Volume III, Issue 3: November 2010


UCI astronomers discover new galaxies

Asantha Cooray
UCI astronomer and lead U.S. study author Asantha Cooray in front of an image of galaxies he helped unearth with the Herschel telescope.

UCI astronomers, along with scientists across the globe, are discovering hundreds of new galaxies through brighter galaxies in front of them that deflect their faint light back to the massive Herschel telescope. This effect, identified by Albert Einstein a century ago, is known as cosmic gravitational lensing. "I was surprised to learn that Herschel is so good at finding these cosmic lenses," said Asantha Cooray, physics & astronomy professor. "We took a map of the sky out there, and it turned out the brightest spots are all gravitationally magnified galaxies. It's a whole new class of galaxies from when the universe was very young."

New galaxies »

The spice of life

Mahtab Jafari
Mahtab Jafari's study is the first to show how turmeric's active ingredient impacts age-associated genes and increases longevity in fruit flies.

Along with giving curries and other spicy Asian dishes a bright golden color and peppery flavor, turmeric has been used for centuries as an herbal medicine to treat a host of ailments, like upset stomach, arthritic pain, cuts and bruises. Mahtab Jafari, pharmaceutical sciences associate professor, has discovered that the main active ingredient in turmeric may have even greater health benefits. In a study published in Rejuvenation Research, she and Korean researcher Kyung-Jin Min found that curcumin extended the lifespan of fruit flies by up to 20 percent, while improving locomotion and having tumor-prevention properties.

Turmeric finding »

UCI receives $9.35 million for stem cell research

Dr. Henry Klassen
Dr. Henry Klassen, assistant professor of ophthalmology, will explore retinitis pigmentosa treatments.

UCI scientists will receive grants totaling $9.35 million to help create stem cell treatments for retinitis pigmentosa, Huntington's disease and traumatic brain injury. The grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine were awarded in October to Dr. Henry Klassen, Leslie M. Thompson, Brian Cummings and Aileen Anderson — all members of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI — to support early stage translational research.

Stem cell grants »

Lung cancer study highlights advances in targeted therapy

Dr. Ignatius Ou
Dr. Ignatius Ou is the primary investigator on nearly two dozen clinical trials that test cancer treatments at UC Irvine Medical Center.

A UCI oncologist's work with a targeted therapy is showing great promise in patients with a deadly form of lung cancer. Dr. Ignatius Ou is participating in a multicenter study to test whether the drug crizotinib effectively slows, stops or reverses growth in advanced non-small cell lung cancer tumors by targeting a genetic mutation that causes uncontrolled tumor growth. Study participants all tested positive for a mutation in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene. According to the findings, tumors disappeared or shrank in 57 percent of patients. Tumors ceased growing in another 33 percent. The response rate to the current standard of care for advanced non-small cell lung cancer is about 15 percent.

Lung cancer study »