Research Roundup: October 2018

stack of books
GCB News

Research Roundup: October 2018

Here are summaries of a selection of the papers published by GCB faculty in October 2018:


Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt worked with a team to compare genetic correlations from four different methods and examine their support for a genetic p factor, which has been recently been proposed to capture a person’s liability to mental disorder. Read more

Age is the predominant risk factor for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases, yet finding a model for aging in cells remains a challenge. Senior author Ornit Chiba-Falek, Ph.D., lead author Lidia Tagliafierro, Ph.D., and Madison Zamora developed a model of neuronal nuclear aging involving multiplication of the SNCA locus. Read more

Doug Marchuk and team developed the first study that visualizes, with single-cell resolution, the clonal expansion of mutant endothelial cells within cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM), which may help enhance researchers understanding of CCMs and may provide more novel therapeutic opportunities. Read more

Cancer results from the accumulation of genetic mutations in a susceptible cell of origin, and research has shown that injury can promote sarcoma development. Sandeep Dave worked with a team to begin to understand how injury cooperates with genetic mutations at the earliest stages of tumor formation. Read more

Certain diseases, like arthritis, can cause pain and loss of joint function that can lead to the need for total joint replacement. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) show promise for cartilage regenerative therapies, but their low efficiency and variability has been a major hurdle. Charlie Gersbach worked with a team to develop a protocol and a genome-engineered hiPSC line to improve efficiency and lower the variability of these stem cells. Read more

DNA Replication

David MacAlpine and team combined histone gene engineering and whole-genome sequencing in Drosophila to determine  how perturbing chromatin structure affects replication initiation. Read more


Lawrence David and team present evidence that microbiota occupy a habitat that is limited in total nitrogen supply within the large intestines of 30 mammal species. Read more

Red Blood Cells

Ashley Chi and colleagues have found a way to help sporting officials detect whether an athlete’s blood has been doped by an infusion of their own stored blood. Read more


Bruce Donald and his lab released OSPREY 3.0, a new and improved version of the OSPREY protein design software. Learn more about and download OSPREY 3.0

Related News

9 images of bacteria in blooming patterns

Postdoc Blooms in GCB

Most people don’t think of bacteria and art together, but maybe they should. Bacteria formations can cause stunning and diverse patterns that resemble museum-quality artwork.
 in vivo imaging of a zebrafish larva

How the Microbiota Controls Neutrophil Activity

A host protein called Serum Amyloid A (Saa) is a major factor mediating the effects of the microbiota on the function of immune cells called neutrophils, according to a study published March 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by John Rawls of Duke University School of Medicine, and colleagues.
two students in lab


The Duke FOCUS Program is an exciting opportunity for freshman students to get exposed to ideas fro