Research Could Lead to Prevention or Reduction of Autism, Schizophrenia
(News embargo lifts at noon, March 18, Pacific Daylight Savings Time; article will appear on this link within the week, according to PNAS.)
An enzyme inhibitor developed in the UC Davis laboratory of Bruce Hammock and tested in mice by a team of international researchers shows promise that it could lead to a drug to prevent or reduce the disabilities associated with the neurodevelopmental disorders of autism and schizophrenia.
“We discovered that soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) plays a key role in inflammation associated with neurodevelopmental disorders. Inhibiting that enzyme stops the inflammation and the development of autism-like and schizophrenia-like symptoms in animal models,” said collaborator Kenji Hashimoto, a professor with the Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, Japan. The scientists found higher levels of sEH in a key region of the brain—the prefrontal cortex of juvenile offspring-- after maternal immune activation (MIA).
“Mothers who have MIA, which results from severe stress in that region of the brain, have an increased occurrence of neurodevelopment disorders in their offspring,” Hashimoto explained. “In our study, the sEH enzyme increased dramatically in a key brain region of mice pups from mothers with MIA.”
The research, published today (March 18) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is the work of 14 researchers from Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health; the Laboratory for Molecular Psychiatry, RIKEN Center for Brain Science, in Wako, Saitama, Japan; and the Hammock laboratory.
By inhibiting sEH, the researchers reversed cognitive and social interaction deficiencies in the mice pups. They hypothesize that this is due to increasing natural chemicals, which prevent brain inflammation. In people, this could reduce the disabilities associated with autism, such as anxiety, gastrointestinal disturbances and epilepsy.
“The same chemical and biochemical markers behaved as predicted in human stem cells,” said Hammock, a distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. -more-
Joanna Chiu, Neal Williams, Brendon Boudinot, Jessica Gillung Win PBESA Awards
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology landed four in the winners' circle for the prestigious awards sponsored by the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA), which encompasses 11 Western states, U.S. territories and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Molecular geneticist/physiologist Joanna Chiu won the Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology Award; pollination ecologist Neal Williams, the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Award; doctoral candidate Brendon Boudinot, the John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award; and postdoctoral researcher Jessica Gillung (she received her doctorate from UC Davis in December), the early career award. See more.
What Researchers Found in Sugar Water in Hummingbird Feeders
Newly published research indicates that sugar water in hummingbird feeders can contain high densities of microbial cells but “very few of the bacteria or fungi identified have been reported to be associated with avian disease,” says community ecologist and co-author Rachel Vannette of the University of California, Davis.
The research, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is one of the first to explore the microbial communities that dwell in sugar water from feeders and compare them to those found in flower nectar and samples from live hummingbirds. -more-
Junior Bee Gardeners: Workshop on Saturday, March 30 at Haven
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, operated and maintained by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is sponsoring a Junior Bee Gardeners’ Day on Saturday, March 30 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The bee garden is located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
From Chris Casey, manager:
Teach your children about gardens and bees!
• This event is for all bee gardeners ages 6 to 12
• Learn how to plant your own sunflower to take
• Make your own solitary bee house to take home
• Adults must work with their children
• Free parking at the garden
• Suggested donation $5 per child for materials
Beekeeping Classes Scheduled
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, based in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will be teaching beekeeping classes with her colleagues, beginning Saturday, March 23.
An all-day course on "Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” is set from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about--and practice--many aspects of what's necessary to get the colony started and keep it healthy and thriving, Niño said. At the end of the course, participants will be knowledgeable about installing honey bee packages, monitoring their own colonies. and possibly challenges with maintaining a healthy colony. -more-
Entomology Alumni Reunion Set
All systems are "go" for the UC Davis Entomology Alumni Reunion, set Sunday, March 31 through Tuesday, April 2 at the Odd Fellows Hall, 415 2nd St., Davis.
Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will keynote the banquet on Tuesday, April 2 in the Odd Fellows Hall. He is known as "The Fly Man of Alcatraz" for his entomological research on the island. (See news story.) Tours of several campus facilities are planned.
Last day to make reservations is March 24. -more-
Robbin Thorp to be Lauded at PBESA Symposium in San DiegoRobbin Thorp, UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology and a global authority on bumble bees and other native pollinators, will be honored at a special symposium at the 103rd annual meeting of the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA), set March 31-April 3 in San Diego.
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology professor, is organizing and chairing the symposium, which is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, April 2 in the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina.
“The symposium will include scientific contributions from leaders in the fields of bee ecology, conservation and pollination,” announced Williams. “All are individuals whose work and specialty have been influenced by Robbin and his research program." -more-
'Bee Man' Norm Gary: Hobby Beekeepers Should Limit Colonies
They should limit their hobby to two colonies, says Gary, 85, whose expertise in beekeeping, including professor, scientist, author and professional bee wrangler, spans seven decades.
“Increasing populations of bees can easily ‘overgraze' the resources,” Gary explains. “Excessive competition for limited nectar and pollen sources also threatens hundreds of native bee species, such as bumble bees, that have similar dietary requirements.” -more-
Spring Seminars Announced
Spring seminars hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will range in topics from fruit flies to spider glue to an African odysssey.
The seminars, coordinated by medical entomologist/assistant professor Geoffrey Attardo, will all take place at 4 p.m. every Wednesday in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, starting April 3 and ending June 5.
UC Davis Entomology Ranked Among Best in the WorldTimes Higher Education World University Rankings.
The rankings show UC Davis as No. 7 globally, scoring 89.88 of a possible 100. Of the top 10, two are in California. UC Riverside is ranked as No. 2.
Performance indicators are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff students and research) and industry outcome (knowledge transfer). -more-
In the Spotlight
- Department News
- Spring Quarter Seminars
- UC Davis Museum Biodiversity Day video on YouTube. la
- Why War on Cancer Is Winnable: Jay Rosenheim
- Bohart Museum Open Houses
- Center for Population Biology Seminars
- UC Davis Entomology Seminars Posted on UCTV
- Order a EGSA T-Shirt!
- Watch UC Davis Bee Symposium Presentations on YouTube
- Eric Grissell: Giving Back
- History of Our Bee Garden
- 'I Wanna Be an Entomologist' by Heather Wilson
Blogs, Books, and Other Connections
- Ecology 180 Blog; class led by Louie Yang
- Rick Karban's Plant Communication Book
- Alex Wild's Compound Eye Blog: Some of Best Nature/Science Photographs
- UC Davis Department of Entomology (Facebook)
- Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility (Facebook)
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (Facebook)
- E.L. Niño Bee Lab (Facebook)
- Bug Squad blog (Kathy Keatley Garvey)
- Robbin Thorp Co-Author of California Bees and Blooms
- Robbin Thorp Co-Author of Bumble Bees of North America
- Apiary newsletter, from the UC apiaries (Elina L. Niño)
- Apiary newsletter, from the UC apiaries (archived, Eric Mussen)
- New Ant Book (free): Photos by Alex Wild
- Insect Note Cards, Benefitting UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center
|Working Your Colonies||3/24/2019|
|Junior Bee Gardeners' Day||3/30/2019|
Apiary Newsletters (archived copies, Eric Mussen)
How to Write Like a Professor (James R. Carey)
What's This Bug? (CDFA)