In the news / Technology Enabled Health

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Dr. Jennifer Barton, University of Arizona professor of biomedical engineering and director of the BIO5 Institute, has been appointed to the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, part of the National Institutes of Health. The council advises the leadership of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, or NIBIB, on policies and priorities related to research, training and health information dissemination in the areas of biomedical imaging and engineering.
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A new material created by a team of UA researchers including CBC professor and BIO5 faculty Dr. Jeff Pyun, could help to bring consumers access to affordable infrared detectors in products such as autonomous cars and in-home thermal imaging for security or fire protection.
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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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Because of routine PSA testing in older men, cancers that might have gone undetected without ever causing health problems were identified and treated. Dr. Richard Ablin, the pioneer who discovered PSA recognizes some variables to prostate cancer screening that require close attention when evaluating men
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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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With support from a grant from the National Institute on Aging, researchers will test a novel intervention that uses near-infrared light to enhance brain function and fight cognitive decline.
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Director of the UA Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation, UA COM-T professor, and BIO5 member Dr. Marvin Slepian, has introduced a high-tech device that could change the way we help track, treat, and prevent disease. Manufactured by a company in Boston, BioStamp is a skin patch sensor that
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People who suffer catastrophic breaks to their long leg bones usually face multiple surgeries, and all too often, amputation. UA COM-T Scientists, led by Orthopedic Surgery professor and BIO5 member Dr. John Szivek, have been working for more than 20 years to improve the treatment protocol by developing
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Dr. Irving Kron, a BIO5 member, professor of surgery with the UA College of Medicine - Tucson, and senior associate vice president for UA Health Sciences, has been named the new contact principal investigator (PI) for the UA Health Sciences and Banner Health 'All of Us' research program and precision medicine initiative. In his new role, Dr. Kron will lead the multiple UA and Banner Health established PI leadership teams, which include a team led by fellow BIO5 member Dr. Eric Reiman.
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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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A team led by The BIO5 Institute's Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD, director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science, received the multi-million dollar grant from the National Institute on Aging. The five-year grant will fund a national multi-site Phase 2 clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of allopregnanalone, or allo, as a treatment for individuals with early-stage Alzheimer’s who carry the genetic risk factor for the disease. This award supports the goals of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.
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As his term as interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost comes to a close, BIO5 faculty member and newly appointed Dean Emeritus Dr. Jeff Goldberg, reflects on his 34 years at UA. Dr. Goldberg’s journey at the University will continue as a half-time adviser to the president, working on the campus master plan, and supporting development and mentoring strategies.
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The BIO5 Postdoctoral Fellowship recognizes outstanding postdoctoral researchers at the University of Arizona who are engaging in multi-disciplinary research projects aligned with the foci of the BIO5 Institute. These grants are specifically designed to support and enhance the independent research goals of BIO5 postdoctoral researchers, showcase their research at a BIO5 Research Symposium via short talks and/or poster sessions, and to facilitate a “forward thinking” mindset by requiring each fellow to form a three-member mentoring committee.
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Tanning (and burning) can lead to Melanoma, one of the most common skin cancers among adolescents and young adults. New prevention and treatment methods for skin cancers are being developed by the UA Cancer Center’s Skin Cancer Institute (SCI). The Institute houses experts including SCI founder Dr. David Alberts and SCI co-director Dr. Clara Curiel, both BIO5 faculty, who are collaborating to help make skin cancers a thing of the past.
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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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Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's. "And once it begins, it's something that unfortunately we can't stop," said Dr. Matt Grilli, director at University of Arizona's Human Memory Lab. Now scientists are starting to get a clearer picture of the disease.
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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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To lower the need for invasive procedures, UA COM-T Pharmacology and Toxicology professor Dr. Bernard Futscher, worked to develop a new blood test to detect most major cancers. The research and development was completed through the recently launched startup, DesertDx, created to bring the invention to doctors and their patients.
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The event, sponsored by the College of Medicine – Phoenix's Research Office, displayed the work of grant awardees from the Flinn Foundation, Valley Research Partnership (VRP) and Arizona Biomedical Research Centre. Dr. Jennifer Barton, Director of the UA BIO5 Institute, was the keynote speaker. She presented “Technology and Biology Advances: Enabling Progress toward Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer.”
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Clinicians are using Artificial Intelligence in conjunction with their own medical examinations of to increase the quality of patient care. “This is a dynamic process upon which the human brain and computer systems continue to learn from one another,” says Dr. Clara Curiel-Lweandrowski, BIO5 member and Director of the Multidisciplinary Cutaneous Program at the UA Skin Cancer Institute.
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Researchers at the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix are partnering with Space Tango, a private aerospace company that designs, builds and operates facilities on the International Space Station, to develop an easy way to test astronauts' health in space. Led by BIO5's Dr. Frederic Zenhausern, Director of the UA Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine, the project has received three independent NASA grants.
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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 faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends come together to recognize exemplary engineers of past, present and future. Dr. Marvin Slepian, Associate Department Head of UA Biomedical Engineering, Arizona Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation founder and director, and BIO5 faculty, has been named the 2019 da Vinci Fellow, recognizing his research and teaching efforts in engineering, medicine, and entrepreneurship.
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Dr. Clara Curiel, clinical director of the SCI and leader of the UA Cancer Center cutaneous oncology team uses chemoprevention to slow, stop, or reverse the progression of skin cancer. Chemoprevention strategies can be employed at many points in time, starting when skin already has been damaged by UV radiation.
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UA engineering students, under the direction of Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and BIO5 member Dr. Urs Utzinger, are working on building a device that would help combat child abuse. The device will be used to determine how long a bruise has been on a child's body - allowing for further determination of exactly when the child got the bruise.
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Tech Launch Arizona, UA’s technology commercialization arm, honored some of its most promising inventors and biggest supporters at the I-Squared Awards Banquet and Expo earlier this month. Awardees included BIO5's Director Dr. Jennifer Barton with Campus Collaborator of the Year award, as well as BIO5 member Dr. Louise Hecker who was named Inventor of the Year.
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A new implantable "teabag" could help children with Type 1 Diabetes. BIO5 member Dr. Klearchos Papas, Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Medical Imaging at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and his team have engineered an innovative new biomedical device that could deliver all the benefits of a transplant to resolve diabetes without drawbacks of anti-rejection drugs.
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A team of researchers, including Dr. Philipp Gutruf, BIO5 member and Assistant Professor in the UA Biomedical Engineering Department, have developed an implantable device that can measure oxygen levels in a living animal, which has potential to pave a new avenue for research into physiological and pathological processes.
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Arizona’s Orthopedic Research Lab is hoping to use the technology to help military veterans with bone injuries. Dr. John Szivek, who runs the University of Arizona Orthopaedic Research Lab, said the lab received a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense to create 3D bone printing to help military personnel.
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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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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.
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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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Dr. Ted Trouard, BIO5 member and UA Professor of Biomedical Engineering, is leading a project to find how MRI technology can collect data faster and get higher resolution images. He says the research can help doctors make better diagnoses, evaluate therapies, and investigate progressions of disease.
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Unregulated compounds were found in two of Marana's water systems. UA Associate Professor of Environmental Health Services and BIO5 member Dr. Paloma Beamer said these compounds are man-made, but more research needs to be done to understand the compounds' effects.
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A new study led by the UA Institute on Place, Wellbeing and Performance, directed by BIO5's Dr. Esther Sternberg, and the UA Center for Integrative Medicine shows that workers in open office seating had less daytime stress and greater daytime activity levels compared to workers in private offices and cubicles.
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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.
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The UA has surpassed it's performance expectations for annual measures in technology commercialization, and five of the 16 new startups formed in the last year were generated from research conducted by BIO5 Institute members. Reglagene, Regulonix, Aqualung Therapeutics, Iluminos Therapeutics, and MCR Therapeutics are companies using cutting edge research to solve health problems and cure disease.
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The newest cohort of Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy fellows have been announced. BIO5's Dr. Melanie Hingle, is one of the four fellows, and will dedicate her fellowship time to developing a model of diet-sensitive disease prevention for food insecure populations in partnership with colleagues at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and El Rio Community Health Center.
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In the complex world of semiconductors, innovators have been working to find new and better methods for electrostatic plating of metal nanoparticles on insulator surfaces. BIO5's Dr. Anthony Muscat, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, is one of those innovators.
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UA researchers including BIO5 members Dr. Frederic Zenhausern, Director of the UA Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine, and Dr. Louise Hecker, UA Associate Professor of Medicine, have received a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission to study lung infections such as Valley fever and inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis in a plant model.
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Dr. Esther Sternberg, BIO5 member, UA Professor of Medicine, and Director of UA's Institute on Place and Well Being, is researching devices that can track stress and immune molecules in sweat. The goal is to eventually create wearable devices that can track our responses to environmental events in real time.
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UA Venture Capital Fund LLC, an early stage venture capital firm aimed at supporting UA technology spinoffs has made its first three investments— two of which are companies founded by BIO5 members. Codelucida, co-founded by BIO5's Dr. Bane Vasic, and Regulonix, founded by BIO5 members Dr. Rajesh Khanna and Dr. Vijay Gokhale.
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UA has licensed two inventions developed in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to startup MCR Therapeutics. The inventors, Dr. Minying Cai and Dr. Victor J. Hruby, both BIO5 members, developed a melanin-producing compound for a systemic approach to preventing skin damage.
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BIO5 members Dr. Donna Zhang and Dr. Georg Wondrak have developed a means of protecting skin and repairing damage from UV radiation through the activation of NRF2, a transcription factor that regulates photoprotective responses in the skin potentially preventing premature aging and carcinogenesis.
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Fitness trackers today can crunch a lot of useful health data. “We now have a multi-dimensional sensor which can capture a lot of information about how an individual moves through the world,” said Dr. Marvin Slepian, a BIO5 member and cardiologist.
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Researchers with the UA College of Medicine— Tucson, including BIO5 members Dr. Todd Vanderah and Dr. Tally Largent-Milnes, have received grants totaling $1.3 million from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission, in support of their efforts to develop non-addictive medications to block chronic pain, the major culprit in the opioid epidemic responsible for the deaths of 64,000 Americans.
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Here are the six simple things that every office worker should do to stay healthy and feel better at work, according to Dr. Esther Sternberg, BIO5 member, Research Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and Director of the UA Institute on Place, Well-Being, and Performance.
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Recent research on head trauma has been focused on NFL athletes, whose brains have been shown to be damaged after years of hits to the heads. A team of Chicago researchers and domestic violence advocates will travel to Phoenix to learn how to better assess survivors of brain injuries from BIO5's Dr. Jonathan Lifshitz, director of the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine’s Translational Neurotrauma Research Program.
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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.
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Dr. Sudha Ram, BIO5 member and UA professor in the Eller College, believes her preliminary study may have found a better way to predict which freshmen will drop out. The research will help to increase retention rates for universities.