Recent News


What's Your Gut Instinct?

It’s no secret that diet, exercise, medicine usage, and other habits affect your health and lifestyle, but how they do so is different for everyone. The Internet is filled with opinions on the matter. A quick Google search on “how do diet, exercise, medicine usage, and other habits affect your health and lifestyle” yields more than 3,000,000 results! A new project at UC San diego has set out to help alleviate some of the confusion by creating an educational platform for people to ask and answer gut health-related questions. Full Story


Drug-delivering micromotors treat their first bacterial infection in the stomach

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have demonstrated for the first time using micromotors to treat a bacterial infection in the stomach. These tiny vehicles, each about half the width of a human hair, swim rapidly throughout the stomach while neutralizing gastric acid and then release their cargo of antibiotics at the desired pH.  Full Story


2017 Massry Prize Honors Microbiome Research Pioneers

Microbiome researchers Rob Knight, PhD, University of California San Diego, Jeffrey Gordon, MD, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Norman Pace, PhD, University of Colorado Boulder, will share this year’s Massry Prize, splitting the $200,000 honorarium. These researchers lead a field that works to produce a detailed understanding of microbiomes — distinct constellations of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that live within and around us — and methods for manipulating microbiomes for the benefit of human and environmental health.The Meira and Shaul G. Massry Foundation established the Massry Prize in 1996 to recognize outstanding contributions to the biomedical sciences and the advancement of health. The nonprofit foundation promotes education and research in nephrology, physiology and related fields. Shaul Massry, MD, is professor emeritus at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. The Massry Prize Lectures, which the winners give every year, are held on the USC Health Sciences campus. This year’s lectures are scheduled for October 2017. Twelve Massry Prize recipients have gone on to win Nobel Prizes. Full Story


Scientists at the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation invent new tool for the Synthetic Biologist's toolbox

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have invented a new method for controlling gene expression across bacterial colonies. The method involves engineering dynamic DNA copy number changes in a synchronized fashion. The results were published in the July 10, 2017 online edition of Nature Genetics. Full Story


Stool Microbes Predict Advanced Liver Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — a condition that can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer — isn’t typically detected until it’s well advanced. Even then, diagnosis requires an invasive liver biopsy. To detect NAFLD earlier and more easily, researchers in the NAFLD Research Center (http://nafld.ucsd.edu/) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Human Longevity, Inc. and the J. Craig Venter Institute report that the unique microbial makeup of a patient’s stool sample — or gut microbiome — can be used to predict advanced NAFLD with 88 to 94 percent accuracy.  Full Story


UC San Diego Biologists Discover Timesharing Strategy in Bacteria

Biologists at the University of California San Diego have discovered that, when food becomes scarce, communities of bacteria employ a time-sharing strategy. The findings are published April 6 in the journal Science. Full Story


Transplanting Good Bacteria to Kill Staph

UC San Diego School researchers screened 10,000 colonies of bacteria found on the epidermis to determine how many had antimicrobial properties and at what rate these are found on healthy and non-healthy skin. In a paper published February 22 in Science Translational Medicine, the team reports isolating and growing good bacteria that produce antimicrobial peptides and successfully transplanting it to treat patients with the most common type of eczema, known as atopic dermatitis. Full Story


Shedding Light on Cancer Diversity and Resistance

A paradigm-changing study by cancer researchers and computer scientists at the University of California San Diego and other institutions found that short fragments of circular DNA that encode cancer genes are far more common in cancer cells than previously believed. Published online in the journal Nature, the study also concluded that the circular DNA probably plays a central role in generating the cellular diversity that makes advanced cancers so difficult to treat. The new findings are likely to change the way tumor evolution is understood by scientists and could ultimately lead to new ways to prevent and treat many malignancies. Full Story


Computer Scientist Receives Major Award from Computational Biology Society

The International Society of Computational Biology (ISCB) has announced the winners of its top four awards for 2017, and leading the list is UC San Diego computer-science professor Pavel Pevzner. The Accomplishments by a Senior Scientist Award honors Pevzner's almost 30 years in the field of bioinformatics, and in particular his significant contributions to research and education.  Full Story


Teaching Computers to recognize Sick Guts: Machine-Learning and the Microbiome

A new proof-of-concept study by researchers from the University of California San Diego succeeded in training computers to “learn” what a healthy versus an unhealthy gut microbiome looks like based on its genetic makeup. Since this can be done by genetically sequencing fecal samples, the research suggests there is great promise for new diagnostic tools that are, unlike blood draws, non-invasive.  Full Story