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March 1, 2024

UVA Discoveries Vie for Biggest Scientific Advance

Logo for the STAT Madness contest

Two discoveries from the School of Medicine are competing for the title of 2023’s biggest scientific advance, and your votes will determine the winner!

The editors of prominent health news site STAT have selected 64 of the year’s most important, innovative and exciting scientific advances, including not one but two from UVA’s School of Medicine. Those 64 will now duke it out in an online bracket tournament, STAT Madness, which is the scientific equivalent of the NCAA basketball tournament.

Online voting will determine which findings advance through each round – and the ultimate winner. Voting is already under way – the bracket is now available at 

This marks the sixth year in a row that STAT has named one or more UVA Health discoveries to their list of the year’s biggest and most important findings.

UVA’s contenders include a discovery by Jeffrey Wilson, MD, PhD, and colleagues that found that sensitivity to common food allergens such as dairy and peanuts could be an important and previously unappreciated cause of deadly heart disease, even in people without obvious food allergies. That risk could equal or exceed the risk posed by smoking.

UVA’s second entry, from the lab of Alban Gaultier, PhD, revealed how Lactobacillus, a bacterium found in fermented foods and yogurt, helps the body manage stress and may help prevent depression and anxiety. The findings open the door to innovative new approaches to treating anxiety, depression and other mental-health conditions.

Voting in the first round of STAT Madness continues for seven days, and the championship round concludes April 4. Make sure to vote UVA every day!

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