In the news / Health and Food Safety

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The Arizona Prevention Research Center has received a $7.5 million, five-year award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue critical collaborations with community health workers and their organizations in Pima, Maricopa, Yuma, Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties. This award will benefit a cancer prevention research project led by UArizona Zuckerman College of Public Health professor, and BIO5 and UArizona Cancer Center member, Dr. Cynthia Thomson.
 
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UA CALS researchers including BIO5 members Drs. Shane Burgess and Patricia Stock, explain the advantages of having a complete genome description of its academic beef herd, after an SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) typing project was completed this past May at the V Bar V Agricultural Experiment Station in Coconino County. The goal is to use the extensive data, to help cattle growers improve production by giving them an affordable method for identifying predictable and specific genetic traits in cows.
 
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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.
 
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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
 
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Firefighters and advocates from across Arizona gathered Thursday for the first meeting of a state Senate ad hoc committee tasked with tackling the issue of cancer among first responders. During the first meeting, the University of Arizona’s Dr. Jeff Burgess gave a presentation on his nearly 20 years of studying
 
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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.
 
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An easy-to-use, self-administered blood test that quickly could evaluate a person’s radiation exposure would help triage emergency medical treatment in the event of a radiological or nuclear event. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services long has sought ways to monitor a population’s radiation
 
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Tens of millions of Americans spend a significant portion of their time each week at the office and can potentially be affected by the layout and design of the office space. A study done by UA researchers on the effects of office work environments led by UA Center for Integrative Medicine Director, COM-T professor, and BIO5 faculty member Dr. Esther Sternberg, finds that factors such as layout and opportunities for daytime activities affect overall worker health.
 
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A team of UA researchers, including COM-T professor and BIO5 member Dr. Rajesh Khanna, are developing a compound that would be used as an alternative to opioids in treating the pain of chemotherapy. The opioids currently prescribed by doctors have many side effects and can be easily abused by patients. This alternative painkillers being developed bypass many of these issues and could be instrumental in ending the current opiate abuse health crisis.
 
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Five years ago, after a Tucson firefighter sought out help for a fire investigator diagnosed with leukemia, UA College of Public Health Associate Dean of Research and BIO5 member Dr. Jefferey Burgess, began to study and prove how firefighters’ health issues are directly related to their work. These findings could help firefighters receive workers compensation for health issues caused by their jobs.
 
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Researchers, including UA COM-T Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine professor and BIO5 faculty member Dr. Donata Vercelli, are beginning to explore the various ways that microbes in the soil might protect us and benefit our health. This marks a turning point in soil research, as scientists used to hold the belief that soil is nothing more than a matrix to hold plants and minerals.
 
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The demand for potable and irrigation water has never been greater, and as such methods are being developed so new plant cultivars, farming technology, and irrigation can draw more out of arable land. UA Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering professor and BIO5 faculty member Dr. Joel Cuello, has developed the Vertical-Hive (V-Hive) Green Box, an indoor vertical modular growth system. The V-Hive reduces water consumption by 80 to 90 percent compared to traditional field farming.
 
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The deadly swollen shoot disease is ravaging cocoa trees across West Africa, where about three-quarters of the world’s cocoa is grown. The disease was identified nearly a century ago, yet scientists, including BIO5 researcher and professor in the UA School of Plant Sciences Dr. Judith Brown, say a cure is years away and early detection methods are only just being introduced. The severity of this devastating disease has been muted, as the Ivory Coast experienced a record cocoa crop year.
 
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UArizona Pharmacology and Toxicology professor and BIO5 faculty Dr. Donna Zhang, leads her lab to examine how chronic exposure to arsenic causes genetic changes linked to disease development. By using QIAGEN Genomic Services, the team discovered that arsenic and high-fat diets induce similar transcriptomic changes. Through this analysis, the team also found that when a set of master regulator RNA molecules had been inactivated, there were fewer arsenic-induced dietary changes.
 
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Vice Chair of the Association for Vertical Farming, UA Biosystems Engineering professor, and BIO5 member Dr. Joel Cuello, looks at how U.S. fast food consumers' growing expectations for healthy, ethical, and sustainable options is transforming the status quo of the fast food industry, while also creating new opportunities in the Vertical Farming industry.
 
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BIO5 Faculty Dr. Haijiang Cai, lead a team of UA neuroscientists in a new study which shows that multiple neurons within the brain come together to regulate the need to eat and feeling of fullness, or satiety.
 
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A study has been initiated by Hendrix Genetics and GenetiRate, a US based start-up founded by UA Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences associate professor and BIO5researcher Dr. Benjamin Renquist, to apply a new technology that has the potential to measure the feed conversion rate of rainbow trout. The ability to select trout with significantly improved feed conversion would mean farmers would gain the benefit of increased growth rate while maintaining feed intake.
 
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Clean Earth Tech, a startup of UA Biomedical Engineering assistant professor and BIO5 member Dr. Minkyu Kim, is commercializing a newly invented biocompatible dust control polymer. The aim is to provide companies with a way to suppress dust without negatively impacting the environment.