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.
LAST TWO WEEKS ON THE BLOG
Last Tuesday I spoke to Sean Gibbons about his study showing that if you look hard enough, you can find almost every species of microbe in the world in one two-liter sample of seawater. Gibbons using a process called deep sequencing, where he and his mentor Jack Gilbert sequenced the genetic material of whatever was living in a sample of water from the English Channel millions of times. They found 44 percent of the world’s microbe species, and projected that if they did it long enough they could eventually find everything.
Last Thursday, guest contributor Molly Woulfe brought us the story of how some 3,000-year-old mummified birds got a check up with the help of our radiologists. As part of a project with the Oriental Institute Museum, Dr. Michael Vannier and Dr. Charles Pelizzari put a collection of mummified birds from ancient Egypt into a CT scanner to learn more about them and the culture that preserved them.
This week I spoke to Dr. Raymond Roos, director of the ALS/Motor Neuron Clinic, about the current state of treatment for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Roos, who has been director of the clinic for almost 20 years, recently received a grant from the ALS Association of Greater Chicago to fund the clinic over the next three years.
And finally, this week geneticist Dr. Carole Ober published a study showing a link between two common genetic variations and kids who develop wheezing under the age of 3 to increased risk for asthma. Nearly 90 percent of kids with two copies of the variation who wheezed after catching a cold developed asthma by age 6.
RESEARCH IN THE NEWS
- Ober’s research on the genetic links between wheezing and childhood asthma was featured in a segment on WGN News in Chicago.
- The Chicago Tribune covered a study by psychiatrist Jean Decety that showed how experiencing a traumatic event such as a natural disaster affects children’s altruism. Following a 2008 earthquake in China, a group of 9-year-old children became more generous with others, while younger children became less so. Decety told the Tribune this shows the resiliency of children as they adapt to trauma.