In the news / Insect and Microbe Systems

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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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A recent study by researchers at the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix defines a mechanistic role for an understudied bacteria family in gynecologic disease.
 
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Dr. Laura Meredith discusses soil microbes, her climate-focused research around the globe, and what it's like to be a woman in STEM.
 
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Dr. Christopher Hamilton & Dr. Solange Duhamel have been abroad since January to conduct research in Iceland, a country dotted with glaciers, lava fields and hundreds of volcanoes. An unexpected volcanic eruption has given them a firsthand opportunity to study the same event from the perspectives of their separate disciplines.
 
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Dr. Michael Johnson discusses his passion for mentoring and outreach, and how being on the receiving end of this support has helped his professional growth.
 
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That buzzing you hear is likely from a female mosquito. They need to find a blood meal after mating in order to have enough energy to produce eggs. From a distance, female mosquitoes cue in on carbon dioxide that we exhale in conical plumes from our bodies, says Dr.
 
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University of Arizona researchers have developed a harmless bacteria strain to battle bad breath in our furry friends. When administered orally, the additive produces a minty aroma that improves dogs' breath, said inventor Dr. Eric Lyons, who developed the technology with co-inventor Dr. David Baltrus. Both are associate professors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School of Plant Sciences and members of the BIO5 Institute.
 
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Seven graduating University of Arizona seniors will be honored for their extraordinary accomplishments during a series of graduation ceremonies to celebrate the class of 2021. Nominated by faculty and peers, this year's seven student award winners were selected based on their integrity, notable achievements and positive contributions to their families and communities. Among these honorees are Alyssa Jean Peterson, Akshay Nathan, and Daniel Weiland, successful undergraduate researchers in the labs of BIO5 faculty, and all planning to continue their studies in STEM.
 
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Chemical insecticides are used extensively to kill pests and thereby limit the harm they cause. However, overreliance on insecticides can promote rapid evolution of insecticide resistance in insect populations. In a new study Dr. Xianchun Li, BIO5 member and insect molecular biologist in the UArizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with colleagues Wenqing Zhang and Rui Pang, discovered how one insect beats the cost of resistance. The paper focuses on the brown planthopper, a tiny hemipteran insect that is the world’s most destructive pest of rice.
 
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On April 19, Dr. Floyd “Ski” Chilton discussed differences in COVID-19 disease severity as part of the Precision Wellness in the Time of COVID-19 series.
 
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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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UArizona molecular and cellular biology professor and BIO5 member Dr. Daniela Zarnescu, leads her lab in using fruit flies to study neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS. Dr. Zarnescu’s team have shown that locomotor defects are observed, like with ALS patients, where Dlp, short for Dally-like protein – is reduced at the site. The next step in this research is restoring the protein that corresponds to Dlp in humans, with hopes that it will increase motor function in patients.
 
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The annual event highlights endeavors that encompass the broad range of bioscience inquiry at the BIO5 Institute.
 
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By mashing up brains from various insect species, neuroscientists at the University of Arizona introduce a practical technique for quantifying the neurons that make up the brains of invertebrate animals. In addition to revealing interesting insights into the evolution of insect brains, the work provides a more meaningful metric than traditional studies measuring brain size or weight.
 
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Dr. Kate Rhodes relies on collaboration to conduct her research on gonorrhea and uses storytelling to communicate her findings with the public.
 
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We’re highlighting BIO5 researchers’ strides against malignant cancers during Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week.
 
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On March 15, Dr. Bonnie LaFleur discussed COVID-19 testing, vaccination, and forming social cores as part of the Precision Wellness in the Time of COVID-19 series.
 
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With two years of financial support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Dr. Robert Jackson will work to advance knowledge in the basic sciences and boost his academic career aspirations.