Why are some things addictive and others not? Whether they are a narcotic or a cigarette, all things addictive have something in common—the reward pathway in the brain. “It is thought that anything that can perturb this pathway has addictive properties,” says molecular neuroscientist Nadine Kabbani.
Where do character traits like creativity and humor originate? By studying nerve tissue and building a computational model, neuroscientist Giorgio Ascoli and his team of researchers at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study are trying to answer this fundamental question.
Scientists at Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine are focusing their efforts in the war against cancer on two primary fronts: early diagnosis and discovery of new drug targets. To identify cancer in the early stages, the lab uses proteomic techniques and novel nanotechnology methods invented by Lance Liotta, MD, PhD, and Emanuel Petricoin III, PhD, to harvest rare proteins in blood that are a likely sign that cancer is present.
Once thought to be a strictly American phenomenon, childhood obesity rates are soaring in nations still plagued with hunger and poverty. Nutritional anthropologist Lisa Pawloski has found a number of factors contribute to this phenomenon including a rise in two-income families and fast food restaurants.
World-renowned climatologist Jagadish Shukla has devoted much of his career to setting—and keeping—the facts and data straight on climate change and how this science affects different sectors of society. Shukla is a lead author and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore.
From astronomers using radio telescopes to inventory other galaxies to molecular biologists delving into the mysteries of human cellular life, research is thriving at Mason. A Level 2 Carnegie Classified research institution, Mason is ranked at 170 in the country among more than 600 universities nationwide. Last year, Mason was awarded $90 million in sponsored research and will soon surpass $100 million annually.