After a long day of teaching and research, biochemists Richard McKenney and Kassandra Ori-McKenney usually find themselves on their patio discussing topics like the cytoskeleton and motor proteins. It’s shop talk for the couple, both assistant professors in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
It’s been widely reported that investigators got a break in the East Area Rapist/Golden State Killer case when they uploaded a DNA profile to a genealogy database, GEDmatch, and identified relatives of the suspect, Joseph DeAngelo. Did they get lucky, or did they have a good chance of finding him? UC Davis population biologists Graham Coop and M. D. “Doc” Edge have written a nice explainer of the science behind this search.
Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, became fascinated by science at an early age. But the draw to biology—specifically, genetics—was prompted by Winey’s younger sister Christine, who as an infant was diagnosed with an inherited metabolic disease called galactosemia.
In a study appearing in Current Biology, Michael Turelli, distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, and his colleagues traced the spread of closely related Wolbachia across Drosophila fly species. They found that while the flies evolutionarily diverged tens of millions of years ago, their Wolbachia bacteria diverged only tens of thousands of years ago.
Software inspired by speech recognition technology could help scientists understand the secret language inside cells. A machine learning algorithm called patteRNA, designed by UC Davis researchers, rapidly mines ribonucleic acid, commonly called RNA, for specific structures, providing a new method to establish links between structure, function and disease.
For many, breast cancer is more than just a disease – it’s personal. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. But through new discoveries at the genetic level, the personal nature of cancer will eventually be what helps to beat it.
In a new study appearing in Developmental Cell, Ruensern Tan, a biochemistry, molecular, cellular and developmental biology graduate student, and Assistant Professor Richard McKenney, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, provide a new molecular model to describe the role of motor proteins in restructuring the cytoskeleton for cell division.
The Hydra, a small freshwater invertebrate, is an advantageous model organism for regenerative biologists. Named after the serpent from Greek mythology that grew two new heads for each one cut off, this tiny, jellyfish-like creature holds within its genomic code the key to biological immortality.
Melvin M. Green, distinguished professor emeritus of molecular and cellular biology, was a geneticist and member of the National Academy of Sciences. Green co-founded the historic UC Davis Genetics Department (now part of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology). He passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, at the age of 101.
UC Davis microbiologists have analyzed swabs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station – and found pretty much the same types of microbes as in a home on Earth, according to an analysis published today (Dec. 5) in the journal PeerJ.
Associate Professor Aldrin Gomes, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis, studies the underpinnings of heart disease, focusing on the machinery within heart cells responsible for producing the heartbeat. Along with colleagues in the Gomes Lab, he’s searching for molecular clues that will help medical professionals better manage heart disease.
With funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Associate Professor Bruce Draper, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, is studying zebrafish (Danio rerio) to learn about the genetics of sexual reproduction in vertebrates. Draper’s research, published in PLOS Genetics with postdoc and Dena Leerberg, ’17 Ph.D., may advance discoveries into the origins of ovarian cancer.
To gain an understanding into how viruses spread, and ultimately evolve, Samuel Díaz-Muñoz, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis, explores the hustle and bustle of viruses’ social lives in a new paper published in Cell Host & Microbe.
If you’ve ever tried to untangle a pair of earbuds, you’ll understand how loops and cords can get twisted up. DNA can get tangled in the same way, and in some cases, has to be cut and reconnected to resolve the knots. Now a team of mathematicians, biologists and computer scientists has unraveled how E. coli bacteria can unlink tangled DNA by a local reconnection process. The math behind the research, recently published in Scientific Reports, could have implications far beyond biology.
Assistant Professor Sean Collins, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, has received a $1.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health to advance the development of “smart” immune cells for therapies to treat cancer and other diseases. The five-year NIH Director’s New Innovator Award aims to provide new insight into how to engineer immune cells to control their recruitment and response to tumors.