News » Archives » October 2013

Notre Dame researchers look at benefits of flu vaccines in the elderly

Author: Sarah Craig

Benjamin Ridenhour

New research at the University of Notre Dame looks more closely at the effects of the influenza vaccine on the elderly, who are considered the highest-risk group for influenza-related mortality.

Despite the fact that the elderly are more susceptible to falling ill, very little is known about how well the influenza vaccination performs for those older than 65 years of age

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A new way to counter ovarian cancer’s drug resistance

Author: Michael Rodio

Ovarian cancer cells

Standing at a microscope in her Harper Hall laboratory, Dr. Karen Cowden Dahl is scanning through a petri dish filled with cancer cells that could represent a major step forward in ovarian cancer research.

Ovarian cancer is especially cruel because it is so hard to detect. While other types of cancer like breast cancer have reliable indicators that allow for early detection, ovarian cancer is hard to catch in its early stages.

But Cowden Dahl has found a biological marker that could be the long sought-after warning flag for ovarian cancer: ARID3B, a ubiquitous but poorly-understood transcription factor gene that acts like a switchboard operator by turning genes on and off in normal cells.

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Talk Science seminar highlights research projects in biology and biochemistry

Author: Shadia Ajam

Talk Science seminar

The students from Scientia, the undergraduate journal of scientific research, host a monthly seminar series called Talk Science that highlights the work of undergraduate and faculty researchers in the College of Science. This month’s presenters were senior biochemistry major Elizabeth Nuter and Nicole Achee, associate research professor of biological sciences.

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Notre Dame network physicist describes network model of brain’s connectivity

Author: Stephanie Healey

Zoltan Toroczkai

A new paper by Zoltán Toroczkai, professor of physics and concurrent professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and his collaborators provides a predictive model of cerebral cortical connectivity at the interareal level. The study was published in the Oct. 2 issue of the journal Neuron.

The cerebral cortex is responsible for all the sensory, motor and cognitive functions of an individual and is arguably the most powerful known supercomputer.

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Notre Dame researchers make progress toward a treatment for dangerous allergies

Author: Arnie Phifer


New research published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology shows that a group of scientists, led by faculty at the University of Notre Dame, has made concrete progress toward the development of the first-ever inhibitory therapeutic for type-I hypersensitive allergic reactions.

“Our allergy inhibition project is innovative and significant because we brought a novel molecular design approach to selectively inhibit ‘mast cell degranulation’–the key event in triggering a food allergic response–which has the potential to improve the quality of life for affected patients,” explains Basar Bilgicer, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame and an investigator in the university’s Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics initiative

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Notre Dame researchers uncover keys to antibiotic resistance in MRSA

Author: Marissa Gebhard


University of Notre Dame researchers Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang and their collaborators in Spain have published research results this week that show how methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) regulates the critical crosslinking of its cell wall in the face of beta-lactam antibiotics.

The work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the mechanistic basis for how the MRSA bacterium became such a difficult pathogen over the previous 50 years, in which time it spread rapidly across the world.

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