Scientists at UCSD have discovered a new class of genes in the roundworm C. elegans, which is responsible for the early stages of animal embryo development.

Raffi V. Aroian, an assistant professor of biology who led the study, sought a better understanding of how the mechanisms of the genes work.

The results of his study will be published in the May issue of the journal “”Developmental Biology.”” The published findings indicate that the scientists have discovered how to regulate the cells in animal embryo development that traditionally divide asymmetrically, resulting in an unequally sized pair of cells.

In a normal embryo, the larger cell develops into the outer parts of the embryo, such as the skin, and the smaller cell develops into the inner parts of the embryo, such as the muscles.

With unequal division, if one cell dies, the other cell is likely to die as well. The scientists’ discovery, which are called pod genes, can cause the cells to divide equally, thus giving them a better chance for survival.

The team’s research was supported by the National Science Foundation, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation and the University of California’s Cancer Research Coordinating Committee.

UCSD Scientists Identify Genes That Aid Kidney Development

Researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine have traced kidney development using DNA gene-chip technology and novel software.

The study was conducted in the lab of Sanjay Nigam, professor of pediatrics and medicine, who currently holds the Nancy Kaehr Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research.

The results of the study, which will be published in the May 1 issue of Proceedints of the National Academy of Sciences, found the genes that become active and then shut off in the development of the kidney.

The research was done using DNA fragments representing known sequences of genes and replicating them on silicon chips. By mingling these with rat RNA, the scientists achieved complimentary sequences, thus allowing them to map kidney function.

The findings may someday lead to an ability to create an artificial kidney.

The research was conducted at the UCSD departments of medicine and pediatrics and the UCSD Cancer Center. It was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and the Medicine Education and Research Foundation.

Keck Foundation Gives $2M for New Imaging Facility

The W.M. Keck Foundation has given UCSD a $2 million grant to help build a new UCSD Center for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

The state-of-the-art facility has already been planned in collaboration with The Salk Institute. With the new facility in place, researchers will be able to conduct sophisticated studies of the structure and function of the brain.

The building, which will span 6,500 square feet, will be named the W.M. Keck Building.

The facility will house four different imaging systems and will aid in the study of behavior, perception, memory, language and the abnormal functions of the brain which manifest as disorders.

Also unique about the center will be the ability for students at UCSD and surrounding institutes to observe in the research.

The W.M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 and has made a habit of contributing money in the fields of physical and life science.

Gordon Gill Named Interim Dean of Student Affairs

Gordon Gill, who has been a professor at UCSD for 32 years, will serve as interim dean for scientific affairs for the UCSD School of Medicine. He will replace Nobel Laureate George Palade, who is retiring as dean, but remaining at the school as a professor emeritus.

Gill, in addition to his tenure as a professor is the chair of the Faculty of Basic Biomedical Sciences, has been instrumental in the growth of medical research at UCSD.

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