Cellular calcium handling in diabetes

October 4, 2017

Tight regulation of calcium levels in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) – a cellular organelle with multiple functions – contributes to insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells. Although ER calcium handling is perturbed in diabetes, the molecular determinants of ER calcium balance are not clear. David Jacobson, Ph.D., and colleagues have now demonstrated that TALK-1 potassium channels located in the ER membrane facilitate calcium release from the ER in mouse and human beta cells.

VU scientists discuss cancer treatments, cellular dynamics

October 4, 2017

A trio of Vanderbilt University scientists described their cutting-edge investigations of cellular dynamics and cancer treatment during last week’s Flexner Discovery Lecture: Marija Zanic, Ph.D., assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Lauren Parker Jackson, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biological Sciences and Biochemistry; and Christine Lovly, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology.

Excess dietary manganese increases risk of staph infection in heart

September 22, 2017

Too much dietary manganese — an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts — promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus(“staph”). “The human body does a wonderful job of regulating nutrient levels, and a traditional Western diet has plenty of minerals in it. The idea of super-dosing nutrients needs to be given careful consideration,” said Eric Skaar, Ph.D., MPH, Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology and senior author of the current study.

Special symposium to honor Moses’ cancer research contributions

September 22, 2017

A research symposium honoring the career of Harold (Hal) Moses, M.D., who founded and served as director emeritus of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been slated for Wednesday, Oct. 11, 7:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center. The free symposium will feature a roster of renowned cancer researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and around the country who will discuss the ways in which Moses’ cancer research has impacted the field. Many of those researchers were mentored by, or worked alongside, Moses, who has been lauded for his ability to instill his commitment to rigorous scientific research in the next generation of investigators.

Grant supports Oates’ research on acetaminophen and stroke

September 22, 2017

John Oates, M.D., a pioneering clinical pharmacologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), has been awarded a one-year, $20,000 grant from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation to support studies of the stroke-reducing potential of acetaminophen. Oates is the Thomas F. Frist Sr. Professor of Medicine, professor of Pharmacology and founding director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology. He is one of 14 researchers in the United States and Canada to receive grants this year from the Massachusetts-based foundation. The awards will be presented Sept. 28 in Durham, North Carolina.

University of Kansas honors Lindsley’s pharmacology research

September 22, 2017

Craig Lindsley, Ph.D., co-director of the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery, has been honored by the University of Kansas with the 2018 Edward E. Smissman Lectureshipfor his outstanding contributions to the fields of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology.

Inhibiting obesity

September 22, 2017

NAPEs, a family of lipid molecules, are produced in the intestinal tract after food intake and exert leptin-like effects: they reduce food intake and weight gain. Given their potential importance in regulating satiety and inhibiting obesity, Sean Davies, Ph.D., and colleagues are exploring NAPE action.

Trio of Vanderbilt scientists set for Discovery Lecture

September 15, 2017

Three Vanderbilt University scientists on the forefront of research in cellular dynamics and cancer treatment, including Marija Zanic, Ph.D., assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, will discuss their cutting-edge investigations during the next Flexner Discovery Lecture : “Cutting-Edge Molecular Tools Drive Basic Science Discovery and Patient Care,” will begin at 4 p.m. in room 208 Light Hall. ​

Vanderbilt, Bayer collaborate to develop new therapies against kidney diseases

September 15, 2017

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and Bayer have agreed on a five-year strategic research alliance to evaluate new drug candidates for the treatment of kidney diseases, with the goal of accelerating the translation of innovative approaches from the laboratory to pre-clinical development.

Lopez named Vanderbilt’s liaison to Oak Ridge National Laboratory

August 31, 2017

Carlos F. Lopez, assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical informatics, has been appointed as Vanderbilt University’s liaison to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy laboratory conducting research in energy and security. Lopez will continue the many collaborations that Greg Walker, associate professor of mechanical engineering, initiated during his term in this role.

Oxidative stress on the brain

August 25, 2017

Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS) is a rare disease that occurs when patients inherit from both parents defects in the Dhcr7 gene, which encodes the last enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. A large portion of SLOS patients exhibit autism spectrum disorder (ASD) behaviors. Now in a paper published last month in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior, Fiona Harrison, Ph.D., Ned Porter, Ph.D., and colleagues show that genetically altered mouse pups carrying two different mutations in Dhcr7 genes make fewer vocal calls when separated from their mothers.

Sugars in human mother’s milk are non-toxic antibacterial agents

August 25, 2017

Mother’s milk, which consists of a complex and continually changing blend of proteins, fats and sugars, helps protect babies against bacterial infections. In the past, scientists have concentrated their search for the source of its antibacterial properties on the proteins it contains. However, an interdisciplinary team of chemists and doctors at Vanderbilt University have discovered that some of the carbohydrates in human milk not only possess antibacterial properties of their own but also enhance the effectiveness of the antibacterial proteins also present. “This is the first example of generalized, antimicrobial activity on the part of the carbohydrates in human milk“This is the first example of generalized, antimicrobial activity on the part of the carbohydrates in human milk ,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry Steven Townsend, who directed the study. “One of the remarkable properties of these compounds is that they are clearly non-toxic, unlike most antibiotics.”