UC Davis discoveries in
biomedical science and medicine

Our research has saved lives. We have innovated treatments for HIV, explored the origins of cancer, and created whole-body PET scans to better understand the human body.

A woodcut illustration of a stethoscope

cancer-fighting drugs

Kit S. Lam, a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and the Sue Jane Leung Presidential Chair in Cancer Research, invented the “one-bead-one-compound,” or OBOC, combinatorial library method that allows for rapid synthesis and screening of millions of chemicals at a time to identify those that bind to diseased cells or endowed with specific biological or chemical properties.

Microscopic medical beads

Expanding our understanding of
neurodegenerative disorders

In a study published in the journal Neurology in 2001, a UC Davis MIND Institute team led by Randi Hagerman, Endowed Chair in Fragile X Research, described a new condition, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS).

Two chomosomes, the one in the foreground has a glowing red section

Unlocking AIDS-like
diseases in animals

In the early 1990s, veterinary researchers at UC Davis identified a similar viral disease in cats, which would become known as feline immunodeficiency virus. Today, researchers at UC Davis use the SIV model to study treatments and vaccines for HIV/AIDS.

A sitting tabby cat

Watching DNA
unwind in real time

Stephen Kowalczykowski and the late Ron Baskin in the College of Biological Sciences pioneered a technique for watching a single enzyme unwinding a DNA molecule in real time. The work has led to new discoveries in the mechanics of how DNA is copied and repaired, processes that are vitally important to understanding the origins of cancer and birth defects.

Double helix of DNA

Scanning the whole body
all at once

While conventional PET scanners image the body as a series of slices, EXPLORER captures a detailed three-dimensional image of the entire body, dramatically reducing the time required for scans. This high-quality imaging enables better diagnostics and new studies, for example of how a drug is distributed through the body.

Two dudes look through the opening of a full body PET scanner

Finding better ways
to treat HIV

Satya Dandekar's lab was the first to show the benefit of initiating antiretroviral therapy in the early stages of HIV infection, leading to rapid immune recovery and better control of the viral infection. The findings supported changes in the treatment protocols for HIV to start anti-HIV therapy early in HIV infection to achieve better clinical outcomes.

Internal view of human digestive organs

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