Recent News

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 ( 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

Big data for chemistry: new method helps identify antibiotics in mass spectrometry datasets

An international team of computer scientists has for the first time developed a method to find antibiotics hidden in huge but still unexplored mass spectrometry datasets. They detailed their new method, called DEREPLICATOR, in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature Chemical Biology.   Full Story

What Molecules You Leave on Your Phone Reveal About Your Lifestyle

We leave behind trace chemicals, molecules and microbes on every object we touch. By sampling the molecules on cell phones, UC San Diego researchers constructed lifestyle sketches for each phone’s owner, including diet, preferred hygiene products, health status and locations visited. This proof-of-concept study could have a number of applications, including environmental exposure studies, medication adherence monitoring, clinical trial participant stratification, criminal profiling and airport screening. Full Story

Dog Poop Microbiome Predicts Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Our gut microbiomes — the varieties of microbes living in our digestive tracts — may play a role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). UC San Diego researchers analyzed microbiome information in fecal samples from dogs to predict which dogs had IBD and which did not. This is part of a larger research effort on campus to improve human health, at the level of individuals and communities, through microbiome science.   Full Story

Crowdsourcing the Transformation of Mass Spectrometry Big Data into Scientific Living Data

In a landmark paper published in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology, 127 scientists from a consortium of universities and research labs in the U.S. and worldwide report for the first time on the establishment of an online, crowdsourced knowledge base and workbench that could be a game-changer for the study of natural products that could potentially be useful in the development of the next antibiotic, better pesticides, or more effective cancer drugs. Full Story