Understanding Behavior Key to Combating Malaria

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Neil Lobo 1

Today, April 25, is the annual World Malaria Day. This year’s theme – End Malaria for Good – seeks to build upon past successes in combatting this deadly disease, which killed over 435,000 people in 2015, and sustain this progress in order to truly  “end malaria for good.” At the University of Notre Dame, Neil Lobo, a research associate professor of biological sciences and an Eck Institute for Global Health faculty member, is working to end malaria for good by focusing on the vectors that transmit the disease and how certain methods or interventions reduce malaria transmission.

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Twenty-four graduate students win NSF GRFP awards

Author: Provided


The National Science Foundation recently announced the winners of the 2016 Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), with 24 current Notre Dame students winning the prestigious award and another 17 earning honorable mention. Overall, there were 41 students recognized by the NSF. This doubles the number of Notre Dame awardees from 2015, and nearly doubles the previous Notre Dame record of 26, set last year, for total students recognized by the NSF.

The NSF-GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines who are pursuing research-based degrees. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.

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A tough childhood can lead to a shorter life for baboons

Author: Notre Dame News

Amboseli baboons

What is true for humans is also true for baboons: The tougher the childhood, the higher the risks of premature death later in life. Numerous studies have shown that childhood trauma can have far-reaching effects on adult health and survival; new research finds the same is true for wild baboons.

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Jennifer Tank receives 2016 Ganey Award for community-based research

Author: JP Shortall

Jennifer Tank at the 2016 Rodney F. Ganey Award dinner

Jennifer Tank has received the 2016 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Community-Based Research Award for working together with Kosciusko County farmers and local conservation staff to reduce nutrient runoff in the Shatto Ditch watershed. The award is a $5,000 prize presented annually to a regular faculty member at the University of Notre Dame who has completed at least one research project that addresses a need within South Bend or the surrounding area.

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With mosquito Y chromosome sequencing, researchers lay groundwork for advanced disease control

Author: Sarah Craig


Human malaria, uniquely transmitted by a handful of anopheline mosquitoes, continues to attack nearly 200 million people and claims the lives of 600,000 each year. Africa bears the biggest burden due to its dominant vector, Anopheles gambiae. Ever since the groundbreaking Anopheles gambiae genome sequencing project was published in 2002, efforts have been underway to harness genomics for novel vector-based malaria control strategies.

Nora J. Besansky, O’Hara Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and member of the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame, assembled a diverse and multinational team of scientists to crack the genetic code of the Y chromosome in malaria mosquitoes for the first time.

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Using DNA 'fingerprinting' to understand ancestry and immunity of trees

Author: Brandi Klingerman

American chestnut nuts with burrs and leaves

When Europeans came to the New World in the 16th century, they brought measles and smallpox with them. Without the immunity Europeans had cultivated over the years, the native people in America quickly fell ill. Millions died as a result. Today, trees in the New World are also dying from diseases that were introduced through global trade started by the Europeans. However, trees are much more vulnerable than humans.

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Bringing legendary science faculty to Notre Dame

Author: Gene Stowe


During the one year anniversary of the death of Fr. Hesburgh, the College of Science recalls and appreciates the impact that he had on science at Notre Dame.
When former Notre Dame President Father John J. Cavanaugh challenged “Where are the Catholic Salks, Oppenheimers, and Einsteins?” in a widely-read essay in the late 1950s, Father Theodore Hesburgh was already in the process of providing an answer. In both direct action, from building facilities to recruiting top scholars, and cultural transformation, from welcoming women students to asserting academic freedom, Hesburgh laid the foundations for the College of Science’s accelerating research, discovery, and mission-driven entrepreneurship in the 21st century. 

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New formulation of FDA-approved drug may help treat Niemann-Pick Type C disease

Author: William G. Gilroy


Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease is a rare, fatal neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure. NPC primarily strikes children before and during adolescence and affects one in every 150,000 children. Researchers Kasturi Haldar, the Nieuwland Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Parsons-Quinn Director of the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases in the College of Science, and Dr. Suhail Alam and Michelle Getz in the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases used existing FDA-approved drugs in a novel approach to treatment with promising results.

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Fr. Hesburgh's impact on UNDERC

Author: Gene Stowe


During the one year anniversary of the death of Fr. Hesburgh, the College of Science recalls and appreciates the impact that he had on science at Notre Dame.


Notre Dame’s nearly 8,000-acre Land O’Lakes property in Wisconsin, originating with a 1,000-acre gift from philanthropist Martin J. Gillen in the 1930s and vastly expanded by Father Hesburgh, has been the site of high-impact gatherings hosted by Hesburgh. In 1959, a group of Northern and Southern political leaders who happened to be fishermen hammered out an agreement that became the basis of the Civil Rights Act; in 1967, a global collection of top educators issued the Land O’ Lakes Statement on Catholic higher education in America.

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New avenues found for treatment of pathogen behind diseases including fasciitis, toxic shock syndrome

Author: William G. Gilroy

Scanning electron micrograph of red blood cell hemolysis by the Streptolysin S producing Group A Streptococcus. Credit: Shaun Lee, Dustin Higashi

One bacterial pathogen is responsible for a range of diseases, from pharyngitis and impetigo to more severe diagnoses such as toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating disease), a serious bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly and kills the body’s soft tissue. The pathogen, known as Group A Streptococcus, remains a global health burden with an estimated 700 million cases reported annually, and more than half a million deaths due to severe infections.

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Haiti: Notre Dame’s fight to end Lymphatic Filariasis

Author: Andy Fuller


It’s a little more than an hour by car from the village of Léogâne to the Port-au-Prince office of Dr. Joseline Marhone, Haiti’s director of food and nutrition in the Ministry of Public Health and Population. It’s an instructive ride. The car is ventilated for passengers only by rolling down the windows, and then only when it’s moving, which isn’t as often as those accustomed to milder climates may like. Even in the city, the roads are winding, and the route seems devoid of right angles — indeed, of any angles at all. It’s a circuitous route to an unmarked destination. The office itself bears no markings of a government building. It’s literally a cargo container, roughly the size of a small semi-tractor trailer, with a hole cut in the side to accommodate a wall-mounted air conditioning unit, and a door affixed to a cut-out opening at the front.…

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Collecting DNA by spider web - ND alumnus publishes undergrad research

Author: Kathleen Schuler


"The summer after my freshman year, I remember I was processing deer mice in an old garage in Nebraska where I was assisting with field work during my internship at Harvard University," said Xu. "I looked around and saw there were spider webs clinging everywhere. After a year of working with eDNA in Dr. Lodge’s lab at Notre Dame, I thought to myself, 'If you can find DNA of fish in the water it's swimming in, there has to be DNA of spiders and maybe even their dinner on spider webs.'"

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Using mathematical models to fight the Zika virus

Author: Brandi Klingerman

Aedes aegypti mosquito

New research from the University of Notre Dame will be used to generate maps that provide time-sensitive, mosquito-to-human ratios that determine patterns of mosquito population dynamics for the Zika virus. The model outputs will be available online to provide users with the ability to find reported cases and estimated incidences by location of the virus to improve disease transmission and prevalence forecasts, which is critical to making accurate predictions and translating results into effective public health strategies.

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Scientists detect wasps evolving into new species

Author: William G. Gilroy


Scientists have observed three species of wasps evolving into three new species, an intriguing case of rapid evolution in action.

Understanding how new species form, a process termed “speciation,” is a central question in biology. Scientists typically study speciation with respect to how populations of a single species diverge to form two distinct species.

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ND-LEEF pavilion receives award from Indiana AIA

Author: Alex Gumm


The Morrison Family Education and Outreach Pavilion received a 2015 Citation Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Indiana.  Constructed in October 2014, the pavilion marks the inaugural building at Notre Dame’s Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF), and the first University structure to receive a commendation from AIA Indiana Design Awards.

The Morrison Pavilion was recognized in AIA’s new construction category for projects costing less than $1 million. The four-member AIA Jury commented on the pavilion: “We were impressed with every detail and choice made in the design of this structure. The decision to orient the building along the summer solstice, and to situate it with its back to the approach, a simple swath of mown meadow, was poetic.”

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Environment of tumors impacts metastasis, study finds

Author: Gene Stowe

Siyuan Zhang

If a tumor is like a seed, the soil around it plays a significant role in its growth, a new study finds.

According to the study’s results, the microenvironment of a tumor cell has significant impact on cancer metastasis. This discovery by Siyuan Zhang at Notre Dame and a team at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has focused attention on fighting cancer in the tumor cell’s microenvironment.

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Senior Mark Brahier explores barriers to healthcare in Nicaragua

Author: Stephanie Healey

Mark Brahier interviews a garbage dump worker in Nicaragua

Mark Brahier, a senior biological sciences major and international development studies minor, spent five weeks in Nicaragua this summer.  Traveling with International Samaritan on his fourth trip to Central America, Brahier set out to study social, political, economic, and geographic barriers to healthcare access.

“As a student studying biology and international development, this research project was a great way to show how all of my interests intersect, since it is very interdisciplinary,” Brahier said. “When I arrived in Nicaragua, I quickly realized there were more important areas of research to explore and changed the focus of my project.”

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