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Dynamic Assembly of Nanoparticles in Nanocapillaries (DANCON): A Molecular Cancer Prescreening Technology

Author: Angela Cavalieri

Irregular expressions of a panel of regulatory microRNAs (miRNA) in blood and other physiological fluids may allow early screening of many kinds of cancer. However,  the current technologies for identifying and quantifying small numbers of these short (22 bases) molecules in physiological samples require expensive instrumentation and extensive personnel. These technical obstacles will prevent use of future cancer-screening tests in  doctor/dental clinics or even at home, where they can be personalized and used frequently for maximum effectiveness. Read More

Breast cancer research seeks to understand critical gene functions

Author: Michael Rodio

Tracy Vargo-Gogola

Cancer’s origin point—a human gene gone haywire—is, in many cases, also its weak spot. If you could block the abnormal function of a gene that is important for metastasis, the theory goes, then maybe you can stop cancer from spreading.

But there’s a catch—hit the weak spot with too much force, and you could trigger a cascade of side effects that may be as bad as the original cancer. Read More

Notre Dame research finding may help accelerate diabetic wound healing

Author: William G. Gilroy

Mobashery Lab

University of Notre Dame researchers have, for the first time, identified the enzymes that are detrimental to diabetic wound healing and those that are beneficial to repair the wound.

There are currently no therapeutics for diabetic wound healing. The current standard of care is palliative to keep the wound clean and free of infection. In the United States, 66,000 diabetic individuals each year undergo lower-limb amputations due to wounds that failed to heal. Read More

Researchers gain new insights into brain neuronal networks

Author: Gene Stowe and Marissa Gebhard

A bow-tie representation of the network of connections between cortical areas in the brain

A paper published in a special edition of the journal Science proposes a novel understanding of brain architecture using a network representation of connections within the primate cortex. Zoltán Toroczkai, professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications, is a co-author of the paper “Cortical High-Density Counterstream Architectures.” Read More

The Silent Gene

Author: Angela Cavalieri


Dr. Jenifer Prosperi, a researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Institute, is studying how to treat breast cancers that evolve when a crucial tumor suppressor gene goes silent.

Over the past 15 years, the scientific community has come to understand that breast cancer is a monster with many faces.

Some cancers have one of three special indicator molecules (HER2, estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors) that can guide targeted anti-cancer treatments. But another set of breast cancers, the “triple-negative” types, lack those three indicator molecules that can guide treatment. And even now, the question remains: How can doctors better target and treat triple-negative cancers? And how can they keep up the treatment when breast cancers fight back? Read More

Notre Dame researchers uncover keys to antibiotic resistance in MRSA

Author: Marissa Gebhard


University of Notre Dame researchers Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang and their collaborators in Spain have published research results this week that show how methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) regulates the critical crosslinking of its cell wall in the face of beta-lactam antibiotics.

The work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the mechanistic basis for how the MRSA bacterium became such a difficult pathogen over the previous 50 years, in which time it spread rapidly across the world. Read More

A new way to counter ovarian cancer’s drug resistance

Author: Angela Cavalieri

At the Harper Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Karen Cowden Dahl is leading research on ARID3B, a mysterious gene that could hold promise for identifying more aggressive forms of ovarian cancer.

Standing at a microscope in her Harper Hall laboratory, Dr. Karen Cowden Dahl is scanning through a petri dish filled with cancer cells that could represent a major step forward in ovarian cancer research. Read More

Notre Dame network physicist describes network model of brain’s connectivity

Author: Stephanie Healey

Zoltán Toroczkai

A new paper by Zoltán Toroczkai, professor of physics and concurrent professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and his collaborators provides a predictive model of cerebral cortical connectivity at the interareal level. The study was published in the Oct. 2 issue of the journal Neuron.

The cerebral cortex is responsible for all the sensory, motor and cognitive functions of an individual and is arguably the most powerful known supercomputer. Read More

Research Prof. Mark Suckow: Fighting to cure prostate cancer

Author: Notre Dame News

Imagine your children, your nieces, nephews, or grandchildren losing a parent to cancer. Too many experiences and dreams are ripped away due to this terrible disease. But with new, more effective cancer treatments being developed, the prognosis for cancer patients is improving little by little. 

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Research Prof. Mark Suckow: Fighting to cure prostate cancer

Author: Notre Dame News

Imagine your children, your nieces, nephews, or grandchildren losing a parent to cancer. Too many experiences and dreams are ripped away due to this terrible disease. But with new, more effective cancer treatments being developed, the prognosis for cancer patients is improving little by little. 

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New paper describes genetic connections between biological rhythms, timing of feeding and insulin sensitivity

Author: William G. Gilroy

Part of the research team investigating the role of the Id2 gene in circadian-metabolic function

A new study by a team of University of Notre Dame researchers, which appears in the Sept. 2 edition of the journal PLoS ONE, is a significant step in understanding the molecular genetic and physiological basis for a spectrum of metabolic diseases related to circadian function.

Obesity and diabetes have reached epidemic levels and are responsible for increased morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Furthermore, the incidence of metabolic disease is significantly elevated in shift-work personnel, revealing an important link between the circadian clock, the sleep-wake cycle, time-of-day feeding and metabolism. Read More

Patricia Clark receives $3.8M NIH collaborative award

Author: Gene Stowe

Patricia Clark

Patricia L. Clark, the Rev. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C. Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has received a $3.8M award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to lead a pioneering model of collaboration that draws together seven institutions, eight co-PIs and six postdoctoral associates to study macromolecular interactions in living cells. Norm Dovichi, the Grace-Rupley Professor of Chemistry, is also a PI, focusing on separations and single molecule detection. Matthew Champion, a Research Assistant Professor in the Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Facility, will serve as deputy director of the team. Read More

Notre Dame-Bruker partnership promotes advancements in imaging

Author: Marissa Gebhard

Example PET, SPECT and CT images from the Albira at the Notre Dame In Vivo Imaging Facility

The University of Notre Dame has established a formal partnership with Bruker Corp., a world leader in scientific instrumentation. The partnership will develop one of the Midwest’s top imaging facilities at Notre Dame. The arrangement, called Bruker at Notre Dame (BAND), will allow the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility (NDIIF) and Bruker to collaborate on research, training and new application development.

Robert J. Bernhard, Notre Dame’s vice president for research, said the agreement will accelerate a wide range of research, education and outreach activities. “The partnership will enable Notre Dame students and faculty to utilize innovative technology from Bruker in our programs, which we believe will also inform Bruker about future markets,” he said. “We believe this partnership will be mutually beneficial to both parties and are very pleased to formalize our relationship.” Read More

Notre Dame researchers offer new insights on cancer cell signaling

Author: William G. Gilroy

Wnt proteins and cancer cell signaling

A pair of studies by a team of University of Notre Dame researchers led by Crislyn D’Souza-Schorey, professor of biological sciences, sheds light on a biological process that is activated across a vast range of malignancies.

Wnt proteins are a large family of proteins that activate signaling pathways (a set of biological reactions in a cell) to control several vital steps in embryonic development. In adults, Wnt-mediated functions are frequently altered in many types of cancers and, specifically, within cell subpopulations that possess stem cell-like properties. Read More

Notre Dame and Harper researchers developing novel method to test for HPV and oral cancers

Author: William G. Gilroy

Research being carried out at the University of Notre Dame and its affiliated Harper Cancer Research Institute (HCRI) may lead to the development of a rapid, cost-effective means of screening for oral cancers and the human papillomavirus.

M. Sharon Stack, Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Director of the HCRI and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, points out that oral cancers are a significant global health problem.

Stack and Hsueh-Chia Chang, Bayer Professor of Engineering and director of Notre Dame’s Center for Microfluidics and Medical Diagnostics, are attempting to prescreen for oral cancer and HPV by examining the micro-RNAs of tumor cells. They are working on developing a microfluidic sensor to help detect the presence of tumor cells. Read More

New paper offers insights into how cancer cells avoid cell death

Author: William G. Gilroy


A new study by a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame provides an important new insight into how cancer cells are able to avoid the cell death process. The findings may reveal a novel chemotherapeutic approach to prevent the spread of cancers.

Metastasis, the spread of cancer from one organ to other parts of the body, relies on cancer cells’ ability to evade a cell death process called anoikis, according to Zachary T. Schafer, Coleman Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology at Notre Dame. Metastasizing cancer cells are able to block anoikis, which normally results from detachment from the extracellular matrix. However, Schafer notes that the molecular mechanisms that cancer cells detached from the extracellular matrix use to survive have not been well understood. Read More

Notre Dame to host international workshop on molecular and cellular biology of plasminogen activation

Author: William G. Gilroy

A microscope

The University of Notre Dame will host the XIV International Workshop on Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plasminogen Activation from June 4 through June 8 (Tuesday through Saturday).

The co-chairs of the conference are Francis J. Castellino and Victoria A. Ploplis of Notre Dame’s W. M. Keck Center for Transgene Research. The conference is co-sponsored by the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend and Memorial Hospital of South Bend. Read More

2nd Annual Research Day

Author: Angela Cavalieri

Dr. Anil K. Sood, Professor of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, was the Keynote Speaker to a capacity crowd in Raclin-Carmichael Hall at the Second Annual HCRI Research Day on April 15.  Read More

Brian Baker named an associate editor for Journal of Immunology

Author: Stephanie Healey

Brian Baker

Brian Baker, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been selected as an associate editor for Journal of Immunology.  The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles in all areas of experimental immunology, which includes both basic and clinical studies. All editors of the bi-monthly journal are practicing scientists and the publication is cited more often than any other immunology journal. Read More

Notre Dame imaging specialists create 3-D images to aid surgeons

Author: Marissa Gebhard and Gene Stowe

3-D print of a rat

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University of Notre Dame researchers have successfully created three-dimensional anatomical models from CT scans using 3-D printing technology, a process that holds promise for medical professionals and their patients. A paper by the researchers, “3D Printing of Preclinical X-ray Computed Tomographic Data Sets,” was published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments this week.

The strategy was initiated last spring by then-freshman Evan Doney, a Glynn Family Honors student in the laboratory of W. Matthew Leevy, research assistant professor at the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility. “It’s a very clever idea,” Leevy said. “He did a lot of it independently. He figured out how to convert the tomographic data to a surface map for editing and subsequent 3-D printing.” Read More

Designing more effective cancer treatments

Author: Arnie Phifer


A potential landmark paper by Notre Dame researchers could help identify and adjust important parameters for designing targeted nanoparticle-based cancer treatments for years to come. At the same time, the results of the study shed light on a decades-long debate among cancer researchers. Read More

Pink Zone Luncheon honors researchers, clinicians, survivors

Author: Gene Stowe and Stephanie Healey


Mary Hesburgh Flaherty, a 1979 Notre Dame alumna and two-time breast cancer survivor, spoke about her experience with cancer at the third annual Pink Zone Luncheon on Feb. 2. Each year the luncheon is hosted by the College of Science and the Notre Dame women’s basketball team to honor breast cancer researchers, clinicians, and survivors and their supporters. Read More

M. Sharon Stack accepts invitation to join editorial board of the journal Cancer Research

Author: Stephanie Healey

Sharon Stack, Ann F

M. Sharon Stack, Ann F. Dunne and Elizabeth Riley Science Director of the Harper Cancer Research Institute and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was recently named to the board of the journal Cancer Research. Her term will last from January 1, 2013 to December 21, 2015. Cancer Research is a bi- monthly journal that publishes basic, preclinical, clinical, prevention and epidemiological cancer research. Cancer Research is the most frequently cited cancer journal in the world. Read More