Supercomputer center celebrates 25th year
By Lynne Friedmann
The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has marked its 25th year, highlighting several scientific and technological accomplishments that include assisting researchers in developing new drugs for AIDS and cancer, predicting the impact of earthquakes, and determining the structures of key enzymes to increase the world’s food supply.
Established by the National Science Foundation under an agreement between UCSD and neighboring General Atomics, SDSC opened its doors as one of the nation’s first supercomputer centers as the U.S. sought to increase its overall investment in computing to support scientific research. It was among the first centers to provide interactive access to scientists who soon began to realize the value that supercomputers could bring to their research.
After many years as being primarily a nationally funded supercomputer center, SDSC recently strengthened its ties at the local and state levels with UCSD and the UC system, becoming a key resource for UC researchers while still serving those throughout the larger national scientific community. More information at http://bit.ly/baY06Mbit.ly/baY06M.
Studying marine mammal behavior
A team of researchers recently completed a two-month research project off the Southern California coast as part of an effort to study marine mammal behavior and measure how animals on the U.S. West Coast respond to sounds in the ocean.
The interdisciplinary collaboration of biologists and acousticians specializing in marine mammal biology, ecology and behavior called SOCAL-10 (Southern California 2010) is extending ongoing studies of basic biology, feeding behavior and responses to human activity in a number of marine mammal species, including large whales and several smaller cetacean species.
The project is part of a five-year study funded by the U.S. Navy and coordinated with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), but primarily being conducted by independent academic and research groups. Among research groups based in San Diego are Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and SPAWAR Systems Pacific. News release at http://bit.ly/d3Znuwbit.ly/d3Znuw.
New target for MS research
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects an estimated 400,000 Americans and more than 2.5 million people worldwide. A chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, it is responsible for a baffling range of neurological symptoms, including numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, paralysis and vision loss.
Scientists may be closer to solving one of the many mysteries of MS and other demyelinating diseases, based on a recent study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The research revealed a previously unknown connection between two ion channels, which, when misaligned, can cause the many bizarre symptoms that characterize the condition. This insight into the mechanisms underlying MS suggests a novel target for therapeutic intervention.
The findings are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). News release at http://bit.ly/91pYaR.
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