Research Roundup: April 2018

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GCB News

Research Roundup: April 2018

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

the Human Experience

Avshalom Caspi and Terrie Moffitt were part of a research group that built a detailed, integrative profile of the correlates of young adults’ feelings of loneliness, in terms of their current health and functioning and their childhood experiences and circumstances. They found that young adults’ experience of loneliness co-occurs with a diverse range of problems, with potential implications for health in later life. The findings underscore the importance of early intervention to prevent lonely young adults from being trapped in loneliness as they age. Read more

Terrie Moffit and Avshalom Caspi summarize the history of the unidimensional idea, review modern research into the single dimension of psychopathology (p), demystify statistical models, articulate some implications of p for prevention and clinical practice, and outline a transdiagnostic research agenda. Read more

Disease and Antibiotics

Lingchong You and team found a strong relationship between growth and lysis rates that is generally applicable to diverse pairs of beta lactam antibiotics and bacteria. This correlation lays the foundation for predicting bacterial population dynamics during beta lactam antibiotics treatments, which is critical for designing effective antibiotic dosing protocols to address the rising antibiotic resistance crisis. Read more

Cholera is a public health problem worldwide and the risk factors for infection are only partially understood. Lawrence David, Firas Midani, Heather Durand, Justin Silverman and team found that machine learning models based on gut microbiota predicted Vibrio cholerae infection as well as models based on known clinical and epidemiological risk factors. These findings support the hypothesis that abnormal gut microbial communities are a host factor related to V. cholerae susceptibility. Read more

Xiling Shen and team show that an FDA-approved drug originally designed to treat cancer may be more useful in treating tuberculosis. Read more

Paul Magwene and team describe genome-wide estimates of recombination rates in Cryptococcus deneoformans and compare recombination between progeny from α-α unisexual and a-α bisexual crosses. They found that offspring from bisexual crosses have modestly higher average rates of recombination than those derived from unisexual crosses. Read more

Xiling Shen and team report the role of Fringe family of glycosyltransferases in modulating Notch activity in the small intestine. Notch pathway is a potential therapeutic target, but blocking the pathway leads to serious GI related side effects. Targeting the Notch pathway through fringe could be a viable strategy to exclusively modulate intestinal epithelial regeneration or its functions, absorption and mucus secretion. Read more


Ashley Chi and team developed an unbiased single-cell approach to determine which transcripts are expressed in male versus female Plasmodium gametocytes. Read more

Tim Reddy and team describe a probabilistic approach for predicting recent changes to gene structure that may or may not conserve function. The model is applicable to both coding and noncoding genes and can be trained on existing gene annotations without requiring curated examples of aberrant splicing. Read more

Charlie Gersbach and team used a CRISPR/Cas9 genetic engineering technique to turn off a gene that regulates cholesterol levels in adult mice, leading to reduced blood cholesterol levels and gene repression lasting for six months after a single treatment. Read more

Reviews & Perspectives

To manage human gut microbiota, Lawrence David details the methods he is currently developing in three research domains: 1.) refining in vitro tools to experimentally study gut microbes at high throughput and in controlled settings; 2.) adapting “big data” techniques to overcome statistical challenges confronting microbiota modeling; and 3.) testing study designs that can streamline human testing of microbiota manipulations. Read more

Sandeep Dave and Jennifer Shingleton review the genetic foundations of different rare lymphomas to examine their shared origins. These data indicate the potential application of genomics to improve the diagnosis and treatment of these rare diseases. Read more

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