CSSB’s Ellington part of $4M UT-Austin BRAIN initiative grant

By Marc Airhart

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin will receive three grants totaling $4 million to develop techniques for imaging and manipulating the activity of neurons in the brain, research that will help scientists explore the mechanisms of addiction, obesity, fear and many other brain states and disorders. The funding, provided by the National Institutes of Health, is part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative launched last year by President Barack Obama.

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CSSB supports only high school iGEM team in Texas

Local students from the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, Texas, one of only 11 high school teams in North America, have been spending the summer in UT’s Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology’s Ellington Lab developing a bacteria that can sense Carbon Monoxide for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition.

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New Publications for October 2014

Brooks ER, Wallingford JB(2014). Multiciliated Cells. Current Biology. 24(19):R973-R982. | PubMed

Enyeart PJ, Simpson ZB, Ellington AD(2014). A microbial model of economic trading and comparative advantage. Journal of Theoretical Biology. pii: S0022-5193(14)00569-4. | PubMed

Ki S, Park D, Selden HJ, Seita J, Chung H, Kim J, Iyer VR, Ehrlich LI(2014). Global Transcriptional Profiling Reveals Distinct Functions of Thymic Stromal Subsets and Age-Related Changes during Thymic Involution. Cell Report. | PubMed

Meyer AJ, Ellefson JW, Ellington AD(2014). Directed Evolution of a Panel of Orthogonal T7 RNA Polymerase Variants for in Vivo or in Vitro Synthetic Circuitry. ACS Synthetic Biology. | PubMed

Jones RA, Gnanam AJ, Arambula JF, Jones JN, Swaminathan J, Yang X, Schipper D, Hall JW, DePue LJ, Dieye Y, Vadivelu J, Chandler DJ, Marcotte EM, Sessler JL, Ehrlich LI, Brown KA (2014). Lanthanide nano-drums: a new class of molecular nanoparticles for potential biomedical applications. Faraday Discussions. | PubMed

Raising the Tail: Jim Allison’s Pioneering Cancer Treatment

This excerpt is from an article by Jenny Blair, published May 2, 2014 in The Alcalde:

In 2004, two weeks before her wedding day, 22-year-old Sharon Belvin was diagnosed with advanced melanoma. The cancer had spread through her lungs, and after five months of chemotherapy, doctors found it had invaded her brain. Her odds weren’t good: at the time, 10-year survival rates for stage IV melanoma hovered around 10-15 percent.

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Researchers Discover Why It’s So Hard to Grow an Extra Finger

The fact that most humans have five digits on each hand and foot is due in part to a complex developmental pathway called Hedgehog. If something goes wrong in this process during development, say a mutation in a critical gene that affects itsexpression, a person might be born with extra fingers or toes, a condition known as polydactyly. New research shows that for at least one part of the pathway, there is a sort of failsafe mechanism that seems to make it harder for mistakes to happen.

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