In the news / Respiratory

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Dr. Matt Goode, UArizona wildlife ecologist and assistant research scientist in the university’s world-renowned Venom Immunochemistry, Pharmacology and Emergency Response (VIPER) Institute, shares what researchers know about when, where, and why snakes are scarce in the winter, and how climate might change their behavior.
 
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In an interview with MD Magazine, Dr. Monica Kraft, Department of Medicine chair at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, detailed her session on interpreting gender sex differences in lung disease, and what clinicians need to know when monitoring and caring for women at risk of asthma.
 
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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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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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It seems Valley Fever is spreading. Some of the increase may be explained by improved diagnosis, but other factors are also at work; including increased migration and visitation to the Southwest where coccidioidomycosis is endemic. The director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence and BIO5 member Dr. John Galgiani, weighs in on the challenges and progress regarding the development of a vaccine for the disease.
 
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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.
 
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Aqualung Therapeutics Corporation founder and CEO Dr. Joe "Skip" Garcia, a BIO5 Faculty Member and UA COM-T Professor of Internal Medicine, Medicine, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Physiological Sciences, and Physiology, received the National Institute of Health Fastrack Award to develop a novel immune-based therapeutic antibody for critically ill patients with an acute lung injury.
 
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Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition that has been associated with increased mortality. A UA physician-scientist has worked alongside BIO5 faculty members Drs. Raymond Woosley and Bonnie Lafleur, resulting in the awarding of a grant for research to analyze databases from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Banner Health, to better understand the relationship between the sleep disorder and death.
 
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The Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care or EPIC project was funded by a $3.6 million grant from the NINDS, part of the NIH. Before EPIC, first responders were taught to hyperventilate people with a TBI. The researchers behind EPIC including BIO5’s Drs. Kurt Denninghoff and Chengcheng Hu showed that, during hyperventilation, internal carbon dioxide levels fall and this constricts the brain’s blood vessels depriving the brain of blood and oxygen.
 
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Dr. Jeff Burgess, UA Associate Dean for Research in the College of Public Health, researches the exposure firefighters encounter when they first start their careers, to the end of their service. Dr. Burgess’ research has already been used to help the Tucson Fire Department, who are working with other local groups to assemble wash kits used to limit the exposure of first responders to cancer causing chemicals.
 
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Researchers have found that emphysema may be a unique risk factor for aneurysm, potentially giving doctors another tool to identify people with aneurysms
 
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UA College of Medicine-Tucson professor and BIO5 Member Dr. Donata Vercelli, notes the discovery of the microbial world has just begun, but is already revolutionizing biology and medicine. Dr. Vercelli will present a lecture on the subject as part of the 2019 UA College of Science Lecture Series.
 
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The Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center is leading a study aimed at increasing inhaler use among elementary school children. "The question isn't 'Does the medicine work?' It is ‘Does using this approach to delivering the medication work?’ It is about how best to help at-risk children miss less school days and have less hospital admission," said BIO5 Institute's Dr. Kurt Denninghoff, Associate Director of the of Center.
 
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The cost to society of childhood asthma is more than AIDS and tuberculosis combined, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The numbers are “staggering,” says BIO5's Dr. Donata Vercelli, UA Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Associate Director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center. Vercelli and collaborators have conducted groundbreaking research with children from Amish and Hutterite communities to find out what in the environment protects the Amish children from contracting asthma.
 
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Dr. Jefferey Burgess, BIO5 member and Dean of Research at the UA College of Public Health, who has researched firefighters and cancer for more than 25 years, says the evidence shows firefighters are regularly exposed to carcinogens in the field, and that firefighters are diagnosed with cancer more than the general public.
 
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Dr. Esther Sternberg, BIO5 member and Research Director for the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, explains how the body's relaxation response, activated through deep-breathing, can oppose its stress response. "Deep-breathing turns on the vagus nerve enough that it acts as a brake on the stress response," says Dr. Sternberg.
 
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A $4.4 million grant from the Department of Defense will help BIO5 Institute's Dr. Louise Hecker and her team, including fellow BIO5 member and medicinal chemist Dr. Vijay Gokhale, test two drug candidates for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis – a deadly disease with no cure.
 
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Recent legislation introduced by Rep. McCarthy is being hailed by valley fever advocates and researchers as a huge step forward in combating the disease, which is on the rise locally. “I think (the bill) is appropriately drawing attention to a problem which is every bit as intense as polio was before its vaccine for the susceptible populations,” said BIO5's Dr. John Galgiani, director of the UA Valley Fever Center for Excellence.