A team of University of California researchers led by UCI structural biologist Celia Goulding has identified a tiny protein as a possible alternate route for tuberculosis to spread in the human body — which could lead to better treatments for one of the world's most stubborn diseases. For five years, Goulding, assistant professor of molecular biology & biochemistry, has had her eye on a particular protein — one of nearly 4,000 associated with the disease, which kills about 1.8 million people a year worldwide. TB bacteria need iron to grow, and Goulding and colleagues have shown that the protein she identified can grab iron from another one known as heme to nurture TB bacteria. They think there's a chance of shutting off this source of iron — and others — to eradicate the disease.
Expressive writing — putting thoughts and feelings about traumatic events on paper to relieve stress and promote physical health — doesn't work for everyone, UCI researchers have discovered. Eric Knowles and Belinda Campos randomly assigned white and Asian American study participants to write about their worst traumas or trivial topics over a four-day period. They assessed physical symptoms before the writing exercise and again one month after. Whites who wrote about trauma reported fewer symptoms of illness and depression in the second assessment, a benefit not shared by the Asian American group.
UCI anesthesiologist Dr. Zeev Kain will use a $3.2 million National Institutes of Health grant to launch a research effort aimed at lessening the anxiety and pain children feel before and after surgery. Kain, professor and chair of anesthesiology & perioperative care, will establish his Provider-Tailored Intervention for Perioperative Stress program at four California children's hospitals. P-TIPS is designed to promote specific behaviors in adults — doctors and parents alike — that will create a calmer surgical environment for youngsters.