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Research Forefronts

Calcium Movements

A rush of calcium is an immune cell’s signal to get to work. A recent study from School of Medicine researchers shows how a mutation in one of the genes controlling the movement of calcium caused a devastating autoimmune disease in three children from the same family.

Prostate Cancer

When “PC” Means Something Else

PSA testing is the primary screening tool for prostate cancer, but medical societies disagree about the value of routine screening, especially in men older than 75. Until a better screen comes along, what should men do? Here’s some straight talk from the chairman of urology.

Neuronal Birthdays

Neuronal Birthdays

A neuron’s birth date is the key to its identity. However, when there are billions of cells in the developing brain, how do you figure out when a specific neuron is born? A neurodevelopmental biologist has created novel methods for tracking the birth of specific neurons in mice.

Early Cellular Movements

Developmental geneticists investigate how embryos develop into organisms. The long-term goal is to decipher the genetic programs that regulate development and to understand how those might go awry in disease. Recent research with the nematode C. elegans reveals how a genetic signal helps early embryonic cells move to an appropriate position in the embryo.


Toss the Supplements?

High levels of homocysteine are linked to heart disease, but it wasn’t known whether lowering the levels would benefit patients with advanced chronic kidney or end-stage kidney disease. A recent study shows that administering high doses of folic acid and B vitamins to reduce homocysteine levels doesn’t help these patients.

A Notorious Bacterium

Staphylococcus aureus is a notorious bacterium that is the scourge of hospitals nationwide. Recent research is revealing how the bacterium controls expression of its genes for virulence (ability to cause infection). This work may eventually lead to a way of breaking the circuit—in effect, disarming S. aureus until the host immune system can knock it out.