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The Richmond Observer – NC Wildlife Commission provides update on mysterious songbird disease

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RALEIGH – NC Wildlife Resources Commission officials today announced that the outbreak affecting songbirds since May 2020 appears to be abating and, thanks to diligent reports from North Carolina residents, it does not appear to have had significant impact on birds in our state.

The mysterious disease has been reported primarily in the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states, and as far south as Virginia with a few cases in Florida. It primarily affected the chicks of larger songbirds, such as blue jays, American robins, European starlings, and blackbirds. The sick birds showed an unusual set of symptoms starting with crusty, swollen eyes that progressed to tremors, an inability to maintain balance, and other neurological issues that ultimately ended in death despite best efforts to treat the birds.

Several state wildlife agencies, conservation organizations and wildlife diagnostic labs have been monitoring the outbreak collaboratively to try to identify a cause, but its source remains a mystery. Hypothetical causes ranging from the emergence of the Brood X cicada to a variety of viruses, bacteria and parasites have all been ruled out.

In North Carolina, laboratory results of deceased birds that have been reported by the public indicate that malnutrition and physical trauma are the cause of death – common dangers to young, inexperienced birds. Additional lab reports are still pending, but biologists do not anticipate new findings.

Other reports of sick songbirds in North Carolina were mostly of finches showing signs of common bird-eating diseases, such as avian conjunctivitis and salmonella poisoning. Reports from other species have found more typical causes of death, including collisions with windows and moving vehicles.

Most songbird calls to the Wildlife Commission these days are from people wanting to know if it is safe to put their feeders back in place. If you decide to relocate your bird feeder, it is advisable to commit to sterilizing your feeders often. Frequent cleaning will help prevent the spread of common bird diseases such as avian conjunctivitis, salmonella poisoning and aspergillosis in hummingbirds. Salmonella can also make people sick, which is why feeders should never be cleaned in the same area where the food is prepared.

Songbird feeders should be disinfected at least every two weeks, and more often in damp or humid conditions. Wildlife managers advise:

  • Remove any remaining seeds and scrub off any debris.
  • Soak the feeder in a bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water for 10 minutes.
  • Dry the charger completely before filling it.

Hummingbird feeders should be sanitized at least once a week, and more often in damp or humid conditions. Wildlife managers advise:

  • Soak the feeder in a bleach solution of one part bleach to nine parts water for 10 minutes.
  • Dry the charger completely before filling it.
  • Fill with a sugar water solution, which is one part table sugar to four parts water, with no added colors or any other form of natural or artificial sweetener.

Wildlife Commission biologists will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to the public as more information becomes available. In the meantime, immediately remove bird feeders if sick or dead birds are found near the area and contact the NC Wildlife Helpline for further instructions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 866-318 -2401 or email anytime at This e-mail address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If handling a dead bird, wear gloves or use an inverted plastic bag. Dispose of the bird in a sealed bag in the household garbage or bury it deeply. Keep pets, including pet birds, and children away from sick or dead wild birds.

If you want to consider an alternative to bird feeders to attract birds and other wildlife to your property, Wildlife Commission Extension Biologist Falyn Owens suggests creating natural foods by planting trees, shrubs. and native flowers.

“When it comes to contagious diseases, birds are no different from other wild animals – when they regularly gather in the same place to eat from the same ‘plate’, they also share germs that can spread disease.” , Owens said. “Native plants are natural sources of food for birds. They provide seeds, nuts, nectar, berries, and support the native insects that most songbirds need to survive their first few weeks of life. Plant life also allows birds to feed without congregating around a single food source, reducing the risk of disease transmission.

Fall is a great time to plant. Native plants that benefit birds can be found on the Audubon North Carolina website.


WellCapped is ‘rent the runway’ of lace up wigs

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Ot over the last few decades, wigs have become so much better. With lace fronts, U-shaped parts and a variety of different textures, cuts and colors available, it has never been easier to convince the world that the hair on your head is actually growing out of your scalp. But as the market for wigs and extensions continues to expand – it is expected to grow $ 2.4 billion globally by 2024 – many products remain out of reach.

High quality wigs are an investment. You’ll easily spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a good human hair wig, so you don’t want to go wrong. To increase access to good wigs, Shante Frazier launched WellCapped, a wig rental service that allows users to enjoy a variety of glueless lace-up wigs for a fraction of the cost.

Determining which wig to buy depends on word of mouth. Your hairstylist recommends a brand of hair that they know you’ll love. Your former college roommate (who majored in biology?) Now makes custom units sold through Instagram. And your favorite hair influencer just posted another wig unboxing and review on YouTube. Information is coming from everywhere and nowhere at the same time, making it difficult to choose the right wig for you.

“Right now the consumer journey is completely interrupted. If you’re a customer looking for hair extensions, you’re probably starting out on social media and then going to an e-commerce site that isn’t optimized for your shopping experience. ” said Frazier. “There are no major players in the game. No one owns more than 15% of the natural hair extensions market. This means that there is no one to give this education to consumers than L’Oréal , Proctor & Gamble or Unilever would generally give. “

Choosing a WellCapped Rental Plan

WellCapped offers two wig rental options. The premier plan, a $ 100 monthly subscription (no annual commitment required) that includes up to two wigs per month, is for trend-setters – people who love a change of look and are already spending over $ 2,000 per month. year for some units. The second plan is a la carte, in which you rent one wig at a time only when you need it. (“No one wants to spend $ 500 on hair to look good on their birthday,” Frazier says.) You’ll pay $ 100 to keep a wig for a month or $ 35 a week. For the weekly option, if you keep it for a month, you’ll end up paying $ 140. “We try to encourage people to sign up for a one-month subscription if they have it for more than two weeks,” says Frazier.

Frazier has partnered with The Hair Laundry, an Atlanta-based wig laundromat to ensure all wigs are thoroughly sanitized, washed, conditioned, repaired, and styled before going to a new wearer. When you select a wig, it is sent to you fully styled with a fixed part, but you can play around with the hair. Besides cutting or coloring the wig, “you can do whatever you would do if you bought the wig,” says Frazier. Accidental damage such as tearing of the lace is covered by your membership fee. But if you permanently damage the wig by spilling paint on it or end up dying on the unit, you are about to purchase the wig from WellCapped. As well as offering more traditional styles and colors, “we’re seeing a lot of trends in people who get the colorful wigs, the wild colors, like bright blue and pink,” says Frazier.

The WellCapped Membership Experience

When you open a WellCapped box, you will find the wig in a satin drawstring bag, two wig caps, and an envelope with a return shipping label. The lace and knots are bleached to make the wig look like it is sticking out of your scalp. It is built on a basic brown cap with adjustable shoulder straps for the perfect fit.

The first wig I chose was styled with medium wand curls and a side part, giving it a 1920s vibe. The hair was incredibly soft, smelled great and the curls held together beautifully, arriving in these coils fresh out of the tool. I tied it to my head with the combs attached and with the internal straps adjusted, the wig fitted perfectly (which worried me as I have a large head). I loosened the curls with my fingers and teased around the part for more fullness on top.

The wig looked exactly like the photos, but I didn’t like it on me. I haven’t worn a side part since 2017 and this device reminded me of why. But that’s the beauty of a service like WellCapped. If this had been a custom wig I owned now, I would have been furious. The wig return process leaves a lot to be desired, and I could easily have ended up with a wig that I didn’t want. But with WellCapped, there is no stress. The service makes it easy to play with different styles and try on looks outside of my comfort zone.

WellCapped is the kind of business the hair industry has been waiting for, especially for black people who invest time and money in their looks. And especially for black women who have historically been held to higher standards of beauty, having to deal with the pressure of looking “polished” throughout our lives. Plus, curly, coarse hair takes a lot of love and attention to look and feel its best. Protective styles like wigs take the hassle out of worrying about our own hair every day. But not everything is done out of necessity. Many of us who regularly change our look do it because we love it. WellCapped makes this process even more enjoyable by reducing it to a more affordable price.

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SCVNews.com | National Science Foundation awards $ 1.49 million grant to COC’s STEM program

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College of the Canyons received a grant of $ 1,493,379 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a new scholarship program aimed at increasing retention, transfer and graduation rates among science, technology, engineering majors and Mathematics (STEM) in key student populations, including Blacks, Latinxes, women, first-generation students, and low-income students.

Launched in fall 2022, the new Scholarship-STEM Equity Alliance (SEA) scholarship program will build on the College’s successful Mathematics, Engineering and Science (MESA) program to improve access to support for academic preparation and student services.

“This is the second National Science Foundation grant the college is receiving this year, a testament to our innovative spirit, academic excellence and commitment to student success,” said Chancellor from the College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “STEM-based industries are helping lead the economic recovery from the pandemic, so this award is timely. This grant-provided funding will play a crucial role in helping the College of the Canyons remove barriers for students interested in entering these competitive and ever-changing fields.

The SEA Scholars program will recruit, mentor and support academically talented STEM students pursuing degrees in biology, biological sciences, computer science, engineering, environmental sciences, mathematics and physics.

During the six-year grant period, 100 STEM students will receive financial and academic resources, including scholarships of up to $ 10,000 ($ 5,000 for two years). Scholarship students will participate in five cohorts of twenty students each, with the ultimate goal of earning an associate’s degree and joining the STEM workforce or transferring to a four-year college.

“We are delighted to receive this substantial grant from the National Science Foundation,” said Patricia Foley, principal investigator of the grant and professor of chemistry at the college. “This award will help us create structures to provide our under-represented students with the academic, social and financial capital necessary to pursue STEM careers.”

Students will also engage with faculty members through well-defined mentoring relationships and participate in STEM career exploration activities.

Additionally, participating COC professors will learn how to create inclusive, equitable, and culturally appropriate STEM classrooms, which is a proven approach to improve STEM outcomes among low-income, under-represented and disadvantaged students on the job. educational plan.

Created by the NSF, the mission of the S-STEM program is to enable low-income and talented students to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields.


Research provides additional insight into the causes of manganese-induced parkinsonism

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A major limitation in the treatment of manganese-induced parkinsonism is a lack of understanding of the mechanisms that regulate manganese levels in the body.. Somshuvra Mukhopadhyay, MBBS, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Hamm Centennial Fellow in Pharmacy, and a team of researchers have published new findings defining the first pathway for homeostatic regulation of manganese in mammalian systems. Identifying these pathways opens up new possible options for preventing or treating manganese-induced parkinsonism and other disorders associated with high manganese exposure.

by Mukhopadhyay last research article, “Upregulation of the manganese transporter SLC30A10 by hypoxia-inducible factors defines a homeostatic response to manganese toxicity”, has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the official journal of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Manganese toxicity is a well-established cause of parkinsonism, but has no cure. By focusing on understanding how our bodies regulate manganese levels, we have been able to uncover a pathway that can potentially be targeted for the treatment of manganese-induced parkinsonism, “says Mukhopadhyay. “In many ways, this study highlights how the findings of basic science can be harnessed for possible therapeutic development. “

Manganese is necessary for life, but at high levels it builds up in the brain and causes parkinsonism. Parkinsonism due to manganese poisoning is seen in people exposed to high levels of metal from occupational (eg welding) or environmental (eg, drinking water) sources, people with breast disease. liver because manganese is excreted by the liver or patients with certain genetic mutations. Mukhopadhyay’s manuscript describes a regulatory pathway through which the body controls manganese levels. Elevations in manganese levels increase the expression of SLC30A10, a protein that excretes manganese, thus providing a pathway to reduce the amount of manganese in the body.

“These findings are a big step forward in our understanding of how the body regulates this biologically essential but potentially toxic metal and identify potential therapeutic approaches to protect against the neurotoxic effects of high manganese exposure,” said the co-author. Dr Donald Smith, professor of microbiology and environmental toxicology at the University of California at Santa Cruz. “Historically, these approaches have involved primary prevention, which is not always possible, or metal chelation therapy, which has not been established to treat manganese poisoning. Therapeutic modulation of the manganese excretion pathway identified in this study represents a new and promising approach to the treatment of manganese poisoning. “Smith is co-inventor of the patent and contributed to the research article with Chunyi liu from the faculty of pharmacy at UT, Thomas Jursa of UC Santa Cruz and Michael aschner from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

The article also provides the mechanisms involved in showing that manganese increases SLC30A10 expression by activating a group of proteins called hypoxia-inducible factors, which regulate gene expression. It is important to note that drugs targeting hypoxia-inducible factors, called prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors, have already been developed for the treatment of other diseases, such as kidney anemia. The research team shows that these prolyl hydroxylase inhibitors protect cells and mice against the toxic effects of manganese, suggesting that these drugs could be potential therapeutic agents for the management of manganese-induced parkinsonism in humans.

“This is an important development in advancing technology that will help manage and treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease. We are actively seeking potential partners interested in the development and commercialization of Dr Mukhopadhyay’s technology, ”said Kristen falkenstein, Senior Licensing Specialist in UT Austin’s Technology Commercialization Office.

Mukhopadhyay’s previous research related to manganese, SLC30A10, and parkinsonism has received considerable attention. The paper “The SLC30A10 transporter in the digestive system regulates cerebral manganese under basal conditions while the SLC30A10 brain protects against neurotoxicity” was appointed one of the articles of the year 2019 by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This too won a 2020 Cooperative Research Excellence Award for the best paper, presented by the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Texas at Austin and the University Co-operative Society.

The Mukhopadhyay Lab at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy focuses on understanding the cell biology of human disease. His two main research projects focus on parkinsonism and metal homeostasis, as well as on intracellular trafficking in Shiga and associated bacterial toxins. This research paper mainly focuses on the first research project. Metals, such as iron, manganese, and copper, are essential for life, but become toxic at high levels and cause serious neurological diseases, such as parkinsonism.


Federally Protected Black Vultures May ‘Eat Live Cows’ in Midwest | Smart News

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The American black vulture (Coragyps atratus) are easy to spot with their dark, sooty plumage, bald black heads and short tails. Also known as the black crow, the large raptor measures 22 to 29 inches long with a wingspan of around five feet.

Vultures typically feast on the carcasses of dead animals, but reports suggest they may have started “eating live cows” in the Midwest, reports Sarah Bowman for the Indianapolis Star.

“Black vultures, now they’re a very, very aggressive bird,” said John Hardin, a cattle breeder from southern Indiana. Indianapolis Star. “They basically wait for the cows and calves to die or try to kill them.”

Unlike the Turkey Vulture, black vultures are more daring and can prey on living animals like calves, lambs, piglets, and other small creatures. Harding says vultures often peck a calf’s nose, navel, face and mouth, reports Newser Kate Seamons.

Black vultures are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibits the capture, killing, sale, trade or transport of migratory bird species without permission from the Department of Interior US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Harming vultures without a license can result in jail time or hefty fines. In August, the Indiana Farm Bureau introduced a program that will allow farmers to obtain a license to kill birds of prey in an effort to help farmers protect their livestock, Journalist reports.

The Indiana Farm Bureau will pay the $ 100 fee it costs to obtain a permit and undergo the lengthy process it takes to obtain federal authorization to kill damage-causing birds, reports Jim Robbins for the New York Times. Black vulture culling programs began in Kentucky and Tennessee, but have since spread to other states including Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas, reports Bob McNally for Outdoor living.

There are no limits on the number of permits the Indiana Farm Bureau can issue, but the organization can only kill 500 vultures per year. Farmers using the permit cannot kill more than five vultures, according to the Indianapolis Star. After receiving the permit, cattle producers must declare the number of vultures they harvest and dispose of them properly.

Former Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John W. Fitzpatrick, however, suspects vultures do not target healthy calves, and he is against allowing permits to kill protected species, the New York Times reports. Fitzpatrick further noted that the idea that black vultures are predators needs further study.

“They are often seen around struggling calves that are stillborn or dying, and they jump on them quickly,” Fitzpatrick told the New York Times. “The idea that they are predators of cattle is wrong.”

The phenomenon of black vultures moving north is relatively recent. Scientists suspect vultures have spread to Indiana in recent decades due to climate change and changes in land use, according to a statement from Purdue University. Black vultures are historically common in the southern states.

Scientists at Purdue University and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services are working with cattle ranchers to better understand black vulture predation habits. In turn, this information could be used to find ways to prevent vultures from harming livestock. Farmers can help by donating calves they suspect were killed by black vultures to the lab or by completing an online survey on concerns about livestock losses and their experiences with black vultures, according to a statement.

“We don’t know enough about the biology of these vultures to understand why some birds become predators or the differences between how they feed and how they kill an animal,” said Patrick Zollner, quantitative ecologist at Purdue, in a statement. “If we can get enough of these predated calves to study, we can find out what evidence is needed to help producers file claims with the USDA Farm Service Agency’s compensation program to receive compensation for their losses.”

“ORIGINS”: a look at the world through the lenses of world-renowned photographers

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CHICAGO – An exhibit in Bridgeport brings breathtaking images from acclaimed National Geographic photographers, filmmakers and marine biologists to Chicago.

Paul Nicklen and Christina Mittermeier set out to “save the world” years ago as budding marine biologists. On this trip, they opened a window to the endangered ecosystem and sparked a global awareness of climate change.

Mittermeier is an environmental adventurer, writer, photographer and marine biologist who over the past 25 years has been recognized worldwide as one of the most influential writers and conservationists on wildlife.

“Bubble gum” by Mittermeier

Named one of the 2018 Adventurers of the Year by National Geographic and National Geographic Women of Impact, Mittermeier has worked in more than 100 countries on every continent around the world, reaching an estimated 2.5 billion people, sparking global conversations about climate change.

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With a career spanning more than 20 years, Nicklen had made his personal archives available to the art world. Taking people on his ice diving trips with leopard seals, studying the horizon with lions in Africa, to tackle the sub-zero arctic environment, Nicklen has amassed a global following.

With over 20 articles published for National Geographic and over 7 million Instagram followers, Nicklen’s work has made an impact around the world. With celebrities praising his work and bands using his work to help spread his message.

Pearl Jam album cover featuring Nicklen’s work

Pearl Jam’s recently released “Gigaton” album features Nicklen’s Ice Waterfall photograph on the cover.

“The group wanted to expand something globally and create a unique experience for fans so that wherever they are in the world they all experience it the same way at the same time,” said Scott Greer, from the management of Peral Jam. “Everyone interacted with her differently. Some people were walking past the animation and then we saw a little girl tapping on the moving waterfall. This engagement and interaction made it more than just a cover of Pearl Jam, it made it universal. ”

Mittermeier and Nicklen co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean.

To see Origins, head to the Hilton Asmus Contemporary in Bridgeport. “Origins” runs until October 2.

For more, follow @tomwgnchicago on Instagram.

“Bear in the water”



President Biden unveils his pandemic preparedness plan

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The White House on Friday unveiled a 10-year, $ 65.3 billion pandemic preparedness plan that it compared to the Apollo moon mission. He called on Congress to immediately allocate at least $ 15 billion in the budget reconciliation bill for the effort – half the amount President Biden originally proposed.

The plan, written by Biden’s science adviser and his National Security Council, would establish a full-time “mission control” office that would coordinate the work of government agencies to detect emerging threats and prepare the country for them. combat.

“We have a tremendous amount to do for this pandemic, and we have to really think about creating capacities that may take several years to develop, but they can be really transformative for the next event that we will surely see in the decades to come. Said Dr Eric Lander, one of the two officials who presented the plan to reporters.

The $ 15 billion would be a compromise. In March, the White House announced that its U.S. jobs plan would include $ 30 billion for pandemic preparedness. But in Capitol Hill, where moderate Democrats are pushing to lower the price of the $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, a figure of $ 8 billion for pandemic preparedness has been considered.

Some Democrats have repeatedly called for the initial $ 30 billion to be included in the reconciliation package. Among them is Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts. Ms Warren and six of her fellow Democrats recently wrote to House and Senate leaders from both parties, calling on them to include $ 30 billion in the budget.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that underinvestment in our public health infrastructure, our biomedical research pipeline and our medical supply chain has dire consequences,” the senators wrote.

The Guarding Against Pandemics advocacy group is also appeal to Congress to put $ 30 billion for pandemic preparedness in the budget bill. The group is concerned that while there has been a huge investment in the fight against Covid-19, lawmakers are not neglecting the prevention of future pandemics.

Dr Lander was joined on Friday by Elizabeth Cameron, senior director of global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council – a post she held in the Obama White House, where she wrote a preparation document known as the pandemic manual. She said the Biden plan “builds a lot on those efforts,” as well as “on the lessons of this pandemic.”

According to documents released by the White House, the plan has five main objectives: to improve and expand the national arsenal of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; improving surveillance of infectious disease threats; strengthening of the public health system, with “particular emphasis on reducing inequalities”; building up the supply chain and stock, including personal protective equipment; and “managing the mission” by creating a new mission control office – a task Dr. Lander compared to the Apollo mission of sending astronauts to the moon in the 1960s.

“If you go to the moon and you have a super booster rocket but you don’t have a capsule that can land on work computers that can steer, it won’t work,” he said. declared.


Modeling AI on the language of circuits and brain architecture

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Advances in artificial intelligence research have often been fostered by advances in neuroscience. Indeed, the two fields have frequently borrowed ideas and there are still many successful opportunities to do so in the future.

In a recent review article published in Science, professor of biology and neurobiology at Stanford University Liqun Luo summarizes our current understanding of neural circuits in the brain and how they fit into the architecture of the brain. The review also suggests additional opportunities for artificial intelligence to learn from neuroscience.

“I wanted to define what is known and what is unknown, to stimulate both neuroscience and AI researchers,” he says.

Read Neural circuit architectures

Luo’s message to AI researchers is this: Neuroscientists still have a long way to go in understanding the various circuit patterns and architectures in the brain and how they interact with each other, but the groundwork has been laid for that AI researchers plan to use a greater variety of patterns and architectures than they currently do – and perhaps even connect multiple circuit architectures together to create the kinds of synergies we see in the brain.

From neurons, to circuit patterns, to architectures

Luo compares the structure of the brain to the building blocks of language. If individual neurons are letters, then circuit patterns are the words they spell, and circuit architectures are the sentences created by a series of words. At each level, says Luo, AI researchers will benefit from a better understanding of how different parts of the brain connect and communicate with each other.

Patterns of synaptic connectivity – the ways in which neurons connect to other neurons – define the first level of generalized information processing principles in the brain – circuit patterns. These include some of the most basic types of neural circuits, such as predictive excitement, which were incorporated into some of the first artificial neural networks ever developed, including perceptrons and deep neural networks.

But Luo also describes other patterns, including feedback inhibition, lateral inhibition, and mutual inhibition. While these patterns can appear in AI systems that use unsupervised learning, where weights are assigned and adjusted during the learning process, Luo questions whether the deliberate incorporation of these patterns into the architecture of AI systems can help further improve their performance.

At a level above the circuit patterns, Luo says, are the “sentences” that these patterns create when organized together in specific brain architectures. For example, continuous topographic mapping is an architecture in which neighboring units of one layer of the brain are connected to neighboring units of the next layer. This approach has been incorporated into AI systems that use convolutional neural networks. Likewise, parallel processing is a type of neural circuit architecture that has been widely adopted in computing in general as well as in a variety of AI systems.

An additional important circuit architecture is dimensionality expansion, in which the inputs of a layer with a small number of units are connected to an intermediate layer with a much larger number of units so that subtle differences in the input layer become more apparent in the intermediate layer for the output layer to be distinguished. Recurrent networks are also important, in which neurons connect to themselves, often through intermediaries. The brain concatenates both dimensionality expansion and recurrent processing in a highly structured way across multiple regions. Understanding and exploiting the design principles governing these combinations of circuit patterns could help AI.

In general, Luo says, “Using my linguistic metaphor, I would say that AI researchers tend to use letters and jump straight to articles without writing the words and phrases in between. In essence, he says, without knowing the middlemen, they always make things work using brute force and a lot of computing power. Maybe neuroscience can help AI researchers open that black box, Luo says.

Going forward: assembling multiple architectures

AI researchers should broaden their approaches, says Luo. In the brain, a variety of architectures coexist and work together to generate general intelligence, while most AI systems rely on a single type of circuit architecture.

“Maybe if AI researchers explore the variety of architectures that exist in the brain, they will be inspired to design new ways to put multiple architectures together to build better systems than is possible with a single architecture,” he said.

Stanford HAI’s mission is to advance AI research, education, policy and practice to improve the human condition. Learn more.


The GCU family welcomes first generation students

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First-generation student Bazwell Mwale (right) mingles with other GCU students on a Social Thursday at the Students’ Union.

Mike Kilen story
Photos of Ralph Freso

CUU Information Office

At Bazwell Mwale his parents died when he was little and he was placed in an orphanage in South East Africa. Good people from a Kansas church brought him to the United States, where he graduated from high school and went to a year of community college.

He often thought of his family.

“My dream is to become a doctor so that I can return to Malawi. I have seen a lot of my family die from medical problems, including my parents, ”he said.

He is a first generation student at Grand Canyon University, where 1 in 5 new students this year is the first person in their original immediate family to attend college. They face obstacles without family members that can guide them through the financial and logistical stages of higher education and often come under intense pressure to be the new family directing star.

“I have a brother and a sister, and they didn’t have the opportunities that I had. So they turn to me. “How is he going to do it?” »How am I going to help them? Mwale said, just days after arriving at GCU to begin his studies in biology. “There is pressure. I don’t want to let them down.

Connecting first generation students to resources and a community that can guide and facilitate their journey was one of the reasons that the first generation social on Thursday during Welcome Week, hosted by the Associate Students of the University of the Grand Canyon.

Daniela Chavira (left), a student senator, is also a first generation student.

President of ASGCU Darion Padilla and vice-president Ben claypool made it a priority this year because first-generation students often have no one to turn to to ask questions about the university. For the first time, ASGCU has a student government senator – Daniela Chavira – whose specific duties are towards first generation students.

Chavira knows what they are going through. She had been translating for her Spanish-speaking and Mexican-native parents since she was a child. “You are 8 years old and you have to translate legal documents,” she said.

Her parents had little knowledge of the college experience when she arrived at GCU with them last year for Welcome Week as a first generation student.

“It was powerful for me to see my parents in front of me, a part of me. … But someone is there to help you. I’m not alone anymore, ”said Chavira.

GCU embraced her not only as a child of immigrant parents. “I was something more than that. I was a human being, ”she said.

While GCU helped her overcome financial complexities and education options, Chavira’s parents could offer this:

Las pilas bridge. “

Keep on going.

“Their words of encouragement and prayers have been a real blessing. I can’t count on them financially, but I can count on their prayers, ”said Chavira.

The mechanical engineering major wants to encourage other first generation students to continue.

“I always think of the Martin Luther King quote: ‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep on. move cheeky. ‘

Las Pilas Bridge.

Often, it takes more than determination.

About fifty first generation students joined the student association during the welcome week.

First-generation students are more likely to come from families with financial difficulties, but a college degree will help alleviate those difficulties.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median weekly salary in 2019 was $ 1,340 for those with a bachelor’s degree and $ 746 for those with only a high school diploma..

“It’s so important and aligns with the president Brian Mueller’s focus on education being the great equalizer, ”said Marette Hahn, Director of Academic Support at the GCU Center of Academic and Professional Excellence. “If we can help first generation students get a bachelor’s degree, we can help play a pivotal role in ending the cycle of poverty. “

First, they must learn the resources available to them.

“I have to do everything alone. No one knows university because I am the first child, the oldest of six children. My dad has a roofing business and my mom works in a cookie store ”, Julia sanchez noted.

She began to realize that she was in good company at the party, where about 50 students walked around the student association tables with refreshments and games. There was evidence all around her of the value of tapping into the GCU community.

Junior Edgar Moreno, an ASGCU senator, said he almost dropped out of freshman because he couldn’t afford college, but once he got involved in the speech and debate of the GCU, the director of forensic medicine Michel Dvorak guided him to a speech scholarship that helped him stay in college.

There was inspiration too, just to be in the midst of the determination of the budding scholars.

Elisabeth frias worked as a phlebotomist for 12 years to save money and finally came to GCU this week to start studying biology soon.

Armando Velasco is eager to begin university studies as the first of his family to do so.

They are not alone, and are even starting their college careers this week.

“I didn’t know what to do with classes. I didn’t even know what the lessons were Armando Velasco noted. “I don’t know any trick, any trick. You don’t get that from your family. You have to find out for yourself.

But with the help of GCU and a Students Inspiring Students scholarship, he’s already figuring it out. He wants to study psychology to help these suffering families.

“When I was younger, I didn’t have a father figure in my life. I wish to be this father figure for others. I want to be there for them, ”he said. “I want to help people. “

Grand Canyon University Senior Writer Mike Kilen can be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.

***

Associated content:

GCU today: Project L: Welcome Week’s love letter to diversity

GCU today: Second-year students have high hopes for a turbulent year

GCU today: Pinning ceremony arouses emotion in parents and students

Kendra Chan’s environmental legacy – The Santa Barbara Independent

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The Channel Islands that rise from the ocean just off the coast of Santa Barbara are an irreplaceable node of biodiversity. They are home to populations of rare and endangered plants that do not exist anywhere else on Earth, except at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. There, a new scholarship aims to protect these island ecosystems and honor Kendra Chan, one of 34 people who died in September 2019 Design boat fire.

A unique partnership between the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Ecological Society of America, the two-year scholarship provides research experience and leadership training to aspiring biologists as well as a potential long-term position with Fish & Wildlife.

Daniel Cisneros, the first Kendra Chan Fellow for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ventura field office, contributes to ongoing conservation efforts for rare plant species on the Channel Islands at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. | Credit: Daniel Cisneros

In the days following Chan’s death, a group of federal agency executives in Ventura decided to create the scholarship in his honor – “something that could help adopt the characteristics they saw in Kendra and providing an opportunity for someone to embrace that, ”said Chris Diel, an assistant field supervisor who has worked with Chan.

“She was just smart, thoughtful and calculated, passionate and curious,” Diel said. “She has done such a good job of bringing people together to achieve this conservation goal.”

The 26-year-old wildlife biologist was a board member and researcher for Fish & Wildlife in Ventura. Her mother, Vicki Moore, and her father, Raymond “Scott” Chan, raised Kendra as an outdoor child. From family hikes in California national parks to Girl Scouts to Kendra getting her scuba diving license at the age of 12, her parents have cultivated a lifestyle immersed in nature. Kendra and Scott would venture to the Channel Islands several times a year to dive and explore the teeming kelp forests. They were together on the Design, where Scott Chan also lost his life.

“My favorite thing to do the same as the tides is to watch a rock or kelp wedge and watch all the little creatures come to life – and you notice the little details – and that’s what really gets me going. Chan said in a Ventura FWS 2018 Facebook Video. This appreciation for nature’s microcosms is echoed in the fellowship’s current focus on seeds, which often require microscopes for proper viewing.

The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is the home of the project, which aims to conserve the seeds of rare plants endemic to the Channel Islands in the seed bank of the nonprofit organization’s Pritzlaff Conservation Center. Daniel Cisneros, a senior executive at UCSB and first recipient of the Kendra Chan Conservation Fellowship, spends his days testing how seed viability changes over time and developing a virtual interactive map for the public to explore. plants native to the Channel Islands.


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“We take plants out of their natural habitat and store them elsewhere. Said Heather Schneider, rare plant biologist at the Botanical Garden. “The seed bank is an insurance policy against extinction.” The ultimate goal is to generate a genetic backup of these rare native plants so that one day declining or lost populations can be restored.

The story map also serves as a tribute to Chan’s dedication to connecting people with the environment around them. Vicki and Scott, both educators, passed on their passion for teaching to Kendra. After earning her bachelor’s degree from UC Davis, Kendra became an educator at the Marine Science Institute in the San Francisco Bay Area and often volunteered in community science projects involving kelp forest monitoring or plastic pollution. .

The particular coupling of conservation science with community outreach is not only an effective way to bring the general public into the fold of conservationists, but is also an emblem of Kendra’s life.

“I’m just amazed at the contribution she has made in a relatively short time,” said Vicki Moore. “When you say inheritance, that’s it.”

Cisneros also expressed his deep gratitude for Chan’s work as a biologist and educator: “It’s something I carry with myself outside of work. It’s something that I carry with me as a citizen of the world, really.

Conservation work intrinsically involves the preservation of legacies, whether they are ecosystems, knowledge or responsibilities. Today, Chan’s legacy is still linked to that of ecosystems and communities.

At the end of this Fish & Wildlife video, Chan shares a message that remains a clear call for ordinary citizens to realize their potential for environmental action – a message the fellowship hopes to embody.

“Right outside. To be involved. Work on citizen science projects. Volunteer somewhere, ”Chan said. “You don’t have to be a paper biologist to really be a scientist in real life.”


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New Artificial Intelligence Technology Ready to Transform Cardiac Imaging

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New artificial intelligence technology for cardiac imaging has the potential to improve patient care, allowing physicians to examine their hearts for scar tissue while eliminating the need for contrast injections required for imaging. traditional cardiovascular magnetic resonance.

A team of researchers who developed the technology, including doctors from UVA Health, reports the success of the approach in a new article in the scientific journal Circulation. The team compared their AI approach, known as virtual native enhancement, with contrast-enhanced cardiovascular magnetic resonance scans now used to monitor hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the most common genetic heart disease. Researchers found that virtual native enhancement produced higher quality images and better captured evidence of scar in the heart, all without the need to inject the standard contrast agent required for resonance scans. cardiovascular magnetic.

“This is a potentially important breakthrough, especially if it can be scaled up to other patient groups,” said researcher Dr Christopher Kramer, chief of the cardiovascular medicine division at UVA Health, the only center for excellence of Virginia designated by the Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy association. “Being able to identify a scar in the heart, an important contributor to the progression of heart failure and sudden cardiac death, without contrast, would be highly significant. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance scans would be performed without contrast, saving costs and any risk, albeit low, of the contrast agent. “

Imaging Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common inherited heart disease and the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. It causes the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, reducing its ability to pump blood and requiring close monitoring by doctors.

New native virtual enhancement technology will allow doctors to image the heart more often and faster, the researchers say. It can also help doctors spot subtle changes in the heart earlier, although more testing is needed to confirm this.

The technology would also benefit patients who are allergic to the contrast agent injected for cardiovascular magnetic resonance exams, as well as patients with severe kidney failure, a group that avoid the use of the agent.

The new approach works by using artificial intelligence to improve the “T1 maps” of heart tissue created by magnetic resonance imaging. These maps are combined with enhanced MRI “cines”, which look like films of moving tissue – in this case, the beating heart. The superposition of the two types of images creates the artificial virtual native enhancement image.

Based on these inputs, the technology can produce something virtually identical to traditional contrast-enhanced cardiovascular magnetic resonance heart scans that doctors are accustomed to reading – only better, the researchers conclude. “Avoid the use of contrast and improve the quality of the image in [cardiovascular magnetic resonance] would only help both patients and doctors, ”Kramer said.

While the new research has examined the potential for virtual native enhancement in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the creators of the technology envision it being used for many other heart conditions as well.

“Although currently validated in the [hypertrophic cardiomyopathy] population, there is a clear path to extend the technology to a wider range of myocardial pathologies, ”they write. “[Virtual native enhancement] has enormous potential to dramatically improve clinical practice, reduce analysis time and costs, and expand the reach of [cardiovascular magnetic resonance] in the near future. “

About the research

The research team consisted of Qiang Zhang, Matthew K. Burrage, Elena Lukaschuk, Mayooran Shanmuganathan, Iulia A. Popescu, Chrysovalantou Nikolaidou, Rebecca Mills, Konrad Werys, Evan Hann, Ahmet Barutcu, Suleyman D. Polat, HCMR researchers , Michael Salerno, Michael Jerosch-Herold, Raymond Y. Kwong, Hugh C. Watkins, Christopher M. Kramer, Stefan Neubauer, Vanessa M. Ferreira and Stefan K. Piechnik.

Kramer has no financial interest in the research, but some of his collaborators are applying for a patent related to the imaging approach. A full list of disclosures is included in the document.

The research was made possible through work funded by the British Heart Foundation, grant PG / 15/71/31731; National Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood, National Institutes of Health, grants U01HL117006-01A1; the John Fell Oxford University Press Research Fund; and the Oxford BHF Research Center of Excellence, grant RE / 18/3/34214. The research was also funded by the British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship FS / 19/65/34692, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Center at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the National Institutes of Health.

TO


Up to 3 cups of coffee per day associated with health benefits

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Up to three cups of coffee a day are associated with a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart disease, according to a study presented at the 2021 ESC Congress.1.2

“To our knowledge, this is the largest study systematically evaluating the cardiovascular effects of regular coffee consumption in a population without diagnosed heart disease,” said study author Dr Judit Simon of the Heart and Vascular Center at Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary. .

“Our results suggest that regular coffee consumption is safe, as even high daily consumption was not associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality after 10 to 15 years of follow-up,” t she continued. “In addition, 0.5 to 3 cups of coffee per day were independently associated with lower risks of stroke, death from cardiovascular disease, and death from any cause.”

Although coffee is among the most consumed drinks in the world, little is known about the long-term impact of regular consumption on cardiovascular health.

This study examined the association between habitual coffee consumption and incidents of heart attack, stroke, and death. The study included 468,629 UK Biobank participants with no signs of heart disease at the time of enrollment. The average age was 56.2 years and 55.8% were female.

Participants were divided into three groups according to their usual coffee consumption: none (did not consume coffee regularly, 22.1%), light to moderate (0.5 to 3 cups / day, 58.4%) and high (more than 3 cups / day, 19.5%).

The researchers estimated the association of daily coffee consumption with incident scores at a median 11-year follow-up using multivariate models. Analyzes were adjusted for factors that may influence the relationship, including age, sex, weight, height, smoking, physical activity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, blood socioeconomic status and habitual consumption of alcohol, meat, tea, fruits and vegetables.

Compared to non-coffee drinkers, light to moderate drinking was associated with a 12% lower risk of death from all causes (hazard ratio [HR]= 0.88, p

To examine the potential underlying mechanisms, the researchers analyzed the association between daily coffee consumption and heart structure and function over a median follow-up of 11 years. To do this, they used data from 30,650 participants who underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is considered the gold standard for evaluating heart structure and function.

Dr Simon said: “Imaging analysis indicated that compared to participants who did not drink coffee regularly, daily consumers had larger and better functioning hearts. This was consistent with reversing the damaging effects of aging on the heart. “

She concluded: “Our results suggest that consuming up to 3 cups of coffee per day is associated with favorable cardiovascular outcomes. Although more studies are needed to explain the underlying mechanisms, the observed benefits could be explained in part by positive alterations in the structure and function of the heart.

References and Notes

  1. Abstract Title: Association of Daily Coffee Consumption with Heart Health – UK Biobank Findings.
  2. Press conference: “Heart health made easy” Thursday August 26, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm CEST.

Funding: PBM and SEP acknowledge the support of the Barts Biomedical Research Center of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). SEP acknowledges the support of the EPSRC SmartHeart program grant (www.nihr.ac.uk; EP / P001009 / 1) as well as the CAP-AI program, London’s first AI activation program focused on stimulating growth in the capital’s AI sector. CAP-AI is led by Capital Enterprise in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust and Digital Catapult and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Barts Charity. SEP and SN thank the British Heart Foundation for funding the manual analysis to create a cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging benchmark standard for the UK Biobank imaging resource in 5000 CMR scans (www.bhf.org.uk; PG / 14/89/31194). SN and SKP supported by the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Center and SN by the Oxford British Heart Foundation Center of Research Excellence. NA recognizes the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Integrated Academic Training Program that supports their positions as academic clinical professors. NCH ​​acknowledges the support of the UK Medical Research Council (MRC # 405050259 and # U105960371), NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton. ZRE was supported by a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship (FS / 17/81/33318). Project No. NVKP_16-1–2016-0017 (“National Heart Program”) was implemented with the support of the Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Fund, funded under the financing NVKP_16. The research was funded by the Thematic Excellence Program (2020-4.1.1.-TKP2020) of the Hungarian Ministry of Innovation and Technology, under the Thematic Programs of Therapeutic Development and Bioimaging of the University Semmelweis.


Implantable AI system developed for early detection and treatment of disease

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Polymer-based artificial neural network. The strong non-linear behavior of these networks allows them to be used in reservoir computation.Credit: TU Dresden

Artificial intelligence (AI) will radically change medicine and healthcare. For example, patient diagnostic data such as ECG, EEG, and X-ray images can be analyzed using machine learning, resulting in subtle changes. However, the transplantation of AI into the human body remains a major technical challenge. Scientists at the Dresden University of Technology, chaired by Optoelectronics, have for the first time succeeded in developing a biocompatible implantable AI platform that classifies healthy and pathological patterns of biological signals such as heartbeats in real time . low. Detects pathological changes without medical supervision. The research results were published in the journal Scientists progress..

In this work, a research team led by Professor Karl Leo, Dr Hans Kleemann and Matteo Cucchi will show an approach to classify healthy and diseased biological signals in real time based on biocompatible AI chips. They used a polymer-based fiber network that structurally resembles the human brain and enables neuromorphic AI principles of reservoir computation. The random placement of polymer fibers forms a “recurring network” that allows data to be processed in the same way as the human brain. The non-linearity of these networks makes it possible to amplify even the smallest changes in the signal, which are often difficult for physicians to assess, for example in the case of heartbeats. However, nonlinear transformations using polymer networks make this possible without problems.

In the trial, the AI ​​was able to distinguish between a healthy heart rhythm and three common arrhythmias by 88%. Precision report. In the process, polymer networks consumed less energy than pacemakers. The potential uses of embedded AI systems are diverse. For example, it can be used to monitor post-operative arrhythmias and cardiac complications, report both doctors and patients via smartphones, and provide prompt medical assistance.

“The vision of combining modern electronics with biology has made great strides in recent years with the development of so-called organic mixed conductors,” explains Matteo Cucchi, doctoral student and lead author of the treatise. “But so far, success has been limited to simple electronic components such as synapses and individual sensors. It has never been possible to solve complex tasks. In our research, this We have taken an important step towards realizing our vision. By leveraging the power of neuromorphic computation, such as reservoir computation, used here, we can not only solve complex classification tasks in real time, but also. It may also be possible to do it in the human body. This approach will allow us to develop smarter systems that will help save lives in the future. “

Reference: Biocompatible organic for brain-inspired biosignal classification by Matteo Cucchi, Christopher Gruener, Lautaro Petrauskas, Peter Steiner, Hsin Tseng, Axel Fischer, Bogdan Penkovsky, Christian Matthus, Peter Birkholz, Hans Kleemann, Karl Leo Reservoir Computing Using Electrochemical Networks, August 18, 2021 Scientists progress..
DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abh0693

Implantable AI system developed for early detection and treatment of disease Implantable AI system developed for early detection and treatment of disease


Here are some of Darwin’s weirdest animal discoveries

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During the famous Charles Darwin show trip on the HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836 he sailed around the world and often set foot on dry land to collect samples and take note of flora and fauna – beginning his work as the Beagle resident naturalist at only 22 years old. These stops included various locations in South America including Argentina, Uruguay and, of course, the Galapagos Islands.

To his fortune, full of eccentric mammals evolved isolated in South America, since the continent separated from West Antarctica about 30 million years ago and only joined North America when a land bridge form about 3 million years ago. By observing these wonders for himself, Darwin pocketed thousands of specimens. His assemblage of fossils and rocks, as well as animal and plant samples, included those from 13 species of mammals.

He then passed on the objects and observations to a group of naturalists, including biologist Richard Owen, who identified several new species and helped trigger important discourse on natural selection and evolution. Today there are around 100 mammal bones and fragments from Darwin’s voyage, and they range between 10,000 and 500,000 years ago. Centuries later, researchers are still grappling with the complex evolutionary histories of these unusual mammals.

Glyptodon

An 1880 illustration from The Natural History of Animals. (Credit: Igor Golovniov / Shutterstock)

Darwin’s findings included fossils of a glyptodon, a relative armadillos today covered with a shell of bone armor. The animals have puzzled evolutionary biologists because they have uniquely adapted skeletons and differ significantly from other species within their order. The Glyptodon doedicurus species brandished a sharp tail, which probably served as a fierce weapon.

Glyptodonts evolved about 35 million years ago in South America, and gradually seemed ball in size before their extinction at the end of the last ice age. One species was considered medium in size in the Miocene, at around 180 pounds, but a particularly hardy variety reached over 4,000 pounds in the Pleistocene.

Giant land sloths

A modern reconstruction of the Megatherium (Credit: Catmando / Shutterstock)

The curious naturalist also met Megatherium and Mylodon darwinii, two giant land sloths. The first claims the Title of the largest bipedal mammal in existence. Megatherium grows to the size of an elephant as an adult, weighing around 6 tons (about the size of a small delivery truck). Darwin Point a Megatherium skull in a cliff in Argentina in 1832. The creature had been describe by a French anatomist in 1796, but scientists was missing significant specimens to inspect until Darwin’s miraculous discovery. He even kept part of the skull at home, which was not mediatized until 2017.

He came across evidence of Mr. darwinii, later named by Owen in honor of Darwin, the same year. The sloth would have measured between about 2,000 and 4,000 pounds. A man nearly 13,000 years old Mr. darwinii bone fragment that jumped in a cave in southern Chile remained in great shape thanks to the cold and dry environment. Work on the bone fragment has suggested this Mr. darwinii diverged from modern two-toed sloths about 22 million years ago. They were herbivores, like their lazy parents, but did not climb trees or dig underground.

Mr. darwinii died about 10,000 years ago, and Megatherium disappeared about 12,000 years ago. Some paleontologists claim that human hunting has contributed significantly to the decline of giant land sloths and other South American megafauna, but others combat that it is mainly related to the climate.

Gomphothere

A metal gomphothere structure by the artist Ricardo Breceda. (Credit: Noah Sauve / Shutterstock)

These ancestors of elephants may have cropped during the Miocene era in Africa about 22 million years ago. Gomphotheres made their way to South America (where Darwin met them), as well as North America and Eurasia, and dragged in swamps, forests and meadows. South American Gomphotheres are supposed to have faded away at the end of the Pleistocene or the beginning of the Holocene.

Like today’s elephants, Gomphotheres had defenses. They also shared with the elephants huge molar teeth which moved like a conveyor belt system (larger teeth are moved from the back of the mouth to replace grinders worn out throughout their life).

Toxodon

A 1913 restoration of T. platensis>. (Credit: Robert Bruce Horsfall / Wikipedia)

Darwin perceived this bizarre elephant-sized mammal with rodent teeth and the face of a manatee. For this reason, he called it “perhaps one of the strangest animals ever discovered”. The stunned geologist was one of the first to collect fossils from the Toxodon species called platensis. T. platensis Probably snatch on a diverse mix of foods like herbs and, surprisingly, lawyers.

It is only relatively recently that scientists determined this T. platensis likely shares a common ancestor with rhinos, horses, and tapirs, through analysis of bone collagen proteins. Like its modern giant parents, the creature was enormous – the Toxodon was thought weigh more than a ton, comparable African black rhino. And like the black rhino, he was probably pretty quick for his size.

The Toxodon presented himself to Darwin in the form of a skull in Uruguay, and he purchased for around $ 10.26 at today’s rate. Obviously, the price was worth it: Darwin claimed that the fossil was one of the most important finds on the trip to South America.

Macrauchenia

A 1913 reconstruction of the Macrauchenia patachonica

This particular mammal looked a bit like a camel and weighed between 850 and 1,100 lbs. Darwin find Macrauchenia remains in Patagonia in 1834 and struggled to decipher its mysterious origins and extinction.

One of the strangest features: the position of its nasal opening differed from that of the majority of mammals, which is usually found above the front teeth. In the Macrauchenia patachonic, the opening was located in the middle of the eye sockets. Like Darwin, Owen was also baffled and initially proposed a connection to the llamas which was later disproved. To its credit, it was difficult to understand with limited technology, as they do not have any living close relative.

It wasn’t until 2017 that we really got to know each other M. patachonica. Scientists examined mitochondrial DNA from a fossil unearthed in a cave in southern Chile and found that M. patachonica is Related to the surviving Perissodactyla group, which T. platensis is also related to. Like other long paleontological debates, this revelation came after 180 years of wrangling among scholars – unfortunately, too late to satisfy Darwin’s curiosity.


UC Davis sets new research funding record: $ 968 million

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The University of California, Davis set a new record for external research funding, receiving $ 968 million in scholarships in fiscal year 2020-2021, up $ 27 million from the previous record . Last year.

The awards enable a wide range of research on topics such as advancing human and animal health, protecting our planet and the food supply, and building a more resilient society.

“This achievement reflects the unwavering commitment of our research community and their passion to address important societal needs – in a year of limited operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Chancellor Gary S. May. “The societal impact of UC Davis research is large-scale, transcending geographic boundaries and responding to diverse populations and needs.

One of the main contributors to this year’s growth came from increased funding related to public health and medicine. The School of Medicine recognized the largest increase in funding, up $ 92 million from the previous year, for a total of $ 368 million. COVID-19 research funding totaled $ 42 million for the year. Research in this area provides insight into testing, vaccines, treatments and social impacts.

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ($ 153 million), School of Veterinary Medicine ($ 83 million), College of Engineering ($ 80 million), and College of Biological Sciences ($ 58 million) complete the first five recipients.

The most important new prize, $ 51 million of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Social Services, went to Marc Schenker, distinguished professor of public health sciences, improve public health outcomes for all Californians by ensuring adequate disease surveillance and prevention.

The federal government remains the largest funder with $ 514 million, up $ 37 million from last year. The second main source came from the state of California with $ 164 million, up from $ 32 million. Industry funding was the third highest source, totaling $ 116 million, up $ 31 million.

UC Davis researchers received a total of $ 11.5 million for 18 NSF CAREER Awards, a record for the university. These prestigious scholarships are offered to early career scholars who have the potential to serve as academic models in research and education and to lead their institutions and disciplines in the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of society.

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research

Collaborative research bringing together experts from different fields of study continues to attract significant funding. These joint efforts often focus on solving complex, large-scale challenges that require expertise from many angles.

“We continue to see how multidisciplinary research offers a distinct advantage in solving multifaceted problems,” said Prasant Mohapatra, vice chancellor of research at UC Davis. “As one of the most academically complete universities in the world, UC Davis provides a unique environment for solving these complex problems by bringing together experts from all of our campuses. “

Notable multidisciplinary awards include:

The Interdisciplinary research and strategic initiatives division within the Research Office provides support and resources to help teams advance their programs.

Notable rewards by college / school

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Matt hengel, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology, is the Principal Investigator of the IR-4 Minor Crop Pest Management project, which received a grant of $ 16 million ($ 3.2 million allocated in fiscal year 2020-2021) from the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The goal of the project is to increase pest control options for specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and ornamentals. Researchers perform field and laboratory residue testing to help obtain federal regulatory approvals for pest control techniques.

College of Biological Sciences – Venkatesan Sundaresan, professor and principal investigator, received $ 740,000 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for a project which will focus on specific functions that shape root microbiomes and their impacts on plant performance at the genomic and molecular levels, with the ultimate goal of deploying beneficial microbiota to improve plant growth and yields.

College of Engineering Karen moxon, professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, received a grant of $ 22 million grant ($ 10.9 million allocated in FY 2020-21) Department of Defense to develop interventions for spinal cord injury that can be applied within days of injury to improve long-term outcomes. Moxon will lead a consortium of universities, biomedical startups and nonprofits focused on reconciliation with biological and electronic systems.

Continuing and vocational training – James brown, president of professional studies at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, received a $ 7.6 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board. The grant builds on a 20-year relationship to provide training, such as, but not limited to, open enrollment courses, one-on-one and small-group instruction, and the development of new courses and one-on-one training for meet ever-changing needs..

College of Letters and Sciences – John conway, professor of physics and faculty director of the UC Davis High Performance Computing Core Facility, received $ 7.4 million (4.8 million allocated in FY 2020-21) of the US Department of Energy to support experimental and theoretical research in areas such as the Higgs boson, neutrinos, dark matter and quantum physics.

Graduate School of Management Damon tull, director of industrial alliances at UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the Mike and Renée Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, received $ 100,000 from the National Science Foundation to host a innovation summit to accelerate research and create undergraduate courses in artificial intelligence and quantum information science in Hispanic institutions serving education.

School of Education Michal kurlaender, professor and department head at the School of Education, received $ 142,000 from the Tipping Point Community to strengthen college readiness through various course paths, addressing racial and economic inequalities.

Law School Gabriel Chin, Professor of Law and Director of Clinical Legal Education, has received two grants from the State Bar of California totaling $ 203,000 to provide free legal services to needy people, especially client groups that have traditionally lacked significant legal representation.

Nursing school Sheryl catz, professor at UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, received $ 225,000 from the NIH National Cancer Institute for a project improve the reach and effectiveness of smoking cessation services for ex-combatants living with HIV.

Medicine School – Diana Farmer, teacher and chairman of the department of surgery at UC Davis Health, received $ 9 million from California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, or CIRM. Farmer is the principal investigator of the clinical test, officially known as “The CuRe test”- cell therapy for in utero repair of myelomeningocele, which uses stem cells before birth to treat the more serious form oF spina bifida.

School of Veterinary Medicine – Koen Van Rompay, full research virologist at the California National Primate Research Center, received with his collaborators, Sallie Permar (Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York) and Kristina De Paris (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), a grant of 1.7 million dollars from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, or NIAID, for a study entitled “Early vaccination to prevent HIV acquisition in adolescence.” These researchers also received a supplement on this grant which enabled them to carry out a to study testing COVID-19 vaccines in infant macaques.

Note: When funds are allocated in advance to cover multiple years, the money is counted in the first year the prize is received. Gradually funded scholarships are counted as authorized each year. Reports are based on the principal investigator’s school or college.


Volunteers spending six months in the health service | New

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The Teton County Department of Health received a staff boost this year from two AmeriCorps volunteers, stationed here for six months from spring to fall as part of the Communities in Action program, based in Richland County.

Lucas Rodriguez, 21, of El Paso, Texas, and Aden Vermeersch, 26, of Kentucky, arrived in Choteau this spring to help the Department of Health in any way they needed.

Teton County Department of Health Director Melissa Moyer said the two volunteers came to Choteau as part of the Communities in Action program, initially offered in Richland County and being rolled out across the country. State.

Moyer heard about the program through his service on the Association of Montana’s council of public health officials and jumped at the opportunity to put Teton County on the pilot program.

“We were really lucky to be able to attract these volunteers from AmeriCorps to the start of the Teton County Public Health Department,” she said.

The Department of Health – even when not facing a pandemic – has always been a bit under-staffed for the tasks it has, Moyer said. The two volunteers gave the department the extra manpower to tackle both pandemic-related tasks and other projects, she said.






The two AmeriCorps volunteers working in the Teton County Health Department are Aden Vermeersch from Kentucky and Lucas Rodriguez from Texas.




Moyer tasked Vermeersch to work on the COVID-19 vaccination efforts and Rodriguez to work on completing the tasks set out in the new Teton County Community Health Needs Assessment and Plan.

Richland County used $ 8,000 in grants because Teton County was a pilot program to cover allowances and volunteer expenses. If the county continues to participate in the years to come, it will have to pay the $ 8,000. The county also provides volunteers with offices, a telephone, a computer, supervision and assistance.

Although finding accommodation in Choteau is a challenge, Moyer said the Department of Health was fortunate that Choteau residents, Connie and Sherwin Smith, provided a guesthouse for the volunteers, who receive a stipend. monthly for living expenses but do not earn a salary.

Moyer said she hopes to be able to welcome volunteers from AmeriCorps in the future. “It’s fun and refreshing to have new energy in the community,” she said.

AmeriCorps is a federal program that places more than 270,000 volunteers in organizations across the country. The agency’s mission is “to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteerism.” To support the placement of AmeriCorps volunteers in communities, the organization provides more than $ 800 million in grants each year and partners with more than 2,000 organizations.

AmeriCorps volunteers work in education, disaster response, community health, economic opportunities, environmental stewardship, and with veterans and military families. The agency’s budget for fiscal year 2021 was $ 1.1 billion.

The minimum age for volunteers in most programs is 18. The program provides volunteers with a living allowance and scholarship to pay for college or trade school expenses, or to repay qualified student loans. It also offers student loan deferral and interest forgiveness on qualifying student loans during service, professional development, an alumni network and more.

Communities in Action AmeriCorps Director Stephanie Reynolds, of the Richland County Health Department in Sidney, said in an interview that she has involved AmeriCorps volunteers in the County Community Action Plan. Richland in 2014.

Richland County Communities in Action has been in place since 2006, working through action groups to meet community needs and build a healthy community. The organization was born out of the Richland County Department of Health’s collaboration with the City / County Planning Council and other agencies to assess local needs and develop an action plan to assist with housing, lifelong learning, physical activity, opportunities for young people, health of the elderly. , health education and chronic disease management, natural resources, recycling, injury prevention and public safety.

A former AmeriCorps volunteer, Reynolds served in a boys and girls club in Utah. “I just fell in love with the job he does and the opportunity to serve,” she said. This experience led her to the position in Sidney where she now oversees the program and recruits volunteers from AmeriCorps to help with public health and mental health in a program that is growing statewide.

She started with volunteers in Richland County, then expanded the program to 17 counties in eastern Montana. The county received an AmeriCorps grant through the governor’s office of community service in 2014 to begin recruiting volunteers.

Teton County was one of the first counties outside of eastern Montana to be involved in the pilot expansion, Reynolds said, adding that 13 other counties were interested in the program.

Volunteers help each public health department meet local needs that have not been addressed due to understaffing. “They know a need has to be met, but they don’t have the staff or the funds, so bringing in a volunteer from AmeriCorps helps meet those needs,” Reynolds said.

In addition to the county public health departments, Reynolds is working with several tribal health departments to expand the program there as well.

She said she has received positive feedback from the counties where AmeriCorps volunteers are stationed and it is a testament to the quality of the volunteers, who are largely young people who give a year of their life for very little compensation for work to improve the lives of others. “It is such a sincere desire to give back, they deserve all the credit,” she said, adding that the volunteers have been particularly helpful in the health services which have just been “cut down” by the pandemic.

At Choteau, Rodriguez said he became a volunteer after graduating in December 2020 with his bachelor’s degree in public health studies and a minor in social policy.

“I really wanted to work for a local health department or a health related nonprofit, but I wasn’t very lucky. A family friend suggested I look into AmeriCorps as their office often had AmeriCorps members and thought I might be interested in the work they were doing, ”he said. “I looked through the ads online and realized that there were a lot of positions that I was excited about, so I applied.”

He said the position in Teton County “ticked a lot of my boxes for a place I wanted to be” and gave him the chance to work in person rather than remotely.

He said the experience here has taught him a lot both professionally and personally. “I learned a lot about how public health programs are run and the importance of reaching people where they are,” he said. “I’ve seen how important community buy-in is to a successful program, and how important it is to create those community bonds and not just work in a vacuum.”

On a personal level, he said, the experience was extremely eye-opening for an El Paso, Texas native who attended school at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Choteau was a huge change for me, and it took a while to adjust, but I appreciated the opportunity to understand a whole new community of people, their culture, their norms and their way of life,” did he declare. “I think it really makes you think about the environment you grew up in and how these aren’t the same experiences everyone has had.”

Rodriguez looked at this new experience to get the most out of it. He went to the 4th of July rodeo (a whole new experience for him), participated in all of the 4th of July festivities (including the Got Grit! 5K obstacle course), embraced the outdoors and is trying to get to know and to understand people here. “I think these experiences will remain much more important to me than the new professional skills and lessons I learn,” he said.

Vermeersch graduated from Coker University in Hartsville, SC in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He plans to pursue a master’s and a doctorate in research in biology. He said he became an AmeriCorps volunteer because he believes in the importance of volunteering and working for better communities and for increasing the capacity for social and civil service.

“I think it’s useful to try to make sure that society improves on a small scale,” he said. “If you want society to change, then you have to create the framework of society that you want to move forward. If I want to make society represent something closer to my ideal, then I have to create the framework for that kind of ideal to be enduring before any kind of change happens in the culture or government around. of which it exists.

While here, Vermeersch developed her pastry skills and performed tuba in the Choteau Community Orchestra in June and July. “I love learning new things,” he said, adding that he was also working on learning Spanish, learning himself to play the tenor saxophone and experimenting with brewing kombucha and beer at the same time. ginger and sourdough sourdough making, among other baking projects.

“I firmly believe that it is important to continually learn and even to question the way you think about the world around you,” he said, “The only way to do that is to expose yourself to new ideas because it’s very, very possible that I’m wrong, and I won’t know unless I go ahead.

Fish killed in summer at lake in the Fremont region

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – A small lake in Fremont faces a big fish problem. As in a large amount of dead fish.

The summer-killed fish greeted residents of private Lake Summer Haven on Friday morning, a day after a specialist treated part of the lake for algae.

“The smell is awful, the smell is awful,” said Suzanne Sall, who lives by the lake most of the year. Her friend Sheila Andre lives in Summer Haven year round and has been going to the lake since she was a child. “I went down to try and pick up some of the fish,” Andre said. “I thought I was going to throw up.”

Since Friday, residents have been collecting, cleaning and removing fish from the shore. Every day more dead fish need to be removed.

“The first day or so was carp and a lot of coarse fish, white bass and chad gizzard,” said Steve Mathison, who lives in Omaha and spends much of the summer in his house by the sea. Lake. “Then around noon from Saturday to yesterday the game fish started dying, it would be your crappie, your white bass, some of the catfish and today it would be the game fish again, mostly sea bass. crappie and smallmouth bass. “

Mathison said there are plenty of fish left for now and that in the future residents just want to know what happened. Aquatic biologist Rob Hofpar has over twenty years of experience and said his treatment should not have caused such an oxygen crash. It was originally called in to treat the water last week after residents reported a green, almost gooey gaze on the lake.

Hofpar said a large algal bloom like the one they were seeing could cause the water to lose oxygen quickly.

In a letter to residents he shared with WOWT, Hofpare, an aquatic biologist with Nebraska Lake Management, said: Cold fronts that are killing algae blooms, which is exactly what happened on Friday . “

The results of water samples taken at an independent clinic by Hofpare should give a good idea of ​​the cause of the fish’s death. It may take over a month to achieve these results. Some residents have expressed concerns about the condition of their well water, in addition to the health risks that rotting fish could cause.

Meanwhile, the cleanup continues and those looking forward to a quiet Labor Day weekend on the lake are likely to have other choices.

“You think of tubers, water skiers, people looking to get in the water, it will probably be very limited,” Mathison said. “Whether or not you’re talking about a biohazard is one thing, but it’s just the lens. Does anyone really want to get in there?

Copyright 2021 WOWT. All rights reserved.


Study identifies enzyme with significant impact on SARS-CoV-2 replication

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By applying a systems biology approach, a recent bioRxiv* preprinted research paper by scientists at Icahn’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York Unveils Interactions between the Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) Pathway Responsible for Regulating the Expression of Critical Inflammatory Mediators in human lung epithelial cells.

Severe cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which are caused by SARS-CoV-2, are associated with extreme inflammatory processes in the lungs that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, lung failure or multiple organ failure – and even death.

Previous studies have shown that the p38 / MAPK pathway is activated during infection with the aforementioned virus and that inhibition of p38 can slow down inflammatory cytokine expression and viral replication, implying that inhibition of p38 may in fact target several mechanisms related to the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.

However, while the exact mechanisms by which our body’s p38 / MAPK pathway is able to modulate inflammatory cytokine gene expression and RNA stability are described in detail, how inhibition of p38 / MAPK can reduce SARS-CoV remains a mystery. 2 replication.

In addition, there are four different isoforms of p38 kinase (i.e. proteins similar to each other that perform analogous roles in cells) and different effector kinases downstream, so we still don’t know which ones. kinases at which levels of the p38 / MAPK pathway can impact SARS-CoV-2 replication.

Therefore, it sparked the interest of a group of scientists led by Dr Christina A. Higgins and Dr Jeffrey R. Johnson of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York (USA). They have used a plethora of cutting edge methods to answer these insightful questions.

A comprehensive research approach

In this study, researchers combined small interfering RNA (siRNA) screening, quantitative proteomics, as well as chemical and genetic disturbances to elucidate the interactions between the p38 / MAPK pathway and SARS-CoV-2 in infected cells.

Specifically, four isoforms of the p38 kinase (p38α, p38β, p38γ, p38δ) were evaluated in depth and putative substrates of p38β were impartially identified, with substantial relevance beyond the biology of SARS-CoV -2. In addition, gene ontology enrichment and kinase activity analyzes were also continued.

In short, their overall research approach covered a wide range of classical virology techniques (such as plaque assays for direct counting of infectious particles) and relatively modern approaches such as genetic sequencing and mass spectrometry.

A key player in the replication of SARS-CoV-2

This study found that several components of the p38 / MAPK pathway can positively and negatively impact SARS-CoV-2 infection. Overall, the activity of this pathway increases dramatically during SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung cells.

Meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 proteomics studies reveals systematically regulated pathways across species and cell types.  A) Schematic of experimental design.  B) Average of protein groups and phosphorylation site groups quantified under each condition.  Error bars correspond to the standard deviation.  C) The number of differentially expressed protein clusters and phosphorylation site clusters for SARS-CoV-2 infected cells folds over simulated infected cells E) Analysis of kinase activity based on profiles of log2fold change from this study and published studies indicated.  The absolute value of the Normalized Enrichment Score (NES) is indicated by the size of the nodes and the -Log10 (p-value) is indicated by the color scale.  Decreases in kinase activity are indicated by negative values ​​of -LogP.  F) The log2-fold change profiles transformed by the Z-score of p38 / MAPK kinases p38α and MK2 in this study and published studies indicated.  Each row represents a protein substrate of the respective kinase with the log2-fold maximum change of all phosphorylation sites, each substrate being indicated by the color scale.

Meta-analysis of proteomics studies on SARS-CoV-2 reveals systematically regulated pathways across species and cell types. A) Schematic of experimental design. B) Average of protein groups and phosphorylation site groups quantified under each condition. Error bars correspond to the standard deviation. C) The number of differentially expressed protein clusters and phosphorylation site clusters for SARS-CoV-2 infected cells folds over simulated infected cells E) Analysis of kinase activity based on profiles of log2fold change from this study and published studies indicated. The absolute value of the Normalized Enrichment Score (NES) is indicated by the size of the nodes and the -Log10 (p-value) is indicated by the color scale. Decreases in kinase activity are indicated by negative -LogP values. F) The log2-fold change profiles transformed by the Z-score of p38 / MAPK kinases p38α and MK2 in this study and published studies indicated. Each row represents a protein substrate of the respective kinase with the log2-fold maximum change of all phosphorylation sites, each substrate being indicated by the color scale.

From the kinase isoforms that have been tested, p38β has been shown to be an essential host factor for the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in human lung epithelial cells, but also for the translation of viral proteins without innate immune detection. The researchers also found that inhibiting p38 can reduce viral protein levels but does not impact viral messenger RNA (mRNA) levels.

Finally, inhibition of p38 has been shown to decrease phosphorylation levels at several sites of the core (or N) protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is a multifunctional structure that binds to the genome of the Viral RNA and packs it into a long helical structure.

Implications for the treatment of COVID-19

These results not only improve our understanding of the basic biology of SARS-CoV-2, but can also be used to identify new drug targets for the treatment of COVID-19 and to pave the way for the identification of kinase substrates that can be widely applied in different research. areas.

“These data, in addition to other research focused on p38ß, underscore the need for specific inhibitors and reagents of p38ß to help better characterize this isoform,” say the study authors in this report. bioRxiv preprint paper.

“p38β does not appear to be essential, and it has a significantly smaller active site than p38α which may allow the development of specific inhibitors, so we believe that p38β may be an attractive target,” they add.

In any case, further studies are needed to solve the enigma of p38ß promoting the translation of viral proteins, as well as to evaluate its role in the replication of other coronaviruses, but also of other families of viral agents. potentially emerging.

*Important Notice

bioRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer reviewed and, therefore, should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice / health-related behavior, or treated as established information.


Scientists Develop Scalable Method to Harvest Exosomes from Unpasteurized Cow’s Milk

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Exosomes are nanoscale biological capsules that cells produce to protect and transport delicate molecules throughout the body. The capsules are tough enough to withstand enzymatic degradation, as well as acid and temperature fluctuations in the gut and bloodstream, making them a prime candidate for drug delivery.

However, harvesting them to achieve clinical grade levels of purity is a complex process.

Exosomes are abundant in cow’s milk, but they are difficult to isolate from other proteins and lipids in milk “,

Rob Gourdie, Professor and Director, Vascular and Cardiac Research Center, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Gourdie’s lab has developed an evolutionary method to harvest exosomes from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Using this purification method, which was published this month in Nanotheranostics, the research team can extract about a cup of purified exosomes for every gallon of unpasteurized milk.

“For the first time, we have paved the way for the industrial scalability of exosome purification for oral drug delivery,” said Gourdie, who is also the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund Eminent Scholar in Heart Reparative Medicine Research and Professor of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech College of Engineering.

The research team has developed its cost-effective, multi-step purification process, which optimizes filtration methods and the timing of heat and chemical treatments affecting calcium levels, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spencer Marsh and Kevin Pridham, both postdoctoral fellows in Gourdie’s lab at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, and Jane Jourdan, head of Gourdie’s lab, did the hands-on work to develop the proprietary procedure.

“Our team worked together safely and efficiently on this project throughout the pandemic,” Gourdie said. “It was a sight to see – their selfless teamwork, enthusiasm and dedication to overcoming challenges is something that doesn’t happen as often as you might think in science. There were many failures, but eventually we found some staged processes that worked. “

Joy Wolfram, an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic who was not involved in the study, says the new protocol advances the pharmaceutical potential of exosomes.

“What is remarkable is the amount of extracellular vesicles they are able to produce. Isolating and making extracellular vesicles in an evolutionary manner has always prevented their translation in the clinic, but this article shows a way to overcome these obstacles.” , said Wolfram. Wolfram previously published a protocol for using tangential flow filtration technology that Gourdie’s team adapted to isolate exosomes from milk.

Exosomes are naturally secreted by almost all types of cells in humans and other mammals, and can be found in abundance in blood, lymph, urine, and milk. Lined with protective membranes, exosomes send biomolecules, fragments of genetic material, and chemical signals between cells over long distances.

Over the past decade, research into their pharmaceutical applications – especially for the delivery of fragile drugs, such as peptides and microRNAs – has exploded.

“Imagine that instead of getting the vaccine, your nurse gives you a milkshake instead. Another milkshake may contain exosomes loaded with a therapeutic peptide designed to protect internal organs such as the heart. ‘myocardial infarction,’ Gourdie said.

Exosomes can also penetrate the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that protects the brain against pathogens and unwanted chemicals, ushering in a new way of delivering treatments to treat neurological diseases and brain cancer.

“Improving the viability of using exosomes opens up a wide range of drug delivery methods with limitless clinical applications,” Gourdie said.

Gourdie partnered with Homestead Creamery, a local dairy processing plant, to obtain samples of unpasteurized milk for the study.

“We’ve always built our business on relationships, and it’s an exciting collaboration for us,” said Donnie Montgomery, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Homestead Creamery.

Last year, Gourdie granted an intellectual property license to supply heart drugs using exosomes through LICENSE: Center for Technology Commercialization of Virginia Tech and formed The Tiny Cargo Co.

Source:

Journal reference:

Marshes, RS, et al. (2021) New Protocols for the Scalable Production of High Quality Purified Small Extracellular Vesicles from Bovine Milk. Nanotheranostics. doi.org/10.7150/ntno.62213.


Patients help researchers advance prostate cancer treatments

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Monash University researchers have created one of the world’s largest collections of live tumors from prostate cancer patients, accelerating testing of new treatments for prostate cancer and resulting in greater benefit. fast for patients.

One of the most common cancers, prostate cancer is also one of the most difficult to study in the laboratory, with frequently used models derived more than 40 years ago. With the establishment of the Melbourne Urological Research Alliance (MURAL), hundreds of Victorian men generously donated samples of their cancerous tissue, allowing the team to study a wider variety of living tumors and test the effectiveness of a wider variety of therapies for their ability to stop tumor growth.

The PDX collection (patient-derived xenografts), developed by a multidisciplinary consortium and directed by Professor Gail Risbridger and Associate Professor Renea Taylor at the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), now includes 59 tumors, collected from 30 patients between 2012 and 2020, and is now one of the largest collections of prostate cancer models in the world.

The full characterization of the PDX collection is published in Nature Communications.

MURAL PDXs are a sustainable resource of novel cancer models that can be shared with other academic researchers or pharmaceutical companies. Patients and their families are directly integrated into this endeavor, including the EJ Whitten Foundation which has played a pivotal role over the past 10 years by providing over $ 1 million in donations allowing this resource to be developed and on the agenda of being at the forefront of the international community. field.

“This project begins and ends with patients like EJ Whitten. We take tissue from patients – perform lab tests – and the findings then advance the treatment of patients, ”said Professor Risbridger. “Our new models of prostate cancer have aroused the interest of scientists and the pharmaceutical industry around the world.”

Ted Whitten, Executive Director and Founder of the EJWhitten Foundation, congratulates the Monash University Biomedicine Discovery Institute for its recent findings in prostate cancer research. “We believe Monash University is a leader in prostate cancer research and we are delighted to have been able to financially support many of their important programs over the past ten years.”

Dr Mitchell Lawrence, also of Monash BDI and lead author, says: “This resource provides an opportunity to link molecular changes in prostate cancer to pathology, to cultivate organoids and to test functional responses to therapies, which have rarely been applied to prostate cancer. the lack of suitable models.

The success of this program is based on collaboration between scientists and clinicians such as surgeons and oncologists at Monash, the Cabrini Institute and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, as well as patients and their families who generously donate cancer tissue. Other organizations that have supported the PDX program include the Victorian Cancer Agency, the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, and Movember.

Read the full article in Nature Communications titled: MURAL Collection of Xenografts Derived from Prostate Cancer Patients Enables Discovery Through Preclinical Models of Uro-Oncology.DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-021-25175-5

About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University

Committed to making the discoveries that will ease the future burden of disease, the new Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally renowned research teams. Covering six discovery programs in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, developmental and stem cells, infections and immunity, metabolism, diabetes and obesity and neuroscience, Monash BDI is one from Australia’s largest biomedical research institutes. Our researchers are backed by world-class technology and infrastructure and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to improve lives through discovery.

/ Public distribution. This material is from the original organization and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View full here.


PA Environment Digest

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For the past six years, DCNR has worked with the state Department of Labor and Industry and the Student Conservation Association to provide hands-on training opportunities that empower hundreds of young people across the state to provide for needs of families through the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.

DCNR highlighted the work of these programs, which follow in the footsteps of other programs like the Youth Conservation Corps and the Civilian Conservation Corps, in having a lasting impact on public lands through the six-week summer youth programs. ages 15-18 or a 10-month program for young adults ages 18-25.

Beyond being great ways to spend the summer or year doing meaningful and lasting work, the Pa. Outdoor Corps – especially young adult crew opportunities – has been a great gateway to a job with DCNR.

Paula Lewis Roman – Park Ranger 1 at Kings Gap EEC

Take Paula Lewis Roman for example. Paula left her home in Puerto Rico for Pennsylvania after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and forced her to think about her future career opportunities.

A talented actress and singer, Paula had wanted to enter the arts as a profession; However, her background changed in Harrisburg when she was looking for work in the Harrisburg area and the Latino Hispanic American Center connected her to the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps Young Adult Team Opportunity in 2018.

Paula worked with the Harrisburg Adult Crew that year and returned to the Outdoor Corps in 2019 and 2020 before accepting a position at King’s Gap Environmental Education Center as a semi-skilled laborer.

She has done this job so well, she has been encouraged to apply for a position of Park Ranger 1 at the center and has been serving the community in this role since July 2021.

Paula thanks Outdoor Corps for exposing her to the possibilities of working with DCNR and then teaching her useful skills that she could use to help in her career development.

“At first I didn’t understand that there were opportunities to learn and be a part of DCNR,” said Lewis Roman. She added that she can pursue her passion for the arts in her spare time, while helping to be an excellent steward of our environment for her daily work.

Interestingly, Paula says the Outdoor Corps helped her see the overlap between the physical work she was doing and her artistic talents.

She has learned to see the artistic vision of trail development and uses it to think of ways to expand the experiences of park visitors through creativity.

Paula hopes her creativity will help foster better relationships with diverse visitors and expand opportunities for those who may not be aware of the opportunities to work with DCNR.

Al Germann – Deputy Chief Digital Officer

Like Paula, Albert Germann, Deputy Digital Director of DCNR, shared a similar experience revealing opportunities through the Outdoor Corps.

Al was looking for change and wanted to quit working in retail. He remembers visiting DCNR websites for park maps and then seeing information about the Pa. Outdoor Corps.

Aside from his current role at DCNR, Al says his time with the Harrisburg team has been the best job he’s ever had.

He thrived in the culture of acceptance that sought to develop young people while learning skills, the importance of teamwork, conflict resolution, and more.

“They really prepared you to be successful in making connections and networking, as well as getting things done,” Germann said. “The Corps helped me realize that I can do these things at DCNR and make a difference. “

Al highlighted the opportunity of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to observe DCNR professionals during the mission.

He followed Aura Stauffer, a wildlife biologist in the department. Although he eventually took a different direction, Al says it was a good experience that helped him see what the job really involved.

“Try it out if you’re someone who needs to try something to find out if you like it,” Germann said. “You might end up really enjoying the experience.”

Jamie Klebanski – Fleet manager intern

Speaking of benefiting from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps experience, Jamie Klebanski explained that the Outdoor Corps was such a positive experience that she felt like crying at the impact of the program on her career.

Following his stint with the Uniontown team in 2019, Jamie worked for DCNR as an intern park manager for eight months before seizing an opportunity with the Allegheny National Forest.

“All of my professional experience is program-related,” Klebanski said, adding that the work is difficult and can be tedious, but it prepares the members of the Corps in a way that makes them outstanding candidates in the recreation fields. .

Jamie takes pride in his time with DCNR and has appointed Deputy Director of State Parks Jason Zimmerman as a mentor who has been helpful long after completing the Outdoor Corps program.

She said he gave her tips on how to interview, dress professionally and convey interest in the job in a way that matters.

Her current supervisor in the forestry department explained in 10 minutes why she wanted this job to distinguish her and helped her land the role she currently occupies.

Matt Pecora – Deputy Director of the Delaware Canal State Park

Current Delaware Canal State Park deputy director Matt Pecora recounted a similar love for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps program.

Matt had worked with the Student Conservation Association in New York and Ohio before working for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.

In his final year with the Outdoor Corps, he was the Philadelphia Crew Project Manager. He was ready to work for the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps for a third year; but applied to become a fleet manager intern.

Although he enjoyed building bridges, habitats, doing trail work, etc. With the Corps, Matt said the most valuable takeaways from the program were the soft skills he learned – which he uses a lot as deputy park superintendent.

Having spent time as a leader with the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps, Matt says he stays in touch with his former crew members and helps them pay when they need referrals or a listening ear.

“This is a good opportunity for growth,” said Pecora. “They teach you healthy ways to work with your peers and help you develop a lot of good skills. “

All four alumni agreed that the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps is a wonderful avenue for self-discovery, learning professional skills, and building meaningful relationships.

Everyone thanked Mike Piaskowski, Director of the Outdoor Corps Program, for being genuinely interested in their professional development and staying in touch throughout the process.

Mike stays in touch with alumni, helps them with their resumes, shares opportunities, connects them with other recreation professionals, and is a resource for youth beyond their time in the Corps.

Since the start of the program, more than 20 Outdoor Corps alumni have accepted positions at DCNR.

Fall registrations open soon

Hiring for the 2022 10-month-old young adult teams will begin quickly in the fall. Keep an eye on the DCNR website for candidate announcements.

Follow DCNR on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates on the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps.

For more information on State Parks, Forests, and Recreation in Pennsylvania, visit the DCNR website, click here to sign up for the Resource newsletter, visit the Good Natured DCNR blog, click here for events at come, click here to connect with DCNR on other social networks. media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

News clips:

– StateImpactPA: DCNR’s 25-year plan for state parks highlights need to tackle the effects of climate change

– TribLive: SW PA Fire Services. Subsidies granted for the fight against forest fires

– WilliamsportS Editorial: PA Outdoor Corp’s Tree Data Project Demonstrates the Value of Trees, Not Just in Parks

Related Articles:

– DCNR: announces the allocation of $ 602,306 in grants to volunteer firefighting societies to help fight forest fires [PaEN]

– Alliance for Chesapeake Bay: The Connecting Power of the Susquehanna River Stay By Cindy Adams Dunn, Secretary of the DCNR [PaEN]

– Register now! South Mountain Partnership Fall Meeting September 17 – Bringing Climate Issues to the Local Level [PaEN]

[Posted: August 19, 2021]

How protein in your gut could solve freezer burn

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Open the freezer door, and there, at the back, maybe an old box of ice cream with points of ice. Or a forgotten frozen lasagna covered in ice crystals. Or drying the meat surfaces if they are not well covered.

People sometimes call this phenomenon “freezer burn”. It happens when tiny ice crystals on the surface of food evaporate directly into vapor without first going through the liquid water phase – a process scientifically called sublimation. This moisture loss can leave the top layers of food dry and discolored.

As a food scientist, I call the initial formation of surface ice “recrystallization of ice” and study ways to slow it down.

Recrystallization from ice damages and destroys organic cells, the smallest living units found in animals and plants. This is just as much of a problem when storing harvested food crops or biomedical research equipment – like cell cultures – as it is when storing frozen pizzas or peas and can lead to a lot of waste.

There are man-made substances that prevent this kind of damage from ice, but few of them are safe to consume. So, along with other scientists at the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, I am working for the next three years with a $ 550,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to identify “bio-based” options. safe – materials already found in nature, including substances derived from the natural process of human digestion during the consumption of food.

How does freezer burn occur?

The food industry uses “quick freeze” to prevent large ice crystals in frozen foods. This process involves exposing the food to a low temperature and high air flow very quickly, causing the food to freeze into a mass of many small crystals. Small crystals are much less damaging to frozen material than large ones.

The problem begins after these foods are transferred to regular freezers for storage, including home freezers. The automatic defrost function of these units is to turn the compressor on and off several times a day, lowering and raising the temperature to prevent ice build-up. This fluctuation partially melts the ice in food and then refreezes it, a process that can create larger and more damaging ice crystals.

These changes can make food unpleasant at best – who hasn’t endured eating freezer-burnt veggies or a watery, thawed strawberry? – and at worst unusable.

According to a recent study by Zach Conrad, a food system researcher at the College of William & Mary, the total food expenditure in the United States per person per day, between 2001 and 2016, was $ 13.27, and $ 3.62 of those expenses, or 27 percent, were food wasted.

Conrad found that only 1.4 percent of that waste was from frozen food, which works out to about 5 cents per person per day, or $ 18.25 per year. But those pennies add up to more than $ 5.89 billion in frozen food wasted each year.

As the frozen food market continues to grow, the importance of minimizing or preventing damage from ice becomes evident.

Prevent ice formation with artificial substances

Synthetic chemicals that prevent recrystallization in ice tend to be toxic to living organisms, so their usefulness in protecting food is very limited. Through its long and rigorous review process, the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved an artificial polymer called polyvinyl alcohol, or PVA, as safe for use in food packaging materials, but not as a food additive. .

PVA is used industrially to prevent recrystallization of ice in substances such as cement and concrete, as well as in the freezing of human cells, tissues and organs to preserve them for transplantation and biotechnology. .

There are also “semi-synthetic” compounds – so labeled because they’re made by modifying natural materials – that show promise in reducing ice damage. They include substances called glycopolymers and polyampholytes, which inhibit recrystallization from ice, preserve cells, and increase cell viability.

Many of these compounds are in the early stages of research and development and have not yet been used commercially. Their safety for use in food has not yet been demonstrated or approved.

A safer alternative: bio-based solutions for freezer burn

I am looking for alternatives to synthetic and semi-synthetic materials that are bio-based, i.e. based on substances already present in humans, animals and plants, and through natural biological processes. I think these bio-based solutions are particularly promising options because they do not involve unnatural manipulation.

Frost-resistant proteins in the tissues of cold-tolerant plants and animals, such as arctic char, hold promise for finding new, safe ways to reduce the damage caused by recrystallization from ice to frozen foods, agricultural crops and biomedical research materials.Digital vision via Getty Images

For example, for the egg processing industry, I discovered how to use natural peptides derived from eggs – short chains of amino acids also found in our intestines – to prevent freezing damage to egg yolks. eggs, rather than adding salt or sugar to the yolk. before freezing.

As part of our National Science Foundation grant, my team is researching substances that mimic the functions of antifreeze proteins found in cold-water fish or cold-tolerant plants, which inhibit ice recrystallization and prevent growth. ice in their internal tissues.

One challenge is that these antifreeze protein molecules are present in deficient concentrations in nature. This makes them very expensive to extract from organisms and produce them on an industrial scale.

We are conducting research on peptides derived from common and unique dietary proteins, such as soy, dairy, fish, meat and insects. Thanks to the research of Srinivasan Damodaran at the University of Wisconsin, we already know that the small peptides in fish gelatin and collagen proteins from cattle are effective in preventing ice recrystallization in ice cream. However, this potency of peptides varies greatly depending on the source protein, so we are investigating the reasons for these differences.

As we learn more about these peptides and how to produce them on a commercial scale, I believe they can be useful in several areas, from improving the quality of frozen foods to increasing the resistance of agricultural crops to freezing temperatures, through better preservation of cells and tissues, and even in uses such as de-icing roads and airplanes.

This article was originally published on The conversation through Tong (Toni) Wang To University of Tennessee. Read it original article here.


The octopus changing color while dreaming hypnotizes thousands of internet users

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A fascinating video of an octopus changing color while sleeping is making the rounds on the internet. The 20-second clip, which is now viral on social media platforms including Twitter, was initially captured by Public Broadcast Service (PBS) for its documentary Octopus: get in touch. The PBS series has always been among the most viewed prime-time series on public television. The video starts with the octopus changing color from white to yellow, then it quickly changes to dark brown. As the video progressed, a biologist explained the reason for this fascinating effect. “The octopus may dream of eating its favorite cuisine, crab, on the sea floor. This may explain the dark brown color,” the biologist said.

Watch the video here:

Octopus’ color change is completely normal, biologist says

He also informed that the fascinating act that was captured in the video is completely normal. Octopuses change color to protect themselves from predators, the biologist said and added that he has never seen such a rapid color change in any other octopus. Meanwhile, the video that resurfaces again was shared by a Twitter user named “Buitengebieden”. Since it was shared on social media on August 21, with the caption: “An octopus changing color in its sleep,” the video has garnered more than 13,000 views and the count is still ongoing.

Internet users puzzled over the octopus dream

Meanwhile, netizens were quick to comment on the viral post. “I wonder what octopuses dream of. Are they dreaming? To do, given their intelligence.” read a social media user’s comment. “They are such beautiful, intelligent and fascinating creatures. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel to eat them and LIVE them. It’s heartbreaking,” read the comment from another social media user. “She was pretending to be dreaming, she was doing this to trick the cameraman while her friend sneaks out of another water tank and unlocks the door – she’s even smarter than they thought,” it read. in another comment.

(Image credit: @ buitengebieden_ / Twitter)

“I love these creatures. I used to think it was a little cruel to keep these very intelligent beings in captivity, but now after seeing so many of them being eaten or injured in the wild, I have decided they were much safer in nice little, neat houses, ”commented the fourth user.

(Image credit: @ buitengebieden_ / Twitter)

(Image credit: @ buitengebieden_ / Twitter)

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Israel Innovation Authority establishes synthetic biology R&D company with $ 5 million in funding

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The Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) has formed a company that will provide synthetic biology research and services to emerging Israeli startups and established companies in the fields of health, agriculture, energy, food technology, defense and security.

Synthetic biology is a multidisciplinary field of science that involves creating new biological entities and systems or redesigning existing ones to provide new capabilities. The technology is used across industries to develop solutions such as new pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, diagnostic tools, food ingredients such as flavors, biosensors, industrial materials and biofuels, among many other applications. .

The new company (not yet named), announced last week by The IIA, will work on developing the technological infrastructure to enable Israeli companies to tap into synthetic biology capabilities, with initial funding of NIS 18 million ( $ 5.5 million) for the first year.

The initiative’s total budget is expected to reach NIS 40 million ($ 12.38 million) subject to pre-defined targets, Aviv Zeevi, vice president of the IAA’s technology infrastructure division, told The Times of Israel. These include signing employment contracts with Israeli companies and organizations, acquiring equipment, and recruiting scientists and engineering professionals.

Zeevi said the effort was part of the “IIA’s strategy to develop advanced research facilities and bring Israeli universities and industry closer together more effectively.”

“There are hardly any companies currently using synthetic biology technologies, an area that is much more developed in academia. We are looking to bridge this knowledge between the two sectors, ”Zeevi explained, predicting“ many more Israeli startups in this field in the next 10 to 20 years ”.

Scientists analyzing the DNA helix and editing the genome in organisms, CRISPR technology (elenabs via iStock by Getty Images)

To this end, the new IIA company was formed in cooperation with Hy Laboratories (HyLabs), a Rehovot-based diagnostics company that develops tools to detect and identify microorganisms, and the new Innovation Center of the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) headed by Prof. Noam Lemelshtrich Latar.

“Synthetic biology combined with artificial intelligence is the future of industry in Israel,” Lemelshtrich Latar said in a phone interview, adding that these technologies touch areas like sustainability and agriculture where capacity is improved. detecting air pollution, for example, could be advanced. “This is a great opportunity for the IDC to advance multidisciplinary research and even expand into new areas. “

Roni Cohen, head of service labs at HyLabs, told The Times of Israel that “synthetic biology can be seen as the new industrial revolution because it can affect all aspects of our lives.”

As an example, he mentioned an exciting project currently being developed by NASA to grow a type of lettuce that could also serve as an antibiotic or pain reliever for astronauts traveling in space, thus alleviating the need to bring pill bottles which can in any case lose effectiveness over time.

Using synthetic biology methods, scientists can also “make a type of fertilizer for the agricultural sector that uses no chemicals, only less polluting, cheaper and faster microorganisms,” Cohen said. . Researchers can also produce bacteria to help detect and monitor soil contaminants, and eventually break them down.

In the security and defense industry, synthetic biologists can produce bacteria that can help dig up mines or detect radars in enemy territory by attaching themselves to materials and emitting fluorescents that can then be picked up by imaging technologies, he said.

And in the pharmaceutical industry, scientists can design and develop “smart” drugs that will target key areas of the body, depending on the condition or disease. “With cancer, think of it as the opposite of chemotherapy which can harm everything. It would be a much more targeted therapy, ”he said.

The possibilities, according to Cohen, are endless “even if they look like science fiction.”

The idea, said The IIA’s Zeevi, is for Israeli and foreign companies to hire the new company to develop various applications according to their specific needs.

Zeevi added that the partnerships with IDC and HyLabs have two advantages. First, HyLabs is a well-established private company with nearly 50 years of experience providing microbiology and molecular biology products and services to a list of clients. And second, IDC is a relatively small university that will invest all of its efforts to make the business a success.

He said a number of strategic partners have already expressed interest in the company’s services, including two of Israel’s largest defense companies, Rafael and Elbit, as well as Ginkgo Bioworks, a privately-owned US biotechnology company founded. by scientists at MIT.

The activities of the IIA company will be divided between the HyLabs headquarters in Rehovot and the IDC campus in Herzliya.

“It all starts with computational biology and bioinformatics, so the IDC will start by identifying the genes needed depending on the application, after which HyLabs will build the necessary organism in a wet lab,” Cohen said. The next step is the screening and functional testing of the product, also at HyLabs, followed by the production of the microorganisms to be tested in a field laboratory, coordinated by IDC.

Israel Innovation Authority CEO Dror Bin said in a statement that “after a year of extensive research, the authority has identified synthetic biology as an innovative infrastructure area based on vast knowledge multidisciplinary breakthroughs in academia ”, which will ideally lead to a multitude of new Israeli companies in the field.

The climate crisis and responsible journalism

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Delay of new guidelines is a setback for chronic fatigue patients (ME / CFS)

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The National Institute for Health and Excellence in Care (NICE), a UK agency tasked with developing clinical guidelines for medical conditions, was due to publish new recommendations on August 18 for the treatment of people with chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME / CFS. Instead, he abruptly delayed the movement under pressure from powerful medical interests.

The new guidelines would have represented NICE’s official withdrawal of a very flawed version published in 2007. At the time, NICE approved two interventions believed to be able to cure ME / CFS – cognitive behavioral therapy and a program of constant increase in exercise, called graduated exercise therapy. These recommendations, however, were based on flawed assumptions and research of questionable quality, and people with the disease often found these therapies ineffective or even harmful.

Many members of the ME / CFS community were eagerly awaiting the long-awaited update, which was developed by a carefully selected committee that included clinicians and patients. Instead, after protests from major physician organizations who prefer the status quo, NICE announced Tuesday he postponed the publication of the new guidelines, which was scheduled for Wednesday.

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This decision, which leaves the 2007 recommendations in place, represents a serious setback not only for people with ME / CFS but also for those suffering from what has been dubbed the long Covid – deep exhaustion, fog. cerebral dizziness, dizziness and other symptoms that may persist for several months after a case of Covid-19.

NICE guidelines can influence medical practice not only in the UK but around the world, including the US. The review of the ME / CFS guidelines has been underway since 2017, long before the Covid-19 pandemic, but has gained increased importance due to the potential impact of the guidelines on attitudes and clinical approaches to the influx. of people with long-term Covid, given the similarities of the two conditions. Many people with long-term Covid, like generations of those who have had ME / CFS before them, have reported that doctors, employers, insurers and others have wrongly dismissed their symptoms as psychosomatic.

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United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 2.5 million Americans are living with ME / CFS, although most of them have not been diagnosed with it. No cause has been identified for the disease; affected individuals exhibit a range of immunological, neurological and metabolic dysfunctions. Many, if not most, date the onset of their illness to a viral illness like mononucleosis or a bad case of the flu, although some report bacterial infections, mold, or environmental toxins as a trigger.

Experts agree that “Post-effort discomfort”, A disproportionate and prolonged worsening of symptoms after minimal exertion is a defining trait that helps distinguish ME / CFS from typical “fatigue”. In such circumstances, treatment approaches that cause people with ME / CFS to increase their activity, such as those highlighted in the 2007 NICE guidelines, should be considered potentially dangerous. In surveys of ME / CFS patients, significantly more people report that gradual exercise makes them worse rather than better.

For clinicians who believe ME / CFS to be psychosomatic, its debilitating symptoms stem from patients’ dysfunctional belief that they have organic disease, which leads them to avoid exercise and become severely deconditioned. As part of this, a graduated exercise regimen is expected to help patients get back into shape, and cognitive behavioral therapy is designed to relieve them of their supposedly unfounded worries about increasing their activity. .

In November 2020, NICE published a draft of the new guidelines, as well as an in-depth review of relevant studies. In evaluating the data from this research, the NICE committee determined that the evidence from clinical trials of graduated exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy for ME / CFS was of “low” or “very low” quality. The project advised against exercise and physical activity regimens “based on deconditioning as the cause of ME / CFS”. The project also noted that cognitive behavioral therapy “is not a cure for ME / CFS” and rejected the idea that “” abnormal “beliefs and behaviors about disease” are “an underlying cause. Of the disease.

The draft guidelines enabled psychological and behavioral approaches designed as supportive care for symptom management rather than a path to recovery.

After NICE invited the public to comment, the guidelines committee revised some of the draft language for the final version while retaining the recommendations. At the same time, psychiatrists and other strong advocates of the psychosomatic approach embarked on a vigorous campaign to challenge the NICE project and promote their favorite therapies, with reviews in medical journals and mainstream media.

Viral diseases such as mononucleosis, West Nile, Ebola and those caused by other recently identified coronaviruses are known to leave a minority of people recovering from acute infection with chronic disabilities. With the Covid-19, the consequences are varied. (Long Covid received the more formal name of “Post-acute sequelae of Covid-19”.) Some people with Covid-19 experience identifiable damage to the lungs, heart, or other organs, which can lead to specific, long-term complications. Others report the types of symptoms, including post-exercise discomfort, that overlap with the criteria used to identify ME / CFS. In fact, some people with long Covid are now being diagnosed with ME / CFS.

That is why experts believe that ongoing research into the causes of long Covid could also yield important information about ME / CFS – and vice versa. In an article published last week in the journal PNAS, experts from Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Solve ME / CFS initiative examined commonalities in the pathophysiological processes associated with ME / CFS and long-term Covid, noting that “understanding the molecular foundations of PASC and EM / CFS may lead to the development of new therapies.

Supporters of the ME / CFS psychosomatic approach largely attribute symptoms associated with long Covid to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health disorders resulting from psychological burden of the pandemic. They suggested that people with long-term Covid should receive traditional ME / CFS treatments – exercise and psychotherapy – once basic medical tests find no abnormalities.

The revised ME / CFS guidelines, whether or not NICE publishes and adopts them, represent a decisive rejection of the psychosomatic approach. But they also recognize a sad reality: No treatment for ME / CFS has been shown to be effective in well-conducted trials, and the optimal approach to care involves strategies for managing and relieving symptoms. So far, the same is true for the long Covid. No one knows how to fix it, even as researchers and clinicians urgently explore the underlying biology and potential treatments.

In the statement Announcing what he called a “pause” in the publication, NICE defended the “rigorous methodology” of the process it followed to develop the new guidelines, stressing that ME / CFS is a “complex chronic disease , multisystem “. The agency attributed the publication delay to fears that professionals responsible for providing patient care will refuse to accept the recommendations. “In order to have the desired impact, the recommendations must be supported by those who will implement them and NICE will now consider whether this support can be obtained,” the agency noted.

The statement did not say how long the hiatus would last to seek that support, whether the agency would eventually release the new evidence-based guidelines without it, or whether the 2007 guidelines – which continue to influence clinical practice. – should always be considered operational in light of the “very low” and “low” quality of the evidence supporting the interventions.

Medicine, like any science, can only self-correct when it is willing to reassess previously accepted practices in the light of better information. With people around the world now reporting pandemic-related symptoms similar to ME / CFS, it is time that these ineffective interventions were ruled out as first-line treatments for post-viral symptoms not specific to the disease. as a result of Covid-19 or other infections.

As the suspended revised guidelines make clear, the psychosomatic school is on the losing side of the scientific argument. Just as the new ME / CFS guidelines could help promote appropriate care for people with long-term Covid, the emerging wave of biomedical research on this condition may also provide answers to the long-neglected community of people with Covid. of EM / SFC.

In the meantime, it is essential that NICE publishes its revised directive with deliberate speed.

David Tuller is a senior public health and journalism researcher at the Center for Global Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley. Members of the ME / CFS patient community and advocates have donated to crowdfunding campaigns in support of Tuller’s position in Berkeley. Steven Lubet is Professor of Law at the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University. He has been living with chronic fatigue syndrome since 2006.


$ 6.1 million grant supports virus research at AU

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FAYETTEVILLE – A $ 6.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will establish a research institute at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, to study how viruses fundamentally interact with living hosts in different types of life .

Ruben Michael Ceballos, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, will lead the AU efforts.

“We believe we have an approach that can contribute significantly to the larger global effort to understand viruses, especially those that can cause serious animal (eg human) and plant diseases, thus affecting global economies. and endangering human life, ”Ceballos said in an email.

Four co-principal investigators from partner schools, including the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, will work together to analyze data and compare viral systems.

The project, which Ceballos says is funded for five years with possible funding for years to come, also aims to support scientists and students at institutions serving minorities. Additionally, outreach efforts will include working with K-12 schools across the state.

UAPB, a historically black university, “will be able to help our students, to be able to give them this experience and exposure to laboratory science,” said Anissa Evans Buckner, chair of the biology department at UAPB. and co-principal investigator for the project.

“What I see is that more doors of opportunity are open for people of color,” she added.

The project is part of what the National Science Foundation has called one of its 10 “Big Idea” research priorities, to understand the rules of life.

For virus-host interactions, “such laws have been elusive due to the diversity and vastness of the virosphere,” Ceballos said.

But technology and laboratory methods, as well as mathematical modeling, now make it possible to compare significantly different viruses, he said.

Given the history of the flu, Ebola virus and the ongoing pandemic, such a research effort is “well overdue,” Ceballos said, and “we now have tools in place to uncover all models. common or “rules of life” which could lead to laws in virology to which all viruses or at least large bands of viruses could adhere. “

His research will not involve the study of high-risk human viral pathogens, as AU’s lab facilities are considered a Biosafety Level 2 site, he said. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, publish biosafety guidelines, and high-risk viral pathogens are investigated at level 3 and level 4 sites.

Viruses will be studied in interaction with relatively simple life forms, including AU microalgae.

Nathan Reyna will oversee the project’s efforts at Ouachita Baptist University, where he is an associate professor.

Other institutions serving as hub sites are the University of Maine and the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico.


Calendar of events, rewards and opportunities

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Every week, we update this list with new meetings, awards, scholarships and events to help you advance your career. If you would like us to present something that you have to offer to the bioscience community, send us an email with the subject line “For Calendar”. Offers from ASBMB members are given priority and we do not promote any products / services. Learn how to advertise in ASBMB today.

GSA Seminar Series on Gene Function Across Organisms

The Genetics Society of America is holding a series of free seminars until November exploring the function of genes in humans and model organisms. GSA President Hugo Bellen explained the impetus for this series in an editorial in May. He wrote, in part, “We believe that these seminars will be useful to researchers at all stages of their careers and across different model organisms, as well as to human biologists. We hope this will add a new dimension to the research, will reveal unforeseen phenotypes, accelerate to discovery, allow new funding opportunities and lead to the discovery of new fundamental aspects of biology. “Below is the seminar program. See the speakers and register here.

August 23 – MARRVEL: Exploitation of genetic and genomic data through model organisms and humans

September 20 – Data from mining model organizations in the Alliance of Genome Resources portal

October 4 – Monarch Initiative: Comparison of phenotypes between species for diagnosis and discovery of diseases

November 1 – Unraveling the links between hereditary and viral microcephaly

August 31: registration deadline for the FASEB BioArt competition

Each year, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology hosts a competition featuring stellar science images and videos. Submissions are welcome from federally funded researchers / groups and members of the constituent societies. Read the guidelines. Submissions are welcome from July 15th. View old winning images.

August 31: Apply to attend the Yale Symposium for Post-Doctoral Students

Yale University’s Intersections Science Fellows Symposium showcases the work of intermediate to advanced postdocs from diverse backgrounds in the life sciences field and provides them with opportunities to network with hiring and career institutions. benefit from individual mentoring and professional development. The next symposium will take place from November 1 to 3. To apply to present your work and participate, complete an application by August 31st. Find out more.

Important deadlines for the 2022 ASBMB annual meeting

The ASBMB annual meeting will be held in person in Philadelphia in April. Here are the deadlines to know.

Registration

  • September 15: Early registrations start (biggest discount)
  • February 7: end of early registrations
  • February 8: Advance registration (smaller but still significant reduction) begins
  • April 1: end of advanced registrations
  • April 2: Beginning of regular registrations (on site)

Summaries

  • September 15: Start of regular submissions
  • October 15: deadline for the ASBMB accelerated program (link required)
  • November 30: End of regular submissions
  • December 15: Beginning of last chance submissions
  • January 27: end of last chance submissions

Travel grants

  • September 15: applications are now accepted
  • December 7: deadline for submitting applications

September 17: Free Symposium on Immunotherapy by MIT

The Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is hosting a virtual cancer immunotherapy symposium on September 17. Here’s an excerpt from the event website: The next generation of treatments will require us to understand what causes resistance in non-responders, how it can be overcome, and how these issues are best treated clinically. Discussion of these questions will be at the heart of this symposium as we move towards our ultimate goal of increasing the number of patients receiving immunotherapy. Register.

September 24: Full survey of mouse feeding

The American Society for Nutrition is offering an eight-question survey that may be of interest to some of our members. This is how ASN described the effort: “Updates to the AIN-93 reference diets for rodents must be supported by solid scientific evidence. the composition of diets. Please participate by answering the survey questions and also submitting your summaries, list of references and / or other considerations in the space provided at the end of the survey. »Take part in the survey.

September 30: Take 15 Minutes to Transform STEM Learning

100Kin10 is looking for young people, ages 13-29, to share their experiences on pre-K-12 STEM learning for a new national effort called the unCommission. This work will enhance STEM learning stories – both joyful times and challenges – to help policymakers across our country better understand how the pre-K-12 STEM experience needs to change to better serve all students. 100Kin10 is particularly interested in black, Latin, Native American and other communities often excluded from STEM, including white and Asian youth living in rural and very poor schools, students with disabilities, those who identify as LGBTQ +, and girls. Share your story here by submitting a quick video, audio recording, or written reflection. Sharing your experience won’t take more than 15 minutes and doesn’t require any preparation, but it will have the potential to transform STEM learning. In addition, the storytellers will participate in a raffle to win a prize. Learn more.

September 30: NIH Stadtman applications expected

Stadtman investigators from the National Institutes of Health hold tenure-track positions in the agency’s intramural research program. The program’s website states that it encourages applications from doctoral-level researchers in any field relevant to the NIH’s mission. See how to apply.

Save the date: ASBMB Deuel Lipid Conference

The ASBMB Deuel conference is a must-attend event for leading lipid researchers – and for scientists who have just started to explore the role of lipids in their research agendas. This event will bring together a wide range of people, including those who have never attended Deuel or maybe a lipid meeting before.

The meeting will be held March 1-4 in Monterey, California.

“We would like to bring in people who may not have had their teeth in lipid metabolism, but who have found a way to study lipids. In many cases, this is where you get the most exciting, unusual and quirky presentations, and it can spark collaborations that might not have happened otherwise, ”says co-organizer Russell DeBose-Boyd. .

This year’s theme is “Place, Location, Location: How Lipid Trafficking Affects Cell Signaling and Metabolism”.

Co-organizer Arun Radhakrishnan explains it this way: “In recent years, we have started to better understand the mechanisms of lipid trafficking. We thought it would be great to have a meeting focused on this aspect and what this new knowledge is telling us about cell signaling and metabolism.

Abstracts will be accepted from September 1st. Check out the program and learn more.

October 1: Deadline for the Immunology Essay Competition

Michelson Philanthropies and Science / AAAS have a new award for researchers (35 and under) performing “transformative research in human immunology, with cross-disease applications to accelerate the discovery of vaccines and immunotherapies.” To apply, write a 1,000 word essay on your work. The winning essay will be published in Science and the writer will receive $ 30,000. Learn more.

October 4: deadline for SIN nominations

The National Academy of Sciences accepts nominations for its annual awards. Nominations are expected in October, winners will be announced in January and the ceremony will take place in April. Check out the list of available rewards. Read the appointment instructions.

October 6: Deadline for submitting applications to the DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy is accepting applications until Oct. 6 from undergraduates and recent graduates interested in an internship at one of the agency’s 17 participating labs in the spring. Participants conduct research under the supervision of DOE researchers and engineers in support of the agency’s mission. Learn more.

October 6-9: Emerging roles of the nucleolus

This unique meeting will bring together scientists who focus on nucleolar structure and function, but with diverse perspectives and research approaches, to facilitate a wide-ranging discussion and in-depth exploration of the topic from many angles. Topics covered range from basic biology to human disease, including the biophysical properties of this organelle, prognosis and treatments for cancer and reproduction.

The abstract deadline has been extended to August 31. Find out more.

October 24-29: SACNAS National Conference on Diversity in STEM

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos / Hispanics and Native Americans in Science will hold its national meeting October 25-29 online. Registration opens August 2 and SACNAS members benefit from discounts. See what’s on the agenda.

October 30: deadline to apply for the PALM scholarship

The Network for the Promotion of Active Learning and Mentoring (PALM) accepts applications from post-docs and faculty members who wish to learn more and improve in the implementation of active learning based on evidence. This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, fellows and mentors will participate virtually. Learn more.

December 1: Deadline for the HHMI Hanna H. Gray Fellowship Program

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute accepts applications from under-represented scientists for its Hanna H. Gray Fellowship program. Up to 25 fellows will win postdoctoral fellowships and be eligible for ongoing funding early in their independent careers. Find out about eligibility and application documents.

Call for proposals for virtual scientific events

The ASBMB provides members with a virtual platform to share scientific research and achievements and to discuss emerging topics and technologies with the BMB community.

The ASBMB will manage the technical aspects, market the event to tens of thousands of contacts, and present the digital event live to a remote audience. Additional tools such as polls, Q&A, chat rooms, and post-event Twitter chats can be used to facilitate maximum engagement.

Seminars generally last one to two hours. A workshop or conference can be longer and even span several days.

Potential organizers can submit proposals at any time. Decisions are usually made within four to six weeks.

Suggest an event.


Where can you find Utah’s newest native species? The Uinta Mountains

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Utah wildlife biologists in Salt Lake City say they recently came across a small species of snail lurking in Utah.

Officials with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said this month that biologists discovered the zoogenetes harpa snail, or boreal snail, while in Dry Fork Canyon in the Uinta Mountains in April, then again the following month at Big Brush Creek Canyon also in the mountain. range.

The boreal snail is only 4 millimeters, which is roughly the size of a quinoa grain, according to the Wildlife Resources Division. Like other snail species, it thrives most in spring and fall due to mild, wet conditions.

The species has been documented elsewhere in North America, as well as in Japan, Scandinavia, the Swiss Alps and northern Russia. According to Nature Serve Explorer, it has been found in Colorado and Montana among the western states.

State wildlife biologists say they believe the species is native to Utah and was not imported from other parts of the world. It is now the 125th species of snails known to exist in Utah. Biologists added that its reddish-brown cone-shaped shell differs from the shells of Utah’s other 124 snails.

While scientists have been slow to find it, they are delighted with its discovery. Jordon Detlor, the division’s native aquatic biologist, said it’s a type of discovery that reminds him why he went into the field he is in.

“Finding a new species is very exciting because it shows that there is still a lot to learn and discover when it comes to the natural world, and it shows that there is still a lot that we don’t know. again, ”Detlor said. in a report.

The discovery was made as biologists use snails to help understand the health of ecosystems in Utah.

“Because land snails feed on living and dead plant material and help break down leaf litter and rotten wood, they are an important piece of the puzzle for healthy and functioning ecosystems,” added Detlor. “They in turn are a food source for different insects, small mammals and even some birds, including grouse and turkeys. Snails are part of the rich diversity of wildlife we ​​enjoy here in Utah.”


Healthy biota can lead to healthy soils | Soil health information and best practice education

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Soil health begins with understanding soil biota, according to Janice Thies, associate professor of soil biology at Cornell University. She presented the importance of the creatures that live in the soil during the recent Empire Farm Days.

“Biota provides ecosystem services, including benefits such as the breakdown of organic matter, nutrient release and cycling, nitrogen fixation, and mycorrhizal fungi,” Thies said.

She added that biota also suppresses disease and improves soil structure – the soil’s ability to sustain itself under the impact of rainfall. This is an important advantage, as it promotes filtration and storage of water. Biota also consumes greenhouse gases in the air and reduces greenhouse gases emitted.

“Farming systems are under pressure on how to reduce greenhouse gas production,” Thies said. “They are a genetic reservoir.”

But biota also has a few caveats. They can immobilize nutrients and cause disease, for example.

“Energy is essential for microbial survival and functioning in the soil environment,” Thies said.

Major factors limiting biological activity include energy supply, such as light penetration to plants and substrate quality and availability for soil organisms, as well as functioning as a cellular carbon source, such as carbon dioxide for plants and organic carbon for most soil organisms.

“For some organisms, they can fix their own carbon dioxide,” Thies said.

Soil organisms can aid in nutrient cycling, soil aggregation, plant protection, plant productivity, detoxification, and organic matter formation. In the soil, nematodes, fungi and bacteria all have positive and negative functions affecting plants.

“We have parasitic nematodes that are useless,” Thies said.

These are the nematodes that farmers should strive to control. But beneficial nematodes can control the proliferation of harmful agents and break down organic matter.

Plants and the soil microbiome share “a very nice symbiotic relationship,” Thies said.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release food for soil organisms. Soil organisms provide enzymes, minerals, antibiotics, growth regulators and hormones to nourish plants.

Bacteria break down organic matter, displace nutrients, and control pathogens. But rogue bacteria can also cause plant diseases.

“The first thing you need to do is flip the floor,” Thies said. “A lot of things we rely on include inoculants and cultural control. “

The first includes nitrogen fixing bacteria, phosphorus solubilization, microbial soups, compost teas, and signaling molecules alone. The latter includes adding organic matter, reducing toxins, maintaining plants in the system with cover crops, oxygenating the soil, and improving drainage.

“All of these systems are controlled by bacteria,” Thies said. “We have decades of success with the legume / rhizobium symbiosis. We have been inoculating plants since the early 1900s. ”

To promote the overall health of the soils, Thies said farmers have many tools at their disposal, such as using compost to feed soil organisms.

“They need to eat so they can work for you,” Thies said.

She added that fungi also play a role in soil health, as they break down organic matter, mobilize phosphorus, control pathogens, promote plant growth, control insects, and aggregate and stabilize the soil.

“These are all very important functions,” Thies said. “Try to reduce toxins like fungicides. For the most part, mushrooms are your friends.

It is also helpful to reduce tillage and avoid bare fallow fields.

While many beneficial agents in soil are tiny, larger ones like earthworms, sow bugs, mites and dung beetles also help enrich the soil by simulating microbial activity, mixing the soil, increasing water filtration and breaking down organic matter. Reducing tillage and chemicals while increasing organic matter can encourage the growth of these soil auxiliaries.

“We need to think about how to promote the benefits and reduce the impact of those who are not,” Thies said. “We have to think about the exchange of gas and water.”

At Cornell, Thies focuses her study on soil ecology as an indicator of biological soil quality, remediation of degraded soils and sustainable soil management.


Apply for 74 positions of biologist, office assistant, project manager and database manager

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Indian Wildlife Institute

Good news for those looking for employment opportunities! Indian Wildlife Institute launched a call for applications for the recruitment of 74 posts senior biologists, research biologists, office assistant, project manager and database manager. Interested applicants should read the information below and apply accordingly before 20 August.

Highlights of notifications:

After the name

Various

Total number of vacancies

74

Application deadline

20e August 2021

workplace

Uttarakhand

Type of employment

Contract

Online Essay Writing Exam

29e August 2021

Essential qualification:

BE / B.Tech / B.Sc or M.Sc in wildlife sciences / botany / zoology / forestry / forest management / life sciences / biotechnology / genetics / conservation biology / statistics / environmental sciences / agricultural sciences / veterinary sciences with a minimum of 50% of overall marks from a recognized university.

Details of the vacant position:

Posts

Age limit (years)

Salary

Number of vacancies

Senior biologists

40

Rs 35,000 / –

5

Research biologists (field component)

28 (for the B.Sc.)

32 (for others)

Rs 25000 / –

Rs 31000 / –

48

Research biologists (genetic components)

32

Rs 31000 / –

5

Research biologists (GIS components)

32

Rs 31000 / –

3

Office assistant

35

Rs 25000 / –

2

Project manager

32

Rs 31000+ HRA as eligible

ten

Database manager

42

Rs 40,500

1

Selection process:

  • The selection of candidates will be made on the basis of an online written essay followed by a personal interview carried out by videoconference.

  • For the office assistant position, shortlisted candidates will be called for a personal interview directly.

  • The online trial will be for 1 hour and include at least 300 words, essay based on knowledge of ecology, conservation genetics, biotechnology, biochemistry, GIS remote sensing, geoinformatics and their application to wildlife conservation and relevant conservation. Candidates who qualify for the written essay will be notified through our website and by email for the personal interview.

  • All applicants will receive an email on their registered email id on August 29, 2021 at 10.30 am. The email will include 6 essay topics, the candidate must select one topic and write at least one 300 word essay on the same topic. Essay submitted after 11:35 am will not be accepted

How to register?

Interested candidates can apply online through their website. The deadline to apply is 20e August 2021.


Insidious coral killer invades Palmyra Atoll reef

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A map of Palmyra Atoll showing where the corallimorphs were collected. (Photo credit: Kaitlyn Jacobs)

The reefs of Palmyra Atoll, a small peripheral atoll of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, have evolved from hard corals to systems dominated by corallimorphs, marine invertebrates that share characteristics with anemones and hard corals. A published study in Coral reefs led by the University of Hawaii In Mānoa, marine biology researchers found that although the invading corallimorph is the same species that has been around for decades, its appearance has recently changed and it has become much more insidious.

Phase shifts like this are seen in many marine environments globally, whether due to local pollution, global climate change, or natural environmental variations. Researchers from EUH by Manoa School of Earth and Ocean Science and Technology (SOEST) wanted to determine if a new species of corallimorph was responsible for the takeover in Palmyra.

corallimorphs
Images of corallimorphs around Palmyra.

“These phase shifts are negative for our global biodiversity,” said Kaitlyn jacobs, lead author of the study and graduate student at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology in SOEST. “Over the past decade, the coastal reefs of Palmyra have been overrun by colonies of corallimorphs that can quickly monopolize the seabed and achieve 100% coverage in some areas. “

Compete with surrounding corals

Jacobs and his team used DNA data to compare the mitochondrial genomes of four corallimorphic individuals collected from Palmyra Atoll. They discovered that the corallimorph that supplanted surrounding corals is not a new species but rather is closely related to a species from Okinawa, Japan.

The Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2001 and has been protected ever since. The atoll has been characterized as an almost pristine coral reef ecosystem, supporting a highly productive ecosystem and high levels of coral cover.

Due to their adaptability, corallimorphs are excellent competitors. As well as being able to directly kill corals, they can quickly move around disturbed areas and outsmart surrounding organisms, creating a kind of cover over the reef.

“Scientists and conservationists fear that the phase shift of rocky coral dominated habitats may be irreversible due to a negative feedback loop of coral decline and the subsequent dominance of algae, sponges or corallimorphs,” Jacobs said.

This effort is an example of EUH Mānoa’s goal of Research Excellence: Advancing the Business of Research and Creative Work (PDF), one of the four objectives identified in the Strategic plan 2015–25 (PDF), updated in December 2020.

For more information see SOESTthe website of.


UC Davis appoints new dean of veterinary medicine

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The Marshal’s Office made the following announcement today (August 10):


The University of California, Davis today (August 10) appointed Mark Stetter, dean and professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University, as the new dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) . He will officially take up his post on October 18.

Marc Stetter

“The School of Veterinary Medicine, a widely recognized world leader in its field, best exemplifies veterinary education, research and care – and UC Davis -” said Mary Croughan, Provost Marshal and Executive Vice Chancellor. “It was essential for us to find a new dean who could continue and advance the school’s stellar legacy. We are very fortunate that Dr. Stetter has agreed to take on this critical leadership position.

Stetter replaces John Pascoe, who had served as interim dean since July 1, when Michael Lairmore stepped down after nearly 10 years as dean. Croughan expressed his deep gratitude for Pascoe’s skilled acting service and Lairmore’s decade of distinguished leadership at SVM.

A strong mix of academic and business experience

Stetter comes to his new role with a vast and varied experience and remarkable achievements, both in veterinary medicine and in leadership. His areas of research and treatment expertise are diverse within the scope of his primary focus on wildlife and zoo animals.

Stetter received both his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He did an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York and was a resident in zoological medicine at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

From 2012 to the present, Stetter was dean and professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. His important contributions have been numerous and transformative. He helped create a new medical education program in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine; worked with the provost’s office to create a university-wide One Health initiative; established a new DVM education program with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks; and has helped launch numerous Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI) initiatives. Additionally, it has helped the college raise over $ 370 million for new buildings, scholarships, staffed positions, and research programs, among other uses.

Immediately prior to his arrival in the State of Colorado, he served as Director of Animal Operations, Director of Animal Health and Clinical Veterinarian at Walt Disney World from 1997 to 2012. He oversaw and led the animal health and care teams of Walt Disney. World and was responsible for over 500 employees and several animal collections, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, The Living Seas at EPCOT, Tri-Circle D Ranch, and Animal Kingdom Lodge. During this time, Dr. Stetter also helped Disney establish and grow its international in situ conservation efforts.

“My experiences at Colorado State and Disney World have provided me with an excellent foundation for the role of dean at UC Davis,” commented Stetter. “But in a complementary way, each has given me a unique and valuable opportunity to care for animals, develop my veterinary expertise and learn to lead large and complex organizations.”

Dr. Stetter’s research interests have included advancing minimally invasive surgery in non-domestic species and have included work on a variety of different animals, including fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Its work has given rise to more than a hundred scientific publications and conferences. His writings have often focused on diseases and treatments involving elephants, crocodiles, gorillas, frogs, monkeys, rhinos, and many other species.

His vision of the school

As Dean of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Stetter will be responsible not only for education and research at the school, but also for strategic planning, management and administration, business outreach, awareness and development, among other essential functions.

“I am really excited about this next chapter in my professional career,” said Stetter. “UC Davis offers exceptional programs and I look forward to working across the school, campus and the wider community to enhance our mission and impact. The ability to work with so many dedicated and distinguished colleagues and students really makes this opportunity irresistible.

He plans to spend much of his time during his first few months on campus building relationships and deepening his knowledge of SVM and UC Davis. He will plan ‘large-scale’ visits with faculty and school staff as well as with university leaders to learn about their priorities, perspectives and ideas.

While the specific goals and objectives he sets for the school will depend greatly on what he learns from these visits and his ongoing collaborations, he offers some ideas. “I have several top priorities,” he said. “They are: Maintaining and advancing the high excellence of SVM; Pursue the important contributions of the school to society and to the planet; Promote an environment in which each member of our community feels included and respected; and Foster a work climate and culture in which our faculty, staff and students can perform at their best while enjoying all that a productive life has to offer.

“In addition to his extraordinary scientific expertise and leadership ability,” said Croughan, “Dr. Stetter brings a unique perspective and set of experiences to his role as SVM Dean. At the same time, he shares a commitment with our Aggie family. strong in making the world a better place for animals and humans alike I look forward to seeing what he will accomplish at UC Davis in the years to come.

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

The renowned UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine serves the people of California by providing the highest quality education, research, clinical service and public service programs to advance animal health and care, the health of the environment and public health. , and contribute to the economy.

It deals with the health of all animals, including livestock, poultry, pets, captive and free range wildlife, exotic animals, birds, aquatic mammals and fish, and animals used in biological and medical research. His expertise also encompasses human health concerns.

The school’s mission includes 28 research and clinical programs, including clinical referral services; diagnostic testing services; continuing education; extension; and community awareness.

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is ranked number one among veterinary schools nationwide by both American News and World Report and World Ranking of QS Universities, and world number two by QS. He is currently participating in a $ 500 million fundraising campaign for a new veterinary medical center.


In the fight against invasive carp, scientists explore a new frontier: stalking babies

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Carp from the Vltava river, Czech Republic. Credit: public domain

For decades, four invasive carp species have devoured plants, gorged themselves on plankton, and endangered an interconnected community of fish, plants and molluscs beneath the brown and murky waters of the Missouri River.

At the same time, environmentalists and officials across the country are fighting to control carp damage: enlisting scientists, installing fences, contracting with commercial fishing companies and even, later this year, by launching a campaign to get more restaurants to serve fish.

Today, scientists from the US Geological Survey and the University of Missouri have identified a potential breakthrough: They are studying the complex way carp eggs move in rivers, in the hope that they can kill while they are still young.

“We have developed better ways to eliminate large numbers of adult carp,” said Duane Chapman, fish biologist at the USGS. “But you also have to think about the other end.”

Carp eggs drift for miles, and as they drift, the fish thrive. If researchers can determine where they land and if those locations are suitable for growing young carp, then they can target the sites and intercept the eggs.

Water moves in three dimensions: downstream, side to side, and top to bottom. But so far, river models have been relatively straightforward, usually based on one or two dimensions, the researchers say. Now, however, they have access to more powerful computers, have spent hundreds of hours collecting new water flow data, and found help – an expert in fluid physics. All of this means that scientists now hope to use three-dimensional data on water flow to trace the trajectory of the eggs.

There are four species of invasive carp found in rivers in Missouri: bighead carp, black carp, grass carp, and silver carp. All are important foods in China, cultivated there for over 1,000 years.

American fish farmers imported them largely in the 1960s and early 1970s to keep fish farms and other ponds clean. But the farmers failed to secure the fish properly, scientists said, and the carp jumped out of the ship, making their way to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and spreading rapidly throughout the Midwest.

The population exploded in Missouri in the early 2000s, said Chapman, the USGS biologist.

Adult grass carp consume aquatic plants, which provide food and habitat for native fish. Bighead carp and silver carp feed on plankton, pushing aside native fish that depend on the same food source.

Silver carp are sometimes referred to as “jumping carp,” known to fly up to 10 feet in the air when caught, sometimes injuring boaters.

The black carp have just taken a foothold in the Missouri River. But they do eat shellfish, like mussels, and mussels are already critically endangered in Missouri, in part because of their sensitivity to pollution. Over 40% of Missouri’s 69 mussels are of conservation concern.

The impact is staggering: The US Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that the invasive carp can almost completely wipe out native fish in some particularly affected sections of rivers.

“They are really having an impact on sport fish like walleye and crappie,” Chapman said.

Environmentalists have succeeded in eliminating carp in the lakes. For example, in 2018 at Creve Coeur Lake, government agencies adapted a Chinese technique called “the unified method”: systematically gathering fish with sound and electricity, then catching them in large nets — to remove about 47 000 carp, or 119 tonnes.

Removal from rivers is more difficult.

In 2006, organizers in Bath, Ill. Came up with a creative idea: an annual “redneck fishing tournament,” in which contestants attempt to collect as many silver carp as possible. The trap ? Fishing rods are not allowed – jumping carp must land in boats or be hung in the air by participants as they fly overhead.

In some states, commercial fishermen harvest carp primarily for pet food and fertilizer. Later this year, the State of Illinois plans to launch a media campaign called “The Perfect Catch”, renaming carp in an effort to increase the popularity of fish as a human food, in the same way that 45 years ago, a seafood merchant renamed Patagonian toothfish “chilean”. bar ”to increase its appeal in the market.

But the carp continue to spread.

“They keep invading new places,” said Robert Jacobson, supervising research hydrologist at the USGS. “There are a lot of states that are now very worried about being next.”

Scientists in Colombia have been working for almost two decades to stop the spread.

The USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center is a complex of buildings and ponds behind a chain-link fence. But a lab hosts most of the work with the carp. It is “biosecure” – equipped with a specialized wastewater treatment system with mechanical and UV filters to prevent even the smallest egg from escaping, alive, down the drain.

Inside the laboratory are carp tanks of all sizes, connected by a maze of pipes circulating water through the containers.

One day last month, researchers were experimenting with carp larvae hatched the week before. They placed the baby carp in containers with running water, an important sensory input for the young fish. After three minutes of swimming, the researchers removed the fish and froze them, then dissected their brains to see which areas had been activated by the moving water.

“What we’re trying to figure out is, once these larvae hatch, how their senses develop and how they use them to move around the nursery habitat,” said Amy George, fish biologist at research Center.

The center houses two groups that work on carp, each with 12 to 15 employees. Studies vary. They measure the impacts of toxins on the carp. They develop a large, sterile head with tracking tags, in the hope that when released they will lead scientists to existing populations.

They even mapped the growth of the carp eggs, every 15 to 30 minutes until they hatched, about 30 hours later.

In June, the USGS awarded researchers at Mizzou and the USGS a $ 200,000 grant to use computer modeling and field measurements in the Missouri River to predict how eggs move.

The team has a new member, who brings specific expertise. Binbin Wang, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Mizzou, is an expert in fluid physics and will model turbulence in the Missouri River.

Scientists could even work backwards to calculate where the fish are spawning, which would tell them where to intercept and trap fish larvae, or where to generate turbulence in an attempt to destroy the eggs.

Carp eggs need Goldilocks-type river conditions – not too slow, not too turbulent. Plain water allows eggs to sink to the bottom and die, and fast moving water can destroy them. River managers could potentially harness water dynamics to damage eggs.

The work will also help researchers determine whether uninvolved rivers have conditions conducive to carp survival, and then prioritize resources to high-risk waterways.

Scientists are particularly concerned that carp are traveling north and taking a foothold in the Great Lakes, putting the ecosystem and the fishing industry at risk.

Jacobson, the USGS hydrologist, says their findings will help understand how all kinds of material spread in rivers.

“It’s not just how this applies to invasive carp,” he said. “This also applies to endangered species, and it applies to things like the transport of contaminants – if there was an oil spill, or something like that.”

Now, finally, researchers can gain traction by tracing carp eggs.

“People ask, ‘Why don’t you know more about what these carp are doing? “, Said Jacobson. “Well, because they mostly live in muddy rivers, we can’t really see what they’re doing most of the time.”


Predicting the spread of invasive carp using river water flows


© 2021 St. Louis Post Office
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Quote: In Tackling Invasive Carp, Scientists Explore New Frontier: Track Babies (2021, Aug 9) Retrieved Aug 9, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-08-invasive-carp-scientists -explore-frontier. html

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New research reveals microvascular dysfunction of the heart

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The synthetic SMC phenotype underlies coronary microvasoconstrictor dysfunction. The profiles of contractile and synthetic phenotypic biomarkers strongly reflect whether arteries can produce TM and thus contribute to the regulation of blood flow in coronary arteries. Credit: DOI: 10.1093 / cvr / cvab218

New studies show small vascular abnormalities in the human heart well beyond the aorta, with atherosclerotic obstruction that results in the need for stenting and bypass grafting. The findings may lead to the development of new treatments for patients with symptoms such as unobstructed angina, or for patients who have recovered from a heart attack or unexplained heart failure.

The normal intrinsic stenosis of these micro-arteries in response to changes in blood pressure is called myogenic (automatic) tension. Myogenic tone controls the distribution of blood flow in the heart muscle and elsewhere in the human body.

Current heart scans can identify large occlusions of the coronary arteries, but fail to show these small micro-arteries the size of a hair in patients, and muscles that would grow independently of significant arterial disease. It is not possible to diagnose a decrease in the primary voltage. In this study, tissue biopsies were used to investigate the function, structure, and changes of microarterial pathways associated with abnormal myogenic tone.

The BHF-funded study, led by Professor Raimondo Ascione of the University of Bristol (Clinical Manager) and Professor Kim Dora of the University of Oxford (Head of Basic Sciences), Cardiovascular research..

The research team took small heart samples that would otherwise be rejected from 88 patients who did not have a major coronary artery occlusion and who underwent surgery for valvular heart disease at the Bristol Heart Institute. In addition, heart samples were obtained from three organ donors from the Newcastle Transplantation Tissue Biobank and from 45 pigs treated at the Translational Biomedical Research Center (TBRC) at the University of Bristol.

The researchers found that 44% of patients’ micro-arteries have abnormal myogenic tone, even though they maintain cell viability. This abnormality is due to the excessive presence of molecules called caldesmon in the muscle cells of the wall of the abnormal micro-arteries, and these cells contracted compared to the micro-arteries with normal myogenic tone in the other 66% of the patients. It was linked to the improper alignment of the cells. , And all organ donors and pigs.

Microarterial abnormalities affect the beating blood supply to the heart and other organs in the body, affecting the quality of life and life expectancy of people.

The findings provide new insight into coronary microvascular dysfunction that may precede the development of clinically known heart diseases such as heart failure.

Professor Raimondo Ascione, NHS consultant cardiac surgeon and head of TBRC at the University of Bristol, said: Myogenic tension in previous cardiac microcirculation. These small arteries are located deep in the heart wall and well beyond occluded arteries treated with stenting or bypass surgery with the NHS and are not visible to the naked eye.

“Our study sheds light on microvascular dysfunction of the heart. A new way to help patients with symptoms like angina without coronary artery occlusion, or who are recovering from coronary artery occlusion. This can help in the development of treatments. heart attack Or heart failure of unknown cause. “

Kim Dora, professor of microvascular pharmacology at the University of Oxford, explains: A new modality for imaging patients, it represents a new model of ex-vivo research for thousands of scientists working on microvascular dysfunction around the world of the heart and other organs. “

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, said: Apply them to the micro-arteries of the human heart. The results provide new information to help develop treatments for many patients who develop angina without significantly narrowing the coronary arteries. ”

Currently, thousands of patients, mostly postmenopausal women, suffer from angina despite a coronary angiogram that does not show obvious occlusion of the large epicardial arteries of the heart, which are usually treated with stents or bypass grafts. New areas of research confirm that they exhibit such symptoms. Other patients seem to develop heart failure associated with contraction or relaxation of the heart for no apparent reason.

The human coronary arteries studied in the laboratory by the Bristol and Oxford team are human organs (lungs, lungs, heartWhere COVID-19 has caused most of the problems during an ongoing pandemic.


One type of heart disease requires special testing


For more information:
Kim a Dora et al., Human coronary microvasoconstrictor dysfunction is associated with viable synthetic smooth muscle cells, Cardiovascular research (2021). DOI: 10.1093 / cvr / cvab218

Provided by
Bristol University

Quote: Cardiovascular dysfunction obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-08-reveals-cardiac-microvascular-dysfunction.html on Aug 9, 2021 by a new study (Aug 9, 2021) has been revealed

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair dealing for the purposes of personal investigation or research. The content is provided for informational purposes only.


Young man celebrates Bagging PhD scholarship in USA and shares adorable photos South Africa News

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  • Nigerian youth identified as Emmanuel Osuagwu celebrated getting PhD scholarship in USA
  • Emmanuel, who visited his LinkedIn page to celebrate his victory, shared how mentors, sponsors and advisors contributed to his success
  • Social media users quickly flooded the comments section of Emmanuel’s post to celebrate with the young man

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A young man identified as Emmanuel Osuagwu took to social media to celebrate his victory after winning a scholarship for his PhD in Materials Science at Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA.

Speaking to his LinkedIn page, Emmanuel said his success was made possible by God who provided him with mentors, sponsors and advisers every step of the way.

Emmanuel Osuagwu celebrated his victory on social networks. Photo credit: Emmanuel Osuagwu / LinkedIn
Source: UGC

In his words:

“Thinking about where it all started, my first benchmark happened in 2018 with my lab manager, Mr. Emmanuel Okuhon at Mobil Oil Apapa.

Read also

24-year-old woman studying medicine in Ukraine becomes top graduate student

“I remember asking him what he would advise me to do after school, his response was that I was immediately heading for graduate school in technologically advanced countries like the United States.”

He meets a mentor

Emmanuel said it was timely to meet a man named Kingsley Okenyi the following year at SPE NIGERIA COUNCIL NAICE 2019, where he advised him on steps he might take in others to secure fully funded opportunities. in the United States for graduate studies.

In his words:

“He took it a step further by offering his sponsorship for my GRE, which he ultimately did, and not just for me, but for a list of many others.”

According to the youngster, he connected with Sir Great Umenweke on LinkedIn and the latter encouraged him to consider graduate studies in the United States, especially for the upcoming Fall 21 semester.

Emmanuel needs to hear from God

Read also

Huge joy as man becomes lawyer after graduating in science

The young man said he needed to hear from God on the way forward. He eventually got God’s approval to apply for graduate school.

In his words:

“Remarkably, during the same prayer period, I was awarded as the winner of the first SPE Port Harcourt section quiz contest (scanning section), where the allocated fund was used to sponsor my IELTS. “

Sharing adorable photos of himself on LinkedIn, Emmanuel expressed his gratitude to everyone who made this possible.

Many celebrate the young man

Augustin Ofeh said:

“Congratulations Emmanuel Osuagwu.”

Oladamola Wojuola commented:

“Congratulations.”

Somto Egba commented:

“.

Ifeanyi Ogbu said:

“Congratulations brother.”

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Lady who graduated with a 1st class scholarship

In similar news, a young woman identified as Sarah Oladejo took to social media to celebrate her victory after winning a full scholarship for her Masters in Computational Biology at the University of Alabama, USA.

Read also

Kobby Kyei: Young man shares why he quit teaching to start blogging

Speaking to her LinkedIn page to make the disclosure, Oladejo, a Lagos State University (LASU) graduate with a first class, said she was selected for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship.

In his words:

“I have been selected for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship for masters in Canada and graduate assistant as well as scholarship for my masters in United States of America. Let me introduce you to a scholarship holder of ‘graduate and scholarship recipient from the University of Alabama, USA for a master’s degree in computational biology through a full scholarship. “

Did you enjoy reading our story? Download the BRIEFLY news app now from Google Play and stay up to date with top South African news!

Source: Briefly.co.za

Do you also want to travel to Mars? NASA offers a special opportunity to search for “mission” candidates, do you know who can apply?

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Mission to Mars: The US space agency has issued a call for applications for a special mission related to Mars. In addition, who can request it? The agency provided information about it by tweeting.

NASA launches a mission to Mars (NASA Simulated Mars Mission) Photo – NASA

NASA Mission to Mars: The US space agency NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has launched a call for applications for a special one-year mission. What type of training is given to people who wish to travel to Mars? Four people will be selected keeping in mind the real difficulties of future missions to Mars, and they will have to live in an atmosphere similar to Mars. Selected applicants must stay on the 1700 square foot Mars Dune Alpha Atmospheric Module for one year.

Marsdon Alpha was created using the Icon 3D printer installed in the Johnson Space Center building in Houston, Texas. According to NASA, this simulated mission will begin in 2022 (September 1-November 30). In preparation for the real challenges of future missions to Mars, NASA said in a statement it will study how long people can live in such environments and what changes they see there.

What challenges will you face?

NASA announced on Twitter that it had solicited applications for a mission related to Mars. It is a one-year mission in which life in other worlds will be emulated. It will start from 2022. Selected candidates will face the same challenges associated with Mars. Lack of resources, equipment failure, communication problems and other environmental barriers.

Important scientific information can be drawn from the result

In addition, these people of the crew will have to perform mock spacewalks and scientific research. They also have the opportunity to exchange virtual reality, robotic controls and communication. NASA said it will receive important scientific data regardless of the outcome of the mission. NASA is currently planning three missions, including Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog. One of the three missions starts next year.

Who can apply?

  1. The age must be between 30 and 55 years old.
  2. The applicant must be a US citizen.
  3. Stay in good physical health and don’t smoke.
  4. Graduate degree completed in STEM subject. For example, you must have a master’s degree in engineering, biological sciences, physical sciences, computer science, or mathematics.
  5. Must have at least two years of professional experience in a STEM discipline or at least 1000 hours of pilot-in-command experience on a jet aircraft.

Read also- In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed a resolution condemning the attack on a Hindu temple in Pakistan.

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UTSW doctor volunteers to Tokyo Olympics: newsroom

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Dr Stephanie Tow, MD, Director of the Adaptive Sports Medicine Program at UT Southwestern, is a volunteer physician at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics responsible for providing general medical support in the Olympic Athletes’ Village and the Isolation Hotel. designated for all participants who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Dr Tow is one of 16 foreign doctors to hold this post, along with many other Japanese doctors. Credit: Dr Michael Fredericson

DALLAS РAugust 8, 2021 РDr St̩phanie Tow, MD, director of Adaptive Sports Medicine Program at UT Southwestern who is a team doctor and medical director for several adaptive / para sporting organizations and events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, completed her first week of volunteer caregiving at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Dr. Stephanie Tow, MD, standing in front of the Olympic rings

Dr. Stephanie Tow, MD, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UT Southwestern, is among those providing volunteer care at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, is the team’s chief medical officer and national medical classifier for the United States National Paralympic Swimming Team. Credit: Dr Steven Isono

Dr. Tow, the team’s chief medical officer and national medical classifier for the U.S. National Paralympic Swimming Team, is a two-week volunteer physician responsible for providing general medical support in the Olympic Athletes’ Village and Hotel D Designated isolation for all participants who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Dr Tow is one of 16 foreign doctors to hold this post, along with many other Japanese doctors.

“A lot of sports physicians are striving to work in the Olympics at some point in their careers, so it’s an honor to be in demand and to be able to go so early in my career,” said Dr Tow, assistant professor of Physical medicine and rehabilitation, ranked n ° 17 in the country by American News and World Report and part of UT Southwestern Brain Institute Peter O’Donnell Jr.. “It is such a privilege to be able to work with international leaders on this side of sports medicine.”

Dr Tow has strictly followed the Olympics’ COVID-19 protocol, which includes testing for COVID-19 every day at work to keep himself and others safe. She spent her first week caring for Olympic athletes and delegation staff around the world in the Athletes’ Village and the COVID-19 isolation hotel.

“I am confident with what is in place to control the spread of the COVID-19 infection. With the protocols in place, we have been very effective in keeping the number of COVID-19 infections low and essentially creating an Olympic bubble to protect everyone from COVID-19 as best we can, ”added Dr. Tow.

Dr Tow has extensive experience covering sports medicine events, including serving as medical director for the World Para-swimming Series in Lewisville in 2021 and as a volunteer physician with numerous youth sports teams, high school , universities and professionals. events during his career.

Dr Tow, also a member of the Southwestern UT Pediatric Group who sees pediatric patients at Center specializing in children’s healthâ„  Cityville in Dallas and Scottish Rite for Children Sports Medicine in Frisco, is one of only four physicians in the United States to have completed dual training in the subspecialties of pediatric rehabilitation medicine and sports medicine. She completed her Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Fellowship at the University of Colorado / Children’s Hospital Colorado, her Sports Medicine Fellowship at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and is now certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in sports medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Dr Tow received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, after which she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Hong Kong from 2008 to 2009. She received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and New Jersey dentistry (now Rutgers University). – New Jersey Medical School and completed residency and chief residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at UT Southwestern in 2016 and 2017 before joining the faculty of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UT Southwestern in 2020.

Dr. Stephanie Tow, MD, standing in front of the Olympic rings

Dr. Stephanie Tow, MD, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Dr Tow is a member of several national, institutional and departmental committees and has assumed leadership roles for several of them, most notably as elected chair of the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Committee of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. . She has given dozens of lectures and presentations and is involved in several research projects related to her clinical interests in adaptive / para sports medicine, concussion, pediatric sports medicine, pediatric rehabilitation medicine and medical education. Among many other honors, she was recognized as having a leading original research abstract at the 2019 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Meeting in San Antonio.

“It has been inspiring to finally be able to bring the world together and show many of our athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic movements,” said Dr Tow, who grew up playing multiple sports, including being a competitive swimmer who has done so. helped lead it. high school team in the New Jersey State Championship its final year. She has also been on the Johns Hopkins University Ultimate Frisbee Women’s Team, has competed in multiple triathlons, and enjoys skiing, cycling, yoga, traveling, cooking, camping, and hiking.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has been awarded six Nobel Prizes and includes 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 13 researchers of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The full-time faculty of over 2,800 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advancements and is committed to rapidly translating science-driven research into new clinical treatments. Doctors at UT Southwestern provide care in approximately 80 specialties to more than 117,000 inpatients, more than 360,000 emergency room cases and supervise nearly 3 million outpatient visits per year.




Finding Mark: Memory of deceased friend attracts Nilgiri advocate to “Cheetal Walk”

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In happier times: it was Mark who nursed and fed Rivaldo when he lost part of his trunk. Photo: NA Naseer

The release of the elephant Rivaldo into the Nilgiris wilderness, after three months in captivity, was a cause for celebration among forest officials and environmentalists as it was the first time that a tusker kept in captivity had been released in the forest. But some challenges remain. Chief among them is the hiccups that authorities still face in preventing Rivaldo from entering human dwellings – the reason he was taken captive in the first place.

Although it is suspected that Rivaldo will return to the human habitation in search of his human friend Mark Dravidar, conservationists say his visits could be phased out if locals stop feeding him and others. elephants, often in a gesture of affection.

An article published in First line in 2011 claims that elephants frequent the area surrounding ‘Cheetal Walk’ (a forest shelter on the edge of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, owned by marine biologist Mark Davidar, son of famous conservationist ERC Davidar) and have become accustomed to to the presence of humans there since the 1980s. Rivaldo, who was found on the Sigur Plateau in the Nilgiris district, was one of them. It has been fed by locals since 2008.

However, his frequent contact with human habitations cost him dearly. In 2013, Rivaldo lost 30 cm of his trunk. The story of the loss of his trunk, however, has two versions: the first says that the defender could have been injured begging for food in the streets while the second says he was caught in a trap set by hunters. to kill wild boars.

The Marc case

It was Mark Dravidar who looked after Rivaldo when he was injured and gave him food and medicine. After his proboscis had healed, Mark stopped feeding Rivaldo to wean him from the food supply and encourage him to switch to coarse vegetation. Rivaldo would visit the premises where he was being treated and wait to be fed, sometimes for hours.

“When no food came, he left. His visits have become sporadic and shorter. After six months it would stop for a few minutes and then leave, ”noted conservation biologist Priya Davidar, daughter of ERC Davidar, a renowned wildlife advocate, in the recent issue of the journal. Trumpet.

Mark moved to Cheetal Walk – established in 1967 – after stint with the Bombay Natural History Society and Madras Snake Park. The house is located near the Sigur Corridor, one of the important corridors of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

Mark’s house was a usual haunt for Defenders, and the biologist ended up befriending many of them, including Rivaldo as well as two others named Ronaldo and Roberto.

Marc said in the First line article that says Rivaldo “is smart, but gets unnecessarily violent.” Yet he is a peace loving animal.

A nature lover, Mark passed away in 2013 due to health issues. However, many locals say he was injured and died after an elephant chased him.

Priya, however, dismisses the claim.

After Mark’s death, Rivaldo was again injured in 2015 by a savage defender.

“Again, he was treated in the same place without strain, and the same pattern of violation was recorded after the feeding was stopped,” Priya explains in her article.

It was after his second injury that Rivaldo became a roadside tourist attraction. However, when tourism was affected during COVID-19, Rivaldo stopped begging for food along the route. Priya says it was a healthy indication that he can be disused and sent back to fend for himself in the wild.

Rehabilitate Rivaldo

Although Rivaldo has never attacked humans, it is claimed that he has already been attacked by a few locals who injured his right eye, rendering him partially blind.

“The inhabitants feared that the elephant would enter their village, because they feared that it would damage their mud houses. It was also around the same time that another elephant died in a fire. So there was an increased demand to take Rivaldo captive, ”said K Kalidasan, an environmentalist and one of the eight members of the expert committee formed after the Madras High Court order to decide on the release. by Rivaldo.

After another elephant, suspected of being Ronaldo, died in a fire in January this year, forestry department officials lured Rivaldo on May 5 into a kraal under the pretext of feeding him, in the buffer zone of MTR. He was taught to obey commands inside the kraal.

After he was taken prisoner, conservationists and animal lovers seized the Madras High Court, demanding the elephant’s release. They alleged that even after the treatment, the elephant was kept in captivity for no reason. Even MPs like Maneka Gandhi and MPs like Vanathi Srinivasan wrote to the state government for the elephant’s release in the forest.

“Rivaldo was perfectly capable of surviving in the jungle without human assistance and ‘rehabilitation’ cannot involve captivity since captivity is a dead end for a male elephant in the prime of life,” Priya explains.

Considering that elephants have excellent memories, Priya says it is Mark’s memory that draws Rivaldo to human habitation.

“The elephant cannot adapt to the forest overnight. It takes time. If people stopped feeding him, his entry into human habitation would become less. But yes, Rivaldo still visits Cheetal Walk sometimes ”, says Priya Federal.

Agreeing with Priya, Kalidasan says people need to stop feeding the elephant. “They do so with love and sympathy for his condition,” he says.

“Rivaldo is already in good health. He cannot be healthy just by eating the food offered by people. It can also forage in the wild and get by without human addiction. So, to keep it permanently in the forest, people have to stop feeding it, ”he adds.


Problems of mistrust and misunderstanding exist between community members and healthcare researchers

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Problems of mistrust and misunderstanding exist between community members and health care researchers.

This is the main reason why two local leaders – the Reverend Dr Deborah Thomas and Dr Carol Williams – are working together to launch a unique program to address these issues.

Known as the Cancer Disparities Curriculum for Research and Community Academics, their program will intentionally bring together members of the Milwaukee community and early career biomedical researchers to engage in shared learning.

Academics and researchers in the community will not only examine the origins, causes and factors that promote cancer disparities, but will also design potential solutions.

Cancer-related disparities are differences in outcomes (eg, incidence, diagnosis, and mortality) between groups of people.

Significant disparities occur depending on where people live, their race or ethnicity and gender, among other factors.

Biomedical cancer research often does not take into account these disparities and their biomedical impact (e.g. trauma, stress, nutrition, sleep), which limits advances in care for a greater diversity of people.

This program aims to reduce cancer-related disparities and remove barriers to health equity by increasing understanding of why disparities exist; address issues of mistrust, prejudice and racism head-on; and fostering relationships within communities to develop projects that meet their unique needs.

“Distrust of the field of health and biomedical research is widespread among community members,” said Rev. Deborah Thomas, retired MATC faculty member and founder and pastor of Kingdom ministry by House of Grace.

“Researchers may be unaware of the reasons for this mistrust and have a poor understanding of the social determinants behind cancer disparities. We want to eradicate these misunderstandings and help community members and researchers work together.

The program will provide opportunities for academics to learn, work effectively with each other, and build trust and equitable partnerships while developing a common understanding of the factors that promote cancer disparities. Fellows will participate in courses and conferences and create a project to present to other community members and researchers.

“Over the next few years, we hope to increase interest and enthusiasm for this program so that we can enroll more investigators,” said Dr. Williams, senior investigator in the MCW Cancer Center Biology Program.

The first cohort will meet in the fall of 2021 and will consist of eight to twelve academics – with an equal number from the community and biomedical research departments of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Application documents can be obtained from [email protected].

The program is fully funded by Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment.


Bio-Techne announces organic revenue growth in Q4

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The company announced that its revenue increased to $ 259 million and that the increase was due to the acceleration of the company’s long-term growth strategy combined with the one-time impact of customer site closures. during the comparative period related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net sales for the full year 2021 increased 26% to $ 931 million, the company also said.

The Protein Science segment, through which the company supplies specialized proteins such as cytokines and growth factors, immunoassays, antibodies and reagents, reported net sales of 192.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 51% from the $ 127.3 million in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. 2020.

Bio-Techne also reported fourth quarter Fiscal 2021 net sales of $ 67.1 million in its Diagnostics and Genomics business, an increase of 38% from $ 48.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. This segment provides blood chemistry and blood gas quality controls, controls, immunoassays, in situ hybridization products and exosome-based diagnostic products.

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Winter could bring more deaths to an already tense manatee population

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Wildlife biologists fear another cold and harsh winter for starving Florida sea cows.

They worry when Florida’s waters cooler and seagrass beds recede in a few months, manatees will die again in the hundreds the day after a year in which 890 sea cows have already perished, mostly from starvation.

So they’re scrambling to figure out how to spend $ 8 million in the state’s manatee salvage money and to streamline the permits that rehab facilities like SeaWorld are needed to save more sea cows.

“We are working to expand the facility and we are doing it in case we have more mortality this winter,” said Larry Williams, manatee biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. “There is a very high number of abandoned calves. So in preparation for next winter, we are working with groups to grow and make sure they have the permits.

Manatees are crashing in 2021 like never before. Already, deaths have broken the 2013 record of 830 and more than doubled the five-year average of 396 deaths, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. And while the death rate appears to have declined in recent weeks, winter is yet to come, with countless emaciated and debilitated survivors and orphans in general.

Stress from cold water has killed an average of 42 manatees (11% of all deaths) over the past five years. of manatee deaths. But harsh winters can kill many more.

The story continues below the graph:

Read more: Hungry manatees overwhelm Florida rescuers

FWC met in Bonita Springs on Wednesday to discuss the federally declared unusual fatality event that left 316 sea cows in the Brevard stretch of the Indian River Lagoon, or 36% of the total fatalities This year. The death toll became so severe that in April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the death an unusual mortality event, freeing up federal funds and other resources for the response.

Yet, little more is known to biologists than manatees starve to death due to the loss of seagrass that has occurred over the decades, caused by polluted runoff, fertilizers, septic tanks that have occurred. leaks and sewage spills, especially in the lagoon.

“What is hindering this investigation is the hot summer,” Martine deWit, the FWC veterinarian who heads the agency’s autopsy lab in St. Petersburg, said late last month. “They’re breaking down so quickly, so we’re not even shipping across the state yet.” (An autopsy is an examination on a dead animal).

To add to the problem, in mid-July the FWC cold room that contains manatee carcasses and remains at the St. Petersburg laboratory broke down, complicating the logistics of examinations. The expensive new condenser they need won’t be ready until the end of this month.

“So we are currently doing on-the-fly autopsies, with the use of dumpsters and landfills, and additional complicated logistics,” deWit said via email.

While manatees appear to be doing better recently, deWit said the long-term impacts of malnutrition could lead to future reproductive and other health issues, especially this winter. “Obviously, we can expect sublethal effects,” said deWit.

Read more: Florida, federal government brace for another deadly winter for manatees

Gil McRae, FWC’s director of personnel, told commissioners the problem went beyond the recent disappearance.

“At the end of the day, it’s not a manatee problem,” McRae said. “It’s more complicated than that. And we want to make sure the commissioners understand the sense of urgency.”

The legislature this year approved $ 8 million to restore manatee access to springs and improve habitat in other manatee hotspots. The agency has 18 months to figure out how to spend the money and five years to complete the projects. FWC staff are in the process of identifying and prioritizing these restoration projects.

FWC plans to complete seven eelgrass restoration projects in the tributaries of the lagoon this year. Staff are also carrying out restoration of aquatic vegetation near the springs of the St. Johns River and a restoration project at Blue Spring State Park.

With a population close to 8,900, some at Wednesday’s meeting said the overall manatee story should be positive and should focus on how the animal has recovered over the past three decades.

The annual winter counts that 20 years ago there were typically only a few thousand manatees in recent years, exceeding 6,000 sea cows.

Advocates of boating in the lagoon region have long argued that the population of the species has exceeded the capacity of estuaries like the lagoon to support such large numbers in the long term. Runoff and sewage pollution cause an excess of algae that suffocates seagrass beds, which has done far more harm to manatees than their boats, they say.

McRae said death rates have returned to more normal levels on the east coast, noting the state has seen a year of manatee deaths in six months.

“We have had manatee deaths along the entire Atlantic coast, from lower St. Johns to southeast Florida,” McRae said. “By May 2021, the carcass count was back to normal levels. But because of this big manatee slug on the east coast, we’ve already set a record six months in the year.”

McRae said the agency is trying to care for a large number of calves that are often in poor health after losing their mothers.

“One thing unique to this particular event that we’ve never seen before is a number of orphaned calves,” McRae said. “These calves require a lot of care and they often have to be bottle-fed and it can take two years before they are ready to be released from captivity.”

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Jim Waymer is an environmental journalist at FLORIDA TODAY.

Contact Waymer at 321-242-3663

or jwaymer@floridatoday.com.

Twitter: @JWayEnviro

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jim.waymer

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BaseBit.ai Completed Over HK $ 350 Million Series B + Strategic Funding Round And Will Continue To Strengthen Data Collaboration And Privacy Computing Solutions

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HONG KONG, August 6, 2021 / PRNewswire / – BaseBit.ai Announced Series Completion B + round of financing, with a scale equivalent to more than HK 350 millionD. BaseBit.ai declined to disclose new investors and the rating for this round. Drift Cloud Capital is the Company’s exclusive financial advisor for this financing.

Founded in 2016, BaseBit.ai is a thriving IT privacy technology company committed to providing services to the medical, pharmaceutical, government, financial, insurance, marketing and other industries. Also, is the precursor of “the Internet of data and computing (IODC) “, BaseBit.ai has also established its own IT privacy platform BaseBit.ai XDP “. The Company has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Yichang, Chengdu, and several other cities.

This round of funding will be used for research and development on computer privacy technologies, radiation platform industry expansion and application scenarios expansion, to further develop the internet of data and computing, the ecological network of data and artificial data. intelligence.

Zhen Luo, CEO of BaseBit.ai, commented on the funding: “We are very grateful for the support of our investors and the trust of our customers and partners. It is your recognition and support in this field that has helped to promote the rapid development of Privacy computing today is a growing field and still faces many challenges, including ‘setting standards, promulgating national policies and regulations, which requires attracting more talent to join this field, capital investment and efforts of our friends. Only in this way can we together create a bright future for the industry. ”

Andy A. Liu, President of Basebit.ai added, “We have seen a growing interest in privacy computing solutions across all industries including healthcare, finance, insurance, telecommunications, and more. We look forward to expanding our technologies and solutions to our customers. “

A look back at the year 2020, which is called “the inaugural year of private computing” in China, BaseBit.ai has taken the lead by gaining excellent hands-on experience in IT privacy across different industries. BaseBit.ai has deployed several city-level privacy IT application use cases.

BaseBit.ai not only realized the potential of opening up city-level big data applications through privacy computing, but also put into practice the areas of intelligent hierarchical diagnosis and treatment, scientific research clinical, multi-point trigger surveillance and intelligent early warning of infectious infections. diseases, regional digital industrialization and promotion of digital investments for the benefit of people’s livelihoods through the open platform of city-wide Big Data applications. These achievements have won several corresponding awards and distinctions.

BaseBit.ai and Intel have also jointly released a multi-stakeholder and multimodal privacy preservation platform for biomedical research, to open the link between data ingestion, data cleansing and data mining, in-depth exploration, authorized sharing, and help unleash the value of data in bioinformatics research fields through privacy computing. In addition to expanding further in the healthcare industry, BaseBit.ai is also actively developing the value of data by unleashing other industries.

BaseBit.ai has been developing its IT privacy technology for many years. In 2020, former chief researcher of MSRA, global partner Dr. Lin Tao Zhang joined BaseBit.ai as Chief Scientist and dedicated himself to important scientific research activities and building projects for privacy computing and AI. He leads the company’s scientific advancements in data security, data privacy protection, AI and big data enforcement. BaseBit.ai has also established a university-level technology advisory board. The founding members of the committee are Academician Kai Li, Academician XiaoYun Wang and Professor Dawn song. The committee brings together world-renowned IT experts, cryptography experts and IT security experts, with the aim of achieving technological innovation by formulating technical strategies, driving companies to apply better product service standards. and integrate technical capacities. BaseBit.ai aims to achieve optimal resource allocation, technological innovation and development, and to establish an authority in the global industry. In addition, the company is also actively recruiting talent from leading AI companies as well as industry experts across all industries.

Hong Kong office address:
47 / F, Lee Garden One, 33 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Contact Person: Ada YU
Contact email:
ilovedata.hk@basebit.ai

SOURCE BaseBit.ai


The oldest fossilized forest in the world is found in Greene County. He needs to be saved.

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The oldest forest in the world is not in a museum. It’s not in a national park. The fossilized remains lie behind a municipal building outside of Greene County.

Land surveyors accidentally discovered the area in 2009, and over the next decade scientists discovered fossilized root systems from three separate plant species. The fossils, which predated the first dinosaurs by 140 million years, were the oldest of their kind, pushing back 2 million years from when the ancestors of modern trees would have developed.

The city of Cairo, which owns the land, is now struggling to find a way to preserve the find before the unsecured site falls victim to the elements and souvenir seekers. But city leaders have competing visions for the site’s future, potentially making the problem worse.

Discovering the oldest forest in the world

The site looked much different during the life of the Cairo forest. The climate was subtropical and the region was covered with wetlands.

The Catskills were not a group of smooth mounds, but rather a large plateau. To the east rose a jagged mountain range, the Acadian Mountains, as high as today’s Himalayas. To the west was a giant inland sea – the Appalachian Basin.

According to the findings of researchers at Binghamton University and Cardiff University in England, who have spent years reviewing the site and published their findings in Current Biology, floodwaters swept over the forest 385 million years ago, pushing sediment onto the trees, killing them, but preserving their roots.

The researchers completed their work in 2019, but the priceless land remained in the hands of the city of Cairo.

Joe Hasenkopf, a resident of Cairo, is the chairman of a municipal committee formed to study the issue of preserving the site.

“Basically what we want to do is build an education center… a building all over the site, with glass on top of it. [the fossils] so you can walk on the site without stepping on it, ”he said.

“It’s an old quarry, so there could be parking for schoolchildren, students and tourists, but also a full lab for graduate students to actually study, with the glass high enough that they can go in there and study things, but low enough that it’s protected and people don’t try to cut up little pieces and take them home as keepsakes, which are unnecessary.

Fears that the fossils might be damaged are not unfounded: City supervisor John Coyne said people were already coming to the site.

There were two distinct groups, Coyne said: People drawn to the science and history of fossils, who ask the city for permission to visit. And then there are all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts.

“Unfortunately, we have people in our community who think they can drive their four-wheelers on the [site] and that’s okay, “he said.” That’s why it’s so important to try to get funds to protect and preserve it. “

Small town, great find

Cairo, with a population of 6,400 and a budget of less than $ 3 million, doesn’t have enough money to even begin securing the find. Boulders have been pushed in a ring around the part of the site to prevent vehicles from crushing them, but outside funding must be sought to go further.

The city is currently pursuing two grants to help preserve the site.


The first would help pay for a series of concrete barriers that would be placed around the entire site to prevent ATVs from entering, Hasenkopf said.

The grant was not yet obtained, according to Hasenkopf, so he did not want to say where it came from, but the installation of the barriers is still a long way off. As a municipal enterprise, the project is expected to issue a tender before the barriers can be installed.

The second is a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a feasibility study on building a permanent education center on the site. The city applied for the grant last March.

The end goal was to partner with a college in the center, Hasenkopf said, adding that he had spoken about the project to several universities, but “no one wants to do anything without a feasibility study.”

Preservation of the site has led to infighting within the city government.

When city council met with state assembly member Chris Tague in March 2020, council member Jason Watts skipped the meeting, Coyne said.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the support of the whole board – we had enough to come up with a resolution and things like that, but with a project like this it would be great to have the full support. community, ”he said.

Watts, who is posing as city supervisor – Coyne is not seeking re-election – wanted to sell the site at the time.

Watts said he has since changed his mind mainly because the site cannot be sold.

To sell it, the site has to be rated, but “there is nothing to rate it against,” Watts said – the site is unique in the world and therefore invaluable.

Watts said as recently as the May city council meeting that he wanted to sell it, according to HudsonValley360, and claimed in a previous meeting that he received an estimate on the site between $ 500,000 and $ 1 billion.

Any sale he might have made would have been made to an educational institution, Watts told The Times Union on Monday.

“They are the ones who can find the funding; we can’t find the funding for that, ”he said. “We could have some kind of fundraiser, a chicken barbecue or something, and then we only have a few thousand dollars to spend on that. “

Coyne scorned Watt’s change of mind. “It just bothers me how people change their tone when the tide changes,” he said.

The first trees in the world

There are three distinct species found at the Cairo site, according to the Current Biology article.

The first one, Eospermatopteris, appears a dozen times on the site. The palm-like plant was first identified at a nearby site in Gilboa, which held the title of the world’s oldest forest before the discovery of Cairo.

The second set of root fossils, those of Archaeopteris, are over 30 feet in diameter and consist of 10 to 15 branching primary roots from what were probably the central trunks.

Researchers also discovered an “enigmatic” third root system at the Cairo site, according to the article.

William Stein, professor emeritus of biology at Binghamton University and one of the site’s principal researchers, called this root system a “very interesting puzzle”.

The system was “instantly recognizable” as a lycopsides– like a plant – but it was believed that these plants did not exist for tens of millions of years after the preservation of the Cairo site.

Lycopsids originate from the Carboniferous Period, a time when the biomass of growing and dead plants was greater than the amount of clastic matter – grains of rock – on the earth’s surface, making rotting plants giant bogs. Peatlands have been buried and compressed over time, creating modern coal deposits.

Cairo’s root systems date from the Devonian period, around 60 million years before the Carboniferous, Stein said, but more research had to be done to prove lycopsides existed so long ago.

“Anyone who understands plant paleontology would recognize these things for what they are,” said Stein, referring to lycopsides. “But what we can’t say is what they absoutely are – so we always call them ‘enigmatic’.

Whether or not this plant is a lycopsid, the Archaeopteris the specimens found at the Cairo site are the oldest tree found.

Stein points out another reason why securing the site is crucial: there may be more fossils to be discovered.

“We only surveyed part of the area,” he said. “The difficulty was the discovery; it takes a long time to remove all the gravel from the site and map it properly etc.

“It could be nothing, it could be a lot,” Stein added, but the researcher, who spent nearly 10 years studying the site, said it was up to other scientists to pick up the baton.

An economic windfall?

Coyne said a science center could help everyone.

The economy of Greene County, with its skiing, hiking and resorts, depends on tourism, and a science center could benefit Cairo and surrounding towns.

“We see it as a global destination,” Coyne said – European tourists visiting this summer had already requested to visit the site.

Cairo contains the Round Top community, which includes three all-inclusive resorts. Researchers and others interested in the site could stay there, Coyne said.

“It’s just an economic benefit for the whole community,” he said.

Warren Hart, deputy administrator for Greene County and chief economic development, tourism and planning for Greene County, agreed.

“An important segment of tourism is the journey through history,” he said, “so [the forest] presents a very lucrative opportunity for additional travelers to the county and this translates into additional direct and indirect visitor spending.

If the science center were developed, Hart’s office could promote it through advertising and social media “to get people to see the fossil forest and stay here, and make it part of their itinerary,” he said. he declared. “We would make it part of our regular business of attracting tourists to the county.”

However, the city must act quickly. In the age of geolocation on Instagram, nothing remains a secret for long, and the city also fears what winters could do to fossils.

“Water and ice is seeping underneath, and it’s shale,” Watts said, fearing the fossilized prints would crack like potholes.

“We are going to lose this,” he added. “I would like to hope someone would step in and help us with something to protect it – it is a very precious piece of land.”

Headaches are largely outsourced among racial and socio-economic groups

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Newswise – DALLAS – August 5, 2021 – Significant disparities exist in the diagnosis and treatment of headaches by race, socioeconomic level and insurance status, despite the fact that headaches affect almost all racial and ethnic groups at the same rate, according to research conducted by UT Faculty of the Southwestern Medical Center.

Latinos are 50% less likely to be diagnosed with migraine than whites, and African American men receive the least care for headaches nationwide, according to a review the article published in the journal Neurology.

The undertreatment of headache in black patients is consistent with the available data on the undertreatment of pain in these people and is believed to be partially influenced by the misconception that African Americans are biologically more tolerant of pain. This mistaken belief has historically led to disparities in health care, according to the study.

“We need to see ourselves as health professionals and think: what can we do to help eliminate these disparities and inequalities? ” said Jessica Kiarashi, MD, assistant professor of neurology, lead author of the article and chair of the Underserved Population in Headache Medicine section of the American Headache Society.

Dr. Kiarashi worked with 15 other headache experts to review more than 50 studies on headache disorders and health care disparities.

Part of the problem is the shortage of doctors specializing in headache disorders, but major flaws nationwide include systemic and institutional racism and the lack of health care in some geographies.

Other findings included:

  • Non-white children were less likely to receive headache medication, and they were three times less likely to receive imaging than white children.
  • Black children are less likely to have emergency room visits for sports-related pediatric head injuries.
  • Low-income groups have a 60 percent higher rate of migraines.
  • Uninsured adults with migraine headaches are twice as likely, and publicly insured adults one and a half times more likely, to not receive evidence-based treatment compared to commercially insured adults with migraine headaches.

Dr Kiarashi said there was very little data on Asian Americans.

Headaches are also stigmatized, Dr Kiarashi said. Headaches can dramatically erode a person’s quality of life, making it difficult to concentrate in the workplace, and negative social selection of people with headaches can further disadvantage minority groups in society, she declared.

Other researchers who contributed to the study include Juliana VanderPluym, Christina L. Szperka, Scott Turner, Mia T. Minen, Susan Broner, Alexandra C. Ross, Amanda E. Wagstaff, Marissa Anto, Maya Marzouk, Teshamae S. Monteith, Noah Rosen, Salvador L. Manrriquez, Elizabeth Seng, Alan Finkel, and Larry Charleston.

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty has been awarded six Nobel Prizes and includes 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 16 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 13 researchers of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The full-time faculty of more than 2,800 is responsible for revolutionary medical advancements and is committed to rapidly translating science-driven research into new clinical treatments. Doctors at UT Southwestern provide care in approximately 80 specialties to more than 117,000 inpatients, more than 360,000 emergency room cases and supervise nearly 3 million outpatient visits per year.


Digital genome market statistics in Europe, CAGR, Outlook,

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Digital genome market

The digital genome is a complete, advanced digital arrangement of genetic material that occurs in a cell or organism. It is a simpler way to accumulate information on chronic diseases and used by experts to gain better insight into genetic disorders. Digital genomics deals with genes and their roles and aims to identify and treat the factors that cause chronic disorders to resolve them. This technology has sparked a revolt in research focused on invention and systems biology to accelerate understanding of the most complex genetic systems.

The European digital genome market is expected to reach US $ 5,994.09 million by 2027, compared to US $ 3,250.04 million in 2019. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% during the period 2019-2027. way. The reader can simply perceive the impressions of organizations by having data on their revenue, value, share of the pie, current turn of events and creation during the speculated period up to 2027. The study point by point advances a crucial minute understanding. of the European digital genome market in full knowledge of the facts.

to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the European digital genome market | Get a sample copy of the report, click here: https://www.businessmarketinsights.com/sample/TIPRE00012194

The main companies listed in the report are-
• THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIQUE INC
• Illumina, Inc
• F. HOFFMANN-LA ROCHE SA
• QIAGEN
• bioMérieux SA

The Europe Digital Genome research report further takes into account the market presentation and incorporates characterizations, definitions, and applications. In addition, it contains a comprehensive survey of various angles, for example, openings, limitations, drivers, challenges and dangers, and major miniature business lines. Moreover, the report isolates the Europe Digital Genome market on the basis of few parts and subsections as well as past, current, and imaginable figure development patterns for each fragment and subset wrapped in the report.

SEGMENTATION OF THE DIGITAL GENOME MARKET IN EUROPE –
By product
• Sequencing and analysis instruments
• DNA / RNA analysis
• Sequencing and analysis software
• Sequencing chips
• Sample preparation instruments
By application
• Diagnostic
• Drug discovery
• Academic research
• Personalized medicine
• Agricultural
• Other
By end user
• Diagnostic and forensic laboratories
• University research institutes
• Hospitals
• Other

Key points covered in the digital genome research report in Europe:
• Overview: In this section, the significance of the Europe Digital Genome Market is given throughout the thorough review of the report to present a comprehensive perspective on the quality and substance of the exploration study.
• Analysis of industry players’ strategies: This review will benefit economic players to gain the upper hand over their rivals.
• Fragmentary analysis: A solid and precise figure has been given for the share of the pie of important market places.
• Regional Analysis: The Europe Digital Genome Market report covers the top five districts and their nations. This review will help market players to guess about undiscovered local industries and different focal points.
• Key Market Trends: The top-down examination of the latest and future models in the market is covered in this section.
• Market Forecast: Review experts give legitimate and accurate estimates of market size in terms of value and volume. The use, creation, offerings and different estimates of the Europe Digital Genome market are also recalled for this report.

Browse the full report with TOC @ https://www.businessmarketinsights.com/reports/europe-digital-genome-market

The European digital genome market comprises 15 key chapters:

Part 1, industry overview of the European digital genome market;
Section 2, Classification, Specification and Definition of Europe Digital Genome Market Segment by Regions;
Part 3, Industry Suppliers, Manufacturing Process and Cost Structure, Chain Structure, Raw Material;
Part 4, Specialized information and analysis of European digital genome manufacturing plants, limit and commercial production rate, distribution of manufacturing plants, state of R&D and analysis of sources of innovation;
Part 5, Comprehensive Market Research, Capacity Analysis, Sales and Selling Prices with Company Segment;
Part 6, Analysis of the regional market which contains the United States, Europe, India, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan;
Parts 7 and 8, Europe Digital Genome Market Analysis by Major Manufacturers, Europe Digital Genome Segment Market Analysis (by Type) and (by Application);
Part 9, Regional Market Trend Analysis, Market Trend by Product Type and Application:
Part 10 and 11, Supply Chain Analysis, Regional Marketing Type Analysis, Trade Type Analysis;
Section 12, Buyers Analysis of Europe Digital Genome Industry;
Section 13, Research Results / Conclusion, Europe Digital Genome Channel for Good Business, Brokers, Wholesalers, Vendor Review;
Part 14 and 15, Annex and information source for the European digital genome market.

Contact us:
Business Market Overview
Phone: +442081254005
Email ID: sales@businessmarketinsights.com
Web URL: https://www.businessmarketinsights.com/
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/company/business-market-insights/

About Us:
Business Market Insights is a market research platform that provides subscription service for industry and business reports. Our research team has extensive professional expertise in fields such as electronics and semiconductors; Aerospace and Defense; Automotive and transport; Energy and power; Health care; Manufacturing and construction; Food and drinks ; Chemicals and materials; and technology, media and telecommunications.

This version was posted on openPR.


Unravel the mysteries of the brain with the remarkable biology of the squid

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But to investigate these and other mysteries about cephalopods, scientists need to be able to do genetic research on them. This requires three key elements: the complete genetic code of an organism, the ability to manipulate that code, and the ability to grow the organism in the laboratory.

For decades, this has been possible in mice and other classic model organisms, such as fruit flies and nematode worms, enabling countless advances in biology and medicine. But cephalopods – with their treasure trove of evolutionary quirks – have proven less conducive to genetic research (and not just because of the octopus’ notorious ability to escape reservoirs).

The difficulties encountered by the Rosenthal team in editing a single gene in a species of squid illustrate the challenges involved.

Cephalopod Operation

The first obstacle was the sequencing Doryteuthis pealeii’s genome, which the team needed to know where to cut, says Marine Biology Laboratory neurobiologist Carrie Albertin, who led the squid genome sequencing work. “Cephalopod genomes are large and complicated,” she says.

Where the human genome is made up of about 3.2 billion letters, or bases, the squid genome has about 4.5 billion letters, more than half of which are made up of repeating sequences. Linking these letters together, says Albertine, is like putting together a huge puzzle that represents an empty blue sky. “Every time you develop something new,” she says, “you have to find a way to overcome the weird challenge that biology decides to throw at you. “

After a costly effort to sequence these billions of squid DNA fragments and put them together, biology threw another curve ball at the team. Unlike other squids, Doryteuthis eggs have a thick, rubbery outer layer, or chorion, which cannot be easily punctured by the fragile needles used to inject the CRISPR-Cas9 molecular editing tool into the egg. It’s an embryonic operating game: if the needle doesn’t pierce far enough, the CRISPR-Cas9 won’t hit its target, but if the needle pierces too far, the egg won’t develop.

“I failed miserably for years,” says the embryologist and member of the St. Mary’s College Squid Editing Team. Karen crawford.

After much trial and error, made possible by the constant supply of squid eggs from Atlantic catches, Crawford found a way to use micro-scissors to make a slit in the chorion enough large so that the needle can pass through, but small enough to close behind the needle and leave the egg intact. “I got really good at pitting,” Crawford says.

For the first knockout, the team chose a gene responsible for pigmentation in squid. They selected the pigmentation gene because it would be easy to see if the modification worked. And he did. In September 2020, the group reported in the newspaper Current biology that the gene had been disrupted in 90 percent of the cells of the edited squid, which represents a key advance in making squid and other cephalopods suitable for genetic research. While the unmodified squids were speckled with colored chromatophores, the knockout squids were crystal clear.

Since then, the group has experimented with removing other genes, Rosenthal says, such as the two genes that enable RNA editing. While the function of this genetic trick is not yet clear, it appears to be essential for squid: larvae lacking RNA-editing genes die soon after hatching.

This summer, the group focused on adding, or “introducing” a gene into the squid to produce a protein that fluoresces green when it binds to calcium, which flows into the squid. axon when a nerve is triggered. Combined with the pigmentation knockout, this would allow researchers to literally observe the development of nerves and start working in transparent squid.

Squid culture

Despite these advances in Dorytheuthis pealeii research, and the species’ distinguished career in the service of science, the squid has a serious drawback as a genetic research organism: it cannot be easily cultivated in the laboratory. “He’s such a big adult,” Crawford says. “And he likes deep, cold sea water.”


Marine biologists discover real SpongeBob Squarepants and Patrick Star on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean | Life

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Unlike best friends in cartoons, their real-life counterparts don’t get along. – Photos via Twitter / NOAA, Christopher Mah, Instagram / SpongeBob Squarepants

KUALA LUMPUR, August 3 – Marine researchers have spotted the real-life versions of Nickelodeon’s famous duo SpongeBob and Patrick Star during a recent deep dive.

Only it wasn’t the pineapple under the sea at Bikini Bottom but somewhere on the seabed of the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were controlling a remote control vehicle when they came across the square-shaped yellow sponge and a pink five-pointed starfish at the Seamount Retriever off the coast of New England last week at a depth of 1,885 meters, Live Science reported.

Images of the sea sponge and the star were shared by NOAA as part of a live stream on Facebook.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History marine biologist Christopher Mah immediately thought of the popular Nickelodeon characters when he saw the footage.

“Normally I avoid these (references), but wow. SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick in real life, ”tweeted Mah, a starfish expert.

Mah said Live Science he made the comparison as soon as he saw them on video.

The images quickly took to social media, and even the official SpongeBob Squarepants Instagram account stepped in to share an image of the cartoon characters alongside their real life versions.

Mah said the scientific name for the sponge is Hertwigia and the starfish is Chondraster, adding that the exact species is unclear and may even be brand new to science.

Smithsonian magazine said the find was interesting to scientists because bright yellow sponges are rarely found at this depth and most deep-sea sponges are either white or neutral in color.

While the Nickelodeon icons are the best friends of the cartoon, the same can’t be said for their real-life counterparts.

Although they appear to hang out in the photo, the two creatures don’t get along.

“This species of starfish has been observed feeding on sponges,” Mah said.

Created by marine scientist and host Stephen Hillenburg to help children learn about marine life, SpongeBob Squarepants was established in 1999 and remains a success today.

“I am happy that the photo has delighted so many people,” said Mah.

“I hope this will also raise awareness of the deep sea as a habitat, which has been threatened by mining and fishing on the high seas.”



GA DNR improves and restores reefs in Glynn County with 213 tonnes of oyster shells

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The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to improve and restore oyster reefs on the coast of Peach State, most recently in a public shellfish harvesting area in Glynn County.

In June, contractors working for MNR’s Coastal Resources Division (CRD) placed approximately 140 tonnes of bulk oyster shells in Jointer Creek, west of Jekyll Island. This brings the total oyster shells returned to Georgia estuaries over the past 14 months to 213 tonnes.

“Oysters, in particular, are very important because they are ecosystem engineers who provide vital services in addition to being a harvested species,” said Cameron Brinton, marine biologist at CRD. “Oysters help stabilize shorelines, improve water quality and create critical habitat for commercially and recreationally important fish.

CRD’s Habitat and Artificial Reefs program also receives significant support from ordinary Georgians, Brinton said. This support comes in the form of volunteers who help package the oyster shells for deployment, donate oyster shells to area restaurants and funds from non-profit organizations.

In recent months, CRD has focused on three specific projects in Glynn County: a new artificial reef on the Back River near the Torras Causeway containing 68 tonnes of oyster shells in 7,200 bags; 140 tonnes of loose shells in the Glynn County Public Shellfish Harvesting Area on Jointer Creek; and five tonnes of shellfish in the South Brunswick River near Blythe Island Regional Park.

“The goal of this year’s projects was not only to create new reefs, but also to test new deployment methods,” said Brinton. “In the Back River we used bagged oyster shells, a method we have used successfully at a number of sites, and at Jointer Creek and Blythe Island we used loose shells, which require less labor-intensive and have been used with great success in other states.

Although the Blythe Island site has only five tonnes to date, CRD marine biologists will return to the site and see how effective the free-shell deployment has been. If the reef is stable, CRD plans to add more seashells in the future.

All oyster deployment sites will be monitored over the next several years by examining several biological and physical parameters to ensure the reefs are stable and self-sustaining.

“The first thing we look for is the establishment of juvenile wild oysters, called ‘spat’, which attach to the shell that we deploy and are the first sign the reef is starting to grow,” said Brinton. “Later, we measure the population size and density of adult oysters, and seasonally, we conduct aerial surveys to measure the reef footprint.”

A healthy reef should have an imprint that does not shrink. In established reefs, this is usually not a problem, Brinton said, but can be a challenge in newly established reefs due to sedimentation caused by Georgia’s eight-foot tidal cycle.

“With over 3,400 miles of creeks and tidal rivers in Georgia, we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Brinton said. “If you would like to help us, support the restaurants that partner with us for shell recycling, donate the shell of your own roast oyster and consider getting a marine habitat conservation license plate. for your vehicle or trailer.

For more information on artificial reefs in Georgia, visit www.CoastalGaDNR.org.


AllOnGeorgia





Barbara Thompson | Obituaries


Always taking care of her family’s needs first, she also found time for other adventures. She was active in her church, Petroleum Wives, DAR, Little League, Girl Scouts and many other organizations. Need help… there was Barbara. His passions were bridge, knitting, genealogy, cross stitch, collecting antiques and bowling. Barbara was passionate about sports. Win or lose, she loved her Red Sox and Celtics. Most of all, Barbara loved being with people and just talking to them. She made friends everywhere she went.

Family was everything to Barbara. She was devoted to Eric for 66 years of marriage before Eric passed away and took great pride in raising two children, Jan and Brad. She cherished her time with her four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Barbara lived a life full of passion and devoted all of her love and being to her family. It was a life well lived.

Barbara is predeceased by her husband. She is survived by her daughter, Jan Thompson of Kennewick, Washington; her son, Braden (Allison) of Edmond, Oklahoma; grandchildren Chad Nicley of Kennewick, Cari Tobias (Gerald) of Pasco, Washington, Hunter Thompson of Los Angeles, Logan Thompson of Edmond; three great-grandchildren (Owen, Carter and Ashton); and angelic friend Lori Kraft and her family, who were essential to Barbara’s end-of-life care and well-being.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday July 30 at the Yellowstone Valley Memorial Park.


SJSU’s Olympic legacy continues at Tokyo Games


Seven SJSU Spartans will compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo from July 23 to August 8. Not in the photo: coach Greg Massialas.

The state of San José has been a part of almost every Olympic Games since 1924. The university will be well represented at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which runs from July 23 to August 8.

Seven former Spartans will participate in five sports:

  • Suzy Brookshire Gonzales, softball in Mexico – first Olympics
  • Colton Brown, United States Men’s Judo – Second Olympics
  • Michelle Cox, Australia softball – first Olympics
  • Emma Entzminger, Softball of Canada – First Olympics
  • Clara Espar Llaquet, Spain Women’s Water Polo – Second Olympic Games
  • Robyn Stevens, United States women’s athletics (20km race) – first Olympic Games
  • Coach Greg Massialas, United States Head Fencing Coach – Seventh Olympics, Fourth as Head Coach (2008, 2012, 2016, 2020)

The five female Olympians are the most for SJSU in a single Olympics. Stevens is the first Spartan female Olympian since American shot and discus thrower Margaret Jenkins competed in the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932..

It is also the first time that a former SJSU student will appear in softball, which is returning to the Olympic Games program for the first time since 2008.

Colton Brown continues SJSU’s impressive judo legacy that began with former student Yoshihiro “Yosh” Uchida, ’47 Biological Science, head judo coach at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Brown shared his thoughts on the participation in his second Olympics and his quest for gold medal in a Q&A before leaving for Tokyo.

athletics events


Type 1 diabetes study points to new treatments

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New research is producing results for a team at the University of Virginia studying type 1 diabetes.

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Scientists at the University of Virginia recently completed the largest and most diverse genetic study of type 1 diabetes never undertaken.

Through the study, the researchers identified new drug targets to treat the disease, which affects 1.6 million American adults and children.

According to a Study 2017-18 the Virginia Department of Health published, type 1 diabetes accounts for only five percent of all diabetes cases in the United States.

What is type 1 diabetes?

You’ve probably heard of diabetes. But did you know that there are two types?

As a rule, people with Type 2 diabetes have the ability to rid their bodies of the disease. Often times, treatment involves lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.

For those with type 1 diabetes, there is no cure. However, people with the disease manage their condition with insulin.

Dr. Stephen Rich, one of the study researchers, is the director of the Center for Public Health Genomics within the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He is also professor of public health sciences and professor of biochemistry, microgenetics and biology.

Rich explained that the immune system is responsible for type 1 diabetes. Normally, the immune system fights viruses and pathogens. With type 1 diabetes, instead of attacking the virus or pathogen, the immune system attacks the body.

“There is a whole host of autoimmune diseases. Type 1 diabetes is probably the most common, but it is also rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease. There’s a whole series of myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, ”Rich said. “And in fact, these autoimmune diseases tend to cluster together. So sometimes you can have families where someone has type 1 diabetes and a family member can have autoimmune thyroid disease like Graves disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or whatever.

For people with type 1 diabetes, their bodies attack and destroy the insulin-producing beta cells.

“There is no insulin production and because there is no insulin production, insulin is what translates glucose into energy for the body. So when there is no insulin, the body attacks its own cells, systems and organs to try to get that energy, ”says Rich. “And that’s why without insulin people die.”

A large study

The UVA research team doubled participation in the largest previous study on type 1 diabetes. They ultimately looked at 61,427 people of North European, African, Asian and Latino descent.

Rich explained how studying tens of thousands of participants helped shape the research.

“There are a few approaches that we use in genetics to try to identify what factors in the genome really affect disease risk. One of these approaches is called genome-wide association analysis. And so you have sites in the genome, along the entire genome, ”Rich said. “We have done this previously and identified about 40 areas that were important.”

The professor compared the information gleaned from genomes to knowing someone lives in Charlottesville, but not knowing what house they reside in.

The large participation helped the team identify a narrower region in which to search for specific genetic variants. It also gave the team significant opportunities to identify more areas of the genome out of the 186 regions.

In total, the scientists identified 78 regions on the chromosomes where genes reside, which influence the risk of type 1 diabetes. Of these, the researchers found 36 previously unknown regions.

New discoveries

Researchers have identified specific and natural genetic variations that influence risk. They also determined how these variations act on particular types of cells. Using their findings, the team identified and prioritized potential drug targets.

Drugs targeting 12 genes identified in the diabetes study are underway or scheduled for clinical trials for autoimmune diseases. This could speed up the reuse of drugs to treat or prevent type 1 diabetes, the researchers say.

“One of the beautiful things that has happened over time is that there has been a whole series of drugs developed for autoimmune diseases. And so there is a drug based on an interleukin 23 alpha gene that is available for rheumatoid arthritis, and it seems to be working well, ”Rich said. “Previously the gene for rheumatoid arthritis – it’s one of many genes for rheumatoid arthritis – but this gene was not a type 1 diabetes gene. But with our study, we now find that it is is the case. And if all of a sudden we have drugs for other autoimmune diseases that are on the market that are being used that haven’t been used before for type 1 diabetes. Now that points to drugs that might be. used. “

Rich spoke about Yale University The discoveries of Professor Kevan Harold delay the onset of type 1 diabetes by almost two years.

“This suggests that there are compounds based on the immune system. And it’s a lot of our genes that we’re discovering, including this IL23A gene, that could be used now to slow progression and, in fact, maybe. even slow it down enough that it doesn’t happen, “Rich said.” And so if you can intervene early enough with those at risk, then that’s important. “

Amie Knowles reports for The Dogwood. You can reach her at ami@couriernewsroom.com


Unknown bird disease: why you should take your bird feeders apart

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Reports of dead or stumbling birds with crusty, puffy eyes are pouring into wildlife agencies in DC, Maryland and Virginia. No one knows what causes it.

WASHINGTON – A porch, a cup of coffee, a newspaper and a feeder full of birds: this is one of the few reliable experiences that got us through the 2020 pandemic.

But as people flock to bistros and concerts, the birds of the DMV face their own epidemic.

In June, wildlife organizations advised the public to take down their bird feeders and dry their birdbaths to contain potential contagion killing and infecting young birds. Their ads described birds falling dead or found stumbling with crusty, swollen eyes and signs of neurological problems.

Weeks passed without any conclusion as to what made these chicks sick. That’s when viewer Ralph from Gaithersburg contacted the Verify team.

QUESTION:

Do you have to put your bird feeders back in place?

OUR SOURCES:

  • Meagan Thomas, observable wildlife biologist at the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
  • Dan Rauch, Fisheries and Wildlife Biologist in the DC Department of Energy and Environment
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources press release
  • US Geological Survey (USGS) press release
  • Bill Mulvihill, ornithologist at the National Aviary

REPLY:

Wildlife officials in DC, Maryland, and Virginia all say no; keep your bird feeders down for now.

WHAT WE FOUND:

In late April, early May, Meagan Thomas said she recalled receiving calls about sick and dead birds.

“Really puffy or crusty eyes, a lot of discharge,” said Thomas, an observable wildlife biologist. “In many cases, there was also evidence of neurological issues … balance issues or they were just going around in circles.”

Species at risk include starlings, blue jays, common blackbird and robins, and the disease has been reported in chicks or young birds.

RELATED: Wildlife Groups Investigate Bird Deaths in DC Area

While the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources has received more than 1,400 reports of dead or sick birds, Thomas says about 400 to 500 birds exhibited these specific symptoms.

Most of the reports came from northern Virginia, including hot spots in Arlington, Fairfax, Alexandria and Loudoun County.

Without a specific cause, those responsible for wildlife do not have a specific name for it. For now, authorities are calling it a “fatal event”.

“We’re not labeling it as ‘disease’ or anything like that at this point,” Thomas said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMzPPnFxx1E

In the District there is a similar situation.

“It sort of started when the district area was the epicenter of what we call a ‘bird mortality event’ at the moment,” said Dan Rauch, fisheries and wildlife biologist at the Department of DC Energy and Environment.

It didn’t take long for local and federal agencies, like the US Geological Survey, to partner with university labs.

So far, according to the USGS, these labs have been able to rule out a number of pathogens as the cause, including Salmonella and Chlamydia (bacterial pathogens); avian influenza virus; West Nile virus and other flaviviruses; Newcastle disease virus and other paramyxoviruses; herpes virus and poxvirus; and Trichomonas parasites.

Bob Mulvihill, an ornithologist at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, says he hasn’t seen the phenomenon up close. Yet, he said, “I get hundreds of phone calls and emails about this every day.

He explained that until scientists come to definitive conclusions, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

“Keep your feeders down,” Mulvihill said. “Wait until there is an announcement from one of the credible news sources.”

This is the same recommendation made by wildlife officials across the DMV. They also ask the public to keep their birdbaths clean, using a 10% bleach solution (1 part bleach: 9 parts water).

  • In Maryland call the Department of Natural Resources and USDA wildlife hotline: (877) -463-6497
  • In virginia use this report form of the Department of Wildlife
  • In the District of Columbia call the Humane Rescue Alliance at (202) -723-5730
  • The National Smithsonian also collects reports on birds

RELATED: CHECK OUT: Can This Backyard Plant Kill Songbirds?


Jane E. Jeffrey | Obituary

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Jane passed away peacefully on July 21, 2021 in Red Cedar Canyon, Hudson, WI, from dementia. Jane was born September 20, 1940 in Cleveland, Ohio to Herbert G. and Margaret L. Stannert and raised in the Cleveland area, a graduate of Berea High School. She attended Bowling Green State University (Ohio) with a major in biology, where she met her 58-year-old husband Robert (Bob) Jeffrey. The adventure of a lifetime began in LeSueur, MN, where Bob worked for the Jolly Green Giant. They ended up on a small farm south of LeSueur in Ottawa, MN, where they had a number of horses, one of Jane’s main loves in life. Sons Paul and David were born in Ottawa, along with half of the county’s mosquitoes! In addition to a deep love for all creatures, Jane also enjoyed gardening and feeding birds. Jane showed her courage in the winter of 1967 when Bob had to undergo basic training and AIT Army for six months, leaving Jane at home with a one month old baby (Paul), 8 horses that we had boarded to try out to earn money to pay the bills, and no neighbor for almost a mile! The temperatures got well below freezing and she used our old tractor and old loader to move the snow. She was able to get a good neighbor to look after Paul while she worked nights at the bank, to help her make ends meet. A strong and determined woman! On a larger farm in Belle Plaine, MN where Jane was a mother, farmer, rural mailman, renovator, gardener and wife, along with many other activities and adventures. The couple then made several other moves to St. Charles, IL, Dousman, WI, ending up in rural River Falls with, wait… more horses, cats and birds! Jane loved the peaceful calm of country life. She loved to share her country universe with her grandsons Ian and Isaac and her granddaughter Kelsey. She grew lots of pumpkins to share and had wonderful pumpkin parties for the grandchildren and their friends. Jane is survived by her husband, Bob, her sons Paul (Sheree) of Belle Plaine, MN, David (Darcy) of Lake Elmo, MN, brothers Herb and Jim and their grandchildren. An event to celebrate Jane’s meaningful life will take place at the family home on Sunday August 8, 2021 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The address is W11167 County Road MM, River Falls, WI. Three miles east of the Clifton Highlands Golf Course on MM in Pierce County. Cremation Services provided by Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.

Watertown’s real estate market booming thanks to life science companies


This spring, as Massachusetts reopened after the pandemic, Phase I of the Arsenal Yards project was nearing completion and a population eager to get out of their homes flocked to the new destination of Watertown. The mixed-use development offers a balance between retail stores, restaurants, preservation of green spaces, history of the Arsenal, new residences and affordable housing.

Soon, Phase II will consist of the construction of a 12-story, 108,000 square foot life sciences building. And across the street, the 17.8-acre Watertown Mall was recently sold to Alexandria Real Estate for $ 130 million. In short, the need for office space, research and development in the life science industry is the driving force behind Watertown’s development.

The proximity of Watertown to Cambridge and Boston and its available commercial space has been the main reason for these recent megaprojects. However, beyond the sheer luck of the location, the residents of Watertown can be proud of their small town’s deserved success. Watertown enjoys a high percentage of commercial areas within its 4 square miles and very efficient city management. To the envy of neighboring towns, Watertown can build schools on budget, with no tax breaks.

The residents of Watertown have also seen their property values ​​increase. In the past six months, 56 single-family homes have sold for an average price of $ 864,000, or $ 490 per square foot. The best-selling property was 100 Garfield St., which sold in about a week for $ 1.9 million, $ 200,000 more than asking price.

100 Garfield St., Watertown sold for $ 1.9 million

During the same period, 164 condominiums sold for an average price of $ 664,000, or $ 457 per square foot. A condo at 22 Common Street sold for $ 1,200,000, or $ 55,000 above demand in just five days.

22 Common Street, Unit 2 sold for $ 1.260 million

While the trading volume is roughly the same as a year ago, the values ​​are around 30% higher. In the multi-family market, Watertown had 32 properties selling at an average of 2,715 square feet and an average selling price of $ 960,5,000 or $ 354 per square foot. The best-selling multi-family building, 64 Commonwealth, closed at a whopping 32% above demand of $ 1,260,000 in just four days.

64 Commonwealth Road, Watertown sold for $ 1,260,000.

“Salespeople are individuals and families who experience life changes. These are needs-based sales, not people cashing in on their home equity, ”said Bob Airasian, a broker at Coldwell Banker. “Like most of the Greater Boston market, we are seeing properties going above asking price. buyers are motivated by low stocks and low interest rates.

With the highest percentage of millennials in the country, Boston millennials are the lifeblood of the local market. This is particularly true in condominiums, where amenities and living conveniences (laundry room, dog walking, activity trails) are highly valued. You rarely see young couples looking for a top repairman and willing to invest some equity. Most buyers are willing to pay a premium for a well-finished home.

Airasian is a longtime resident of Watertown and co-founder of the 600-member Watertown Business Coalition. He said: “After the dissolution of the Belmont-Watertown Chamber of Commerce, there was a need to support and strengthen the Watertown business community. Our original focus was on small businesses, but commerce exploded. There are currently five or six projects underway, all planning to develop lab space for life science and biotechnology companies. “

It wasn’t that long ago that the financial services industry dominated Boston’s economy. In the 21st century, biotechnology is clearly the forerunner, intended to stimulate economies and lifestyles. Technology has made it possible for financial institutions to work in a distributed fashion, and the pandemic has proven they can reduce their office space. The life sciences, however, have a strong need for in-person collaboration and large modern laboratories. Watertown is well positioned to meet this need and reap the benefits.

Recent sales

  • Single-family home at 119 Russell Ave., Watertown, listed for $ 1.865 million, sold for $ 1.8 million June 28, on the market for 21 days
  • Single-family home at 80 Standish Road, Watertown, listed $ 875,000, sold for $ 1.118 million July 16, on the market for 16 days.
  • Single-family home at 40 Merrill Road, Watertown, listed for $ 919,500, sold for $ 1.150 million on June 7, on the market for three days.
  • Single-family home at 38 Lincoln St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.395 million, sold for $ 1.25 million, on the market for 19 days.
  • Single-family home at 100 Garfield St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.7 million, sold for $ 1.9 million, on the market for 12 days.
  • Condominium at 9 Pearl St., Unit 9, Watertown, listed for $ 1.399 million, sold for $ 1.399 million on February 1, on the market for 61 days.
  • Condominium at 85 Summer St., 85A, Watertown, listed $ 1.449 million, sold for $ 1.434 million on March 16, in the 143-day market.
  • Condominium at 87 Summer St, 87A, Watertown, listed for $ 1.499 million, sold for $ 1.499 million on March 31, in the market for 23 days.
  • Condominium at 63 Holt St., Unit 63, Watertown, listed for $ 1.595 million, sold for $ 1.5 million May 20, on the market for 70 days.
  • Condominium at 18 Bridgham Avenue Unit 18, Watertown, listed for $ 1.525 million, sold for $ 1.5 million on June 28, on the market for 88 days.
  • Multifamily at 134 Cypress St., Watertown, listed $ 975,000, sold for $ 1.1 million May 25, in the market for 23 days.
  • Multi-family at 81-83 Union St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.049 million, sold for $ 1.1 million June 2, in the market for two days.
  • Multi-family at 13 Oakley Road, Watertown, listed for $ 989,500, sold for $ 1.170 million on July 12, in the six-day market.
  • Multi-family at 148 Irving St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.075 million, sold for $ 1.180 million on June 18, in the five-day market.
  • Multifamily at 64 Commonwealth Road, Watertown, listed for $ 948,000, sold for $ 1.260 million on May 3, in the 19-day market.

John Kolis is a longtime Belmont resident, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker and a frequent contributor to local newspapers. He can be contacted at john.kolis@cbrealty.com.


Virginia Tech’s In-House Development of New SARS-CoV-2 Test Shows the Power of University Labs


At the start of the pandemic, scientists at Virginia Tech created a COVID-19 testing lab and a new test for the virus from scratch.

They not only developed an in-house test that avoided reagent shortages that hampered nationwide testing efforts, but also used 3D designed supplies and stable storage media, allowing samples to be transported to rural locations in Virginia without the need for constant refrigeration.

This new protocol to turn a research lab into a testing operation capable of processing more than 130,000 tests for the communities of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Virginia Tech since April 2020, was described in a new article published on July 20 in Nature Communication.

Carla Finkielstein, Associate Professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and Scientific Director of the Virginia Tech Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, is the corresponding author of the article.

Since testing began, the Molecular Diagnostics Lab has analyzed samples from eight health districts in Southwest Virginia and more than 650 businesses, retirement homes, medical and dental practices, construction sites, and schools.

This publication in Nature Communication provides insight into the tremendous dedication of people, including Dr. Finkielstein and his colleagues, and the successful business they have put into serving not only Virginia Tech, but the entire community. The partnership of faculty, staff, students and academic leaders at Virginia Tech working closely with the leaders of our healthcare services to meet the scientific, regulatory, legal, financial and infrastructural needs necessary for the implementation This program’s artwork represents the Virginia Tech spirit of Ut Prosim at its best. “

Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, vice president of health science and technology at Virginia Tech and author of the article

At Virginia Tech, Finkielstein, who is also an associate professor of biological sciences at the College of Science, helped scientists at the university develop a new test. Award-winning cancer researcher, Finkielstein has turned her attention away from her lab and enlisted “a small army of volunteers” at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute to work around the clock to develop a reliable RT-qPCR-based test that could be validated and submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization review, while avoiding faulty test kits and potential reagent supply chain challenges to the horizon for the nation, Friedlander said.

The Virginia Tech COVID-19 Lab was launched on April 20, 2020, after submitting its emergency use clearance request from the FDA and receiving approval to begin testing. The initiative has helped expand the testing capacity of public health laboratories in southwest Virginia – a critical step in monitoring the spread of the virus in the Commonwealth and slowing the pandemic.

The Virginia Tech Visitors Council has since awarded Finkielstein its highest honor for faculty – the Ut Prosim Scholar Award – for his service to humanity and his work to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of COVID testing. 19 in support of Virginia Tech and the Department of Virginia. of health.

“Dozens of dedicated and caring people have contributed – it’s always more than just an individual effort,” said Finkielstein, who is also affiliated with the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. “I am grateful to work with people who cared about their well-being and came forward when needed. It is an honor to see teamwork making a contribution to people’s lives. “

Virginia Tech is located on the edge of southwestern Virginia, a rural part of the state that includes some counties facing economic challenges. The region’s population is older and lags behind the rest of Virginia in terms of income and access to health care, according to U.S. Census data, making it particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

Paige Bordwine, Southwest Virginia Regional Epidemiologist in the Virginia Department of Health Office of Epidemiology, and Noelle Bissell, Director of the New River Health District, who worked closely with the Virginia Tech team to validate and implement the tests, are co-authors of the paper.

The Virginia Tech team has developed a test assay that in many cases is more sensitive and specific to SARS-CoV-2 than other molecular tests available. While most other tests target one or two regions of the same gene to identify the virus, the Virginia Tech test targets three, making it more precise and enhancing its ability to detect viral variants. The test can analyze a variety of types of clinical samples, including nasopharyngeal, nasal and throat swabs, and saliva.

To guard against errors, the molecular diagnostic laboratory, located in the new research building of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, was designed with physically separate processing stations, controls to report sources of contamination, monitors human error and strict criteria for reporting a sample. as positive.

Because the test was developed in-house, scientists can adapt it quickly to detect new mutations in the virus genome and virus variants and implement it within hours, allowing for faster assessment and better public health response to viral mutations. The laboratory has the capacity to process 7,500 tests per week.

Deborah Birx, former White House coronavirus response coordinator, praised Virginia Tech’s work to develop its own coronavirus testing site and open its campuses amid the global pandemic. In September, she told university officials that only a handful of universities nationwide were performing their own COVID-19 tests.

On November 10, 2020, state officials announced that Virginia Tech’s COVID-19 lab had been selected as one of three exclusive Tier 2 labs in the OneLab network to expand virus testing capability across the Virginia. The laboratory is called upon to receive samples from any health district in the state, based on the most important needs.

The first authors of the article are Alessandro Cela, an analyst in the molecular diagnostic laboratory of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; and Carmen Muñoz-Ballester, postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Stefanie Robel, assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.

Other authors include Friedlander; Allison Tegge, assistant research professor in statistics at the Virginia Tech College of Science; F. Marc Michel, associate professor of geosciences at the Virginia Tech College of Sciences; Harald Sontheimer, former professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; Robyn Umans, former postdoctoral associate in Sontheimer’s laboratory at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; Dipankumar Patel, former researcher at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; Tewari, former assistant research professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; Oscar Alcoreza, former graduate research assistant in Sontheimer’s laboratory at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; and Thomas Maynard, associate research professor in the laboratory of Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute; and Daniel Martinez-Martinez, postdoctoral researcher at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences.

The document serves as a model that could help research institutes act quickly to speed up viral testing protocols, navigate regulatory requirements and support testing in rural communities – in the event of another global pandemic.

“By openly sharing our experience in the development and implementation of a diagnostic test born out of the need of our community, we hope to inspire other university labs to overcome obstacles and provide assistance to their communities if they arise. Infectious disease problems arise in the future, ”said Finkielstein. .

Source:

Journal reference:

Céci, A., et al. (2021) Development and implementation of a scalable and versatile test for COVID-19 diagnostics in rural communities. Natural communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24552-4.


It’s a wonder: R&D tax credits for the film and television industries


By the engineering tax services.

Of all the arts, the film and television industries are the most technology-dependent. It is therefore not surprising that it is the forms of creative activity that can benefit the most from research and development (R&D) tax credits.

Provisionally created by Congress in 1981 as research and experimentation credits, R& D tax credits are now permanent federal and state tax incentives designed to stimulate innovation, technical design, product development and improvement, and to keep the United States at the forefront of innovation. These tax credits reimburse companies that develop new products, processes or inventions and offer a significant percentage to the company for qualified research activities and qualified research expenses.

The problem is that many executives in the film and television industry are unaware of the substantial tax credits available to them, or do not understand which activities qualify. Think of the addiction of movies and TV shows to special effects alone, after the 1977s. Star wars revolution that unleashed dazzling special effects on enthusiastic moviegoers around the world. In addition, the film and media industries are constantly investing in new technological advancements which can take the form of improved camera lenses, sound recording technologies, and lighting systems. Production companies can save substantial amounts simply by claiming these tax credits.

There is a company specializing in helping film and television production companies to benefit from R&D tax credits: 1913 Media Group, which describes itself as “a vertically integrated film and television studio focused on the creative development and financing of pre-sold film projects.”

“We do a tremendous amount of financial engineering as part of our film production,” said Joey DiFranco, President and Chief Operating Officer of 1913 Media Group. “WeThey are project engineers who design film productions for tax purposes, and the use of tax credits is one of them. Big studios like Marvel are big financial engineers, but we’re bringing that knowledge to the independent film space. We found a sweet spot for this level of engineering: the production base of less than $ 10 million [independent films that cost less than $10 million]. No one in our space benefits from incentives like R&D tax credits. Our job is to ask our creative clients, “How do we remove the barriers? This is why we offer financial engineering such as the R&D tax credit.

DiFranco cited several examples of where film and television production companies could use R&D tax credits. He explained that each movie is represented by its own short-cycle LLC, which shields the parent organization (Marvel, for example) from liability.

“Filmmakers are constantly undertaking technology development, software development, and process development, not necessarily for a specific movie, but for the parent organization,” he said. “This is classic research and development for better processes and products. You literally reinvent the wheel for every movie with visual effects, practical effects, and custom gear and gear. You go through an ideation process that is traceable, which you return and use on other productions. Our clients are always inventing ways to create some type of cinematic print and then applying them to these different projects.

He added, “For example, you could develop new check-in / check-out software for your movie. You can license beyond that and sell your new software tool to others in the film and television industry. There are very reproducible R&D tax credits, but manufacturers don’t realize this. This is the advantage of working with a partner like Engineering taxationservices, who are experts in the field.

If you work in the film and television industry, how do you know if you are eligible for R&D tax credits? Just take this simple four-part test set out by the IRS:

1. Authorized objective: Activities should relate to components, functions, performance, reliability and quality.

2. Technological in nature: The activity carried out must be fundamentally based on the principles of physical or biological science, engineering and computing.

3. Elimination of uncertainty: The activity should aim to uncover information in order to remove uncertainty about the ability, method or design of developing or improving a product or process.

4. Experimentation process: The taxpayer must engage in an assessment process that can identify and assess more than one alternative to achieve an outcome. This may include modeling, simulation, or a systematic trial and error methodology.

“If you’re in the film and television business, don’t leave money on the table,” DiFranco said. “These millions of unclaimed dollars could go a long way towards financing your next production!


A marine biologist dives where blue gives way to black

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The shining abyss. By Helen Scales. Atlantic Monthly Press; 304 pages; $ 27. Bloomsbury Sigma; £ 16.99

MALL VISITORS only scratch the surface of the ocean – swim from the beach or slice off white hats on a sailboat. In “The Brilliant Abyss,” Helen Scales, a marine biologist whose previous books have explored the shallower parts of the sea, dives deep and revealingly into the realm below 660 feet where the sunny blue begins to give way. place in black.

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As Ms. Scales notes, it is often said that we know more about the surface of the Moon, exposed to anyone with a telescope, than about the geography of the seabed, which a dark mantle of water obscures. It is a rugged, complex and moving terrain, subject to earthquakes precipitated by the movement of tectonic plates, and punctuated by seamounts (mountains formed by volcanic activity) and hydrothermal vents that emit sulphurous fluids and burning.

In these dark and cold submarine extremes, and the boiling waters disgorged by the vents, life survives and even thrives. It features sea cucumbers that peel away from their illuminated skins to distract predators, yeti crabs as hairy as their name suggests, fish masked with ultra-black skin that makes them almost invisible, and a sponge that looks like to a glass of frozen milk in the middle – spread. In addition to its role as a climate regulator and carbon sink, the abyss, in its vibrant profusion, invites us to reflect on the possibility of life on other planets.

Less alluring things are lurking there too. Plastic bags and wrappers have been spotted by submersibles in the seven-mile-deep Mariana pit. Nuclear waste, chemicals and oil spills, like that from the Deepwater Horizon platform in 2010, have turned sections of the seabed into toxic dumps. Exploitation adds to the scourge. Orange roughy, a white-fleshed fish that congregates around seamounts (also known, less appetizingly, as slimehead) has been dangerously overfished.

Another threat is an experimental push to harvest nodules from the seabed containing manganese, nickel, cobalt and other metals. According to Ms Scales, the potential damage to the seabed by remote-controlled machinery is analogous to the most toxic mining operation on land. But the income could be huge. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis calculated that a single seabed mine could bring in $ 1 billion a year.

And an ecological case for the initiative can be made. “I’m very uncomfortable when people describe us as deep-sea miners,” says Gerard Barron of DeepGreen Metals, a deep-sea mining company targeting metals used in electric car batteries. “We want to help the world move away from fossil fuels.” Because the long-term impact is unknown, Ms. Scales is skeptical; his argument is convincing, even if his explanation of car batteries is a daunting task. Another marine biologist doubts that mining will be prevented “even if we find unicorns at the bottom of the sea”.

Early European cartographers often used sea snakes to mark unknown depths. Hic sunt dracones– Here be dragons – reads the inscription of unfathomable water on a globe made in 1510. But perhaps the most menacing sea monster of all is man. â– 

This article appeared in the Books and Arts section of the print edition under the title “Beyond the Blue”


Platt receives AAUW CT Shoreline Branch scholarship


By AAUW CT Shoreline Branch Press Release • 07/15/2021 04:00 EST

The CT Shoreline branch of AAUW (formerly American Association of University Women) awards a grant of $ 2,000 to a young woman who has completed 60 credit hours at an accredited college or university. Eligibility is also balanced based on the candidate’s accomplishments, service and leadership experiences, and financial needs. This year, the Shoreline Branch awarded a second prize in the amount of $ 1,500.

Among a group of several highly qualified women, Sarah Platt of Madison was unanimously chosen as the recipient of the $ 2,000 AAUW CT Shoreline Branch Fellowship. Elaina Griffiths of Guilford was unanimously selected as the recipient of the $ 1,500 award.

A graduate of The Country School and Choate Rosemary Hall, Platt is a senior student in the Honors Program at the University of Connecticut, pursuing a BS in Biological Sciences and a Minor in French with the goal of attending medical school in 2023. During While at UConn, Platt devoted much of her time to leadership, mentoring and volunteering, as president of UConn’s French club, as a ground mentor for her WiMSE (Women in Math, Science , and Engineering), biochemistry tutor and volunteer at Windham Hospital, among other roles. Last summer, she created the intergenerational edible gardening program “Sow, Grow, Savor” with the support of a UConn IDEA grant. Her program’s mission is to bridge generational gaps and promote the long-term community health of Madison residents and she looks forward to continuing to grow the program this summer. She is currently leading a summer undergraduate research fund project for her honors thesis at UConn Health, studying a protein from the parasite that causes African sleeping sickness, and volunteering for the UConn Health Leaders program. Platt is an avid runner and reader, and enjoys fishing the Strait and the Hammonassett in her spare time.


evolutionary approach reveals impact of missense variants in autism | Spectrum

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Harnessing cross-species data on protein evolution can help understand subtle genetic variants in people with autism and identify hundreds of new genes that may contribute to the disease, new analysis shows.

The work focuses on ‘missense’ variants, which alter a single amino acid in a protein and often have mild effects. Although researchers have identified thousands of missense variants in people with autism, analyzing which ones contribute to the disease has been difficult.

“The impact of a mutation that turns one amino acid into another in a protein is difficult to interpret,” says Olivier Lichtarge, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who led the recent research. This could alter the way the protein folds, breaks down, is transported, or interacts with other molecules, and predicting this outcome is complex, he says.

To identify autism-related missense variants, Lichtarge and his colleagues used an approach known as “evolutionary action,” which involves comparing the amino acid sequences of a protein across different species. to infer the likely impact of a missense variant.

Using this strategy, the team identified missense variants in 398 genes that could contribute to autism. Some are known genes linked to autism, such as RELN, PTEN, and SYNGAP1, but others have not been previously linked to the disease.

The approach “does indeed seem to identify important mutations in the context of autism,” explains Ivan Iossifov, associate professor at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, who was not involved in the work. Although researchers have developed many ways to assess the impact of missense variants, spotting autism-related ones is still a big problem in the field, he says, and “it seems like a good way to go. approach it “.

Evolving experience:

Lichtarge and colleagues looked for uninherited, or de novo, missense variants in 2,384 people with autism and 1,792 of their unaffected siblings. The data came from the Simons Simplex Collection, a repository of genetic and trait information from families with an autistic child. (The dataset is funded by the Simons Foundation, Spectrumparent organization of.)

Participants with autism have 1,418 de novo missense variants that affect 1,269 genes, and their siblings have 976 missense variants that affect 911 genes, the researchers reported in May in Science Translational Medicine.

The team calculated the evolutionary action score for each variant on a scale of 0 to 100; the higher the score, the more likely a variant is to damage the corresponding protein in the gene. The score takes into account two factors: the sensitivity of a particular point in a protein’s amino acid sequence to variants and the severity of the disturbance caused by an amino acid change.

To measure sensitivity, the team used existing databases to compare amino acid sequences in proteins from various species to the protein associated with each mutated gene. They then measured the evolutionary distance associated with a change at a specific location in the sequence. If an alteration was associated with a large evolutionary distance, variants at this site were considered likely to alter the function of the corresponding protein.

To assess the severity of a disturbance caused by an amino acid change, the team measured how often a particular amino acid is swapped for another in any protein from one species to another. A change that rarely occurred in evolution suggested that the new amino acid has different properties than the one it replaced and that the alteration may have been damaging.

Although people with autism have more de novo missense variants than their siblings, the distribution of scores in the two groups was not significantly different, and the researchers say that without relying on existing knowledge about them. genes linked to autism, they would have been unable to identify which of the affected genes contributes to the disease.

So the team pooled variants based on 368 biological pathways – focusing on variants in the 1,792 people with autism who have matched siblings – and examined the distribution of evolutionary action scores. Only 23 pathways were skewed toward high-impact variants, many of which are related to neurodevelopment, neural signaling, and the development of neural projections called axons.

High-impact pathways include 398 genes, many of which appear in the SFARI Gene database of genes linked to autism. (SFARI Gene is funded by the Simons Foundation.) Of these 398 genes, 28 were not classified as “high confidence” in 2017, but were listed as such in 2020.

These results suggest that the evolutionary action approach could help identify candidate genes for future research, the researchers said.

Severity score:

In a more in-depth analysis, the team divided people with autism into three groups based on their intelligence quotients (IQs). For each person, they counted the evolutionary action score of the variants within the 398 genes.

People with the lowest IQs have the most impacting variants in priority genes, supporting a link between the variants and autism, the researchers say. Scores plus rare and inherited missense variants are also tracked with IQ, according to another test.

Previous studies have not found a statistically significant link between rare and hereditary missense variants and the severity of autism traits, says Yufeng Shen, associate professor of systems biology and biomedical informatics at the University. Columbia, who was not involved in the research. So, the evolutionary approach may be useful in discovering the role that these variants play in disease, he says.

One limitation of the study is that the researchers did not systematically compare the evolutionary action approach with other methods commonly used to identify harmful missense variants, Shen says. “Without comparison with other methods, it is very difficult to assess the contribution of this method to autism research.”

The researchers also warn that IQ is only a measure of the severity of autism traits and that a person’s impact score is not necessarily predictive of their IQ.

The results are just the “tip of the iceberg,” says Lichtarge. As researchers analyze more data, they can potentially use evolutionary action scores to find out how a person’s variants affect their genetic traits in more individualized ways.

Quote this article: https://doi.org/10.53053/VESX6574


How to be a good ancestor

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In 2015, 20 residents of Yahaba, a small town in northeastern Japan, went to their town hall to take part in a unique experiment.

Their goal was to design policies that would shape the future of Yahaba. They would debate questions typically reserved for politicians: Would it be better to invest in infrastructure or child care? Should we promote renewable energy or industrial farming?

But there was a twist. While half the citizens were invited to be themselves and express their own opinions, the remaining participants were asked to put on special ceremonial robes and play the part of people from the future. Specifically, they were told to imagine they were from the year 2060, meaning they’d be representing the interests of a future generation during group deliberations.

What unfolded was striking. The citizens who were just being themselves advocated for policies that would boost their lifestyle in the short term. But the people in robes advocated for much more radical policies — from massive health care investments to climate change action — that would be better for the town in the long term. They managed to convince their fellow citizens that taking that approach would benefit their grandkids. In the end, the entire group reached a consensus that they should, in some ways, act against their own immediate self-interest in order to help the future.

This experiment marked the beginning of Japan’s Future Design movement. What started in Yahaba has since been replicated in city halls around the country, feeding directly into real policymaking. It’s one example of a burgeoning global attempt to answer big moral questions: Do we owe it to future generations to take their interests into account? What does it look like to incorporate the preferences of people who don’t even exist yet? How can we be good ancestors?

Several Indigenous communities have long embraced the principle of “seventh-generation decision making,” which involves weighing how choices made today will affect a person born seven generations from now. In fact, it’s that kind of thinking that inspired Japanese economics professor Tatsuyoshi Saijo to create the Future Design movement (he learned about the concept while visiting the US and found it extraordinary).

But most of us probably haven’t given much thought to how we can become good ancestors. As a quote attributed to Groucho Marx puts it: “Why should I care about future generations — what have they ever done for me?”

It’s also just genuinely hard to focus on the future when we’re struggling under the weight of our day-to-day problems, and when everything in society — from our political structures (think two- and four-year election cycles) to our consumerist technologies (think Amazon’s “Buy Now” button) — seems to favor short-term solutions.

And yet, failing to think long term is a huge problem. Threats like climate change, pandemics, and rapidly emerging technologies are making it clear that it’s not enough to adopt “sustainability” as a buzzword. If we really want human life to be sustainable, we need to break out of our fixation on the present. Training ourselves to take the long view is arguably the best thing we can do for humanity.

Why we should care about people who don’t exist yet

Picture this: A child is drowning in front of you. You see her desperate limbs flailing in a pond, and you know you could easily wade into the waters and save her. Your clothes would get muddy, but your life wouldn’t be in any danger. Should you rescue her?

Of course you should.

Now, what if I told you that the child was on the other side of the world, in a village in Nepal. She’s drowning in a pond there right now. An adult just like you is passing by the pond and sees her flailing. Is it just as important for that adult to save her as it is for you to save the child near you?

Hilary Greaves, a philosopher at the University of Oxford, thinks you should answer yes. “I’d hope that most reasonable people would agree that pain and suffering on the other side of the world matter just as much as pain and suffering here,” she said. In other words, spatial distance is morally irrelevant.

“And if you think that, then it’s pretty hard to see why the case of temporal distance would be any different,” Greaves continued. “If there’s a child suffering terribly in 300 years’ time, and this is completely predictable — and there’s just as much that you could do about it as there is that you could do about the suffering of a child today — it’d be pretty strange to think that just because it’s in the future it’s less important.”

This hypothetical an adaptation of a classic Peter Singer thought experiment — highlights the idea that future lives matter, and that we should care about improving them just like we care about improving those of people alive today.

Roman Krznaric, a research fellow at the Long Now Foundation and the author of the new book The Good Ancestor, offers an even starker analogy. “If it’s wrong to plant a bomb on a train that kills a bunch of children right now, it’s also wrong to do it if it’s going to go off in 10 minutes or 10 hours or 10 years,” he told me. “I think we shouldn’t be afraid of making that moral argument.”

And, increasingly, people are making that moral argument. “Legal struggles for the rights of future people are exploding around the world,” Krznaric said.

In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a landmark case against the government — Juliana v. United States — in which they argued that its failure to confront climate change will have serious effects on both them and future generations, which constitutes a violation of their rights.

In 2019, 15 children and teens in Canada filed a similar lawsuit. That same year, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands issued a groundbreaking ruling ordering the government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, citing its duty of care to current and future generations.

This past April, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court likewise ruled that the government’s current climate measures weren’t good enough to protect future generations, giving it until the end of 2022 to improve its carbon emissions targets.

Also in April, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled against the expansion of the cement industry, which is terrible for the climate, in certain areas of Punjab. In the decision, the presiding justice wrote: “The tragedy is that tomorrow’s generations aren’t here to challenge this pillaging of their inheritance. The great silent majority of future generations is rendered powerless and needs a voice. This Court should be mindful that its decisions also adjudicate upon the rights of the future generations of this country.”

Krznaric, who was surprised and delighted to find his book cited in the court proceedings, told me, “These lawyers and judges are trying to find a language to talk about something they know is right, and it’s about intergenerational justice. Law is generally slow, but stuff is happening fast.”

How to nudge society to care more about the long term

The push to embrace this kind of thinking isn’t limited to the courts. A few countries have already created government agencies dedicated to thinking about policy in the very long term. Sweden has a “Ministry of the Future,” and Wales and the United Arab Emirates both have something similar.

Prominent figures in other countries are pushing their governments in that direction. For example, philosopher Toby Ord, who spearheads a British nonprofit called the Centre for Long-Term Resilience, published a report in June urging the UK to appoint a chief risk officer who would be responsible for sussing out and preparing for extreme risks.

“By my estimate, the likelihood of the world experiencing an existential catastrophe over the next 100 years is one in six — Russian Roulette,” Ord said. “We cannot survive many centuries operating at a level of extreme risk like this.”

Ord emphasizes that humanity is highly vulnerable to dangers in two realms: biosecurity and artificial intelligence. Powerful actors could develop bioweapons, and individuals could misuse advances in synthetic biology to create man-made pandemics that are much worse than those that occur naturally. AI could outstrip human-level intelligence in the coming decades and, if not aligned with our values and goals, could wreak havoc on human life. These are potential existential risks to humanity, and we need to devote a lot more time and money to mitigating them.

On both sides of the Atlantic, intellectuals in recent years have formed organizations dedicated to cultivating long-term thinking. While Ord has been busy building the Centre for Long-Term Resilience in the UK, for example, Ari Wallach has been working on Longpath in the US. Operating under the motto “Be Great Ancestors,” Longpath gathers together CEOs, academics, and other individuals to do exercises meant to counter short-term thinking, from practicing mindfulness to writing letters to their future selves.

There’s a story in the Talmud that Wallach likes to tell participants: “One day, a man named Honi was walking along and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him, ‘How many years will it take until it will bear fruit?’ He said, ‘Not for 70 years.’ Honi said, ‘Do you really believe you’ll live another 70 years?’ The man answered, ‘I found this world provided with carob trees, and as my ancestors planted them for me, so I too plant them for my descendants.’”

What the man expresses in the story is gratitude toward his ancestors, and it’s that emotion that propels him to look out for his future descendants. The story captures a truth about human psychology that has since been validated in scientific studies: Eliciting gratitude in people is an effective behavioral nudge for getting them to act in the best interests of future generations.

“When people evoke feelings of gratitude (through prayer, counting blessings, etc.), the result on decisions is one of patience and value for the future relative to the present. We find they become more generous and even extract fewer resources from common resource pools,” David DeSteno, a psychology professor at Northeastern University, told me. “If gratitude makes you willing to extract fewer resources in the present (e.g., fish), they (e.g., fish stocks) can replenish or remain for future generations. Of course, this reduces immediate profit.”

DeSteno’s words highlight a fundamental tension: If we really care about creating a sustainable future for humanity, we may need to be willing to sacrifice some short-term gains.

But Wallach doesn’t think we need to frame this as a tough trade-off at all. He doesn’t ask people to sacrifice the concrete pleasures of today for the abstract rewards of tomorrow. Instead, he’s found it more effective to highlight how acting altruistically toward future generations can actually bring us pleasure now.

“When we ask people if they want to be the great ancestor that the future needs them to be, as part of what gives them meaning and purpose, they are no longer under the spell of lifespan bias,” he told me. “They see themselves as part of something larger. They are no longer being asked to sacrifice for the future, but to enhance their own sense of meaning and purpose in their present.”

Is caring for the future more important than caring for the present?

If you’ve gotten this far and you’re convinced that you should look out for future generations, you’re already ahead of lots of people. But it might interest you to know that some philosophers think longtermism — the idea that we should be concerned with ensuring that the future goes well — doesn’t actually go far enough.

Both Greaves and another Oxford philosopher, Will MacAskill, advocate for strong longtermism, which says that impacts on the far future aren’t just an important feature of our actions — they’re the most important feature. And when they say far future, they really mean far: They argue we should be thinking about the consequences of our actions not just one or five or seven generations from now, but thousands or even millions of years ahead.

Their reasoning goes like this: There are going to be far more people alive in the future than there are in the present or have been in the past. Of all the human beings who will ever be alive in the universe, the vast majority will live in the future.

If our species lasts for as long as Earth remains a habitable planet, we’re talking about at least 1 quadrillion people coming into existence — 100,000 times the population of Earth today. (Even if you think there’s only a 1 percent chance that our species lasts for as long as Earth is habitable, the math still means the number of future people outstrips the number of present people.) And if humans settle in space one day, we could be looking at an even longer, more populous future for our species.

Now, if you believe that all humans count equally regardless of where or when they live (remember the drowning-child-in-Nepal thought experiment?), you have to think about the impacts of our actions on all their lives. Since there are far more people to affect in the future — because most people who’ll ever exist will exist in the future — it follows that the impacts that matter most are those that affect future humans.

That’s how the argument goes, anyhow. And if you buy it, it might dramatically change some of your choices in life. Instead of donating to soup kitchens or charities that save kids from malaria today, you may donate to researchers who are figuring out how to ensure that tomorrow’s AI will be aligned with human values. Instead of devoting your career to being a family doctor, you may devote it to research on pandemic prevention. You’d know there’s only a tiny probability your donation or actions will help humanity avoid catastrophe, but you’d reason that it’s worth it — if your bet does pay off, the payoff would be enormous.

But you might not buy this argument at all. You might object that you can’t reliably predict the effects of your actions in one year, never mind 1,000 years, so it doesn’t make sense to invest a lot of resources in trying to positively impact the future when the effects of your actions might wash out in a few years or decades.

That’s a very reasonable objection. Greaves acknowledges that in a lot of cases, we suffer from “moral cluelessness” about the downstream effects of our actions. “But,” she told me, “that’s not the case for all actions.”

She recommends targeting issues that come with “lock-in” opportunities, or ways of doing good that result in the positive benefits being locked in for a long time. For example, you could pursue a career aimed at establishing national or international norms around carbon emissions, or nuclear bombs, or regulations for labs that deal with dangerous pathogens. These actions are almost certain to do good — the kind of good that won’t be undone quickly.

“It’s in the nature of a lock-in mechanism that the effects of your actions persist for an extremely long time,” Greaves said. “So it gets rid of your concern that the effects will keep getting dampened and dampened as you get further into the future.”

You might object to strong longtermism on different grounds, though. You might think, perhaps not unfairly, that it smacks of privilege — that it’s easy to take such a position when you live in relative prosperity, but that people living in miserable conditions today need our help now, and we have a duty to ease their suffering.

In fact, you might reject the premise that all humans count equally regardless of when they live. Maybe you think we have an especially strong duty to humans who are alive in the present because aggregated effects on people’s welfare aren’t the only things that matter — things like justice matter too. We might owe it to disadvantaged groups today to help them out, possibly as reparations for harm done in the past through colonialism or slavery.

When I voiced this objection to Greaves, she admitted it’s plausible that thinking, utilitarian-style, only about what would be the better outcome doesn’t exhaust the moral story — that maybe we should take virtues such as justice into account. But she said it’s still a mistake to think that that obviously sways the balance in favor of present people. If justice is in the picture, she rebutted, why shouldn’t justice also apply to future people?

“Take the case of reparations. If you think that there are some people we owe reparations to because of wrongs done in the past that are affecting their interests now, and in some of those cases you’re talking about wrongs that were done hundreds of years ago, that quite nicely makes the point that bad things we do now can — via the route of justice — have adverse impacts in a couple hundred years’ time,” Greaves said. “So you might think it’s a matter of justice that we owe it to future generations to bequeath them both an existence in the first place and the conditions for their flourishing.”

It’s worth noting that Greaves does not find it easy to live her philosophy. She told me she feels awful whenever she walks past a homeless person. She’s acutely aware she’s not supporting that individual or the larger cause of ending homelessness because she’s supporting longtermist causes instead.

“I feel really bad, but it’s a limited sense of feeling bad because I do think it’s the right thing to do given that the counterfactual is giving to these other [longtermist] causes that are more effective,” she said. “The morally appropriate thing is to occupy this kind of middle space where you’re still gripped by present-day suffering but you recognize there’s an even more important thing you can do with the limited resources.”

Not everyone will agree with this reasoning, and that’s perfectly okay. You can agree with longtermism without agreeing with strong longtermism.

You can also decide that strong longtermism is pretty intellectually convincing, but you’re not confident enough in its claims that you want to devote 100 percent of your charitable donations or your time to exclusively longtermist causes. In that case, you can split your money (or time) into different buckets: You might decide that 50 percent of your donations go to longtermist issues and 50 percent go to causes like poverty, homelessness, or racial justice.

If you feel safer hedging your bets this way, you’re not alone. Even Greaves admits that it’s scary to commit fully to her philosophy. “It’s like you’re standing on a pin over a chasm,” she told me. “It feels dangerous, in a way, to throw all this altruistic effort at existential risk mitigation and probably do nothing, when you know that you could’ve done all this good for near-term causes.”

A few things about the future we can all probably agree on

If you care about helping both present and future generations, you might want to think about things that check both boxes. This is the strategy Krznaric recommends. “Let’s find the sweet spot between our self-interest today and the future that even Groucho Marx might be happy with,” he said.

While Krznaric isn’t confident in our ability to predict the knock-on effects of technological shifts, he thinks it’s easier to say for sure that certain ecological shifts would be good. For example, if we donate to groups that make a positive difference in staving off climate change and preventing pandemics, that’s really good for us today and in the near future — and highly likely to be positive for the long-run future too.

“What do we know about human life, whether it’s today or in 200 years or 300 years?” he said. “We know that if there are any creatures like us, they’ll need air to breathe and water to drink. If you want to think long term, one of the best ways to do it is, don’t think about time, think about place.”

He cited biologists such as Janine Benyus, who explains how some creatures have managed to survive for 10,000 generations and beyond: by taking care of the place that will take care of their offspring. They live within the boundaries of the ecosystem in which they’re embedded. They don’t foul the nest.

This focus on safeguarding place for both the present and the future could end up being an important line of research within longtermism. One advantage of this approach is that it’s not excessively morally demanding, whereas it’s maybe too demanding to say that we ought to devote most of our resources to improving the far future even when it comes at a serious cost to current interests.

Mind you, Greaves and MacAskill make a good point when they write that “even if, for example, there is an absolute cap on the total sacrifice that can be morally required, it seems implausible that society today is currently anywhere near that cap.”

Ultimately, the world doesn’t need everyone to focus all of their resources on the far future all the time — but we’re a long way from a situation where even a fraction of us are focusing even a fraction of our resources on it. Because long-term thinking is so neglected, it would probably do a lot of good if more of us were to direct more attention to making human life sustainable.

And if we think human life in the future might be full of awesome things like happiness and knowledge and beauty — or even if we think there’s just a decent chance it could be more good than bad — then thinking about how to increase the odds of such a future for later generations is really worth our time.

In fact, our lives may start to feel much more meaningful if we regularly pause to ask ourselves: How can I shape the larger story of humanity into something fruitful? What carob trees am I planting?

Further reading:

  • Nick Beckstead’s 2013 philosophy dissertation, “On the Overwhelming Importance of Shaping the Far Future,” set the groundwork for more recent philosophical work on longtermism.
  • Hilary Greaves and Will MacAskill’s original working paper, “The Case for Strong Longtermism,” frames the case in very strong terms: “For the purposes of evaluating actions, we can in the first instance often simply ignore all the effects contained in the first 100 (or even 1000) years, focussing primarily on the further-future effects. Short-run effects act as little more than tie-breakers.” The revised version, dated June 2021, leaves this passage out.
  • Hilary Greaves explains “moral cluelessness” on the 80,000 Hours podcast.
  • Toby Ord argues the long-term future matters more than anything else, also on the 80,000 Hours podcast.
  • Roman Krznaric has a running list on his website of organizations promoting long-term thinking, as well as an interesting Intergenerational Solidarity Index, a measure of how much different nations provide for the well-being of future generations.

How removing your feeder could stop mysterious bird deaths

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We have all become too familiar over the past year and a half with the idea of ​​social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease. Now, environmental officials in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and other states are urging residents to eliminate places provided by people for birds to congregate as a mysterious disease is killing our feathered friends.

Jordan Terrell, an environmental specialist and wildlife biologist from Delaware, said the state began receiving calls from mid-May to the end of May from people who found dead birds.

“What we are seeing in the field is actually that these birds have neurological symptoms that cause erratic flight and strange behavior, and we also see scabs and swelling in the eyes which are usually associated with almost blindness. . Their eyes encrusted, it gets so bad that they can’t see what they’re doing, ”she said.

The birds die almost immediately after exhibiting these symptoms, Terrell said.

The State Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control sends samples of dead birds to the animal diagnostic laboratory at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Kennett Square.

“In Delaware, we see this mainly in blue jays, starlings and robins. It has also been seen in brown grouse, ”Terrell said.

Delaware has received 50 reports so far. The Pennsylvania Game Commission says dead birds have been found in 27 counties, including 15 cases in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties. There have also been limited reports in New Jersey.

Birds with similar symptoms have been found in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, DC

Even though the cause of the birds’ deaths is unclear, Delaware environmental officials have issued a public notice for bird watchers to limit places where birds congregate. That means taking that bird feeder apart and emptying the birdbath until scientists can figure out what’s going on.


New microscopy method examines future of cell biology

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Reto Fiolka, PhD and Kevin Dean, PhD, are Assistant Professors of Cell Biology and in the Department of Bioinformatics at Lyda Hill.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

What if a microscope allowed us to explore the 3D microcosm of blood vessels, nerves and cancer cells instantly in virtual reality? What if it could provide views in multiple directions in real time without physically moving the sample and operated up to 100 times faster than current technology?

Scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) collaborated with colleagues in England and Australia to build and test a new optical device that converts commonly used microscopes into multi-angle projection imaging systems. The invention, described in an article in Natural methods, could open new avenues in advanced microscopy, according to the researchers.

“This is an entirely new technology, although the theoretical foundations for it can be found in old computer literature,” explains corresponding author Reto Fiolka, PhD. He and his co-author Kevin Dean, PhD, are both Assistant Professors in Cell Biology and in the Lyda Hill Department of Bioinformatics at UTSW.

“It’s like holding the biological sample with your hand, rotating it and inspecting it, which is an incredibly intuitive way to interact with a sample. By quickly imaging the sample from two different perspectives, we can view the sample interactively in virtual reality on the fly, ”says Dean, director of UTSW Microscopy Innovation Laboratory, which works with researchers across campus to develop custom instruments that take advantage of advances in optical microscopy.

Currently, acquiring 3D image information from a microscope requires a data-intensive process, in which hundreds of 2D images of the sample are assembled into what is called a stack of images. To visualize the data, the stack of images is then loaded into graphics software that performs calculations to form two-dimensional projections from different viewing perspectives on a computer screen, the researchers say.

“Both of these steps are very time consuming and can require a very powerful and expensive computer to interact with the data,” says Fiolka.

The team realized that they could form projections from multiple angles by optical means, without having to acquire stacks of images and render them with a computer. This is achieved by a simple and economical unit consisting of two rotating mirrors which is inserted in front of the camera of the microscope system.

“As a result, we can do all of this in real time, without any noticeable delay. Surprisingly, we can look at our samples from different angles ‘live’ without spinning the samples or the microscope,” says Fiolka. “We believe that this invention may represent a new paradigm for the acquisition of 3D information via a fluorescence microscope.”

It also promises blazingly fast imaging. While an entire stack of 3D images may require hundreds of camera images, the new method requires only one camera exposure.

Initially, the researchers developed the system with two common light-sheet microscopes that require a post-processing step to make sense of the data. This step is called misalignment and basically means rearranging the individual images to remove some distortion from the 3D image stack. Scientists originally sought to perform this rectification optically.

While experimenting with the optical straightening method, they realized that when they used the wrong amount of “misalignment”, the projected image appeared to rotate.

“That was the moment aha !. We realized that this might be more important than just an optical misalignment method; that the system might work for other types of microscopes as well,” Fiolka said.

“This study confirms that the concept is more general,” says Dean. “We have now applied it to a variety of microscopes, including confocal light sheet and spinning disc microscopy.”

Using the new method under a microscope, they imaged calcium ions carrying signals between nerve cells in a culture dish and examined the vascular system of a zebrafish embryo. They also quickly imaged moving cancer cells and a beating zebrafish heart.

– This press release was originally posted on the UT Southwestern Medical Center website.


Sleep Junkie: Here’s How You Could Get Paid $ 1,500 To Go Camping

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How Does Outdoor Camping Affect Your Sleep?

This is what society Addicted to sleep hopes to find out – and he will pay a family $ 1,500 to help with the research.

Get paid to go camping

Mattress manufacturing company Addicted to sleep explores how external factors such as temperature, humidity and sounds of wildlife can affect people’s sleep, according to an email sent to Deseret News.

As part of this research, the company will pay a family $ 1,500 for a three-night trip to a campsite of their choice. Travel costs will also be covered.

During the camping trip, family members should write a report on their sleep experience, detailing what type of sleeping gear they brought and how it helped them sleep outside, and how various external factors affected their sleep, according to Addicted to sleepthe website of.

How to Apply for a Sleep Junkie Camping Trip

To apply for this position you must be at least 21 years old and fluent in English. The request, which can be completed on Addicted to sleepwebsite, requires a portrait, 60-second intro video, and links to social media profiles.

Only one entry per family is allowed. People have until August 12 to enter the contest, and a winner will be notified by email within 14 business days of the closing date, depending on the company website.

The advantages of camping

Research has shown that camping can be good for your health and improve sleep, Time the magazine reported. A 2017 study in the journal Current biology found that spending more time outdoors, even for a single weekend, can send people to bed earlier and help reset your internal clock.

You’re also less likely to be distracted by your phone and other tech while camping, which can also lead to better sleep at night, according to Outdoors Online.

Penn State Arboretum’s Pollinator and Bird Garden opens to the public

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(State College) – The Penn State Arboretum opened its long-awaited pollinator and bird garden to the public on Monday after nearly two years of construction.

The addition of 3 acres, a decade in the making, increases the Arboretum’s HO Smith Botanical Gardens by 60%.

Forest biologist Kim Steiner, founding director of the Arboretum, retired Wednesday after nearly 50 years at Penn State. He spent his last day in the garden and hopes you too.

“You can just walk around here and enjoy the plants and features, ponds, etc.,” Steiner said. “Or you can take a close look at what’s going on with the flowers, bees and butterflies, etc., and really get down to it. “

Among the novelties of the Pollinator and the Bird Garden are several “bee hotels” which aim to attract pollinators with nesting sites.

Birds should feel at home thanks to the birdbaths, feeders and nesting boxes in the garden. Two dead Table Mountain pines were harvested and mounted to also serve as perches.

The garden has more than 140,000 plants scattered over its land. Shari Edelson, Arboretum’s director of operations, said more than 620 volunteers have helped plant them throughout the spring and summer.

The Pollinator and Bird Garden is located entirely within the HO Smith Botanical Gardens in the Arboretum at the corner of East Park Avenue and Bigler Road. See this map for the full garden layout.

The Arboretum is open daily from dawn to dusk. Visitors do not need to pay for admission or parking.


Rocky Mountain Power Announces Lower Prices and Pilot Savings Program | Energy Journal

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“The company has been very successful over the years in proposing projects that result in very competitive consumer prices compared to other energy suppliers nationwide, and we want to maintain this position, where we are generally in the bottom 25% of suppliers. across the country, ”he said.

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Rocky Mountain Power’s higher general tariffs will allow it to reimburse investments in new energy sources made over the past five years, such as the development and replenishment of Wyoming wind projects through the Energy Vision initiative. 2020 from parent company PacifiCorp.

As a major supplier of both coal and wind power, “there are significant benefits to Wyoming being part of the PacifiCorp multi-state system,” Eskelsen said. “These resources serve the entire six-state system. And so customers in those other states help pay for the costs of building and operating these facilities, but Wyoming, because these facilities are located in Wyoming, gets all the benefits of property taxes in those years. . “

In addition, a pilot consumption hours program announced alongside the new pricing will allow 500 taxpayers – including households – to sign up for a new program to encourage the use of electricity during off-peak hours. Standard electricity meters only measure the amount of electricity consumed by customers. Thanks to the pilot program, the utility will also monitor when this power is used.

“The price of electricity in the wholesale market tends to fluctuate every day, and this energy is more expensive at peak demand times than at off-peak demand times,” Eskelsen said. “But it’s also thanks to the electricity the utility provides from the resources it owns and operates, because typically the way we decide which resources to run throughout the day is based on cost. “

UO biologist receives Alec and Kay Keith chair

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Kelly Sutherland, Associate Professor of Biology, received the Alec and Kay Keith Chair for her research on the movement of gelatinous zooplankton.

His research has led to a large number of well-cited works as well as external funding to support graduate students. Sutherland’s work analyzing the movement of jellies and his contribution to the Oregon Sea Grant’s Field Guide to Oregon Jellies led to his nomination for the Keith Professorship.

The Alec and Kay Keith Chair was established in 1994 to support senior professors in biology, chemistry and physics at the University of Oregon. Alec Keith was a UO alumnus in 1966, earning his doctorate in biology.

Evan Keith, son of Alec and his wife Kay, received three degrees from UO: a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1988, a doctorate in physics in 1994 and a master’s degree in mathematics in 2005. The Keith Chair is awarded to a faculty member in biology, chemistry or physics.

The Keith Professorship provides recipients with a salary allowance and research support for six years. Sutherland said the chair will allow his research group to continue their work on jet propulsion, a method used by aquatic animals to propel themselves through water, in marine plankton.

The team focuses specifically on colonial organisms called siphonophores, which resemble a string of pulsating jellyfish, and how they coordinate multiple swim units to swim effectively. Compared to simple jellyfish, colonial jellies are able to swim better than their solitary counterparts, and Sutherland’s group wishes to identify which aspects of body movement and swimming explain such efficient swimming in colonies.

“It is an honor to have been selected for this chair from among my creative and inspiring colleagues in the natural sciences,” said Sutherland. “In addition to the hard work, I appreciate the ingenuity. My favorite part of the science process is coming up with a good question and then figuring out how to approach the question and where to dive into the work.

The frost colonies can migrate hundreds of meters each day, which is equivalent to a human running a daily marathon. In order to determine which aspects explain the jelly’s successful swimming ability, the Sutherland team will develop diver-operated camera systems to observe the animals.

Oceanic plankton are fragile and difficult to access. Sutherland said the chair would allow him to explore new field sites, giving him more access to the frosts. As travel restrictions lift over the next year, Sutherland plans to examine field sites along the Kona Coast in Hawaii and Palau.

“We often bring the lab to the animals because they live in places far from the ocean,” she said. “This chair will allow me to try things that might be too risky for grant funding agencies, so I look forward to further research.”

—By Victoria Sanchez, University Communications