Building on 30 Years of Innovation and Collaboration.

Here are some examples of how early research, like that done at PSC, can seed life-saving work.


How to Stop the Epidemic?

“Nancy” needs to get off the opioids—she started them when she got hurt at work—so she can get her job and her kids back. Might doctors offer her new tools for escaping her addiction? Better yet, might we control pain without risking dependence?

We know that opioids use proteins on the surface of nerve cells to trigger brain activity. But our understanding of how those proteins generate the signals that kill pain—and cause addiction—is rudimentary. Scientists have used the Anton supercomputer at PSC to understand how opioids trigger proteins on the nerve-cell surface. This builds a deep understanding we’ll need to design better addiction treatments, as well as pain killers that can’t cause addiction.





Is It Safe to Play?

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“Tommy” took a bad hit from a defensive lineman last Sunday. He was dizzy, and couldn’t remember the play. His folks want him to be safe—but a scholarship is his best ticket to college. Is it safe for him to play?

Doctors have made progress in diagnosing traumatic brain injury (TBI) in people who have had concussions. But no method yet makes direct pictures of TBI damage to the brain. Scientists believe such pictures will be necessary to understand, prevent and reverse TBI. A Pitt team has used huge amounts of computation on PSC’s Bridges supercomputer to translate magnetic signals into pictures of the brains of people with and without TBI while they think. It’s a first step at seeing and targeting TBI damage for treatment. Read More




Gut Check?

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“Charlie,” who lives in Philadelphia, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 10. In addition to higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems and nerve pain, his diabetes causes terrible heartburn and stomach pain after he eats. Is there a way to possibly ease Charlie’s symptoms—and maybe slow progression of the disease?

People with diabetes have long known that the disease plays havoc with their digestive systems. What doctors have come to realize is it may work both ways. The digestive health of a person with diabetes could, in turn, affect the course of the diabetes. A University of Georgia team used PSC’s Bridges to spot how the microbes growing inside people with diabetes differ from those in people who don’t have diabetes. Their work may have uncovered the microbes that cause diabetes-associated GI problems. The discovery will help doctors determine if targeting these microbes could reverse diabetes symptoms—and maybe even affect more life-threatening effects of diabetes.