Recent News

    • Arianna Miano in a lab holding a synthetic genetic circuit

      UC San Diego synthetic biologists redesign the way bacteria 'talk' to each other

      An innovative bacterial communication system, regulated by a safe biological compound, achieves precise control of single and multiple bacterial populations.

      “We hope that this system can increase control and safety of synthetic genetic circuits, and therefore facilitate their transition to real life applications,” said Arianna Miano, a UC San Diego bioengineering PhD student and the first author on the Nature Communications paper.

    • Image of magnifying glass showing blue and orange.

      Quality Control Mechanisms inside Cells Help Clear Collisions

      New model reveals ribosome serves as a unique signaling hub for quality control signals

      As ribosomes (green balls) translate an mRNA (yellow string) in a directional manner (background to the foreground), the nascent peptide chain (shiny beads emerging from the green balls) folds into unique functional shapes. Stressors that elicit localized stalls during translation can result in ribosomal collisions (stalled ribosome: red ball; colliding ribosome: orange ball) and trigger ribosomal ubiquitylation. Researchers identified two deubiquitylating enzymes, OTUD3 and USP21 (fire extinguishers), that antagonize ribosomal ubiquitylation, allowing for translation through stall-inducing sequences that would normally terminate translation.

    • Image of magnifying glass showing blue and orange.

      Parkinson’s Disease Protein Structure Solved inside Cells Using Novel Technique

      Parkinson’s disease‐related protein LRRK2 structure solved using a trailblazing new technique, revealing its surprising organization in cells, and paving the way for a treatment

      Reika Watanabe and colleagues used cryo‐electron microscopy to look up close at the structure of Parkinson’s disease‐related protein LRRK2, depicted inside the magnifying glass. Image by Reika Watanabe and Guillaume Castillon.

    • A image of an embryo turning into a tadpole.

      Researchers Identify Mechanism for Neurotransmitter‐Receptor Matchmaking

      Sustained transmitter exposure proven to be enough to induce receptors to appear

      One area of ambiguity is the neurotransmitter receptor. When a neurotransmitter changes in one neuron, the receptors on the other neuron must change along with it or the result is a mismatched and dysfunctional connection. Now researchers at UC San Diego have found a mechanism explaining how receptor matchmaking unfolds.

    • Cressida Madigan

      Cressida Madigan Named 2020 Sloan Research Fellow

      Each year, 126 of the brightest early career scientists in the U.S. and Canada are awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. This year, six University of California San Diego researchers made the list, upping the total number of campus recipients to 136 since the fellowship was established more than six decades ago.

    • A microscopic image of three cells with green, blue, red, and yellow colors located close to each other.

      Cell’s Design Helps Launch Quick Defenses When under Attack

      Immune system cells found to reposition key genes to rapidly fight invading pathogens

      Under normal, healthy conditions, genes within immune system cells known as neutrophils remain dormant. But once an infection is detected, neutrophils sound the alarm and push these genes into action as a critical line of defense against invading pathogens. These genes help the cell fight back by releasing an array of molecules that attack infection-causing bacteria.

    • A microscopic photo of blue-green blob representing a fruit fly gut on a black background

      Fly Model Offers New Approach to Unraveling ‘Difficult’ Pathogen

      Transgenic fruit flies help scientists trace the cascade of symptoms caused by toxic infection

      The Clostridium difficile pathogen takes its name from the French word for “difficult.” A bacterium that is known to cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening colon damage, C. difficile is part of a growing epidemic of concern for the elderly and patients on antibiotics.

    • A closeup photo of a fruit fly head in a clear rectangular window

      Flyception 2.0: New Imaging Technology Tracks Complex Social Behavior

      For the first time researchers record uninhibited fly brain activities during various stages of mating

      What happens in the brain during courtship? During sex? Scientists at the University of California San Diego have a much clearer idea thanks to the evolution of an advanced imaging system designed to record ultra-precise brain activities in flies.

    • Hippos in the water

      Drug Lord’s Hippos Make Their Mark on Foreign Ecosystem

      Study on the impacts of the world’s largest invasive animal in Colombia provides key insight into the future of a growing population

      Four hours east of Medellín in northern Colombia’s Puerto Triunfo municipality, the sprawling hacienda constructed by infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar of “Narcos” fame has become a tourist attraction. When Escobar’s empire crashed, the exotic animals housed at his family’s zoo, including rhinos, giraffes and zebras, were safely relocated to new homes… except for the hippopotamuses.

    • Green algae powder spilled out of a bottle with a small plastic spoon next to the powder

      Algae Shown to Improve Gastrointestinal Health

      Project is the first to test green algae on symptoms related to human digestion

      Researchers at the University of California San Diego recently completed the first study examining the effects of consuming C. reinhardtii and demonstrated that the algae improves human gastrointestinal issues associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) such as diarrhea, gas and bloating. Results of the project are published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

    To read more about Division of Biological Sciences happenings, see the News Archives.