Health and Medicine

Dr Elena Galkina – Immune Control of Initiation and Progression of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a global health issue. Atherosclerosis is a multifactorial chronic inflammatory disease characterised by the accumulation of modified lipoproteins and immune cells in the aortic wall, vascular dysfunction, low-grade chronic inflammation, and formation of dangerous atherosclerotic plaques within the medium and large size vessels. Atherosclerosis is a prominent cause of cardiovascular diseases and mortality in many countries and this disease is closely associated with type 2 diabetes. Dr Elena Galkina, Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, USA, has been working to determine the immune processes involved in an attempt to identify much-needed novel therapies.

Professor Etienne Sibille | Professor James Cook – Lifting Brain Fog

Effective treatments for cognitive dysfunction, such as declines in memory and other mental faculties often associated with depression or old age, may be within reach, according to Professor Etienne Sibille at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Toronto, Canada. Professor Sibille has shown for the first time that newly synthesised compounds targeting GABA receptors improve specific types of memory in mice, opening the door to the development of effective new pharmacological options.

Dr Elizabeth Nance – The Role of Nanoparticles in Neuroscience

Dr Elizabeth Nance has an impressive track record. Now a Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, USA, Dr Nance’s work centres around the use of nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic agents to the brain, a seemingly simple operation which is confounded by a highly regulated blood brain barrier which prevents access to the brain and a complex brain environment which prevents access to diseased cells. Her current work also investigates the potential use of nanoparticles to probe tissue environments to map tissue structure, and how tissue structure changes in the presence of a disease.

Dr Matthew Boisen – Understanding Lassa virus

For many years, Dr Matthew Boisen, Director of Diagnostics Development at Zalgen Labs, has focussed on trying to understand Lassa fever. Part of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, his group’s objectives are threefold: first, to develop fast and accurate diagnostics for Lassa fever; second, to design new therapeutic approaches; and third, to create an effective vaccine providing long-term protection against this condition.

Professor Jeansok Kim – Understanding Fear in Animals

Research into animal fear typically utilises laboratory techniques based on Pavlovian fear conditioning, but these approaches are limited. Professor Jeansok Kim, from the Department of Psychology, University of Washington (USA) has developed a much more realistic way to study fear that closely mimics risky conditions in the wild. New discoveries by Professor Kim and his team are challenging existing paradigms and providing exciting insights into the underlying brain mechanisms of fear in both animals and humans.

Professor Mark D’Esposito – Everyday Miracles: Unravelling the Mysteries of Working Memory

To accomplish even a simple goal, our brain must coordinate thousands of pieces of information, remember which parts are relevant, and ignore anything that is extraneous. Dr Mark D’Esposito of the University of California, Berkeley, studies how different parts of the brain work together to create working memory, the cognitive system that temporarily and actively holds information in mind allowing us to complete complex tasks.

Professor Mark D’Esposito – Leveraging New Technologies to Treat Brain Injury

The brain is the most mysterious organ in the human body – despite decades of research, we have just begun to scratch the surface in understanding how the brain works and how we can help it to heal following an injury. Professor Mark D’Esposito of the University of California, Berkeley, uses advanced imaging technology to illuminate how the connections in our brain function in order to find new ways to aid brain healing after injury.

Dr Baowei Fei – A New Technique for Targeted Prostate Cancer Biopsies

Two-dimensional transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy is the standard method for prostate cancer diagnosis. However, the technique is limited in one respect – it can be prone to sampling error. Cancers can be missed, or their severity grossly underestimated. To address this, Dr Baowei Fei, from the University of Texas (UT) at Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center, is pioneering a technique that merges positron emission tomography (PET) with TRUS to detect prostate cancer more accurately than before.

Dr Mary Logan | Dr Sean Speese – Protecting the Brain

Our nervous system has such an important function in our body that neurons have their own bodyguards. Known as glial cells, they protect brain cells against injury and prevent damage. Dr Mary Logan and Dr Sean Speese, both based at the Jungers Center for Neuroscience...

PPM: Tailoring Cannabis to Create Medicine for the Masses

  Cannabis is a plant that remains largely stigmatised, along with people who consume or condone it. However, Dr Andrea Holmes and her colleagues at Precision Plant Molecules are revealing the numerous hidden benefits of cannabis, when processed with precision....

Dr Lei Cao – The Impact of Our Environment on Our Well-being

The human body is a bewildering set of interacting systems, a complex web of signals and pathways which are constantly adjusting to the conditions which we find ourselves in. Ground-breaking research by Dr Lei Cao, of Ohio State University, USA, is providing new...

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation promotes academic cooperation between excellent scientists and scholars from abroad and from Germany. To this end, it grants more than 700 research fellowships and research awards annually. These allow researchers from all over...

Dr Johanna Gostner – Something in the Air Tonight

  The air around us contains a complex mixture of volatile compounds, to which we are inevitably exposed with largely unknown effects on our health. Leading the way in identifying the molecular consequences of such exposures is Dr Johanna Gostner of the Medical...

Worldwide Cancer Research

Worldwide Cancer Research is a UK-based charity, founded in 1979. It funds research into all types of cancer across the globe, specifically focusing on early-stage basic laboratory science aiming to provide the seeds of discovery which may ultimately lead to...

Dr Jerry Silver – Spinal Cord Damage and Emerging Treatments

Injuries to the spinal cord can cause permanent paralysis and even lead to death, with little to no hope of regaining lost functions once the trauma has occurred. Dr Jerry Silver and his team at Case Western Reserve University Medical School, USA, have been working to...

Professor Yubin Zhou – Let There Be Light!

Professor Yubin Zhou, from the Center for Translational Cancer Research at the Texas A&M University Institute of Biosciences & Technology, USA, is developing ways to use light to control cellular function. The researcher and his team are responsible for a...

Professor Jeffrey C. Hoch – A Box in the Clouds

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is without doubt one of the most exciting analytic methods available in biomolecular medicine. Applications include structural biology, metabolic studies, disease diagnosis, and drug discovery. However, the use of NMR can be daunting...

Dr Brian Peerce – Fighting Chronic Kidney Disease with 2FP

According to the National Kidney Foundation, ten per cent of the world’s population is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD), and millions die each year from the condition. In response, Dr Brian Peerce, a biochemist, and Dr Slomowitz, a nephrologist, co-founded...

Calder Biosciences: Engineering Solutions for Improved Vaccines

Designing better vaccines is the end goal for Calder Biosciences Inc., a company that has found a new way to engineer vaccines, ensuring greater stability, prolonging their duration in the body and thereby enhancing protection. Using a natural chemical reaction known...