In the news / Genomics

NEWS
Our genes can have the effect of increasing our risk for certain diseases, or at it turns out, sometimes they can protect us from them. This has turned out to be the case with a Colombian woman in her 70s who should have developed Alzheimer’s disease by her mid-40s, but has an identified a mutation in her genes that is keeping her from not experiencing dementia.
NEWS
Swollen Shoot disease is affecting cacao trees in Ghana. UA Plant Sciences professor Dr. Judith Brown, notes that the disease is threatening to affect the supply of chocolate. Dr. Brown is using genome sequencing technology to look deeper into the viruses found to cause damage in cacao plant samples.
NEWS
A Tucson startup with technology to help fish farmers boost production were one of two grand prize winners of a business pitch competition at the 2019 edition of IdeaFunding. The founders of GenetiRate, including BIO5’s Dr. Benjamin Renquist shared in the $25,000 grand prize sponsored by UAVenture Capital
NEWS
Coinciding with World Food Day, a team of plant scientists from King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) established a major project to improve global date palm production and protection.
NEWS
Scientists lead by The BIO5 Institute's Dr. Michael Worobey at the University of Arizona were able to extract from the tissue a nearly complete genetic sequence of an HIV virus — the oldest nearly full-length genetic code for an HIV-1 virus recovered thus far, and one that supports the theory that the virus that causes AIDS began to transmit among people within the first decade or two of the 20th century.
NEWS
Dr. Marvin Slepian, clinician-scientist-engineer-inventor and founding Director of the Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation, and Dr. Rod Wing, Bud Antle Endowed Chair Professor for Excellence in Agriculture in the School of Plant Sciences and Director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, both BIO5 members, have been named UA Regents Professors by the Arizona Board of Regents.
NEWS
The Flinn Foundation awarded the Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support (CDADS) at the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix $1.5 million to incorporate pharmacogenomics and clinical decision support into clinician training and medical practice. BIO5's Dr. Raymond Woosley, is Co-Director of the Division of Clinical Data Analytics and Decision Support.
NEWS
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, has identified a polio-like virus as a potential cause of an outbreak of a disease known as Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a crippling condition that causes muscle weakness and paralysis usually among children. Dr. Bonnie LaFleur, UA Professor of Biostatistics and BIO5 member, aided in data analysis for the study.
NEWS
Research from the UA College of Engineering shows a way for light to control neurons in the brain, which may lead to doctors being able to turn off pain receptors or reduce the effects of neurological disorders. UA Biomedical Engineering Professor and BIO5 member, Dr. Philipp Gutruf, recently published a paper in the science journal Nature Electronics about his work with an implantable, battery-free, light-emitting diode.
NEWS
A team of UA scientists hope they have made progress toward a next-generation drug that may slow tumor growth and boost radiation’s effectiveness in patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer. The team includes BIO5 member Dr. Michael Hammer, Co-Director of the UA Cancer Center Genomics Shared Resource.
NEWS
The BIO5 Institute's Dr. Michael Worobey has reconstructed the genome of the Spanish Flu from century old blood samples. The University of Arizona scientist had connected with a man named Jim Cox. And Cox just so happened to have in his possession a collection of human tissue slides had handed down through the generations. Those slides, it turns out, could now help rewrite the history of the 1918 Spanish flu — altering our understanding of when it began and how it spread.
NEWS
A team of University of Arizona researchers who looked for genetic differences between glioblastoma cells from long- and short-term survivors discovered that those who survived longer had a protein that might be targeted to increase survival in all glioblastoma patients. The results were presented this month at the Society for Neuro-Oncology conference in New Orleans. This work is in its early stages, and the researchers say they are many years and millions of dollars away from potential translation into treatments for patients.
NEWS
Dr. Justina McEvoy, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and member of the UA Cancer Center and the UA BIO5 Institute has focused her work on Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a rare cancer of the skeletal muscle that primarily affects pediatric patients. Dr. McEvoy and her team have sifted through a large genetic and protein database collected for rhabdomyosarcoma to identify pathways containing potential drug targets.
NEWS
A new study co-authored by Dr. Bruce Tabashnik, Regents’ Professor in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' Department of Entomology and member of the BIO5 Institute, identifies a dominantly inherited mutation that confers resistance to engineered cotton in caterpillars of the cotton bollworm, one of the world’s most destructive crop pests. The study will be invaluable in promoting more sustainable pest control.
NEWS
The KEYS Summer Research Internship Program lets high school students work alongside university faculty in top research labs. “Our interns learned to use tools that data scientists use every day...Their contributions will be used by many of the researchers that take advantage of our open access platform,” said Nirav Merchant, BIO5 member, CyVerse Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Data7.
NEWS
After two years of chronic ear infections and countless antibiotics, BIO5 biosystems researcher Dr. Bonnie Hurwitz decided to take her daughter's health into her own hands. She took a DNA sample, sent it to a lab for sequencing, identified the problem, and took it to her daughter's doctor. Together they cured the infections.
NEWS
UA students study honey bees to find out how bacteria in their guts and the foods they eat are connected to life expectancy. They hope the insects can serve as model systems to discover clues about how genetics, gut bacteria and diet influence aging in humans. The study resulted from an interdisciplinary collaboration between the UA, the BIO5 Institute and the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center.
NEWS
The UA received a $1.1 million grant to study the biology underlying the connection between type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. BIO5 member Dr. Yann Klimentidis is a lead researcher on the study, which will utilize publicly available health and genetic information from databases across the world, covering at least 650,000 people.
NEWS
A team led by the UA Cancer Center’s Dr. Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz, BIO5 member and associate professor at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, studied 100 premenopausal women to find links between vaginal bacteria and cervical cancer. They found that there is a distinct difference between the vaginal microbiome in those who develop cervical cancer and those who do not.
NEWS
Recently there has been debate over whether or not the diabetes — specifically, type 2 — can be “reversed.” According to BIO5's Dr. Yann Klimentidis, assistant professor at the UA College of Public Health, this area of research is still in its infancy but, one day, prevention and treatment measures for type 2 diabetes could eventually be more precise, based on an individual’s genetic profile.
NEWS
In her metagenomics research, BIO5 Institute Fellow and Assistant Professor of Biosystems Engineering, Dr. Bonnie Hurwitz, studies how microorganisms live symbiotically with humans and protect us from harmful pathogens that cause illness.
NEWS
For the first time, scientists have detected a DNA structure inside living human cells that looks more like a four-stranded knot than the elegant double helix we know from biology textbooks. Dr. Laurence Hurley, a BIO5 member and professor of medical chemistry at the UA who was not involved with the study, said the new paper is important for chemical biology and molecular therapeutics.
NEWS
A UA team, headed by Dr. Michael S. Barker, BIO5 member and assistant professor and director of bioinformatics in the UA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has found that polyploidy, the duplication of whole genomes, has occurred many times during the evolution of insects, the most diverse group of animals.
NEWS
BIO5 Institute member and Director of the Division of Population Genetics at the UA Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine, Dr. Rick Kittles probes African-American genetic ancestry for data that could help resolve health disparities in communities of color.
NEWS
The rice of the future may be in our bowls sooner than we think. Researchers, led by Dr. Rod Wing, BIO5 member and director of the Arizona Genomics Institute, completed the genome sequencing of 13 varieties of rice with hopes to cultivate new varieties to feed a changing world.
NEWS
Dr. Amelia Gallitano of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix studies genetic pathways and their response to the environment, hoping to improve treatments for mental illness. She has received a grant to develop the first diagnostic test for schizophrenia.
NEWS
A new global assessment helps scientists explain why cases of pest resistance to genetically engineered crops increased by more than fivefold in the past decade, yet some pests remain suppressed. To assimilate the assessment, BIO5 members Bruce Tabashnik and Yves Carrière analyzed the global data on Bt crop use and pest responses.
NEWS
BIO5 Researchers Drs. Julie Ledford and Monica Kraft, are looking to genetics as a possible new treatment for Asthma. They’re studying the protein surfactant, which is one of the most abundant proteins in the lungs and is known for helping people clear out infections.
NEWS
A UA clinician team made up of BIO5 members Drs. Julie Ledford Monica Kraft, use genetics as a guide focused on turning research into new treatments for asthma and other lung diseases. They have discovered that genetic mutations in a protein associated with asthma can affect a person’s susceptibility to a variety of lung diseases — and could lead to new treatments.
NEWS
Continuing coverage: The 3,000 Rice Genomes Project is a collaborative, international research program that has sequenced 3,024 rice varieties from 89 countries. "The dataset provides access to millions of genetic markers that can be used to design sustainable crops for the future; that is, ones that are high-yielding and more nutritious, while at the same time, requiring less water, fertilizer and pesticides," said Dr. Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute at the UA and a pioneer in rice genome sequencing.
NEWS
Two BIO5 members, Drs. Donato Romagnolo and Ornella Selmin, also of the University of Arizona Cancer Center, have been awarded a $1 million research grant from the Department of Defense to study the impact of soy isoflavones intake and risk of breast cancer.
NEWS
Scientists have made major strides toward creating new breeds of rice that could be more sustainable, as well as more resilient to environmental stresses. "This dataset provides access to millions of genetic markers that can be used to design sustainable crops for the future" says Dr. Rod Wing, director of the Arizona Genomics Institute at the UA and member of The BIO5 Institute.
NEWS
Dr. Eric Lyons, iPlant Collaborative co-principal investigator and BIO5 member, is one of three scientists using big data management tools to better understand the mysterious inner-workings of RNA molecules.