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.
Associate Professor of Biology Maurine Neiman works with Graduate Teaching assistant Joe Jalinsky and incoming Freshman Kaitlin Hatcher of Solon, IA in the Snail Research Lab

Be fruitful and multiply

UI researchers study why species mate and reproduce
Why do species mate when the costs of reproduction are so high? A University of Iowa biologist seek to understand why by studying female snails that can produce offspring with males—and without them. Their findings may help answer questions about genetic diversity and inherited diseases.
student conducting research in lab setting

Shaping several generations of scientists

Summer high school research program makes UI ‘feel like home’
Just like her mom almost 30 years ago, Alexandra Chan is immersed in hands-on research on the University of Iowa campus. Chan is one of nearly 40 high school students from across the nation and globe participating in a rigorous, five-week summer residential research opportunity, the Secondary Student Training Program.
Illustration of a centrosome mechanism within dividing cells

UI researchers track protein 'hitchhiker' in fluorescent worms

Understanding healthy cell division could have implications for cancer patients, embryos
University of Iowa researchers have identified a new mechanism that ensures proper cell division in worms. They believe that same process may also be happening in humans and understanding healthy cell division could have implications for cancer patients and embryos.