Academic Health Center
Stay Connected

New method makes microbiome profiling more accurate, reproducible

Research out of the University of Minnesota Genomics Center highlights an improved method for profiling the microbiome, providing more accurate data in a rapidly expanding research area.

What is the microbiome? Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms residing on or inside humans and animals, or in the environment. Understanding the microbiome is important as it can play a key role in the healthy function of the body or of an ecosystem.


Read more

Calling communities to engage in National Cancer Moonshot Initiative

Defeating cancer – a lofty goal, but no more bold than the idea of putting a man on the moon. When President Obama set forth the charge and launched the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, the scientific community was rallied toward accelerating progress in therapies, diagnosis tools, and prevention tactics.

The NCI is now inviting the public to join the venture, launching a web portal for anyone to come and contribute ideas, concepts, or pathways of study. Many researchers are excited about this partnership with the public and the opportunity for mutual learning and collaboration.

We spoke with Christopher Pennell, Ph.D., associate director for Education and Community Engagement at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, about this new step in the Moonshot Initiative.

Read more

Expert perspective: Using aspirin regularly may lower cancer risk

Long-term aspirin use may reduce risk for overall cancer, according to a new study in JAMA Oncology.

Researchers set out to take a closer look at aspirin use for cancer prevention and better understand the benefits of aspirin for cancer screening. They found an association between aspirin use and lower cancer risk – primarily because the benefits as it related to incidence of gastrointestinal cancer were particularly notable.

Read more

Research snapshot: Research collaboration discovers copolymer able to stabilize dystrophic skeletal muscle

New research from a University of Minnesota research collaboration identifies a copolymer well suited to stabilizing muscle cell membranes in a model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Poloxamer 188 (P188) is a block copolymer membrane stabilizer. In a new paper published in Molecular Therapy-Methods & Clinical Development, researchers showed this stabilizer works well to protect the dystrophic skeletal muscles.

Read more

Drop the vitamin C: The truth about colds

Photo: CC, Traci Lawson,

Dripping noses and choruses of coughs can be heard in hallways and homes as fall settles in, a season often considered ripe for colds.

The truth is colds hit year round. In fact, adults probably come down with two or three infections per year. Children, especially those hitting the classroom or settling in at day care, often see up to six colds a year.

“It’s considered one of the most common infectious diseases in humans,” said Mark Schleiss, M.D., co-director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Translational Research at the University of Minnesota. “Colds are generally caused by a virus called rhinovirus, and there are about 100 unique types of rhinoviruses. You can build immunity to them, but there are a lot of different strains so it’s hard to beat it completely.”

Schleiss is a practicing pediatrician and sees plenty of colds, so we checked in for the inside scoop on how to treat – and avoid – the common cold.

Read more

Snapshot: lower nicotine levels in cigarettes could mean lower dependence

Tomasz Sienicki/CC 3.0/

Reducing the nicotine levels in cigarettes could lower cigarette use, according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was conducted by University of Pittsburgh researcher Eric Donny, Ph.D., and Dorothy Hatsukami, Ph.D., of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, along with 8 other sites including the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Read more