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.
THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG
On Tuesday John Easton remembered Donald Rowley, MD, 1923-2013, who died in February at the age of 90. He was professor emeritus in the Department of Pathology and the Committee on Immunology, a pioneer in discovering how the immune system functions and the inventor of the gel electrode, a crucial tool that monitors cardiac activity.
On Wednesday I wrote about Dr. Jon Grant, director of the new Center of Excellence in Gambling Research, which focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to gambling disorders and other impulse-related addictions. In an article from DNAinfo, Grant noted that he avoids fast food, doesn’t use a computer at home and even foregoes checking email on a smartphone, all pretty noble qualities for someone studying how to help people with impulse control.
On Thursday I wrote about research by Laure Ségurel, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Human Genetics, who analyzed the genetic makeup of two groups of herders and farmers from central Asia to see what she could find out about how type 2 diabetes managed to elude natural selection and persist today.
And also on Thursday, we highlighted the results of a clinical trial by Dr. Scott Eggener and Dr. Aytekin Oto showing that “focal therapy” for prostate cancer, using precision imaging and laser treatment, could offer a middle ground of targeted therapy.
RESEARCH IN THE NEWS
Nathaniel Kleitman, known as the “father of modern sleep research,” established the world’s first sleep laboratory here at the University of Chicago in the 1920s. Elizabeth Kolbert from the New Yorker featured Kleitman’s work this week in a long piece about the science of sleeplessness. Kleitman was no mere scientist conducting research on others though. He made himself a subject too. Kolbert points out that he once kept himself awake for 115 hours straight as part of a sleep deprivation experiment.
Microbiologist Jack Gilbert is making a career out of cataloguing microorganisms that live in specific environments around the world, from the home to our new hospital. Now he and graduate student Sean Gibbons analyzed water from the English Channel and found that if you look hard enough, you can find nearly every bacterial species in the world in one two liter sample. Ed Yong from National Geographic covered their research, and I’ll be posting a follow up story on the project in the next few weeks.
And finally, Dr. Donald Jensen was featured again this week on his work to find a cure for hepatitis C. He spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the dilemma hep C patients face when choosing current treatments that have significant side effects or deciding to wait for more effective treatments coming soon. He also spoke to WGN TV, saying, “This is a curable disease.”