Navigation Links
2 UCSF scientists recognized for transformative research
Date:9/24/2008

Two UCSF scientists are among the 31 nationwide who have received 2008 New Innovator Awards from the National Institutes of Health. The awards are designed "to enable recipients to pursue exceptionally innovative approaches that could transform biomedical and behavioral science."

The grants, which provide $1.5 million in direct costs over five years, were awarded to Yuriy Kirichok, PhD, assistant professor of physiology, and Miguel Ramalho-Santos, PhD, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences and a researcher in the Institute for Regeneration Medicine.

Kirichok will study molecular mechanisms of cell energy production and cell death to open new avenues in the treatment of age-related metabolic and degenerative diseases. Ramalho-Santos will study the genetic mechanisms that control how stem cells specialize as many different cell types, research that has implications for regenerative medicine and cancer biology.

"These highly creative researchers are tackling important scientific challenges with bold ideas and inventive technologies that promise to break through barriers and radically shift our understanding," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD, who announced the awards on Monday, Sept. 22.

The programs, said Zerhouni, are central elements of NIH efforts to encourage and fund especially novel investigator-initiated research, even if it might carry a greater-than-usual degree of risk of not succeeding.

Kirichok is studying the dysfunction of the cell's mitochondria, which plays a key role in energy production and participates in such processes as cell-to-cell communication, cell differentiation, or specialization, cell death and cell cycle and growth. Dysfunction of mitochondria is implicated in neurodegeneration, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

While pharmacological interventions at the level of mitochondria could become an effective way to treat these conditions, he says, the development of such therapies has been prevented by scientists' incomplete understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underlie major mitochondrial functions, including energy production, setting the pace of aging, and controlling cell death.

"The transport of ions and molecules across the mitochondrial membranes is the foundation of the mitochondrial physiology and a lack of direct methods to study mitochondrial transmembrane transport is likely the most significant barrier to a better understanding of mitochondria," he adds.

His goal is to develop a method for the application of the patch-clamp technique which revolutionized the study of ion channels and electrogenic transporters of the plasma membranes -- to both the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes for routine use in mitochondrial research. "This would provide an unparalleled functional essay for the key mitochondrial transport proteins, which, when combined with molecular biology, genetics, and protein crystallography, would facilitate significant advances in our understanding of the molecular workings of mitochondria and the subsequent development of therapeutic tools that control mitochondrial functions," he says.

Ramalho-Santos is studying the genetic mechanisms that give embryonic stem cells their capacity to differentiate, or specialize, into all of the cell types of the body. To date, most studies aimed at understanding this capacity, known as pluripotency, have been performed in the cell culture dish rather than in animal models.

During the last two years, however, his lab has gathered significant data in mice. In his upcoming work, his team will test the hypothesis that the genetic program for pluripotency plays an essential role in the development of germ cells, the precursors to eggs and sperm. To accomplish these goals, his team is exploring novel methods for rapid genetic manipulations in mouse germ cells.

By identifying the molecular mechanisms that regulate pluripotency, "it may be possible to tailor the differentiation of embryonic stem cells to particular cell types of choice that are need by patients, such as insulin-producing beta-cells in the case of diabetes," he says. "It may also be possible to safely and efficiently reprogram cells from patients to become pluripotent like embryonic stem cells. This will allow the generation of patient-matched embryonic stem cells that may be used to study the patient's disease in detail in the lab or to generate cells needed by the patient that would not be rejected upon transplantation."

Likewise, if the research is successful, he says, the team will have uncovered "routes towards preventing embryonic stem cell-induced tumorigenesis" and reversing the course of testicular cancer and potentially other cancers.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer O'Brien
jobrien@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. New prion protein discovered by Canadian scientists may offer insight into mad cow disease
2. Scientists Probe Sepsis Deadly Secrets
3. Scientists puzzled by severe allergic reaction to cancer drug in the middle Southern US
4. Scientists Develop Natural Protection for Stored Foods
5. Scientists detect presence of marburg virus in african fruit bats
6. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
7. Scientists ID Likely Culprit in Popcorn Lung
8. Scientists explain how insulin secreting cells maintain their glucose sensitivity
9. Scripps Research scientists shed new light on how antibodies fight HIV
10. Scientists, physicians present latest findings in personalized cancer treatment and prevention
11. Scientists demonstate link between genetic variant and effectiveness of smoking cessation meds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
2 UCSF scientists recognized for transformative research
(Date:2/26/2017)... ... February 26, 2017 , ... NuevaCare, a leading home care ... Millbrae, Belmont, and Palo Alto, is proud to announce an important upgrade to its ... look for home care close to home, and by having city-specific pages, NuevaCare is ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... , ... February 26, 2017 , ... ODH, Inc.™ ... Summit, February 27-28 at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, VA. ODH’s director ... to use behavioral health analytics to improve Medicaid population health management. , ODH will ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... HealthPostures, expert standing desk solution designer, ... built into the home office sit stand solution are bold colors, a new ... the benefits embedded in the TaskMate Go are available 24/7 through HealthPostures' online ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... ... An in-depth computational analysis of genetic variants implicated in both schizophrenia and ... may explain why susceptibility to one of the disorders could place individuals at lower ... the journal npj Schizophrenia. , “There is a wealth of genomic data on ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... ... With millions of Americans and people worldwide struggling with ... aware of our options and are empowered with strength and information throughout the ... newest edition of "Vision and Hearing" in USA Today, that will educate readers ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Dry ... offering. ... Dry eye Drugs Price Analysis and Strategies - 2016, provides drug pricing ... answers the following questions: What are the ... they positioned in the Global Dry eye market? What ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017 Medical information ... to increase their self-service capabilities to manage inquiries ... (HCPs). New research from consulting leader ... have developed self-service website portals where HCPs can ... just one of many findings to emerge from ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017 Report analyzes the ... provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, Canada ... , Asia-Pacific , Latin ... forecasts are provided for the period 2015 through 2022. Also, ... data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary research. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: