Research Roundup (Fall ’13, Week 9)

Every week our Research Editors highlight a few of the latest headlines in science news and explain why these pieces are interesting and applicable to our classes at UC San Diego. If you find an engaging science article, share it with us on our Facebook page and your highlight may just be featured!

New Tool for Profiling Critical Regulatory Structures of RNA Molecules | Science Daily

Researchers at Penn State University have developed a method to enable more accurate predictions of how RNA molecules fold in living cells. This scientific achievement will increase our understanding of how environmental factors can affect RNA structure and subsequently influence gene expression. The implications of this new tool include learning how infection-induced fevers can affect RNA structures of both humans and pathogens.

If you are interested in basic molecular structures such as RNA, consider taking Molecular Biology (BIMM 100).

— Amelia Wong | Research Editor

In Mice Anti-Inflammatories Ameliorate Medical Marijuana’s Memory Mishaps (Podcast) | Scientific American

The use of medical marijuana is often also linked to memory impairment. Scientists have found that anti-inflammatory drugs that inhibit COX-2 enzyme help to eliminate memory loss while still conferring the benefits of medical marijuana.

If you are interested in drug function and metabolism, consider taking Pharmacology (BIMM 118).

— Amelia Wong | Research Editor

Probiotics may protect piglets from E. coli infection | Science News

In recent tests data shows that pigs fed with probiotics had fewer strains of harmful E. coli in their gut than those that weren’t. It is a better option for killing such bacteria than the typical use of antibiotics because often bacteria grow resistant to antibiotics.

If you are interested in learning more about probiotics and bacteria consider taking BIMM 120 (Bacteriology).

— Nicholas Kotsyubko | Research Editor

Scientists Find Brain Region That Helps You Make Up Your Mind | Science Daily

Though the lateral habenula has simply been linked to depression and avoidance behavior, in recent studies it has been found to be an essential part of decision-making. Turning off the laternal habenula causes the loss of ability to choose better option for the subject.

If you are interested in learning more about how the brain works consider taking BIPN 152 (Healthy and Diseased Brain).

— Nicholas Kotsyubko | Research Editor