LabBook October 5, 2012

Photo courtesy Rafael Viñoly Architects, copyright Thomas Rossiter

Welcome to LabBook, our weekly roundup of University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences research news from around campus and the world wide web. Each Friday, LabBook will recap the week on the blog, link to news stories about our faculty and studies, and briefly summarize a handful of recent publications by our researchers.


Latinos in the US are twice as likely to have type 2 diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. This seems like such a big problem that only big solutions can fix it. But instead of going big, Arshiya Baig is taking a hyperlocal approach, developing peer-based focus groups led by community members who are familiar with neighborhood food options and medical resources to help neighbors manage their diabetes.

We’ve been calling that shining new building poking out of the northwest corner of our campus “the new hospital” for years, but this week we finally gave it a name. Located right next to two major research facilities, the Center for Care and Discovery will combine state of the art clinical care with research by scientists from the biological and physical sciences who continually strive to translate fundamental scientific discoveries into better care for patients.


This week’s research news comes to us from the animal kingdom. First, paleontologist Paul Sereno published a paper about a scary little dinosaur he first discovered in 1983. Pegomastax africanus was a 2-foot-long, birdlike creature with self-sharpening vampire fangs and spiky hair. Fascinating, but we’re kinda glad those things are running around today.

And calling someone “bird brain” may not be the insult it used to be. Neurobiologists Jennifer Dugas-Ford and Clifton Ragsdale found that birds have their own version of the neocortex, the part of the brain in mammals responsible for higher order functioning like conscious thought, sensory perception and language. It’s housed in a part of the brain called the dorsal ventricular ridge, and could explain why some birds display high levels of intelligence, self-awareness and sophisticated communication through vocalization.

About Matt Wood (531 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer and manager of communications at the University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences Division.
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