LabBook March 1, 2013

The "Grande Disco" sculpture outside the Surgery and Brain Research Paivlion, by the Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.

The “Grande Disco” sculpture outside the Surgery and Brain Research Paivlion, by the Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro. Please note the snow on that sculpture in March. Not cool, Chicago weather. Not cool.

Welcome to LabBook, our weekly roundup of University of Chicago Medicine & Biological Sciences research news from around campus and the internet. 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.


On Monday I had an update on Shantanu Nundy’s project that sends text messages to patients with diabetes to help them with the daily management of the disease. He said it’s the beginning of what he hopes to be the personalized delivery of healthcare by reaching patients in ways that fit their lifestyles.

On Thursday, Rob Mitchum from the Computation Institute wrote about the work by Anna Eklöf and Stefano Allesina to use large-scale computing to figure out the minimum number of animals and dimensions of a food web needed to accurately describe ecosystems. This will help biologists and ecologists make more accurate and efficient models of these habitats.

And also on Thursday, Kenneth Polonsky, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of Division of the Biological Sciences, spoke to the Chicago Tribune about the devastating effect automatic federal spending cuts to NIH funding will have on biomedical research, recalling an earlier editorial he wrote last fall.


Taylor Hughes, a high school senior from Naperville spent a summer working on a research project shadowing pediatric oncologist Charles Rubin. She helped document the impact on families of shifting cancer care for a child to a community hospital closer to home. Her work was covered by Trib Local.

Neuroscientist Daniel Margoliash published a new study in Nature about how birds coordinate their singing with intricate timing. The research could lead to a better understanding of how the human brain processes speech, and was covered by Futurity, RedOrbit and others.

Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics issued joint recommendations on testing children for genetic diseases. According to UChicago bioethicist Lainie Ross, genetic screening should be offered for diseases that doctors could treat in a child, but not for conditions that may not develop until they are adults. The report was covered widely by Reuters, Yahoo, the Boston Globe and others.

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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