CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Sept. 3, 2002
Biological sciences researchers receive $30,000 grant to study rare disease
David Soll, Carver/Emil Witschi Professor in the Biological Sciences in
the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and colleague
Dr. Frederick Goldman, UI associate professor of pediatrics, have received
a one-year, renewable $30,000 grant from the Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome International
(SDSI) organization to continue studying a rare disease affecting mostly children.
Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS) mainly involves the pancreas, bone marrow
and skeleton, but other organs may also be affected. Next to Cystic Fibrosis,
it is the most common cause of pancreatic insufficiency in children, resulting
in a decreased ability to properly digest food. In addition, patients often
develop bone marrow failure, including lowering of their neutrophils, a type
of white blood cell that fights bacterial infections. Also, Soll and Goldman
have recently reported on the inability of these neutrophils to properly move.
Soll says his research will continue to use 2D and 3D motion analysis systems
developed in the W.M. Keck Dynamic Image Analysis Facility at the University
of Iowa to study neutrophil motility and how certain cells move in response
to chemical stimuli.
"First, our studies hope to shed light on this disorder and may lead
to predictions as to the underlying molecular basis of SDS," Goldman
says. "Second, information gained from these studies may help explain
certain clinical circumstances, such as the increased risk of developing infections,
and offer the potential for developing strategies to correct this defect.
Last, if these studies demonstrate a very specific defect in neutrophil chemotaxis
that is reproducible, this test may prove useful in confirming the disease
in patients, including very young children, that do not fit all the clinical
criteria for this diagnosis."
During the past five years, Soll and his colleagues have continued to investigate
the molecular mechanisms that regulate animal cell locomotion, including nerve
cell growth, the effects of HIV on white blood cell behavior, the basis for
Schwachman-Diamond Syndrome, cancer cell metastasis and neural tissue development.
Soll's laboratory is composed of 32 researchers who currently hold 7 grants
and contracts. Their research interests range from the effects of ultra sound
on cancer cells, infectious organisms and agricultural pests to investigating
Candida albicans, an infectious yeast responsible for a variety of pathological
conditions. During nearly two decades, Soll's cell motility studies have attracted
more than $16 million in research funding.