In the news / Bioimaging

NEWS
Harnessing the power of technology, the BIO5 Institute will virtually connect University of Arizona faculty and researchers with representatives from biotech, biomedical, and life science companies at the FINE event on Thursday, August 13, 2020.
 
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New research led by researchers from the BIO5 Institute’s Center for Insect Science shows that crustaceans such as shrimps, lobsters, and crabs, have more in common with their insect relatives than previously thought when it comes to the structure of their brains. Both insects and crustaceans possess mushroom-shaped brain structures known in insects to be required for learning, memory and possibly negotiating complex, three-dimensional environments.
 
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BIO5 director and UArizona Biomedical Engineering professor Dr. Jennifer Barton recently spoke with SPIE - the international society for optics and photonics, where she serves at the co-chair for their BiOS program. During their conversation, Dr. Barton gave a conceptual tour of the labs of Drs. Clara Curiel, Philipp Gutruf, D.K. Kang, and Judy Su, and discussed how their research is impacting bioscience fields.
 
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A team of researchers, including UArizona Biomedical Engineering professor and BIO5 member Dr. Philipp Gutruf, have developed a device that could provide unique insight into the mechanisms of pain, depression, addiction and certain diseases. The ultra-small, wireless, battery-free device uses light to record individual neurons so neuroscientists can see how the brain is working.
 
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New UArizona research, led by Department of MCB associate professor and BIO5 faculty Dr. Nancy Horton, has revealed the structure and function of one of bacteria’s latest strategies in the fight against viruses. The findings are part of Dr. Horton's larger research interest in the existence of filament-forming enzymes. Filaments had been largely forgotten to science until 2010, when a handful of labs around the world began investigating them using newer, higher resolution electron microscopes.
 
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UArizona Biomedical Engineering professor and director of the BIO5 Institute Dr. Jennifer Barton, gives a look into a day in her life. Dr. Barton discusses her academic and professional journey, how and why she began conducting her current research, and the importance of women becoming increasingly involved in engineering and STEM fields.
 
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With funds from the National Institute of Health, Dr. Nathan Cherrington, UArizona College of Pharmacy Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and BIO5 member, has created a non-invasive diagnostic to determine if someone has Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH is a chronic liver disease that irregulates the function of the liver and affects an estimated 30 to 50 million patients, with only around 300,000 of them being properly diagnosed. Currently, the only diagnosis for NASH includes a painful liver biopsy, which can result in heavy blood loss.
 
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Dr. Jennifer Barton, University of Arizona professor of biomedical engineering and director of the BIO5 Institute, has been appointed to the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health. The council advises the leadership of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, or NIBIB, on policies and priorities related to research, training and health information dissemination in the areas of biomedical imaging and engineering.
 
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With the support of a new $3.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, a team of researchers, led by UA Department of Psychology professor and BIO5 member Dr. Gene Alexander, will investigate whether near-infrared light could help enhance cognition and reduce Alzheimer's disease risk in older adults. Dr. Ted Trouard, a BIO5 member and UA Biomedical Engineering professor, will serve as a co-investigator on the project.
 
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By using $2.1 million in funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a UArizona team of researchers led by Biomedical Engineering associate professor and BIO5 member Dr. Nan-kuei Chen, is looking to develop faster MR technologies to accommodate challenging patient populations. The research aims to provide higher-resolution images with richer information, giving health care practitioners more information about the stage of a disease and the ability to detect brain signal abnormality for those afflicted with diseases like Parkinson's.
 
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A team led by University of Arizona Biomedical Engineering professor and BIO5 researcher, Dr. Jeong-Yeol Yoon, has created a highly sensitive portable detection system capable of spotting norovirus at levels that can make people sick. Dr. Yoon believes that the handheld detection system could be used by governmental officials to analyze local groundwater sources in areas with heavy septic tank usage or even on cruise ships, where the virus is prevalent. 
 
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To better understand biological processes, a UA research team that includes BIO5 faculty member and Chemistry & Biochemistry professor Dr. Craig Aspinwall, has developed new materials for detecting radioisotopes that provide faster and higher resolution results than today’s generally accepted methods. The new technology provides new resolution in radioisotope detection, and offers a more environmentally sound alternative by reducing the hazardous chemical usage and waste that existed in previous methods.
 
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Dr. Kaveh Laksari, UA Assistant Professor of Aerospace-Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering and BIO5 member, along with researchers from Stevens Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, look at the vulnerabilities of different brain regions and how this can impact the severity of damage from traumatic brain injuries.
 
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UA Neuroscience assistant professor and BIO5 member Dr. Haijiang Cai, lead a team of UA researchers to discover neurons within the brain that control one’s urge to eat in response to inflammation. Members of the Cai lab recently published an article in Nature describing their investigation of the cluster of neurons in the region of the brain connected to feeding behavior, with the aim of providing a new target for treating anorexia and other eating disorders.
 
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To understand our ability to remember changes as we age in hopes of improving it, and preventing Alzheimer's disease and dementia, researchers including Dr. Carol Barnes, Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and BIO5 faculty member, envision a field of "precision aging.”
 
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The event, sponsored by the College of Medicine – Phoenix's Research Office, displayed the work of grant awardees from the Flinn Foundation, Valley Research Partnership (VRP) and Arizona Biomedical Research Centre. Dr. Jennifer Barton, Director of the UA BIO5 Institute, was the keynote speaker. She presented “Technology and Biology Advances: Enabling Progress toward Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer.”
 
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Arizona researchers including the BIO5 Institute's Dr. Eric Reiman, Executive Director of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, contributed to a recent study of former pro football players in an effort to diagnose a degenerative brain disease in living patients.
 
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BIO5's Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, an internationally recognized expert on Alzheimer’s disease and Inaugural Director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at UAHS, has received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Institute on Aging. With the funding, Brinton will develop a unique training program to cultivate a diverse pool of highly trained scientists from diverse fields who can effectively address the nation’s Alzheimer’s research needs.