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MU Research of Zebrafish Neurons May Lead to Better Understanding of Birth Defects like Spina Bifida

The zebrafish, a tropical freshwater fish similar to a minnow and native to the southeastern Himalayan region, is well established as a key tool for researchers studying human diseases, including brain disorders. Using zebrafish, scientists can determine how individual neurons develop, mature and support basic functions like breathing, swallowing and jaw movement. Researchers at the University of Missouri say that learning about neuronal development and maturation in zebrafish could lead to a better understanding of birth defects such as spina bifida in humans.

550 Million Year Old Fossils Provide New Clues about Fossil Formation

A new study from University of Missouri and Virginia Tech researchers is challenging accepted ideas about how ancient soft-bodied organisms become part of the fossil record. Findings suggest that bacteria involved in the decay of those organisms play an active role in how fossils are formed—often in a matter of just a few tens to hundreds of years. Understanding the relationship between decay and fossilization will inform future study and help researchers interpret fossils in a new way.

MU Scientist and Inventor Contributes to the Study of Cell Genetics

Cytogenetics is a branch of science that studies the structure and function of cells with a focus on the chromosomes found within the cell. Often, plant cell researchers can be limited in their experiments due to the lack of methods available to study these complex structures. Using tools created and patented by James Birchler, a scientist at the University of Missouri, plant researchers are able to break down and engineer small parts of a chromosome and further their research. In the future, these techniques could allow scientists to introduce multiple disease-resistant traits to plants.

MU Scientist and Inventor Advances the Study of Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology, or the use of microscopic structures to diagnose, image, treat and prevent disease. Current problems in nanomedicine include understanding and anticipating the potentially toxic impact these nanostructures have on the body and the environment once they’re released. Kattesh Katti, a researcher at the University of Missouri, is developing nano-scale molecules, including gold nanoparticles and other “green” technologies, to image and treat diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and degeneration of the eye—all while curtailing the impact these structures sometimes have on the body and environment.

Certain Parenting Tactics Could Lead to Materialistic Attitudes in Adulthood

information, contact Nathan Hurst: hurstn@missouri.edu.

Testosterone May Contribute to Colon Cancer Tumor Growth

Previous cancer research has revealed that women are less likely than men to suffer from non-sex specific cancers such as cancer of the colon, pancreas and stomach. Scientists theorized that perhaps this trend was due to a protecting effect created by female hormones, such as estrogen, that help prevent tumors from forming. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found evidence suggesting that the male hormone testosterone may actually be a contributing factor in the formation of colon cancer tumors.

Decades of Research by MU Scientist Leads to Advancements in Nanotechnologies

Nanotechnology is the study and engineering of matter and microscopic structures. These tiny systems continue to gain interest for their promise and commercial application. Henry C. “Hank” Foley, a researcher and administrator at the University of Missouri, is a pioneer in the study of nanoporous carbon, or tiny membranes and systems that allow energy sources to pass through or become stored in these structures. His analysis and scholarship in nanosystems and how they are composed continues to inform research fields of study including medicine, materials processing, energy and the environment.

MU Researcher Leads Developments in Pharmaceuticals and Energy Storage

Chemistry is a branch of physical science studying composition, structure and properties of matter. With decades of study and a deep understanding of the field, Jerry Atwood, a researcher at the University of Missouri, is a prolific chemist who has guided the study of molecules and how they interact in the physical world. His discoveries have led to new ways of developing drugs more efficiently and better fuel storage capabilities. Atwood is considered a founding father in the field of supramolecular chemistry, or what he describes as “chemistry beyond the molecule.”

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