Member Q&A: Meet new center member Dr. Ranmal Samarasinghe

As an assistant professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Ranmal Samarasinghe’sresearch focuses on how neurons connect to form neural circuits in the brain and how circuit dysfunction is associated with diseases like epilepsy and autism. Prior to becoming a UCLA faculty member and opening his own lab, Samarasinghe trained in the lab of UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center member Bennett Novitch, Ph.D.

Study unravels antibiotic resistance in MRSA ‘superbug’ infections

FINDINGS

Researchers applied a new approach pioneered at UCLA to predict which methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, infections will fail to respond to antibiotic treatment. By focusing on epigenetics — changes to gene expression that can’t be detected by standard DNA sequencing — the study examined how the immune system recognizes dangerous superbugs and works with antibiotics to clear them.

Reddit shows people with kidney stones have been less likely to seek treatment during pandemic

FINDINGS

According to an examination of posts on Reddit, the pandemic has had a significant effect on the management of kidney stone disease. Researchers from the department of urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA used computational analysis and other techniques to explore unfiltered discussions related to kidney stones in real time on the website’s discussion forums.

UCLA study finds combination therapy suppresses pancreatic tumor growth in mice

UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have uncovered a potential new way to target pancreatic tumors that express high intratumoral interferon signaling (IFN). The team found that high type I IFN signaling is present in a subset of pancreatic tumors and it triggers a decrease in the level of NAD and NADH in pancreatic cancer cells, which are vital cofactors in critical metabolic processes. 

  • February 18, 2021
  • Research News

MRI frequently underestimates tumor size in prostate cancer

FINDINGS

A study led by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, frequently underestimates the size of prostate tumors, potentially leading to undertreatment. 

The study authors found that such underestimation occurs most often when the MRI-measured tumor size is small and the PI-RADS score, which is used to classify lesions in prostate MRI analysis, is low. 

A step toward understanding why COVID-19 boosts stroke risk

A UCLA-led study may help explain how COVID-19 increases the risk for stroke. Scientists made the finding by running fluid spiked with a COVID-19–like protein through a 3D-printed model of the arteries of a patient who had suffered a stroke. 

Although COVID-19 was first identified by its severe respiratory symptoms, the virus has caused strokes in young people who had no known risk factors. But little is known about how the virus increases the risk for stroke. 

UCLA Health infectious disease experts tout critical role mask wearing plays in limiting spread of COVID-19

Masks reduce viral shedding from people who are infected and can keep others from getting sick.

We are in what scientists are calling a “third wave” of infections, as the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge once again in California and across the U.S.

UCLA Health recently joined 100 of the nation's top health care systems, representing thousands of hospitals in communications around the U.S., with an urgent plea for all Americans: Every Mask Up. (See video below.)

  • December 03, 2020

How a Twitter hashtag provides insights for doctors and support for people with breast cancer

A UCLA-led review of nine years of social media posts with the hashtag #BCSM suggests that Twitter can be a useful resource not only for patients, but also for physicians and researchers.

The hashtag — an initialism for “breast cancer social media” — first appeared on Twitter in 2011. Created by two cancer survivors, it was used to curate a weekly informational chat for people with breast cancer. Dr. Deanna Attai became one of the group’s moderators a few weeks later.

UCLA physician-scientist elected to National Academy of Medicine

Dr. Antoni Ribas, a world-renowned physician–scientist and professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been named to the National Academy of Medicine, one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

New members are elected by their peers, and selection to the academy honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service and have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.

ACA reduced out-of-pocket health costs for families with kids, but they still need help

FINDINGS

The percentage of low- and middle-income families with children that had burdensome out-of-pocket health care costs fell following the 2014 implementation of the health insurance marketplaces and Medicaid expansion provisions of the Affordable Care Act, known widely as Obamacare, according to a new study by Lauren Wisk, an assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and colleagues.

How do you know if the wildfires are making you sick?

The wildfires raging throughout California and Oregon have caused great concern about air quality and the safety of being outdoors. And dealing with the public health implications of the fires is further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.