Compound restores transparency to mouse lenses, human lens tissue

By Pete Farley (UCSF News) on November 5, 2015

A chemical that could potentially be used in eye drops to reverse cataracts, the leading cause of blindness, has been identified by a team of scientists from UC San Francisco (UCSF), the University of Michigan (U-M), and Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL).

Identified as a “priority eye disease” by the World Health Organization, cataracts—caused when the lenses of the eyes lose their transparency—affect more than 20 million people worldwide. Although cataracts can be successfully removed with surgery, this approach is expensive, and most individuals blinded by severe cataracts in developing countries go untreated.

Reported November 5 in Science, the newly identified compound is the first that is soluble enough to potentially form the basis of a... Read more ...

New Innovator Award

Martin Kampmann receives New Innovator Award from NIH's High-Risk, High-Reward research program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a New Innovator Award for Dr. Martin Kampmann, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases. This $1.5 million award is part of the High-Risk, High-Reward research program established by the NIH to support exceptionally innovative biomedical research.

The Kampmann lab... Read more ...

Multiple System Atrophy is Described as First New Human Prion Disease Identified in 50 Years

By Nicholas Weiler (UCSF News Center) on August 31, 2015

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a neurodegenerative disorder with similarities to Parkinson’s disease, is caused by a newly discovered type of prion, akin to the misfolded proteins involved in incurable progressive brain diseases such Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), according to two new research papers led by scientists at UC San Francisco.

The findings suggest new approaches to developing treatments for MSA, which currently has no cure, but also raise a potential concern for clinicians or scientists who come in contact with MSA tissue.

The new findings mark the first discovery of a human disease caused by a new prion in 50 years, since work at the National Institutes of Health in the 1960s showed that human brain tissue infected with CJD could transmit neurodegeneration to chimpanzees.

... Read more ...

Three IND faculty—Keiser, Kampmann, Kokel—honored as distinguished investigators from the Allen Family Foundation



The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation recently named IND faculty members Michael Keiser, Martin Kampmann, and David Kokel (pictured) “Allen Distinguished Investigators” and awarded them $1.4 million to identify networks of genes controlling the cellular biology of Alzheimer’s disease. Only five research teams were given awards by the Allen Family Foundation to... Read more ...