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molecular physiology and biophysics Archives

Setting traps to probe gene function

Oct. 18, 2012—A new method for creating genetic mutations that can be activated at certain times or in specific tissues will enable studies to probe gene function.

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VU recruit’s work lights up genetic ‘dark matter’

Oct. 11, 2012—They’ve been called “junk DNA” and genetic “dark matter” — the long segments of the human genome (98 percent of it) that do not encode protein.

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Amish aid search for Alzheimer’s genes

Oct. 11, 2012—An analysis of Amish populations revealed novel risk genes for late-onset Alzheimer disease.

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Cells with LIP eat their neighbors

Sep. 13, 2012—A transcription factor called LIP is capable of causing one cell to consume another.

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High school student speeds anti-obesity research at VU

Jul. 26, 2012—A California high school student helped accelerate an anti-obesity drug discovery program at Vanderbilt University this summer — and provided the proof-of-principle for a new technique that could save the lab an estimated $250,000 in the process.

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Vanderbilt-led team to develop ‘microbrain’ to improve drug testing

Jul. 24, 2012—Creating a device out of human cells that simulates brain chemistry is the goal of a $6.4 million grant which is part of major new federal initiative to develop a series of “organs on a chip” designed to improve the drug development process.

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Receptor’s role in nutrition brain circuitry

Jul. 3, 2012—New findings point to brain circuitry that communicates about the body’s nutritional status and regulates how nutrients are mobilized.

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Probing the roots of depression by tracking serotonin regulation at a new level

Jun. 27, 2012—An interdisciplinary team of scientists have successfully tagged a protein that regulates the neurotransmitter serotonin with tiny fluorescent beads, allowing them to track the movements of individual molecules for the first time. This capability makes it possible to study the manner in which serotonin regulates mood, appetite and sleep at a new level of detail.

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New clue to ADHD

May. 15, 2012—A rare genetic change adds support to the idea that altered dopamine signaling is a key risk factor for ADHD.

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Probing epilepsy’s molecular sparks

May. 10, 2012—Understanding how mutations in neuronal receptors contribute to epilepsy could lead to improved therapies.

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Obesity turns “good” cholesterol bad

Mar. 21, 2012—Studies offer new insights into how obesity impairs the function of HDL, the “good” cholesterol.

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Alcohol’s molecular mediators

Jan. 23, 2012—Therapeutic agents focusing on the brain region involved in stress-induced relapse may be effective in preventing relapse in patients with alcohol use disorders.

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