Cellular Origins of Pancreatic Cancer

Our pancreas has two main functions, endocrine control of blood sugar and exocrine production of the enzymes that digest our food. These enzymes are synthesized by pancreatic acinar cells and transported to the intestine through a network of pancreatic duct cells. Pancreatic cancer, the third deadliest cancer in the U.S., was previously assumed, based on histology and gene expression, to arise from duct cells. Continue reading → Cellular Origins of Pancreatic Cancer

Biological Consequences of Reduced Energy Flux and Inefficient Energy Generation

Energy transfer processes are never perfectly efficient. Funai and colleagues have discovered that the degree of inefficiency in cellular energy exchange, particularly during oxidative phosphorylation, has important biological implications. Continue reading → Biological Consequences of Reduced Energy Flux and Inefficient Energy Generation

Signaling Pathways That Underlie Heart Disease

Diseases affecting heart function exact an enormous toll on human health, but many of the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying heart disease remain unknown. Yost and colleagues discovered novel roles for the same developmental signaling pathway in two seemingly unrelated sources of cardiac dysfunction: adult heart failure and embryonic heart malformation. Continue reading → Signaling Pathways That Underlie Heart Disease

Neuronal Circuits that Modulate Pain and Defensive Responses

Understanding pain-processing mechanisms and the neural circuits involved is central to developing new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of pain. The Douglass lab investigated brain regions that modulate behavioral responses to noxious stimuli in zebrafish. Continue reading → Neuronal Circuits that Modulate Pain and Defensive Responses