UCSD School of Medicine researcher and professor Jerrold Olefsky received his second Method to Extend Research in Time award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases for his studies on insulin and the body’s resistance to it as a leading cause of diabetes.

The grant, which is rarely given to the same researcher twice, is for $2.6 million and will be paid over five years. Olefsky’s first M.E.R.I.T. award expired in 1997.

M.E.R.I.T. awards are designed to provide researchers with the opportunity for long-term, stable support to enhance their continued scientific creativity and decrease the administrative burdens that grant applications can entail.

Olefsky’s current work focuses on the insulin-signaling pathway that leads to the stimulation of glucose support. In diabetic patients, the body does not produce enough insulin, which is crucial for glucose conversion and leading an active life.

In addition to his work through UCSD, Olefsky is the scientific director of the Whittier Institute for Diabetes in La Jolla. He helped develop insulin-sensitizing drugs that are now standard for Type II diabetes, and he helped define the intracellular pathways for insulin and growth factor action.

UCSD researchers find chemical that blocks build-up in cells

UCSD School of Medicine researchers have found beta-synucleins that halt the excessive build-up of Lewy bodies found in the dying cells of Parkinson’s disease patients.

Eliezer Masliah, professor of neurosciences and pathology, led the investigation. According to Masliah, the naturally occurring b-synucleins inhibited the Lewy body-producing activity of alpha-synuclein in mice. A-synuclein, a cousin of its possible halting agent, has been linked to Parkinson’s patients.

The mechanism by which b-synuclein works is still unknown.

Other members of the UCSD research team included Makoto Hashimoto, Edward Rockenstein, Michael Mante and Margaret Mallory.

The funding for the research was provided by grants from the National Institute of Health and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

UCSD summer session office requests suggestions for 2002

Suggestions for more summer courses are being requested by the UCSD Summer Session Program before Dec. 3.

The program hopes to expand the number and range of summer courses offered by forwarding the list of suggestions to the planning committee. According to results from the course evaluation catalog, the majority of students want more upper-division classes, but the program also intends to offer as many general education classes as possible.

There are about 300 courses now scheduled for this summer.

Input can be submitted by e-mail to [email protected].

The summer session course catalog will be available in mid-April 2002.

San Diego hospitals included in new blood research network

San Diego patients will soon benefit from improvements in the safety and effectiveness of bone-marrow and blood transplantation, thanks to the new Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Research Network.

Recent discoveries in blood and bone-marrow treatments include gene therapy, “”mini-transplants”” that don’t completely abate the bone marrow, use of unrelated donors, and the use of stem cell technology.

The national BMT network was formed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

The new network is comprised of the UCSD/Sharp BMT Program, the Scripps Research Institute, the Scripps Health BMT Program and 13 other clinical centers nationwide.

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