Microbiology News

Genetic clues to kidney disease uncovered

Briles.AAASUsing international genomic studies backed by proof-of-concept cell experiments, researchers have identified two genes that contribute to the chronic kidney disease glomerulonephritis.

This provides new genetic clues to understanding IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune kidney disease that commonly causes kidney failure. The findings are relevant to IgA nephropathy and other diseases with similar underlying molecular defects, such as inflammatory bowel disease, certain types of blood disease and cancer.

“Very little is known about the causes of IgA nephropathy, genetic or otherwise, so our discovery represents an important step toward developing better therapies for this disease,” said lead author Krzysztof Kiryluk, M.D., the Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columba University Medical Center. Read more ...

Majoring in defense: UAB’s new Undergraduate Immunology Program

Briles.AAASIt doesn’t matter whether you live in Beverly Hills or a Brazilian favela — every human being is only a few inches away from disaster. From birth to death, on our arms, legs and everywhere else, each of us carries microbes that would love to get under our skin and reproduce, with potentially fatal results. A paper cut, an insect bite, an untimely rubbing of the eyes — it takes very little for bacteria, viruses and other invaders to get inside and start wreaking havoc. Read more ...

Three UAB faculty members selected as fellows by world’s largest general scientific society

Briles.AAASFaculty members from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s College of Arts and Sciences and School of Medicine have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific society and a leading publisher of cutting-edge research through its Science family of journals.

Charles Amsler, Ph.D., professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Biology, Steven Austad, Ph.D., distinguished professor and chair of the Department of Biology, and David Briles, Ph.D., professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and Department of Pediatrics, are UAB’s three representatives in the 2016 class of AAAS fellows. Read more ...

Vaccination of newborn mice with bacteria suppresses asthma as adults

Kahan2The hygiene hypothesis proposes that a 20th century surge in allergies and asthma is because people are living in increasingly hygienic environments. Rather than the rural farm life of the agricultural 19th century, families live in urban and suburban communities, have fewer children who can exchange infections, bathe and wash their hands more frequently, and use antibiotics excessively. This all means reduced infant exposure to microbes that would have tempered excessive immune reactions, such as asthma, later in life. Read more ...

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fernandezTimothy Fernandez, a Beckman Scholar in Dr. Jamil Saad’s lab, will give a 30-minute presentation on his research at the Beckman Foundation's Scholars Symposium to be held July 25-27 at the Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, California.

A senior in the University Honors Program, Fernandez is one of UAB's three inaugural Beckman scholars. He is one of six students chosen from the nationwide pool of Beckman Scholars to present his research at the Beckman Symposium. Saad, who is representing the 15 Beckman UAB mentors at this year's symposium, will introduce Fernandez.

Fernandez has published three papers in professional journals. He is an author on two papers in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (2010 and 2011) and one paper in Frontiers of Virology (2012). Additionally, Timothy is first author on a paper under review at the Journal of Biological Chemistry. He has given presentations at more than 15 conferences, both on his research and other scholarly activities, at local (UAB EXPOs), state (Alabama Academy of Sciences; University of Alabama System Honors Research Conference), regional (Southern Regional Honors Council, the American Chemical Society Southeastern Undergraduate Research Conference), and national (National Conference on Undergraduate Research; American Chemical Society; and National Collegiate Honors Council) throughout his undergraduate career.