david soll in his lab

Iowa’s cancer-fighting antibody bank

UI home to antibody collection valued at $250 million, priceless in application
Around the corner from University of Iowa biology professor David Soll’s office is an exclusive reservoir of biological agents used by researchers worldwide seeking to cure cancer. Its mission is deeply personal for Soll. He lost his wife to cancer, and he wants to put an end to the disease.
insect image

Breaking through the shell

Researchers create technique for opening insects’ exoskeletons to study living cells
Insects are tough animals to study. One reason is their armor-like coating, called an exoskeleton, which protects their organs. Researchers have discovered a technique to open the exoskeleton in order to study living organs and cells.

Parkinson's disease protection may begin in the gut

UI researchers find intestinal cells’ immune response protects vital neurons
The gut may play a key role in preventing the onset of Parkinson's disease. UI biologists found that in roundworms, an immune response from intestinal cells sparks a series of chemical signals that ultimately preserves neurons whose death is associated with Parkinson's. The results appear in the journal "Cell Reports."
images of cells

Grow those dendrites

UI biologists show how brain cells get the message to develop a signaling network
UI biologists have homed in on the genes that tell brain cells to grow the tendrils critical for passing messages throughout the body. In a new study, they report certain genes in nearby neurons need to be exact matches in order for the signaling branches to grow properly.
woman carrying bin in mountainous area

The Red Queen rules

University of Iowa-led team bolsters theory that sexual reproduction protects against threats
What does the Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” have to do with biology? “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” Sexual reproduction protects species by continuously shuffling their genes. A UI-led team bolstered the theory by studying snails’ resilience to parasitic worms.
Cancer cells merging together over 55 hours

Cancer riddle, solved

University of Iowa researchers reveal how cancer cells form tumors
Using real-time recording of cellular movement, biologists at the University of Iowa have discovered how tumors form. Cancer cells reach out and grab other cells, and as little as 5 percent cancerous cells are needed for tumor formation. Findings could lead to more precise cancer testing.
cups of snails in lab

UI biologists find sexuality, not extra chromosomes, benefits animal

Research raises more questions about value, purpose of sexual reproduction
Why do animals engage in sexual reproduction? UI biologists sought answers with mud snails that breed both sexually and asexually. They found that asexual snails grow faster and reach reproductive age quicker than sexual snails, which raises new questions about sex's role in reproduction.
a developing retina generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells

Academic Panoramic: What's new about getting old?

UI undergrads explore the mysteries of aging
There are some undeniable truths in life. One of them is that we will get older. Yet we don't really know how and why we age. It’s those central questions that Veena Prahlad is tackling in her undergraduate class, Mechanisms of Aging.