September 2016
Dear colleagues,

The September edition of Discoveries brings you the latest in research news from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) —the Zika virus and the brain, helping cancer patients recover T cells, avoiding the metabolic drawbacks of steroids, and measurable benefits of yoga and meditation.

We also share news about new grants from the NIH, impressive fundraising efforts by a family affected by a rare disease, and this year's Fishman Fund award winners—promising young scientists whose research will benefit from further financial support.

We welcome your feedback!

Zika virus may affect adult brain cells in those with immune deficiencies

New research provides preliminary evidence that certain adult brain cells may be vulnerable to infection by the Zika virus. The Cell Stem Cell paper, to which Alexey Terskikh, Ph.D., associate professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program, contributed, shows that cells critical to learning and memory are infected in immune-compromised mice.

Read more on Beaker >>

Select media coverage: NBC News, Huffington Post, PBS Nova Next, Newsweek

Science News
Rebooting the immune system after a bone marrow transplant

Cancer survivors who receive bone marrow transplants have to wait months until their T cell numbers reach healthy levels. However, new research in the Journal of Immunology identifies a possible way to shorten this recovery time. The study builds on the discoveries of Carl Ware, Ph.D., professor and director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center.

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Select media coverage: ScienceDaily
Surgical Products Magazine

Feast or famine: the switch that helps your liver adapt

A new study from the lab of Timothy Osborne, Ph.D., professor and director of the Integrative Metabolism Program, identifies a previously unknown way that stress hormones (glucocorticoids) control genes in the liver to help the body adapt to the fasting state. The discovery, in Cell Metabolism, could lead to drugs that lessen the metabolic side effects of steroids.

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Select media coverage: ScienceDaily, Science 2.0

Six-day well-being program lowers inflammatory markers in blood

In a controlled clinical trial, a six-day Ayurvedic-based program of a vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga and massages reduced levels of metabolites associated with cardiovascular disease risk and cholesterol regulation. SBP's Scott Peterson, Ph.D., professor in the Bioinformatics and Structural Biology Program, contributed to the study,  published in Scientific Reports.

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Boosting cells' ability to recycle their parts to treat muscular dystrophy

A new study in Cell Death and Differentiation demonstrates that boosting autophagy (cellular recycling) in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy improves muscle regeneration. Pier Lorenzo Puri, M.D., professor in the Development, Aging, and Regeneration Program, collaborated with the Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome on the research.

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Consortium awarded $15 million to unravel bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

SBP's Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics is part of a $15.4 million National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded effort to develop new systems for quickly screening libraries of drugs for potential utility against schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Anne Bang, Ph.D., will lead SBP's work on the project, developing assays and testing prototype drug compounds.
Sanford Burnham Prebys and Florida Hospital awarded $2.7M to examine molecular basis of body shapes

An apple body shape is linked to higher risk for diabetes, heart attack, hypertension and stroke. To understand the molecular reasons for this, Steven Smith, M.D., senior VP and chief scientific officer of Florida Hospital, and Timothy Osborne, Ph.D., professor and director of the Integrative Metabolism Program at SBP, will study the genetic link between body shape and risk of disease.
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"No surrender" to CDG

From a farmhouse in rural Iowa, Crystal Vittetoe is fighting for her two babies afflicted with rare diseases called congenital disorders of glycosylation. She and her family have raised over $37,000 from a single fundraiser, which will support research in the lab of Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., director of the Human Genetics Program.

Read more on Beaker >>

Meet this year's Fishman Fund awardees

On September 15, the Fishman Fund ceremony honored fellowship recipient Joana Borlido, Ph.D., and career development award recipients Bernhard Lechtenberg, Ph.D., and Jia (Zack) Shen, Ph.D. The Fishman Fund awards are an incredible boost to the budding careers of postdocs at SBP. 

Read more on Beaker >>

Welcome to our newest and recently renewed President's Circle Members!

• Rachel and Dan Berdo
• Susan and James Blair

• Kathleen and Roger Brinning

• Stephen J. Cohen

• DAV, Inc

• Drusilla Farwell Foundation

• Terry Erb

• Angela and Dennis Friese

• GE Healthcare

• Gordon Ross Medical Foundation

• Dennis Hammes

• Lynn and Blake Ingle

• Jill and Mark Lukavsky
• Silvana and Alberto Michan

• Dr. Howard and Barbara Milstein

• Hank and Robin Nordhoff

• Ann Riner and John Conyers

• Beth and Norman Saks

• Crystal and Jonathan Vittetoe

• Joshua Vittetoe

• Jennifer and Doug Walner

• Randi and Charles Wax

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