News » Archives » June 2013

The 'gold' standard: A rapid, cheap method of detecting dengue virus

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Fraser and Carter

University of Notre Dame biologists are reporting the development of an easy-to-use, low-cost method of detecting dengue virus in mosquitoes based on gold nanoparticles. Their research is published in the Virology Journal this week.

The assay they have developed is able to detect lower levels of the virus than current tests, and is easy to transport and use in remote regions.

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Joyce Coffee named managing director of ND-GAIN

Author: William G. Gilroy

Joyce Coffee

Joyce E. Coffee, who has extensive experience working on climate change and sustainability — particularly in the government and corporate sectors — has been named managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN).

ND-GAIN is the world’s leading index showing which countries are best prepared to deal with the droughts, superstorms and other natural disasters climate change can cause. ND-GAIN ranks countries based on how vulnerable they are to climate change, and how prepared they are to adapt to the storms, droughts and heat waves that scientists predict will increase in the coming decades. The index moved to Notre Dame from Washington, D.C., in April.

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Geoffrey Siwo participates in NASA’s Singularity University

Author: Sarah Craig

Ferdig and Siwo

Congratulations to Geoffrey Siwo, a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Eck Institute for Global Health member Michael Ferdig, PhD, as more accolades are bestowed upon him. Siwo was selected for a 2013 entrepreneurial summer program at Singularity University, an institution founded by NASA, Genentech, Autodesk, Google, Nokia, Cisco, Kauffman Foundation, and ePlanet Capital. Their mission is to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. His participation in the program will be at NASA's Silicon Valley campus and is supported with a full scholarship for 10 weeks. Siwo is one of only 80 people from 38 countries invited to participate in this exclusive program out of over 3000 applicants.

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Notre Dame and Harper researchers developing novel method to test for HPV and oral cancers

Author: William G. Gilroy

biochem

Research being carried out at the University of Notre Dame and its affiliated Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) may lead to the development of a rapid, cost-effective means of screening for oral cancers and the human papillomavirus.

M. Sharon Stack, Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the HCRI and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, points out that oral cancers are a significant global health problem.

Stack and Hsueh-Chia Chang, Bayer Professor of Engineering and director of Notre Dame’s Center for Microfluidics and Medical Diagnostics, are attempting to prescreen for oral cancer and HPV by examining the micro-RNAs of tumor cells. They are working on developing a microfluidic sensor to help detect the presence of tumor cells.

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Dean to bike more than 3,000 miles in fourth annual Road to Discovery ride

Author: Stephanie Healey

Road to Discovery

Gregory Crawford, dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, will be embarking on his fourth annual bicycle ride on June 27 (Thursday) to raise funds for research to find a cure or treatments for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease. He will be biking 3,476 miles from Los Angeles to Baltimore and will arrive on Aug. 2. By the end of this year’s journey, he will have biked more than 11,200 miles to raise awareness for the rare genetic disease.

NPC is a cholesterol-storage disorder that primarily affects children before or during adolescence. The disease causes cholesterol to accumulate in the body’s cells and eventually leads to neurodegenerative problems that are always fatal. Legendary Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian lost three of his grandchildren to the devastating disease.

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New paper offers insights into how cancer cells avoid cell death

Author: William G. Gilroy

cancer cell

A new study by a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame provides an important new insight into how cancer cells are able to avoid the cell death process. The findings may reveal a novel chemotherapeutic approach to prevent the spread of cancers.

Metastasis, the spread of cancer from one organ to other parts of the body, relies on cancer cells’ ability to evade a cell death process called anoikis, according to Zachary T. Schafer, Coleman Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology at Notre Dame. Metastasizing cancer cells are able to block anoikis, which normally results from detachment from the extracellular matrix. However, Schafer notes that the molecular mechanisms that cancer cells detached from the extracellular matrix use to survive have not been well understood.

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NPC Conference fosters research collaborations, family connections

Author: Gene Stowe

Olaf Wiest presents his research at the Michael, Marcia, and Christa Parseghian Scientific Conference for Niemann-Pick Type C

Some 75 researchers and family members from around the world attended the Michael, Marcia, and Christa Parseghian Scientific Conference for Niemann-Pick Type C on June 13-15. The event included more than 20 scientific presentations, posters, events for families, and shared receptions.

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Disease-carrying mosquitos pack twice the punch

Author: Sarah Craig

Anopheles mosquito

An international team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health and Imperial College London has recently published its work on a malaria-filaria co-transmission model, where the same mosquito transmits both diseases together. Found in large areas of sub-Saharan Africa, one mosquito genus, Anopheles, carries both the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and the microfilarial worm Wuchereria bancrofti, which causes lymphatic filariasis, which can develop into elephantiasis.

According to lead researcher Edwin Michael, professor of biological sciences specializing in epidemiology at the University of Notre Dame, “This has major implications for the transmission of each disease in endemic settings, and, of course, for developing better control interventions that ensure that removal of one disease does not have a profound (a worse health impact) outcome for diseases caused by the other pathogen.”

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University to host seventh annual Arthropod Genomics Symposium

Author: Sarah Craig

Arthropod Genomics Symposium

The Eck Institute for Global Health is hosting the 2013 Arthropod Genomics Symposium and VectorBase Workshop Wednesday-Saturday (June 12-15) at McKenna Hall at the University of Notre Dame.

More than 225 researchers from around the globe will gather to discuss current and future research. The researchers who are presenting are at the forefront of genomic approaches to arthropods, both model organisms and those of agricultural or health relevance. Some will share methods for developing tools for genomic analysis. The symposium will be broken into sessions including emerging genomes, epigenomics, systems biology/population genomics and ecological genomics/metagenomics. The event includes a vendor fair and two poster sessions where more than 125 posters will be presented.

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Researchers share progress and discoveries at Parseghian scientific conference

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Researcher Frederick Maxfield leads a presentation at the 2012 NPC research conference

Thirty-two researchers from universities and institutions around the world will present their latest research findings at the 2013 Michael, Marcia and Christa Parseghian Scientific Conference for Niemann-Pick Type C Research on June 13-15 (Thursday-Saturday) in the Jordan Hall of Science at the University of Notre Dame.

The three-day conference is split into seven sessions with international representatives from the Netherlands, Germany, France, New Zealand, Chile, Hungary and Switzerland, as well as researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, Scripps Research Institute, the National Institutes of Health and many other universities and institutes.

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Center for Mathematics’ Motivic Invariants and Singularities draws international participants

Author: Gene Stowe

Center for Mathematics conference

An international conference with some 80 participants on June 3-7 completed the Center for Mathematics at Notre Dame’s thematic program, Motivic Invariants and Singularities. The program included a week of summer school for undergraduates and another for graduate students and postdoctoral associates before the conference. Nero Budur, who came to Notre Dame six years ago, organized the event with François Loeser of the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris and Mircea Mustata of the University of Michigan.

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Dobrowolska-Furdyna appointed to associate dean for undergraduate studies

Author: Stephanie Healey

Malgorzata Dobrowolska-Furdyna

Malgorzata Dobrowolska-Furdyna, the Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Professor of Physics, has been appointed to the position of associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Science.  In this role, she will direct the undergraduate affairs of the College of Science, serve as chair of the college undergraduate committee, and will be the liaison to the Registrar's Office and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

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For breast cancer survival, treat depression

Author: Gail Hinchion Mancini

Rudolph M

Research being presented at two international conferences this summer demonstrates that breast cancer survival improves when a patient’s depressive symptoms—a common occurrence among cancer patients-- are detected and addressed.

The study, by Rudolph M. Navari, MD, Ph.D., FACP,  at the University of Notre Dame and associate professor and dean of the Indian School reports on the experiences of some 200 breast cancer patients five years after their initial diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer and the detection of depressive symptoms in the wake of their diagnosis. The research is being presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists in Chicago June 2 and at the annual meetings of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Berlin, Germany on June 29. Navari is an adjunct professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and associate dean and director of Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend.

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Stahelin named Showalter Scholar

Author: Gail Hinchion Mancini

Rob Stahelin

Robert V. Stahelin, adjunct assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend (IUSM-SB), has been selected as one of four inaugural Showalter Scholars at IUSM.

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Astronomers discover light echo from supernova

Author: Marissa Gebhard

The NGC 1015 galaxy that hosted supernova 2009ig

Astronomers have discovered light echoing off material surrounding a recent supernova explosion, SN 2009ig. The dust and gas that are reflecting the light are so close to the eruption center that it is likely related to the progenitor star. This discovery supports the theory that exploding white dwarfs become unstable from matter donated by large, non-degenerate stars.

The light echo seen from SN 2009ig is only the sixth discovered from a type Ia supernova, and it is the most luminous of the echoes.

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Notre Dame science alumni address global health during reunion weekend

Author: Gene Stowe

Kevin Olehnik in Haiti

Three Notre Dame Science alumni participated in a panel discussion, “From ND Labs on Campus to Life in the Real World: How Notre Dame Scientists are Making a Difference,” on June 1, during Alumni Reunion Weekend. The Eck Institute for Global Health sponsored the gathering, moderated by Mary Ann McDowell, a member of the institute and an associate professor of biological sciences.

Participants were Dr. Kevin Olehnik (’78), Chief of Surgery at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport, Maine; Dr. Mary Oconnor (’83), an internist and pediatrician at Everett Clinic in Seattle, Wash.; and Dr. Michael C. Dugan, (’83), chief medical officer at bioTheranostics Inc. in San Diego, Calif.

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Sputnik-era physics majors return to Notre Dame

Author: Gene Stowe

Physics Class of 1963

They came to Notre Dame in the late 1950s, in the wake of Sputnik, with a sky-high U.S. commitment to science education and the University of Notre Dame already recognized as a leading center for physics research. Ten members of the Class of ’63 returned for Alumni Weekend, their 50th anniversary, for a tour of Jordan Hall of Science, the Museum of Biodiversity and the Digital Visualization Theater, and the new nuclear accelerator in Nieuwland.

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