A publication for alumni, donors, faculty and friends of UC Davis Health

Volume 15 • No 1 • Fall 2018

Body of knowledge

A summary of recent findings in clinical, translational and basic science research at UC Davis

illustration of the state of California

Survival has significantly improved for most types of cancer in California over the past 20 years, but significant disparities also exist by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, according to a first-of-its-kind report by the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement. “Cancer Survival in California” found an overall relative 12 percent gain in cancer survival improvement in the state over the past two decades, but also significant race/ethnic disparities in survival gains for 23 cancer types.


Researchers at the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program have found that firearm violence and the connection between homicides and suicides have dramatically shifted in California over the past 16 years. According to the study in the Annals of Epidemiology, from 2000–2015 firearm homicides were largely an urban problem, but over time the highest rates began to develop in rural areas. Researchers also discovered an uptick in firearm suicides since the mid-2000s.

illustration of an HIV cell

Increased crotonylation, an epigenetic mechanism that governs gene expression, might be the key to making HIV come out of hiding in the body and become vulnerable to anti-HIV drugs, researchers at UC Davis Health and partnering universities found. Published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the study identified that this gene mechanism regulates HIV latency and, when increased, works synergistically with other known anti-HIV latency molecules.

illustration of human brain

The impact of hallucinogenic drugs on the structure and function of brain neurons could lead to new treatments for depression, anxiety and related disorders, according to UC Davis research published in the journal Cell Reports. Like ketamine, drugs such as LSD and MDMA were found to increase neuronal branches and connections, and that these structural changes could be capable of repairing malfunctioning circuits.

child playing with toys

Investigators at the UC Davis MIND Institute and NeuroPointDX, a division of Stemina Biomarker Discovery, have identified a group of blood metabolites that could help detect some children with autism spectrum disorder, according to research in Biological Psychiatry. Part of the Children’s Autism Metabolome Project (CAMP), the largest metabolomic ASD study ever attempted, the findings are a key step toward developing a biomarker test.

doctor looking at a chart

Medical school graduates who attend community college are more likely to select family medicine for their residency training and to be from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine, according to UC Davis research in the Annals of Family Medicine. The study led authors to recommend strengthening outreach and mentorship at the community-college level to increase physician diversity and primary care access.