Archive | December 2010

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Year in Review: UChicago Research 2010

ScienceLife ran 219 posts in 2010, and choosing the best of them is as hard as picking a favorite gene.  So here’s a month-by-month scan of a busy year at the University of Chicago Medical Center, full of exciting discoveries in the laboratory and the clinic. The impact of some of this research is already […]

Can You Sue Over Racial Disparities?

Racial health disparities in the United States have been repeatedly measured, demonstrated, and presented to the point where their existence is no longer in question. But still up for discussion is how to fix them, whether through sweeping legislation like this year’s federal health care reform, local efforts to improve health care access or social […]

Eugene Goldwasser & The Unforeseen Legacy of Epo

When Eugene Goldwasser launched the project that would become his life’s work, he thought it would only take a matter of months. Since the early 20th century, biologists had predicted that a hormone they named erythropoietin must exist to promote the production of red blood cells when the body was running low. But in 1955, […]

The Disease Advantage of Chimpness

Within the primate family, relatives are not treated equally by disease. While AIDS, malaria, and cancer kill millions of humans each year around the world, non-human primates largely shrug these diseases off. For example, chimpanzees can be infected with a form of HIV (called Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, or SIV, in their case), but the disease […]

The Kids Are Alright: New Genes Can Be Essential

When it comes to genes, evolutionary biologists have traditionally favored seniority. Genes thought to be most essential to life must be ancient and conserved, the assumption goes, handed down from species to species as the basic instructions of life. That sharing is evident in early developmental stages, which 19th-century biologist Ernst Haeckel observed to be […]

Putting a Long Leash on Synthetic Life

When scientist/entrepreneur J. Craig Venter announced that his company had created “synthetic life” in March, a predictable tsunami of media hype followed. Though the discovery was more accurately an important step in synthetic biology, rather than the creation of life from scratch in a laboratory, the story provoked rampant speculation about what this new field […]

Wearing a Robot to Fight Paralysis

In Iron Man, Tony Stark engineers himself a robotic suit of armor that serves two purposes, fighting against the terrorists who took him captive while keeping pieces of shrapnel from puncturing his heart. Based on a new study from a University of Chicago neuroscience laboratory, wearable robots like Iron Man’s suit may also serve a […]

A New Way to Customize Proteins

The genetic code contains only four letters. Different combinations of those letters code for an “alphabet” of 20 amino acids, which are used to construct proteins. From these small collections of building blocks, an incredibly diverse array of proteins can be constructed. But nature always craves more options, and scientists are still learning the ways […]

A New Building, A New Discipline

Today, the University of Chicago announced plans to construct the William Eckhardt Research Center, an innovative new building along Ellis Avenue that will be home to many researchers in the physical sciences. But just as newsworthy as the new building is one of its prominent tenants: the Institute for Molecular Engineering, the largest new department […]

Linkage 12/10: Imagination Dieting, Arsenic Update, Cold Hands

Imagine There’s No Hunger This post is going up around lunchtime, and you might be just now picturing what you’re going to eat. There are those healthy whole-wheat pasta leftovers in the fridge, but just down the street is a deli where you can purchase a giant Italian sub with hot peppers and cheese and […]

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