Over the past few years, extracellular vesicles, or membrane sacs secreted from cells, have emerged as important mediators by which cells communicate with their surroundings to regulate a diverse range of biological processes. In addition, specialized roles for extracellular vesicles are beginning to be recognized in various diseases including cancer, infectious diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Moreover, engineered extracellular vesicles are likely to have applications in drug delivery.
University of Notre Dame researchers led an international team to identify a molecular mechanism responsible for making malaria parasites resistant to artemisinins, the leading class of antimalarial drugs. According to the World Health Organization’s 2014 World Malaria Report, there are an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide with 3.3 billion people at risk for contracting the infection. Although the impact of malaria is still significant, the statistics reflect a considerable reduction in the global malaria burden. Since 2010, disease transmission has been reduced by 30 percent and mortality due to malaria has decreased by almost half.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced the awardees of the 2015 Graduate Research Fellowships Program (GRFP). Eight College of Science students and two alumni received awards. In addition, several students and alumni received honorable mentions. There were over 16,000 applications for this year's GRFP with 2,000 awardees nationwide. The fellowship provides three years of support for the graduate education of students who have demonstrated the potential for significant achievements in science and engineering research. Past NSF Fellows include individuals who have made significant breakthroughs in science and engineering research, as well as some who have been honored as Nobel laureates.
Insect-borne diseases — such as malaria, dengue, West Nile and the newly emerging chikungunya — infect a billion people every year; more than a million die each year and many more are disabled. The effects of climate change, according to Edwin Michael, professor of biological sciences and member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, mean these deadly diseases are no longer reserved for the developing world.