In the news / Health and Food Safety

NEWS
Despite slowdowns in research suffered by universities around the world due to the pandemic, the University of Arizona has experienced solid growth in the commercialization of university inventions. In the last fiscal year alone UArizona received 274 invention disclosures and launched 17 startups.
 
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UArizona College of Engineering provides a recap of their webinar series and their speakers.
 
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Analysts say copper will become “the new oil” as an in-demand commodity. The Arizona Board of Regents recently approved a new School of Mining and Mineral Resources at the University of Arizona, jointly housed in the College of Engineering and the College of Science and involve the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources. The new school will rely on a holistic approach to mineral resource management.
 
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Dr. Suchol Savagatrup led a team to develop a water test that uses oil droplets, rather than a solid sensor, to immediately detect contaminants. The team’s work could lead not only to another method for detecting water contaminants, but also to better ways of removing pollutants from the environment.
 
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Three CHEE researchers including Adam Printz, Erin Ratcliff, and Suchol Savagatrup received major grants to continue their studies.
 
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The designation of Regents Professor is an honored position reserved for faculty scholars of exceptional ability who have achieved national or international distinction. Dr. Ian Pepper joins 5 other UArizona researchers recognized in 2021. In addition to this honor, Dr. Pepper has been inducted as a fellow by the Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recent awards include the 2019 Extraordinary Faculty Award from the University of Arizona Alumni Association and the 2020 Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the University of Arizona Graduate College.
 
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The Arizona Board of Regents confirmed the appointments of six University of Arizona faculty members as Regents Professors, including UArizona CALS and BIO5 faculty, Dr. Ian Pepper. The designation of Regents Professor serves as recognition of the highest academic merit and is awarded to faculty members who have made a unique contribution to the quality of the university through distinguished accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, research or creative work. Dr. Ian Pepper is an internationally renowned environmental microbiologist who has worked at the interface of human health and soils, potable water and municipal waste. His research addresses real-world problems. His successful efforts to identify and quantify the COVID-19 virus in waste flows from university dormitories have gained international media attention. His team's "wastewater-based epidemiology," which enabled the university to avoid a major campus outbreak, has been implemented in many other locations.
 
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Dr. Melanie Hingle, UArizona Department of Nutritional Sciences associate professor and BIO5 member, discusses how food insecurity can impact academic success and how we can begin to solve this problem for UArizona students. Food insecurity amongst UArizona has doubled during the pandemic according to a Fall 2020 study.
 
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New data reveals staggering statistics in alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. William “Scott” Killgore, UArizona professor of Psychiatry and BIO5 member, says alcohol use increased by up to 400% within the first six months of the pandemic, though it appears that the numbers have leveled off.
 
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The third annual BIO5 Postdoctoral Fellowship, this year awarded to eight outstanding postdoctoral researchers, grants financial support and facilitates guidance to enrich research and career growth.
 
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In 30 years, the Earth’s population is expected to balloon to 10 billion people, and traditional sources of protein will not be able to keep up with demand. According to Dr. Goggy Davidowitz, BIO5 member and professor at the UArizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences whose areas of expertise include evolutionary biology and insect physiology, they are developing insects as an alternative to traditional food sources.
 
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UArizona Health Sciences professor and BIO5 member Dr. Cynthia Thomson, recently helped update the American Cancer Society's guidelines on cancer prevention lifestyle habits that could save lives. These guidelines cover the simple yet meaningful ways in which diet and physical activity can help people reduce their personal risks for developing cancer.
 
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After she and nine family members were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during a family vacation, Jennifer Uhrlaub now advocates for the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing not only in public, but also around those close to us.
 
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The BIO5 Postdoctoral Fellowship provided Jennifer Lising Roxas with a steppingstone to attain a two-year USDA fellowship award that funds her salary, research and travel to professional development opportunities.
 
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A team of engineers and scientists is developing a solar-powered desalination system to recover water from concentrated waste streams with maximum efficiency. The team is conducting research using the Optical Sciences Center solar testbed.
 
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Joyce Schroeder and Kristen Pogreba-Brown are lending their unique expertise and collaborative approach to mitigate the risk of returning to campus this fall.
 
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The University of Arizona will soon begin analyzing blood samples from hundreds of thousands of Arizonans to determine who has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and developed antibodies against it. The first phase of testing will begin April 30 in Pima County and will include 3,000 health care workers and first responders.
 
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BIO5 connects and mobilizes hundreds of world-class researchers to develop creative solutions for complex challenges such as disease, hunger, water and food safety, and other health issues facing Arizona and the world. This interdisciplinary approach from BIO5 researchers, including Drs. Jennifer Barton, Judith Su, and DK Kang, has resulted in disease prevention strategies and promising new therapies, innovative diagnostics and devices, and improved food crops.