Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered the molecular mechanism by which the deadly Ebola virus assembles, and what they discovered comes as a surprise: The same molecule that assembles and releases new viruses also rearranges itself into different shapes, with each shape controlling a different step of the virus’s life cycle.
Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere rise and fall as plants take up the gas in spring and summer and release it in fall and winter through photosynthesis and respiration. Now the range of that cycle is growing as more CO2 is emitted from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, according to a study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Every human brain contains the ingredients necessary to spark Alzheimer’s disease (AD). But while an estimated 5 million Americans have AD, the vast majority of people do not (and will not) develop the devastating neurological condition. How is that possible? Researchers from UC San Diego School of Medicine have uncovered a “trick of nature” that maintains critical separation between a protein and an enzyme that, when combined, triggers the progressive cell degeneration and death characteristic of AD.
The power of the brain lies in trillions of synapses — intercellular connections that together form complex neural networks. Efforts to map these individual connections to see how they influence specific brain functions have so far been unsuccessful.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder affecting nerve cells that produce dopamine, a brain chemical that helps control muscle movement. When neuron death occurs, the result is tremors, muscle rigidity, and slowed gait. Advanced age, chronic neuroinflammation and exposure to toxins are believed to be factors contributing to Parkinson’s. But between 5 and 15 percent of cases arise from inherited gene mutations.
A misdirected immune response can lead to allergies, autoimmune diseases and rejection of transplant organs and therapeutic drugs. Currently available immune suppressants have major drawbacks, but researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have demonstrated a new technique to selectively repress unwanted immune reactions without disabling the immune system altogether.
Increasing demand for water from the Colorado River to satisfy the needs of 30 million people prompts concerns about how to manage the resource in coming decades. Estimated declines of future flows range from six to 45 percent, by 2050. A new analysis by eight institutions, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, puts all the scientific studies in a single framework and identifies how they are connected. While the paper does not determine a new estimate for future flows, it does provide policymakers and the public with context for evaluating the current numbers.
A team led by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) at UC San Diego has discovered a new chemical compound from an ocean microbe shown to be effective against deadly anthrax and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The microbe is a Streptomyces – a genus of bacteria that produces over two-thirds of the clinically useful antibiotics of natural origin. The new microorganism was collected by researchers from sediments located off shore from Santa Barbara last year.
The past two decades have seen emergency department (ED) overcrowding become a major problem nationwide that increases patient risk and decreases patient satisfaction with emergency services. In an attempt to address the issue, a pilot study at UC San Diego Health System’s ED is using telemedicine as a way to help address overcrowding and decrease patient wait times.
Engineers in UC San Diego’s Coordinated Robotics Lab have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of structural fires. Employing small Segway-like robotic vehicles, an on-board software system combines thermal data recorded by an infrared camera with high-resolution color images to map a 3D scene of a fire location.