Research Roundup: UCSD to lead PTSD, brain injury study


UC San Diego’s School of Medicine has been tapped to head up a $60 million, five-year project on posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Funded by the Department of Defense, the project will involve 10 sites where new therapies will be tested to “prevent illness and enhance recovery” among the military and civilian population.

The study team will include psychologists, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, trauma surgeons and rehab specialists across the country.

UC San Diego part of national kidney research effort

UCSD is partnering with The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to develop new methods to treat and prevent kidney failure. UCSD and UAB will form one of eight “O’Brien Centers” dedicated to kidney research in the United States supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. NIH established the George M. O’Brien Research Centers Program to increase collaborative efforts among groups of investigators at institutions with established comprehensive kidney research bases.

New institute for atmospheric research

The Aerosol Chemistry and Climate Institute marks a collaboration between UCSD and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to research the role of aerosols in climate change in order to provide decision-makers with better information to manage energy demands and natural resources. Aerosols are air-borne particles of water, condensed gases, soot, and dust that create smog, seed clouds, and control how much of the sun’s heat gets through the atmosphere.

One of the institute’s first projects is construction of an observatory on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier to identify and study how the major sources of pollution in San Diego’s air (marine aerosols blown in from Asia, Mexico, and Los Angeles) mix with urban pollution and influence weather patterns along the Southern California coast.

Leatherback Turtle Survey Underway

A month-long, open-ocean survey of leatherback turtles is underway under the auspices of the La Jolla-based Southwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The survey is an assessment of the foraging areas and habitats of these endangered marine reptiles off the central California coast with particular attention to overlap with swordfish habitat. Leatherback turtles have declined more than 90 percent in the last 20 years, and researchers believe one of the major factors is “bycatch” - the unintended catch of turtles - by fisheries.