called “attention,” and it is understood that when we attend to a stimulus, we lose the ability to focus on other surrounding inputs.

Interrupting the Development of Cancer Cells

Think of chromosomes as nature’s shoelaces. Built from DNA, these thread-like structures carry and ferry the genetic information necessary for life. To maintain genetic integrity, chromosomes possess protective structures located at their ends called telomeres. These telomeres are like the plastic tips of shoelaces, preventing the genetic thread from unraveling as cells continuously divide.

UC Davis Receives $15 Million Grant to Study the Effects of Maternal Infection on Risk for Psychiatric Illness in Offspring

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded a $15.7 million grant to the UC Davis Silvio O. Conte Center, one of only 15 Conte Centers nationwide.

Psychiatric illnesses and neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia, affect 15-20 percent of the population worldwide, yet current treatments are at best only partially effective. The UC Davis Conte Center was first established in 2016 through the Center for Neuroscience to determine how maternal infection increases risk for these disorders and to identify new targets for novel treatments.

Exactly How Does an mRNA Vaccine Work?

UC Davis Virologist Samuel L. Díaz-Muñoz, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, spoke with KCRA 3 in an interview late last year about the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines being hailed as "game-changers" by the medical community.

Davis Enterprise: UCD Students Conduct Mass Testing for Class

By Julietta Bisharyan
The Davis Enterprise

With the need for mass COVID-19 testing on campus, UC Davis offers a course in which students can work at the testing kiosks and learn more about the various aspects of the virus.

The two-credit course, titled “Mass Testing for COVID-19,” or EVE 198, is managed by David Coil and led by Professor Jonathan Eisen in the evolution and ecology department in the College of Biological Sciences.

Science Snaps: Neuroscience Graduate Group Student Jaleel Jefferson Explores the Pathology of Neurodegeneration

Neuroscience Graduate Group student Jaleel Jefferson investigates the neuropathology of a condition known as HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND), which encompasses “a spectrum of cognitive, motor, and/or mood problems” that affect people with HIV. In this Science Snapshot, he walks us through some neuronal imagery and shares some of his path to science.

Questions of Heredity: Integrative Genetics and Genomics Ph.D. Student Marwa Zafarullah Wins Emmy Werner and Stanley Jacobsen Fellowship

Marwa Zafarullah, a Ph.D. student in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group, investigates the pathology of a rare neurodegenerative disease called Fragile X- Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS). As part of her Ph.D. dissertation research, she’s developing a biomarker for the early diagnosis and progression of the disease.