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Technological advances lead to new discoveries in vision science

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Advances in technology have led a team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, to zero in on just what it is about the human cornea that makes it so resistant to disease. And this could lead to new, inexpensive antimicrobial drugs. Study leader Suzanne Fleiszig explains that they used mass spectrometry to discover that keratin fragments in the eye are responsible for its powerful antimicrobial effects.

Fleiszig:         There were something like eight or 10 molecules in there and pretty much all of them were keratin fragments and actually what was also really interesting about this finding was that when you do mass spec, often you get keratin contamination and I think that some people might have looked at that result and thought, oh no, this experiment has failed. But we thought, well, this is really interesting, because there's not much else in there but keratin. Maybe the keratin is doing it. And this may explain why no one's discovered this before — keratin often is a contaminant in experiments.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.