University of Rochester

Research Notes

Body Mass Influences Cancer Risk
Does body mass matter when it comes to cancer? According to a first-of-its-kind study by Vera Gorbunova, assistant professor of biology, the answer may lie in telomerase—an enzyme that can lengthen the lives of cells, but can also increase the rate of cancer. Some animals express the enzyme while others, like humans, don’t. Gorbunova’s study suggested that simply having more cells in your body raises the specter of cancer—and does so enough that the benefits of telomerase expression, such as fast healing, didn’t outweigh the cancer risk.

Is Herpes Linked to Alzheimer’s?
A gene known to be a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease allows the virus that causes cold sores to be more active in the brain compared to other forms of the gene. The Medical Center findings, published online in Neurobiology of Aging, add scientific heft to the idea that herpes may play a role in bringing about Alzheimer’s.

New Java Has Rochester Tie
The newest release of the programming language Java has a Rochester connection. While working on his doctorate at the University, Bill Scherer ’06 (PhD), now a faculty fellow at Rice University, devised a faster way to pass information between processors. Working with his advisor, Professor of Computer Science Michael Scott, and with Doug Lea of SUNY Oswego, the chief architect of the Java concurrency library, Scherer was able to re-design the mechanism that manages Java tasks, giving it 10 times the throughput of the older version. Better task management means better performance for parallel Java applications, which form the backbone of many Internet servers and will power the next generation of PCs.