Scientists alter fentanyl, aim to make it less lethal, less addictive

Fentanyl, a powerful opioid pain reliever, is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States. With the aim of improving the drug’s safety profile to make it less lethal and addictive without eliminating its ability to alleviate pain, a team of researchers, led by scientists at the Center for Clinical Pharmacology at Washington University School […]

Repeat COVID-19 infections increase risk of organ failure, death

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began almost three years ago, scientists have learned that an initial infection can lead to short- and long-term health risks affecting nearly every organ system in the body. They’ve also determined that people can get COVID-19 a second or a third time, despite acquiring natural antibodies after the first infection and […]

Understanding, treating pain, reducing opioid use, aim of $11.7 million grant

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a five-year, $11.7 million grant to study human genes and nerve cells to better understand how cells transmit pain and to identify new ways to treat it. Washington University will be one of a handful of sites participating in the Precision Human Pain […]

How do tired animals stay awake?

New research provides clues to falling fast asleep – or lying wide awake. Studying fruit flies, the researchers found that brain neurons adapt to help the flies stay awake despite tiredness in dangerous situations and help them fall asleep after an intense day. The findings, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and […]

Research offers clues for treating fatal neurological disorder in kids

At birth, the children appear healthy. But within a few years, toddlers and young children with infantile Batten disease, a rare but fatal brain disorder, succumb to blindness, seizures, dementia and become unable to walk. No cure exists, and most die in early childhood. But new research in animals by scientists at Washington University School […]

$9 million to fund study of ‘jumping genes’ in Alzheimer’s

Scientists have identified a handful of gene mutations that cause or contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. But many scientists suspect that other DNA changes may help drive Alzheimer’s-related damage to brain cells and lead to symptoms of confusion and memory loss experienced by patients. In particular, the researchers want to understand how segments […]

Cruchaga awarded Zenith Fellowship Award

Carlos Cruchaga, PhD, has received a 2022 Zenith Fellow Award from the Alzheimer’s Association. The annual award is given to scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of Alzheimer’s disease research and are likely to make additional, substantial contributions in the future. Funding attached to the fellowships also helps support high- risk, high-reward projects in […]

Risk of Alzheimer’s dementia may be predicted with help of new tool

Using demographic information, brain imaging test results and genetic biomarkers, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed an algorithm that can help provide people who volunteer for studies of aging with information about the risk each faces of developing dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Published Sept. 30 in the Journal […]

Emenecker wins prize for innovation in biomedical science

Ryan Emenecker, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has won the 2022 Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation. The $50,000 prize recognizes excellence and creativity in young biomedical scientists who have potential to make scientific breakthroughs. Emenecker studies intrinsically disordered proteins — shape-shifting proteins with no defined structure ­— […]

Rogers selected as scholar in emerging leadership program

Cynthia E. Rogers, MD, the Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named an Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine Scholar by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). As a crucial part of NAM’s Emerging […]

Lang receives NIH MERIT award

Catherine Lang, PhD, professor of physical therapy, of neurology and of occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been awarded a MERIT award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award will support five years […]

WashU Medicine, BJC HealthCare partner with new company to accelerate lifesaving research

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WashU Medicine) and BJC HealthCare are joining forces and partnering with CuriMeta, a new company that will accelerate lifesaving research in the fight against chronic and acute diseases that impact our communities. WashU Medicine and BJC HealthCare are engaging in this venture to bring sophisticated data sets in support of […]

Study points to new approach to clearing toxic waste from brain

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a new druggable pathway that potentially could be used to help prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. Amyloid beta accumulation in the brain is the first step in the development of Alzheimer’s dementia. Scientists have poured countless hours and millions of dollars into finding ways to […]

Diversity, equity, inclusion a pillar of Neuroscience Research Building

Woven into the design of the Neuroscience Research Building under construction on the Washington University Medical Campus is an intangible yet still very real pillar deemed as important as the 6,500 truckloads of concrete used to reinforce the high-rise. The pillar is a holistic philosophy of diversity, equity and inclusion integrated throughout the planning and construction of […]

Rogers named director of child psychiatry division

Cynthia E. Rogers, MD, has been named the new Blanche F. Ittleson Professor of Psychiatry and director of the William Greenleaf Eliot Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Her appointment was announced by Eric J. Lenze, MD, the Wallace and Lucille Renard Professor and head of the Department of […]

Shellhaas named associate dean for faculty promotions, career development

Renée Shellhaas, MD, has been named associate dean for faculty promotions and career development at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She comes to the school from the University of Michigan, where she is an associate chair for career development and a pediatric neurologist. She begins her new role in October. Shellhaas also […]

Cruchaga named Morriss Professor

Carlos Cruchaga, PhD, a pioneer in the use of human genomic data to understand and elucidate the biology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, has been named an inaugural Barbara Burton and Reuben M. Morriss III Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Cruchaga was installed by Chancellor Andrew D. Martin […]

Atkinson honored by American Society of Hematology

The American Society of Hematology has honored John Atkinson, MD, the Samuel Grant Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, for his significant contributions to the field of hematology. He is one of two recipients of the Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize and is recognized for breakthroughs that have advanced understanding […]

Cigarette smokers who try to quit often end up vaping and smoking

Most of the 40 million Americans who smoke cigarettes say they want to quit, and some move to e-cigarettes as a step toward quitting. However, a growing number of such people become dual nicotine users: They smoke traditional cigarettes and vape e-cigarettes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found. Rather […]

Podcast: Giving stroke patients a hand

Brain-computer interfaces connect activity in the brain to an external device by means of a computer. Research has shown it’s possible to use such interfaces to move robotic arms and perform other tasks. Almost 30 years ago, Washington University researcher Eric Leuthardt, MD, a professor of neurosurgery, demonstrated that he could hook electrodes to the brains […]

Neuroscience leaders tour research building construction site

Neuroscience leaders and other faculty and staff at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis got an up-close look at the Neuroscience Research Building during a recent tour of the construction site. The framework of all 11 stories has been built, and the process of wrapping the building in glass is underway. On the […]

Gut bacteria mine dietary fiber to release beneficial nutrients

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrates that certain human gut microbes can mine dietary fiber to extract nutrients that otherwise would remain inaccessible to the human body. The study, published June 27 in the journal Cell, illustrates how the fiber byproducts of food production — such as rinds, […]

Medical students, faculty honor body donors

One of a medical student’s most powerful teachers inspires compassion, forgives mistakes and leaves an indelible impression that forever guides that student’s clinical care and research, all without ever saying a word. That silent teacher is also a student’s first patient. At Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, they meet during first-year anatomy […]

Suicides less common in states that passed Medicaid expansion

Although there have been steady increases over the past 20 years in the number of people nationwide who die by suicide, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that such increases have slowed slightly in states that have implemented Medicaid expansion. “Suicide is a public health problem, and our findings […]

Lishko named BJC Investigator

Polina V. Lishko, PhD, a noted molecular biologist and entrepreneur, has been named a BJC Investigator at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Lishko, whose innovative investigations of molecular mechanisms of bioactive lipid signaling has advanced scientific understanding in fields as varied as reproductive biology, vision and neurodegeneration, joins the Department of Cell Biology […]

Gutmann elected to Association of American Physicians

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected to the Association of American Physicians. Election is an honor extended to physicians who have made outstanding contributions to basic or translational biomedical research and who represent the highest caliber […]

Abnormal development of brain’s visual system may contribute to autism

A research team, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, has identified abnormalities in the development of the brain’s visual system in infants that may predispose them to developing autism. The research, published May 26 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggests […]

Pagliarini named Hugo F. and Ina C. Urbauer Professor

David J. Pagliarini, PhD, a nationally recognized leader in mitochondrial biology and a BJC Investigator at the School of Medicine, has been named the inaugural Hugo F. and Ina C. Urbauer Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Pagliarini was installed by Chancellor Andrew D. Martin and David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor […]

Epilepsy drug stops nervous system tumor growth in mice

People with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) develop tumors on nerves throughout their bodies. These tumors are usually benign — meaning they don’t spread to other parts of the body and are not considered life-threatening — but they can still cause serious medical problems such as blindness, especially when they form in the brain and nerves. […]

Ruzycki receives career development award

Philip Ruzycki, PhD, an assistant professor in the John F. Hardesty, MD, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, has received a career development award from Research to Prevent Blindness. The award provides $350,000 to support Ruzycki’s laboratory over the next four years The award is given to support the independent pursuits of promising basic scientists and […]

Clinical and translational research receives $61 million grant support

Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conduct many clinical trials and translational research studies each year to develop and evaluate new ways of treating and diagnosing myriad types of diseases. Such research holds promise for improving the health of people living in St. Louis, across the state of Missouri and around […]

Lenze named head of Department of Psychiatry

Eric J. Lenze, MD, a leader in the treatment of psychiatric disorders in older adults and in devising innovative clinical trials to answer pressing public health problems, has been named the head of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will begin his new role Aug. 1. Lenze is the […]

Kass, Gordon receive Hellen Keller Prize for Vision Research

Michael A. Kass, MD, and Mae O. Gordon, PhD, are the recipients of the 2022 Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research. The annual prize, presented by the BrightFocus Foundation and the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education, honors scientific discovery and excellence. Kass and Gordon, both professors in the John F. Hardesty, MD, Department of Ophthalmology […]

Neural pathway key to sensation of pleasant touch identified

Studying mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a neural circuit and a neuropeptide — a chemical messenger that carries signals between nerve cells — that transmit the sensation known as pleasant touch from the skin to the brain. Such touch — delivered by hugs, holding hands or caressing, […]

Calming overexcited neurons may protect brain after stroke

A new study has prompted scientists to reconsider a once-popular yet controversial idea in stroke research. Neuroscientists believed that, in the aftermath of a stroke, calming overexcited neurons might prevent them from releasing a toxic molecule that can kill neurons already damaged by lack of oxygen. This idea was supported by studies in cells and […]

Race of people given Alzheimer’s blood tests may affect interpretation of results

Three experimental blood tests used to identify people in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease perform differently in Black individuals compared to white individuals, according to a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study showed that a fourth blood test — the PrecivityAD test, which is commercially available in the […]

Where’s Waldo?

After a busy morning of sitting crisscross applesauce during story time, of standing still like a statue in line, and of remembering to raise a hand before speaking (even when you’re ready to burst with excitement), the Curious Caterpillars skipped and ran outside to the playground, eager to participate in one of the highlights of […]

Risky driving behaviors increase as common sleep disorder worsens

People with sleep apnea wake up tired in the morning, no matter how many hours they actually sleep. The condition causes them to briefly stop and restart breathing dozens or even hundreds of times a night. Even though such breathing interruptions often don’t awaken those with apnea, they prevent them from sinking into deep, refreshing […]

Researchers honored as outstanding mentors

The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis presented outstanding mentor awards to James Stroud, PhD, Alexxai Kravitz, PhD, and John Russell, PhD, at the 17th annual Postdoc Symposium on March 21 at the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the Medical Campus. Stroud, a postdoctoral research associate in biology, received the Outstanding […]

Poverty, crime linked to differences in newborns’ brains

Poverty and crime can have devastating effects on a child’s health. But a new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that some environmental factors influence the structure and function of young brains even before babies make their entrances into the world. A study published online April 12 in […]

Podcast: Long COVID-19 can affect every organ system in the body

The death toll isn’t the only staggering statistic from the first two years of the pandemic. What’s become increasing clear is that some COVID-19 patients don’t get well right away. Since the earliest days of the pandemic, we’ve heard of survivors who continue to experience shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, lingering difficulty with taste and […]

Surgeon-scientist Olson named head of surgery

John A. Olson Jr., MD, PhD, noted for his clinical and scientific expertise in endocrine surgical diseases, has been named head of the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will take the helm July 1. The position is a homecoming of sorts for Olson, who also will become the William […]

New strategy reduces brain damage in Alzheimer’s and related disorders, in mice

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and best known of the tauopathies, a set of neurodegenerative brain diseases caused by toxic tangles of the protein tau. A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that targeting astrocytes — an inflammatory cell in the brain — reduces tau-related brain […]

COVID-19 infection linked to higher risk of neuropathy

Adding to a growing body of evidence that, for many, problems related to COVID-19 linger longer than the initial infection, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that some people infected during the pandemic’s early months experienced peripheral neuropathy — pain, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet — […]

For accuracy, brain studies of complex behavior require thousands of people

As brain scans have become more detailed and informative in recent decades, neuroimaging has seemed to promise a way for doctors and scientists to “see” what’s going wrong inside the brains of people with mental illnesses or neurological conditions. Such imaging has revealed correlations between brain anatomy or function and illness, suggesting potential new ways […]

In U.S., alcohol use disorder linked to 232 million missed workdays annually

Heavy alcohol use is associated with missing work, but the scope of that relationship has not been well understood. Now, based on survey data from more than 110,000 U.S. adults with full-time jobs, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have quantified the extent of the problem. Among U.S. adults working full […]

Kim named inaugural Danforth WashU Physician-Scientist Scholar

Albert H. Kim, MD, PhD, a professor of neurological surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named the inaugural William H. Danforth Washington University Physician Scholar. He is the first researcher named as part of the School of Medicine’s new Physician-Scientist Investigators Initiative, which aims to recruit and retain elite […]

Damage early in Alzheimer’s disease ID’d via novel MRI approach

Alzheimer’s disease usually is diagnosed based on symptoms, such as when a person shows signs of memory loss and difficulty thinking. Up until now, MRI brain scans haven’t proven useful for early diagnosis in clinical practice. Such scans can reveal signs of brain shrinkage due to Alzheimer’s, but the signs only become unmistakable late in […]

CDC director discusses COVID-19 pandemic during Medical Campus visit

Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), visited Washington University School of Medicine last week to discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Department of Medicine’s weekly Grand Rounds series, she sat down March 3 with William G. Powderly, MD, the J. William […]

Risk of schizophrenia assessed with new screening tool

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleagues in Nairobi, Kenya, have shown that a screening tool developed at Washington University can help predict in about 5 minutes whether young people are at high risk for schizophrenia and may go on to develop the illness. The findings are published in the […]