This fall, a new diversion emerged for a certain scientific set—those for whom Prevotella melaninogenica rolls easily off the tongue. Appearing as the after-hours entertainment at Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomics 2016, and other conferences focused on bacteria, is Gut Check, a board game created by David Coil, project scientist in microbial ecology and genomics at University of California, Davis (USA).
Kirsten Ward-Hartstonge, a PhD student researching the immune response in people with colorectal cancer, recently won the Young Researcher Award at the annual conference of the New Zealand Society for Oncology. The Young Researcher Award (previously known as the Eli Lilly Award) for the best presentation by a trainee or young member of the Society at the meeting. The cash prize is intended to advance the recipient's career in oncology.
In a recent study, it was shown that gut bacterial strains cospeciated with apes and humans over the past 15 million years. This discovery means that scientists can study evolutionary processes that created the necessary symbiotic relationships between people and their gut microbiome.
Researchers have developed a small molecule inhibitor that blocks a signaling pathway essential to cancer stem cell development.
A new paper published in the scientific journal, PNAS, highlights the viral component of your gut microbiome, in particular, the viruses that infect bacteria.
"The community of microbes – the microbiome – living in a baby’s gut can be influenced by the mother’s diet during pregnancy. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that babies born to mothers who consumed a high-fat diet during pregnancy had a gut microbiome that was distinctly different from the one in babies of mothers on a non-high-fat diet. This is important because the microbiome can affect the development of babies’ immune system and their ability to extract energy from food." - Baylor College of Medicine News website
Congratulations to Safina Gadeock, Grant Butt and Kristel de Ryck who won photography awards at the New Zealand International Science Festival Photo Competition:
"A new study has identified a bacterial blueprint for chronic fatigue syndrome, offering further evidence that it is a physical disease with biological causes and not a psychological condition." - NY Times, July 2016.
Congratulations to Dr Kirsten Coppell who received funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand for her project: What predicts regression from prediabetes to normal glucose regulation?
Vagal nerve stimulation is used to treat epilepsy and depression and more recently has been found to be potentially beneficial for the treatment of obesity. However, the mechanism by which vagal stimulation causes weight loss is unclear. The vagus nerve innervates many intrathoracic and intra-abdominal organs to regulate their function and also contains sensory fibers that monitor intestinal nutrients and volume. Now, Williams et al. have begun to specifically examine the connections between the gut and the brain.