Lindsley honored by Pharmaceutical Society of Japan

December 7, 2017

Craig Lindsley, PhD, the William K. Warren Jr. Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt, is the 2018 recipient of the Sato Memorial International Award of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. Lindsley, co-director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD), is the 41st recipient of the award, which is administered jointly by the society and by the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences at the National Institutes of Health. The award is presented every two years to a U.S. scientist who has made significant contributions to pharmacology, therapeutics and the pharmaceutical sciences. It will be presented to Lindsley next March during the society’s annual meeting in Kanazawa, Japan.

DNA damage repair: molecular insights

December 7, 2017

The first line of defense against skin cancer is the ability to repair DNA damage caused by UV light. The XPA protein plays an important role in the repair of certain DNA damage, and mutations in this protein have been implicated in xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) disorders, characterized by increased UV sensitivity and risk for skin cancer. Walter J. Chazin, PhD, and colleagues from the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biologyinvestigated how XPA interacts with DNA and the effects of several disease-associated mutations in XPA on its molecular structure and ability to bind DNA.

Celebration honors 11 new endowed chair holders

December 7, 2017

Eleven Vanderbilt University faculty members named to endowed chairs were recognized for their outstanding scholarship and research during a celebration at the Student Life Center Nov. 29: Alissa M. Weaver, Lorraine M. Lopez, Alyssa H. Hasty, David Zald, Mariann R. Piano, Richard B. Simerly, Vsevolod V. Gurevich, Matthew J. Tyska, Daniel J. Gervais, Warren D. Taylor, Danny G. Winder and Susan R. Wente.

Conn, Lindsley, and Sweatt Make Highly Cited Researchers List

November 21, 2017

Jeff Conn, Craig Lindsley, and David Sweatt are included on the Clarivate Analytics list of "2017 Highly Cited Researchers." Highly Cited Researchers from Clarivate Analytics is an annual list recognizing leading researchers in the sciences and social sciences from around the world. The final new list contains about 3,400 Highly Cited Researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and social sciences. The 2017 list focuses on contemporary research achievement: only Highly Cited Papers in science and social sciences journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection during the 11-year period 2005-2015 were surveyed. Highly Cited Papers are defined as those that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science.  

Salt, inflammation and hypertension

November 17, 2017

Although dietary salt intake positively correlates with blood pressure, the mechanisms linking salt to hypertension are not well understood. In the Oct. 24 Cell Reports, Annet Kirabo, DVM, M.Sc., Ph.D., and colleagues identify a pathway by which excess sodium contributes to inflammation and hypertension. The researchers found that sodium enters immune system dendritic cells, ultimately resulting in the production of superoxide and the formation of immunogenic isolevuglandin-protein adducts. Salt-stimulated dendritic cells produce pro-inflammatory factors and activate T cells.

Advanced imaging tools reveal architecture of cell division machinery

November 13, 2017

For years, Kathleen Gould, Ph.D., and her colleagues have drawn models of the contractile ring — the molecular apparatus that physically divides cells — and its parts. They used genetic studies to probe how the protein parts fit together, but their models involved some educated guesses. “We drew things certain ways, but we didn’t really know,” said Gould, professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Now, they know. Using super-resolution microscopy tools available in the Nikon Center of Excellence, the investigators have determined the molecular architecture of the contractile ring in the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Their findings, published in the journal eLife, provide a framework for understanding how the contractile ring forms and functions in cell division — a process that is essential for life.

Liquid biopsies help reveal lung cancer mutations

November 3, 2017

Cancer investigators led by researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) have co-developed a liquid biopsy blood-based assay used to identify specific gene mutations associated with the development or relapse of small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). The study, led by first authors Karinna Almodovar, Ph.D., and Wade Iams, M.D., and principal investigator Christine Lovly, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, was published online Sept. 23 in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.


Sweatt, Tansey discuss influence of epigenetics on research

November 3, 2017

Basic research underway at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is raising hopes that one day it will be possible to reverse memory loss in people with Alzheimer’s disease and stop a major driver of cancer in its tracks. During a Vanderbilt Cutting-Edge Discovery Lecture last week, David Sweatt, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmacology, and William Tansey, Ph.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, described how their research is being informed by the new science of epigenetics.

Herculano-Houzel featured speaker Nov. 1

October 31, 2017

A noted neuroscientist who studies the number of neurons present in the brains of different species, including humans, will discuss her groundbreaking work during a lunchtime talk Wednesday, Nov. 1. After developing the first method for accurately counting the number of neurons in the brain, Suzana Herculano-Houzel set out to answer the question “What is different about humans that allowed them to evolve brains with so many neurons?”

Gut response to fluid flow

October 26, 2017

Flow of fluids through the gut, such as milk from an infant’s diet, generates a shear stress on cells lining the intestine. Ken Lau, Ph.D., and colleagues have demonstrated that microvilli – finger-like membrane protrusions – are capable of sensing shear forces and subsequently drive an intracellular response called autophagy.

Symposium honors Moses’ storied cancer research career

October 19, 2017

Members of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) community and others whose lives and careers have been influenced by legendary cancer investigator, educator and administrator Harold (Hal) Moses, M.D., have endowed the Linda and Harold L. Moses, M.D., Career Development Fund. The initiation of the fund, which will support the next generation of physicians, scientists and scholars, was announced during a daylong research symposium held Oct. 11 at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center to honor Moses’ personal and career accomplishments, and to acknowledge the contributions of his wife, Linda.

VCAR science day shines light on addiction’s power

October 19, 2017

VCAR, which opened earlier this year, coordinates the research activities of faculty members from Vanderbilt University’s School of Medicine and College of Arts and Science who are working to better understand and ultimately improve addiction treatment. The center’s first annual science day featured presentations of current research, a poster session and a discussion of the role of medications in treating opioid addiction by Stephen Loyd, M.D., of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.