If you’ve ever seen a premature infant, you’ve marveled at just how tiny one can be, fitting in the palm of your hand. About 12 percent of all births are premature, meaning that they occur before 37 weeks. This comes to roughly half a million premature births per year in the United States.

When an infant is born premature, its lungs are not yet fully developed. As a result, preterm infants often struggle to breathe normally and are at-risk for a number of respiratory complications. These complications are costly and dangerous. Katelyn Dunigan is a doctoral student in UAB’s Graduate Biomedical Sciences program. She currently conducts research on bronchopulmonary dysplasia in Dr. Trent Tipple’s laboratory.

Children’s of Alabama is adding a surgical resident and Ph.D. student to its repertoire of award-winning research scientists. Raoud Marayati, M.D., is putting up a fight against the villain behind pediatric liver cancer’s biggest enemy: metastatic hepatoblastoma.

Hepatoblastoma is the most common liver cancer in children and typically diagnosed within the first 5 years of life. When this type of tumor spreads throughout the body, these children are sick and are bound to receive chemotherapy (or something like that) for most of their pre-school years. The prognosis for these young children is poor and new treatment therapies have not been developed in more than 20 years. Working in the research lab of Elizabeth Beierle, M.D., Marayati is out to change that.

Think about the hobbies you have. It may be running or weight lifting, playing music or drawing. Now, think about your work. Does it involve writing or typing? Do you have to drive to get there every day?

Many of our jobs and hobbies require fine motor skills and coordinated movement, and most of the time, we don’t even think about it. We are able to type on our computers, go for a morning run and do the chores around the house without having to concentrate too much on our coordination. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for people living with Parkinson’s disease. To them, the simplest tasks may be impossible to complete.

Forty percent of adults in the United States are obese, classified as having a BMI greater than 25.

This statistic is shocking considering that obesity is a significant risk factor for several serious illnesses, like heart disease, liver disease, diabetes and cancer. In the interest of our country’s health, there is a critical need for effective treatments for obesity.

“Science is hard.”

This is what third-year graduate student Sarah Adkins was told by a science professor as an undergraduate when she developed test anxiety that caused spasms in her hands – turning them blue!

Did you know that protein is related to cancer? Many of us know that protein aids in muscle growth, but fewer of us know that overproduction of protein by our bodies’ cells can enable cancerous growth, once started, to continue. This, along with other reasons, makes it incredibly important for researchers here at UAB to learn more about protein production in our cells. And that’s just what Catie Scull, a UAB doctoral student in biochemistry, is doing.

If you are one of the many people that wear glasses or contacts, you know what it feels like to experience the world as a blurry place. You’ve squinted your eyes, trying to read a word that looks like a squiggle. You’ve seen colors and lines bleed into a hazy fog. As you watched your eyeglasses prescription strengthen year after year, you may have wondered, could there have been a way to prevent this?

Everyone has, at some point in their life, held a baby in their arms. They could be your children, grandchildren, niece or nephew or siblings. Have you ever stopped to wonder how many things must have happened perfectly in sync from the time the baby is a single cell in the mother’s womb to the time that you hold it in your arms? There is an unimaginable number of tiny things that can go wrong in the process, even in a single organ like the heart. When that occurs, the baby is said to have the congenital heart defects (CHD).

Few of us realize the amount of electronic waste (E-waste) the world population is generating. New laptops, computers, smart phones and iPhones are replaced so fast by users looking for more capacity, speed, better resolution. In today’s world, most of our technological devices are replaced as the fast-changing technology has a better version. Ever wondered what happened to all those devices after they are thrown out?

Usually when we think about our eyes, we think about the things our eyes are doing when we’re awake – such as the things we see. But what happens when our eyes are closed, such as when we’re sleeping? In fact, we sleep for about one-third of our lives, which means that our eyes are closed for one-third of the time, as well. So, what is happening during that time to our eyes? Cameron Postnikoff, a fifth-year doctoral student in the UAB Vision Science Graduate Program, is interested in this very question. In particular, he’s interested in understanding what happens to the ocular surface during sleep, which is the outermost surface of the eye.