UK Researcher Leads International Epilepsy Cure Initiative

Posted: 8/1/2016
University of Kentucky College of Medicine Professor Matthew Gentry will direct a team international scientists recently awarded a five-year, $8.5 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to pursue a cure for Lafora’s disease. The International Epilepsy Cure Center based at the UK College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular Medicine and Biochemistry represents a collaborative effort to advance translational research and improve the diagnosis and treatment of Lafora’s disease, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. An inherited neurodegenerative condition, Lafora’s disease appears in patients during adolescence and causes severe epilepsy, loss of speech... FULL STORY
Tags: Research, Biochemistry,  Epilepsy

UK Virologist Becky Dutch Explores the Varying Nature of Viruses

Posted: 2/23/2016
From Zika to Ebola, the emerging viruses of the 21st century pose a threat to populations throughout the world as silent invaders of the human body. While viruses infect most people multiple times a year with varying degrees of severity and symptoms, no two viruses function in exactly the same way.For University of Kentucky virologist Becky Dutch, studying the diverse nature of viruses is an exciting — and sometimes challenging — endeavor. Each individual virus must be treated as a separate entity. Dutch said the details of the infection process of HIV do not necessarily teach researchers about the details of infection processes of other viruses, such as a common... FULL STORY
Tags: Biochemistry, Research

Dutch named American Society of Virology President-Elect

Posted: 10/5/2015
University of Kentucky College of Medicine Professor Rebecca Dutch has been named President-Elect for the American Society for Virology (ASV). The American Society of Virology, comprised of over 3,000 members from around the globe, was founded in 1981 to provide a forum for discussion and collaboration for investigators of human, animal, insect, plant, fungal and bacterial viruses. ASV sponsors a large annual meeting, promotes communication about virology research to the broader community, and represents virologists on national and international scientific councils. Dutch will serve as the ASV president-elect for 2015-2016 and ASV president from 2016-2017. Dutch... FULL STORY
Tags: Faculty, Awards and Recognition, Biochemistry

Muscular Dystrophy Association Funds ALS Research at UK

Posted: 9/16/2015
The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) awarded Haining Zhu, a professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, a three-year, $300,000 grant to study the underlying mechanisms of ALS. In an effort to accelerate treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases, the MDA distributed $10 million in grants this summer to scientists conducting significant research on muscular dystrophy, ALS and other muscle-debilitating diseases. Zhu’s research seeks to understand the mutations of the Fused in Sarcoma (FUS) gene, which is a known cause of ALS. He was one of 36 international researchers — and the only researcher in Kentucky —... FULL STORY
Tags: Research, Biochemistry, ALS

UK Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Link Between Obesity and Cancer

Posted: 8/13/2015
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently awarded a $750,000 grant to University of Kentucky researcher Fredrick Onono to study the potential link between obesity and breast cancer. Obese women are four times more likely to develop treatment-resistant breast cancer, but the exact mechanism for this observation is still largely a mystery. The link between high-fat diets and cancer development provides a clue that fats themselves may somehow be responsible for causing cells to malfunction. Onono, who recently became an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, will work with fellow UK researchers Andrew Morris, Ashwini Anand Professor of Cardiology; Dr... FULL STORY
Tags: Research, Obesity associated complications, National Cancer Institute

UK Board Approves Four University Research Professorships

Posted: 5/9/2015
The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved University Research Professorships for 2015-16 for four faculty members. The professorships carry a $40,000 award to support research. Funds for these annual awards are provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Now in its 39th year, the University Research Professors program's purpose is to enhance and encourage scholarly research productivity, to provide an opportunity for concentrated research effort for selected faculty members, and to recognize outstanding research achievement by members of the faculty. The 2015-16 University Research Professors are: Lance E. De Long, a professor... FULL STORY
Tags: Biochemistry, Faculty

Markey, LLS Host Fourth Annual 'Meet the Researchers Day'

Posted: 5/4/2015
The University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosted their fourth annual "Meet the Researchers Day" last Thursday. Meet the Researchers Day is a field trip given as a prize to two schools in the region who successfully raise more than $1,000 for the LLS's Pennies for Patients campaign. This year, students from Bondurant Middle School (BMS) in Frankfort, Ky., and Shelby County West Middle School (SCWMS) in Shelbyville, Ky., won the opportunity to visit the Biomedical/Biological Sciences Research Building (BBSRB) on UK's campus and learned more about how the money they raised for Pennies for Patients will help further cancer... FULL STORY
Tags: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Study Translates Genetic Risk Factor into Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Posted: 4/2/2015
What if a failed leukemia drug could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease? A team at the University of Kentucky recently led an effort to investigate this hypothesis. Their results were published today in the journal, Human Molecular Genetics. The UK researchers, led by Steve Estus at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, study a genetic variant in a gene called CD33 that reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The Estus group recently published findings suggesting that this variant promotes production of a truncated form of the CD33 protein that lacks a putative functional domain. The CD33 protein is present on microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain. CD33... FULL STORY
Tags: UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, Aging, Alzheimer's disease

New UK Research Facility Gets Green Light From State Legislature

Posted: 3/4/2015
University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto believes it is time "to make death a beggar in Kentucky.” It’s the idea that through world-class research across an array of disciplines, and a commitment to working as partners with communities across the state, some of the most stubborn health challenges and statistics that plague Kentucky can be successfully attacked. On Tuesday, the state General Assembly and Gov. Steve Beshear demonstrated their unwavering commitment to that vision of addressing Kentucky’s most stubborn health disparities by endorsing funding for construction of a $265 million, multidisciplinary research building at UK. The Senate voted 36-... FULL STORY

UK Researchers Solve Metabolic Mystery Lending Insight Into Lafora Disease

Posted: 1/26/2015
Scientists at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have determined how an enzyme essential for energy metabolism functions, solving a mystery eluding molecular biologists for decades. Matthew Gentry, Ph.D, and Craig Vander Kooi, Ph.D, associate professors of molecular and cellular biochemistry, and researcher Madushi Raththagala, Ph.D, recently discovered the role of the enzyme laforin in modifying human glycogen and thereby preventing neurodegeneration. Their work provides fundamental insights that link energy metabolism with the fatal, neurodegenerative form of epilepsy called Lafora disease. These findings were reported Jan. 22, 2015, in the journal,... FULL STORY
Tags: Biochemistry

UK Researcher Explores Gene's Role in Blood Clotting

Posted: 9/19/2014
Two independent groups of researchers led by Sidney "Wally" Whiteheart, PhD, at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Charles Lowenstein, at the University of Rochester, have published important studies exploring the role that a gene called STXBP5 plays in the development of cardiovascular disease. According to Whiteheart, previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified a gene called STXBP5 as a factor that regulates a protein called Von Willebrand factor (VWF). VWF is an important contributor to normal blood clotting. When the endothelial cells that line a blood vessel are injured, VWF is released into the bloodstream, where it "collects" blood... FULL STORY
Tags: Biochemistry, Von Willebrand Factor

Meyer-van der Westhuyzen Study of Oxidized LDL Shows Early Promise For

Posted: 9/4/2014
A team of investigators has made a thought-provoking discovery about a type of cholesterol previously believed to be a "bad guy" in the development of heart disease and other conditions. Jason Meyer, a University of Kentucky M.D.-Ph.D. candidate, worked with Deneys van der Westhuyzen, a professor in the departments of Internal Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, to study the role oxidized LDL plays in the development of plaque inside artery walls. According to Meyer, the medical research community has traditionally believed that oxidized LDL plays a pivotal role in that process. "Oxidized LDL moves rapidly into arterial walls and engorges them... FULL STORY
Tags: Lipid Research, Saha Cardiovascular Research Center