How do toxic proteins accumulate in Alzheimer’s and other diseases?

Under normal circumstances, tau protein is part of the brain’s infrastructure, important for stabilizing neurons into their proper shapes. But sometimes tau gets knotted up into tangles and turns toxic, injuring brain tissue and causing tauopathies, a group of brain diseases characterized by problems with learning, memory and movement. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common […]

Academy honors six university faculty

Six Washington University in St. Louis faculty members and one alumnus are being honored by the Academy of Science – St. Louis for their outstanding contributions to the field. They will be recognized at an awards dinner Sept. 20 at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Laura Jean Bierut, MD, is the Alumni Endowed Professor of Psychiatry […]

WashU leads new multi-omics production center for NIH research consortium

Multi-omics is a research approach that leverages the power of several different “omics” data types at once to build a detailed picture of factors that contribute to human health and disease. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is channeling $50.3 million over the next five years into a new consortium dedicated to advancing the generation […]

Braver awarded MURI grant for attention control strategies research

A multi-institutional research project led by Todd Braver, PhD, a professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, received a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) award from the U.S. Department of Defense to study attention control and strategies to improve it. The project — “A computational cognitive neuroscience framework […]

Grant supports physician-scientists studying infectious diseases, immunology

Physician-scientists split their time between caring for patients and unraveling biological mysteries. This dual expertise can yield the kind of insights that power groundbreaking medical advances and advance human health. Yet only a small and shrinking fraction of physicians pursue joint careers in the clinic and the lab. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine […]

Mennerick named director of Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscientist Steven Mennerick, PhD, a dedicated mentor and the John P. Feighner Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named director and associate dean of the university’s Roy and Diana Vagelos Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences (DBBS). Mennerick had been serving as the interim associate dean since December 2020 and […]

ICTS Announces Inaugural Cohort for PROUD-MED

The ICTS congratulates and proudly announces the selected 2023 Scholars for PROUD-MED, the Program for Underrepresented in Medicine for Equity and Diversity. PROUD-MED is a new initiative supported by the ICTS and Washington University School of Medicine to enhance underrepresented in medicine (URiM) faculty development by providing mentored clinical research training, dedicated Research Development Program (RDP) resources, senior faculty support, and group […]

How do developing brains assemble and organize themselves?

Babies are born with brains pre-organized into areas dedicated to movement, vision, hearing and other functions, a critical infrastructure that equips them to start learning about the world from the moment they take their first breaths. But little is known about how the brain’s architecture is built because of the challenges involved in studying brain […]

Center for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience welcomes inaugural fellow

The newly established Center for Theoretical & Computational Neuroscience at Washington University is pleased to announce the first recipient of a CTCN postdoctoral fellowship. Leandro Fosque comes to WashU from Indiana University, where he earned his PhD in physics. Emphasizing CTCN’s multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to research, the fellowship provides joint mentorship by two or […]

Ackerman named a 2023 Klingenstein-Simons fellow

Sarah Ackerman, PhD, an assistant professor of pathology & immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2023 Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award in Neuroscience. She is one of 13 new fellows – all early-career scientists in the U.S. – who will receive three-year $300,000 grants to pursue high-risk, cutting-edge research. Ackerman, who […]

Podcast: Newly approved drug may slow progression of Alzheimer’s

In this episode, Washington University researchers discuss the Food and Drug Administration’s recent full approval of the drug Leqembi (lecanemab) and what it could mean to the future of Alzheimer’s disease treatments. The drug is approved for use in people with mild dementia from Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers at Washington University’s Charles F. and Joanne Knight […]

What to know about the new Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave full approval to Leqembi (lecanemab) for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Physicians and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine’s Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center (Knight ADRC) in St. Louis were involved in the clinical trials evaluating Leqembi, in which they enrolled […]

Scientists reveal how proteins drive growth of multiple cancer types

Scientists have completed a deep analysis of the proteins driving cancer across multiple tumor types, information that can’t be assessed by genome sequencing alone. Understanding how proteins operate in cancer cells raises the prospect of new therapies that block key proteins that drive cancer growth, or therapies that trigger immune responses to abnormal proteins created […]

Circling back to purpose

While still an Arts & Sciences pre-med undergrad at WashU, Harsh Moolani, AB ’19, founded Create Circles, a nonprofit that pairs older adults with trained college student volunteers.  “I’d meet older people who had incredible accomplishments, but their loneliness was greater than their achievements,” he says. “It’s hard to take pride in what you’ve done […]

Cognitive function in Down syndrome-associated Alzheimer’s focus of grant

Nearly every person with Down syndrome eventually develops Alzheimer’s disease, yet people with the syndrome routinely are excluded from Alzheimer’s clinical trials, as the cognitive assessment tools designed for the general population often are inappropriate for people with developmental disabilities. Consequently, nobody knows whether the new Alzheimer’s therapeutics hitting the market will work for people […]

Study defines disparities in memory care

Patients who live in less affluent neighborhoods and those from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups are less likely than others to receive specialized care for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates. Further, the research shows that Black people are more likely than white people […]

A low-cost potential therapy for spinal cord injuries

A spinal cord injury is a life-altering event, and the effects, such as muscle weakness and paralysis, can dramatically disrupt a person’s life. While there is no cure for paralysis, there has been some progress in developing potential treatment options to improve symptoms. Still, much of it remains out of reach to many patients. A […]

Scientists develop breath test that rapidly detects COVID-19 virus

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a breath test that quickly identifies those who are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. The device requires only one or two breaths and provides results in less than a minute. The study is available online in the journal ACS Sensors. The same group of […]

New Technique for Diagnosing Brain Diseases is Successfully Put to the Test

Hong Chen, PhD, associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiation oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, is dedicated to what may seem like the impossible. “This constant puzzle of what’s happening in my brain.” Chen is referring to all human brains that share this complexity. And getting answers to serious problems can be very […]

Tau-based biomarker tracks Alzheimer’s progression

Two pathologies drive the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Early on, amyloid beta plaques lead the way, but around the time cognitive symptoms arise, tau tangles take over as the driving force and cognition steadily declines. Tracking the course of the disease in individual patients has been challenging because there’s been no easy way to measure […]

Byers named university’s IRB executive chair

Derek E. Byers, MD, PhD, has been named executive chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Washington University in St. Louis. He will begin in his new role Aug. 1. The IRB is the multidisciplinary group that reviews and approves protocols for research studies that involve human subjects. The group is responsible for protecting the rights […]

NIH funds study of ultrasound with genetics to treat brain disorders

Researchers have developed methods to study and manipulate areas of the brain, though many of those methods are restricted by the limited depth that light can reach within the brain. A multidisciplinary team at Washington University in St. Louis plans to overcome that limitation by integrating ultrasound with genetics to precisely modify neurons in the […]

Achieving gender equity in medicine

Fifteen years ago, Lilianna “Lila” Solnica-Krezel, PhD, interviewed to lead a new Department of Developmental Biology, a reinvention of the WUSM Department of Pharmacology. She remembers thinking, on her flight home, that she had met 30 leaders and only two were women. But clearly the school was poised for change, and, in 2010, she made history, becoming […]

Brown School Summer Partnership Builds Black Girls’ STEM Skills, Confidence

Study after study shows that women, especially African-American women, are underrepresented in STEM jobs. Sheretta Butler-Barnes, PhD, a professor at the Brown School, wants to change those statistics. For six years, Butler-Barnes has partnered with the Girls Inc. Eureka! Program and WashU’s Institute for School Partnership, to lead a six-week summer intensive that engages Black high school girls in […]

Payne installed as an inaugural Becker Professor

Philip R. O. Payne, a global leader in informatics and data science, has been named an inaugural Janet and Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Among his many leadership roles, Payne oversees the university’s Institute for Informatics, Data Science and Biostatistics as well as the Bernard Becker Medical Library. This professorship was […]

Scholars receive grants from McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience

Neuroscience researchers Tom Franken, MD, PhD, and Alessandro Livi, PhD, are among the recipients of this year’s McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience Small Grants. The awards are each $100,000 over two years. Franken, an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, studies how the brain makes sense of visual scenes. […]

Improved orthopedic health doesn’t necessarily mean improved mental health

Pain from an injured back, shoulder or hip can make a person feel frustrated, anxious or even depressed. Many in health care may assume that when such injuries heal, mental health also improves. But a new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that over the long term, […]

Air monitor can detect COVID-19 virus variants in about 5 minutes

Now that the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic has ended, scientists are looking at ways to surveil indoor environments in real time for viruses. By combining recent advances in aerosol sampling technology and an ultrasensitive biosensing technique, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have created a real-time monitor that can detect any of […]

Podcast: Can psychedelic drugs help treat mental illness?

In this episode, we discuss new research into psychedelic drugs as potential therapies for psychiatric illness. Several studies have suggested that drugs, such as psilocybin, may be useful in treating problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and depression. Psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been using a brain-imaging […]

Njoku installed as Wise Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology

Dolores B. Njoku, MD, the director of pediatric anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and anesthesiologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, has been installed as the new Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology. She also is a vice chair in the Department of Anesthesiology.  A member […]

Poverty negatively impacts structural wiring in children’s brains, study indicates

A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that growing up in poverty may influence the wiring of a child’s brain. The study, published June 27 in JAMA Network Open, indicates a link between both neighborhood and household poverty and the brain’s white matter tracts, which allow for communication between […]

Lowe appointed vice chancellor for research

Mark E. Lowe, MD, PhD, an academic leader and accomplished pediatric physician-scientist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed the university’s vice chancellor for research. He also has been named senior associate dean of research at WashU Medicine. Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, Provost Beverly Wendland and David H. Perlmutter, MD, […]

5 physician-scientists named Dean’s Scholars

Physicians who engage in research play a vital role in developing novel, innovative approaches to diagnosing and treating disease. Nurturing the careers of doctors whose work takes them to both patients’ bedsides and the laboratory bench is a top priority of the Division of Physician-Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such was the […]

Altered gut bacteria may be early sign of Alzheimer’s disease

­People in the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease — after brain changes have begun but before cognitive symptoms become apparent — harbor an assortment of bacteria in their intestines that differs from the gut bacteria of healthy people, according to a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings, […]

Doctoral training program expands mental health services

This fall, Washington University in St. Louis will launch a new mental health doctoral training program that will expand clinical mental health services on campus while cultivating a new generation of expert psychologists.  Designed to attract the nation’s top psychology doctoral students, the program will train a cohort of four residents annually and will be […]

Wang, nationally recognized geneticist, named head of genetics

Ting Wang, PhD, a national leader in genetics and genomics who has led groundbreaking studies in how the genome is regulated, has been named head of the Department of Genetics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A computational biologist, he will begin his new role Aug. 1. Wang’s lab is focused on understanding how […]

Diagnosis of rare, genetic muscle disease improved by new approach

It’s not easy to distinguish between the dozens of subtypes of limb girdle muscular dystrophy — a rare, genetic muscle disease characterized by weakness in the hips and shoulders that causes difficulty walking and lifting the arms. Until now, determining the subtype has not been critical in caring for patients, because no specific treatments have […]

Prufrock to study how tooth formation affects face shape

As teeth grow from their germinal state as soft blobs of tissue to hard nuggets complete with enamel and roots, bones in the jaw are also taking shape. Scientists have understood that developing bones respond to the tissue and spaces around them, including primordial teeth, but the mechanisms aren’t fully explained.  Kristen Prufrock, PhD, an […]

The evolution of Ephraim Oyetunji

Ephraim Oyetunji likes a good challenge. “Everything is a mystery to be solved,” he said. A senior biology major on the neuroscience track, Oyetunji quickly established himself as a standout researcher. He’s been named a WUSTL ENDURE scholar, a Hope Center Scholar, and a recipient of the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship. Oyetunji discussed his path […]

Masters of perception

As part of the Incubator for Transdisciplinary Futures, faculty members across Arts & Sciences are working together to decode the relationship between technology and the mind. Can artificial intelligence help us better understand the mechanics of the human brain? How can educators deploy virtual and augmented reality in the classroom? What does modern mindfulness look […]

Children’s brain scans provide clues to processing of emotional cues

Children with specific psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, may struggle to understand emotional cues when people around them are happy, sad or angry, and that lack of understanding can make it difficult to respond appropriately in social situations. Studying brain scans from hundreds of children ages 5 to 15, researchers at Washington University School of […]

Tsai named a 2023 Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences

Tony Tsai, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of developmental biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named a 2023 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. He is one of 22 early-career researchers in the biomedical sciences to receive the honor. The four-year grant will fund Tsai’s investigation into how the cells […]