Academics & Research



Modifying A Vaccine to Hitch a More Effective Ride on the Immune System Super Highway

Vaccines have played an integral role to improving the health of a population by fighting off serious infections, like measles, or offering new approaches to prevent diseases, like cervical cancer. Researchers at the University of Utah Health have developed a new method in crafting a vaccine to improve its efficacy.

Truck Driving Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

Over a 7-year period, truck drivers’ health worsened considerably compared to that of the general working population, according to a new study by researchers at University of Utah Health.

Largest Genetic Study of its Kind to Date Leads to Deeper Understanding of Heart Defects in Children

Cardiologists, basic scientists and computational biologists at University of Utah Health contributed to the largest study of its kind to examine the genetic cause of sporadic cases of congenital heart defects.

H. Joseph YostNeurobiology and Anatomy

Researchers Identify Protein that Controls Lyme-related Arthritis Severity

Researchers are focusing on understanding the role of the immune system in controlling the range of arthritis severity that Lyme patients experience.

Janis WeissPathology

A Viral “Bait-and-Switch” Boosts Infection

University of Utah Health researchers have published in Nature a mechanism of infection that makes use of viral non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in previously unreported ways.

Vitamin C Regulates Blood Stem Cells, Decreasing Risk of Blood Cancer

Without the proper level of Vitamin C, blood stem cells proliferated and failed to specialize appropriately. The Vitamin C-deficient mice showed an increased rate of various blood cancers.

Gerald SpangrudeInternal Medicine

The Severity of Heart Scar Tissue May Increase Incidence of Stroke

In a recent study, University of Utah Health researchers found severe left atrial fibrosis was associated with an increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and cardiovascular death.

Immune System Cells Protect Against CMV-Induced Hearing Loss in Mice

Immune system cells known as natural killer (NK) cells play an important protective role against hearing loss in mice infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), according to a new study published in PLOS Pathogens.

Gut Check: A New Way to Tackle Heart Disease

Researchers at the University of Utah Health are turning their attention to a seemingly unlikely perpetrator, the intestine, to understand its role in controlling the concentration and type of fat deposited into the bloodstream.

Reducing Systolic Blood Pressure Benefits Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

A new study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), shows that lowering the systolic blood pressure (SBP) to <120 mmHg prevents cardiovascular complications and early death in CKD patients.

Women Seeking Emergency Contraception Benefit From Hormonal IUD Option

A new study found women seeking short-term emergency contraception benefit from a variety of options for long-term birth control.

Unraveling the Mystery Behind Tourette’s Tics

Researchers at U of U Health may have identified a biological factor that underlies the repetitive tics that characterize Tourette’s syndrome.

Could Gut Bacteria Play a Role in Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune diseases, such as Type-1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, are on the rise and stem from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Researchers now believe that bacteria in your gut may also play an important role in these debilitating illnesses.

June Roundimmune system, inflammatory bowel disease

Method Bulks Up Muscle During Bed Rest

A new study led by Micah Drummond, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy at University of Utah College of Health has found a way to keep muscles from deteriorating during bed rest.

Micah DrummondPhysical Therapy

Modeling the Movement of Superbugs to Prevent Infections

A new study has identified a cost-effective intervention that could significantly reduce the spread of dangerous bacteria throughout the broader community.

Matthew Samoreepidemiology

Complex Genome Engineering Feats Just Got Easier, Thanks to Easi-CRISPR

In no uncertain terms, CRISPR/Cas9 has revolutionized the field of genome engineering. An adaptation called Easi-CRISPR (Efficient additions with ssDNA inserts-CRISPR) greatly simplifies creation of transgenic mice, an essential workhorse in life sciences research.

Bariatric Surgery Can Complicate Subsequent Pregnancies. Does Your Doctor Know Best?

Most of us know about the benefits of bariatric surgery, most notably losing weight. But a new study finds that a large proportion of doctors don’t take action to prevent a known problem: complications during subsequent pregnancies.

Marcela Smidobstetrics, gynecology

Next Gen Testing Catches More Causes of Infectious Disease

Despite advances in medical care, half of all young children in the United States who come down with pneumonia wind up in the hospital. Two new diagnostic tools could find the culprits for one-third of difficult-to-diagnose cases.

Test Could Curb Unnecessary Antibiotic Use in Kids

When a doctor diagnoses a child with pneumonia, all too often the default is to prescribe antibiotics. Considering that antibiotics can cause serious side effects and overuse causes microbes to become resistant to the life-saving drugs, finding ways to curb the prescribing spree has become a public health priority. To make a dent in the problem, Stockman et al., have identified a rapid test that could tell physicians whether or not a child’s pneumonia is caused by bacterial infection.

Gene Linked to Early Menopause

While most women experience menopause around 51 years of age, women with primary ovarian insufficiency go through menopause before the age of 40, with some going through the life-altering event as early as in their teens. Corrine Welt, MD, professor of internal medicine at University of Utah Health, believes an answer may lie in the scores of genetic data housed in the Utah Population Database (UPDB).

How Cells Repair the “Bubble Wrap” that Protects DNA

Our DNA is wrapped in a bubble, a double membrane called the nuclear envelope, which protects it and directs molecular traffic to and from the nucleus. Many natural processes, such as cell division, create holes in the nuclear envelope, and for years, scientists have puzzled over how these gaps are filled. New research from the Department of Biochemistry and Department of Oncological Sciences has helped to elucidate this process, finding how an ancient pathway is recruited to do the job.

Waking Up “Sleeping” HIV In Order To Kill It

Thanks to antiretroviral drugs, HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was for those who have access to these medicines. But HIV is still not curable because the virus is able hide out in cells in the body, where it lies dormant, unaffected by drugs. Researchers are trying to find a way to reactivate the virus, so they can kill it off once and for all. A new study, published in Cell Reports, demonstrates how a new compound is able to force dormant HIV cells out of hiding.

Vicente PlanellesPathology

Relief at Their Fingertips: Phone Monitoring Program Reduces Suffering of Chemotherapy Patients

Patients undergoing chemotherapy often experience difficult but treatable symptoms – including fatigue, pain, and nausea - in between healthcare appointments. But because providers are often not aware of them, some patients undergo unnecessary suffering. A new study by investigators at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the College of Nursing at the University of Utah shows that relief could be just a phone call away.

When it Comes to Preventing Clots, Deviating from Recommended Dosing Could Come with a Cost

For patients affected by atrial fibrillation, a form of irregular heartbeat, increased risk for blood clots and stroke is a serious concern. Medicines used to thin the blood offer a relatively simple treatment that can significantly reduce the risk of clots and strokes. Steinberg and colleagues found that 13 percent of patients did not receive proper dosing of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), a specific kind of blood thinner, doubling risk for death in over dosed patients. Compared to patients receiving the appropriate dosage, the risk of death was nearly doubled in over-dosed patients, and under-dosed patients experienced increased rates of hospitalization due to cardiac events.