News

'Backup alarm system' gives the body another way to fight infections

08/27/2018

The innate immune system is the body’s first line of defense against infection. Its job is to detect bacteria and viruses and begin taking general steps to fight back, like triggering inflammation and recruiting immune cells to ward off the invaders. Sometimes this is enough to clear an infection. When it's not, the innate immune system can activate the adaptive immune system we develop over our lifetimes (sometimes with the help of vaccines) to fight off specific pathogens like the flu or measles.

UChicago receives $1M grant from the Keck Foundation to study microbiome dynamics

08/20/2018

University of Chicago researchers have received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to study how the molecular activity of the microbiome changes in response to the environment.

Scientists identify gene that controls immune response to chronic viral infections

07/11/2018

For nearly 20 years, Tatyana Golovkina, PhD, a microbiologist, geneticist and immunologist at the University of Chicago, has been working on a particularly thorny problem: Why are some people and animals able to fend off persistent viral infections while others can't?

COM members Joy Bergelson and Olaf Schneewind elected into the National Academy of Sciences

06/29/2018

Three University of Chicago faculty members are among the 2018 members of the National Academy of Sciences, announced May 1: Profs. Joy Bergelson, Olaf Schneewind and Richard Thaler.

These scholars, studying microbiology, evolution and behavioral economics, were among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates recognized by their peers for “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Mapping the microbiome of… everything

06/29/2018

In the Earth Microbiome Project, an extensive global team co-led by researchers at University of California San Diego, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory collected more than 27,000 samples from numerous, dverse environments around the globe. They analyzed the unique collections of microbes — the microbiomes — living in each sample to generate the first reference database of bacteria colonizing the planet.

Specific bacteria in the small intestine are crucial for fat absorption

06/29/2018

Although the vast majority of research on the gut microbiome has focused on bacteria in the large intestine, a new study — one of a few to concentrate on microbes in the upper gastrointestinal tract — shows how the typical calorie-dense western diet can induce expansion of microbes that promote the digestion and absorption of high-fat foods.

Genetic screening tool identifies how the flu infiltrates cells

06/29/2018

Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a genetic screening tool that identified two key factors that allow the influenza virus to infect human lung cells. The technique uses new gene editing tools to create a library of modified cells, each missing a different gene, allowing scientists to see which changes impact their response to flu. This in turn could identify potential targets for antiviral drugs.

Researchers study how environment affects dolphin microbiomes at Shedd Aquarium

06/29/2018

Research conducted at Shedd Aquarium with the University of Chicago revealed new details about the microbiome of Pacific white-sided dolphins at the aquarium and how it is influenced by the surrounding environment.