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  • 3 Apr 2018 5:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The bioscience sector is gaining critical mass and attracting top researchers and new industry to the state.

    BIO Alabama is the trade association that represents the biosciences industry across the state. This includes life sciences and biotech from the institutional and industrial sectors. In March, several representatives of BIO Alabama met with state representatives, state senators and the governor’s office in Montgomery to report on the state of the industry.

    The biosciences support jobs in research, manufacturing, distribution and clinical services. Companies and institutions are making advances in genetic engineering, clinical genome analyses, medical device design and manufacture and bio-materials. Clinical applications include pharmaceutical and supplement manufacture and distribution, and many health-related disease solutions and research. We reported to the Legislature that the industry was growing, greater amounts of research funding were entering the state, and a strong level of collaboration was occurring throughout the research institutions.

    Research labs are tackling high impact areas, such as cancer drug therapies, protein engineering, neurodegenerative diseases, implant bio-materials and big data solutions. Applied research is active in health analytics, a growing field that promises to reduce health costs by analyzing rates of disease, behaviors towards therapies and trends developing in urban and rural areas.

    Commercial companies in Alabama are manufacturing drugs and supplements, producing drug delivery products, and designing new medical devices and diagnostic tools. The services sector includes clinical design studies, precision medicine, custom therapies, personalized medicines, health IT, drug design, diagnostics, genome lab services and the state’s first genome clinic.

    Today it is possible to enter the start-up field in biosciences without a huge investment. Many applications are available using DNA tools, wearables, apps and databases that are easy to procure. The field is ripe for innovation from products to physician services. Start-up funding is available from multiple angel investment groups, Alabama Launchpad, university innovation grants, venture capital and SBIR and STTR funding. BIO Alabama is connecting the bioscience ecosystem to smooth the access to capital and mentors.

    Legislators were eager to hear about new discoveries and growing exports from the bioscience field.

    Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida have very established bioscience trade associations and the benefit of industry consolidation around large cities. Alabama has more of a challenge in that the bioscience industry is spread throughout the state with several growing centers. This is an indication of the health of the industry but it makes it more difficult to gain collaborations and build cluster traction. That’s where BIO Alabama comes in — developing and encouraging networks to accelerate new business ventures.

    There are six primary bioscience centers in the state:

    1. Birmingham is the most mature with top research centers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (precision medicine, oncology, drug discovery and genetic studies) and Southern Research (infectious disease, drug development, neuro-degenerative disease). A vibrant start-up culture exists with funding available from several capital networks and established venture groups. Start-ups are launched at the Commercialization Accelerator at UAB’s Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation Depot and others. Commercial firms in Birmingham include Evonik, Avanti Polar Lipids, Biohorizons Implant Systems and Oxford Pharmaceuticals.

    2. Huntsville is home to HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a public-private partnership that brings research (genetics, genomics, bio-informatics) and over 35 for-profit companies (precision medicine, diagnostics, drug discovery, biotech services) together. Additionally Nektar operates a facility supporting drug development with new chemistry approaches. The University of Alabama in Huntsville is exploring plant and protein sciences and Alabama A&M is active in plant research. NASA’s operation at the Marshall Space Flight Center has funded biotech experiments and research on the International Space Station — one of the U.S. National Labs.

    3. The Auburn-Opelika area is a hot bed of research from Auburn University, specializing in genetics, biomaterials and drug discovery, along with corporate and manufacturing facilities for SiO2 (medical products), Baxter (dialyzer production), Vitruvias Therapeutics (injectables) and Pharmavite (high quality vitamins).

    4. The Montgomery area is represented by two universities, Tuskegee and Alabama State, as well as commercial endeavors Steris (medical equipment manufacturer) and Kowa Pharmaceuticals (pharma products).

    5. In Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama is active in drug discovery and protein engineering, as well as new activity in health IT.

    6. Mobile is represented by the University of South Alabama where fusion protein therapeutics and personalized medicine are being researched and spin offs are encouraged through the USA Coastal Innovation Hub, a high-tech business incubator. Mobile is also a landing spot for new businesses at the Innovation PortAL, a public-private entity for early seed and start-up opportunities. Swift Biotechnology, located at USA’s Mitchell Cancer Institute, is developing early detection techniques for cancer diagnosis.

    BIO Alabama supports Southeast BIO (SEBIO) and Southeast Medical Device Association (SEMDA), organizations that help build bridges to industry and research in our region.

    The biosciences are thriving in Alabama. We are in the top 20 percent of the country for bioscience share of total R&D expenditures. Start-ups are popping up across the state. New intellectual property is coming from the institutions and industry is growing and hiring graduates from our state institutions. The bioscience sector is gaining critical mass and attracting top researchers and new industry to the state. State legislators see this industry as a high value and growing contributor to the state economy.

    To read the original story, click here.

  • 27 Feb 2018 5:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Southern Research oncology researcher Dr. Bo Xu, M.D., Ph.D., says new research suggests combining an experimental enzyme blocker and a standard chemotherapy drug could improve treatments for patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer.

    The pairing of the enzyme inhibitor known as SLC-0111 and the chemo drug temozolomide is the focus of a research project led by Anita Hjelmeland, Ph.D., at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Southern Research collaborated on the project.

    A key finding is that adding SLC-0111 significantly improved the effectiveness of the chemo drug in experiments involving glioblastoma. In both cell culture and animal tests, the pairing delivered better results, as measured by regression of the tumor, than either the enzyme blocker or the chemo drug did on its own.

    Treatment usually involves surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, but the cancer tends to recur months later.Glioblastoma multiform (GBM) is an aggressive brain cancer, and its cause is unknown. The median survival rate for patients being treated for glioblastoma is 14.6 months, with a low rate of survival beyond five years, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

    “There are limited options today for glioblastoma patients,” said Xu, Distinguished Fellow and Chair of the Oncology Department at Southern Research. “There is an urgent need for new drugs for treating this disease.”

    TARGET: CA9

    The UAB research project is targeting a carbonic anhydrase enzyme known as CA9, which GBM cells overexpress it to maintain balance in their microenvironment in the brain. Blocking the enzyme using SLC-0111 could disrupt that balance and allow the chemo drug to better do its work.

    “Our experiments strongly suggest that a strategy to target a carbonic anhydrase that is increased in glioblastoma, CA9, will improve temozolomide efficacy,” Hjelmeland said in a UAB News story. “We believe the drug combination could improve patient outcomes in glioblastomas sensitive to chemotherapy.”

    Southern Research’s role in the project was to help the UAB researchers better understand the possible reason the combination worked better against glioblastoma than they did individually, according to Joshua Fried, a UAB postgraduate student in cancer biology and a researcher in Xu’s lab.

    The evidence pointed to the DNA damage response, a network of cellular pathways that takes action against constant threat posed by of damage to DNA in the body. Because breakdowns in this response can trigger cancer formation, hijacking the pathway has become the foundation of oncology therapies.

    “We saw that there was an increase in the DNA damage response when the SLC-0111 and temozolomide were combined, and that the damage persisted longer than with either treatment alone,” Fried said. “It’s sort of a surprise because you wouldn’t think that something that regulates pH-balance like SC-0111 would contribute to the DNA damage response.”

    Xu said the project illustrates the long-standing collaboration that exists between UAB and Southern Research on these types of projects. The two organizations are partners in the Alabama Drug Discovery Alliance, which has developed a pipeline of potential therapies for several debilitating diseases.

    The study by Hjelmeland’s team was published in JCI Insight. Xu and Fried are listed as co-authors on the paper.

    See original article…


  • 27 Feb 2018 5:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Huntsville, Ala. — HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s Educational Outreach team is bringing its popular genomics teacher training to a national audience. For the first time, the professional development workshop, Genetic Technologies for All Classrooms (GTAC) will be offered to teachers across the country.

    GTAC is a five-day academy for educators that is in its eighth year of training Alabama Life Science educators.

    “Our GTAC workshops provide a hands-on approach to teaching genetics, genomics and biotech concepts,” said Madelene Loftin, educator development lead at HudsonAlpha. “Teachers attending GTAC National will walk away with not only a number of HudsonAlpha resources, but also new and innovative ways to address those subjects in their classrooms.”

    Thanks to the generous support of corporate and individual donors, tuition is reduced to $1,100. Tuition includes 40 hours of professional learning credit, housing, meals and $800 worth of HudsonAlpha kits, materials and classroom resources including Disorder Detectives, Collecting Cancer-Causing Changes (C4) Kit and Genes & ConSEQUENCES.

    “I was totally blown away by my week at GTAC,” said Lori Roberts, an AP Biology teacher at Muscle Shoals High School. “The labs are engaging and current, and I was so excited to hear what the scientists at HudsonAlpha are doing. Their research is breaking new ground in terms of human health and agriculture. I left GTAC with a renewed zeal and love for genetics.” Roberts attended a GTAC workshop last summer.

    Loftin and members of the Educational Outreach team will share information about GTAC: National and other innovative programs for educators at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference March 15-18 in Atlanta, Ga., at booth 1104.

    In addition, Neil Lamb, PhD, vice president for Educational Outreach, will do a presentation for teachers at the conference Saturday, March 17 at 8 am. Lamb will discuss the top biotech discoveries of 2017 and share ways to bring the ‘’too new for textbooks’’ discoveries to the classroom using student-friendly language. Session attendees will receive a free copy of HudsonAlpha’s 2017 Biotechnology Guidebook.

    “The field of biotechnology is continuously changing so my presentation at NSTA will give educators a preview of what to expect at GTAC: National,” said Lamb.

    GTAC: National will take place July 23-27 at HudsonAlpha. To learn more and register, visit hudsonalpha.org/GTACnational.

    See original article…


  • 27 Feb 2018 5:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama presented $950,000 — its largest donation to date — to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center on Feb. 2. BCRFA has donated more than $7.7 million to UAB since its inception in 1996.

    BCRFA makes an annual donation to the Cancer Center with proceeds from its fundraising efforts during the previous year, including BCRFA events, corporate and individual donations, and sales of the breast cancer specialty license plate tags.

    “The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has been central to providing the critical monies for the development and maintenance of the breast cancer research program, making our program one of the most prominent breast cancer programs in the country,” said Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., the new director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. “BCRFA is a perfect example of motivating the community to support new and evolving research.”

    BCRFA’s pilot funding has provided the seed money for many projects to get off the ground. For example, one research project evaluated a new compound, UAB-30, for its ability to prevent breast cancer. The project has evolved now into a clinical trial and, furthermore, secured additional national funding based on data provided by BCRFA seed money.

    Other projects range from examining biomarkers for immunotherapy response to focusing on inhibitors and their impact on chemo drug effectiveness, to a study on the spread of metastatic breast cancer to the brain.

    “Patients come to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center because they can be seen by clinical breast cancer experts and receive ‘cutting-edge’ therapies based upon the ongoing research program,” Birrer said.

    All BCRFA donations remain in Alabama to support research at the UAB Cancer Center and its collaborative partners, providing a lifesaving impact both locally and globally. Community partners for this year’s gift include Tameron Automotive, Belk, The Thompson Family Foundation, Sirote & Permutt, The Alabama Power Foundation, Renasant Bank, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Protective Life Foundation, Thrivent Financial, Spectrum Reach, and iHeart Media, among many others.

    See original article…

  • 13 Feb 2018 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    HudsonAlpha researchers will join leading genomics experts at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology (AGBT) meeting in Orlando, Fla. February 12-15.

    AGBT is a genome science and technology conference where top researchers, leaders and innovators collaborate and discuss new discoveries in genomics, advances in DNA sequencing technologies and more.

    The meeting format includes daytime plenary sessions featuring invited speakers and abstract-selected talks that highlight cutting-edge research across the broad landscape of genomics.

    Richard M. Myers, PhD, HudsonAlpha president, science director and faculty investigator will present Tuesday, February 13 at 9 am during the Technology I plenary session. Myers will discuss, “Human gene regulation: A journey from basic research to biomedical applications.”

    AGBT also will feature evening concurrent sessions about experimental and computational approaches for effectively utilizing the latest DNA sequencing technologies.

    Shawn Levy, PhD, faculty investigator and director HudsonAlpha’s Genomic Services Laboratory (GSL) and Clinical Services Laboratory (CSL), will present Wednesday, February 14 at 7:30 pm during the Translational Genomics Session concurrent session. Levy will discuss, “Single cell transcriptomics of human pancreatic islets reveals novel cell populations.”

    To learn more about AGBT, visit http://www.agbt.org/.

    See original article…


  • 13 Feb 2018 11:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham had $538 million in research expenditures in 2016, and ranked No. 15 nationally among public universities and No. 31 overall in federally funded research in 2016, according to data released by the National Science Foundation.

    “Competition has never been more fierce for research funding, so our increases in funding truly underscore the importance of work being done here,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “UAB will continue to aggressively recruit and support the students, faculty and staff who conduct the transformational work that ensures we stay at the forefront of discovery, making a difference in lives around the world.”

    UAB now ranks sixth among Southeastern universities in federal research expenditures, behind only North Carolina (8), Duke (10), Georgia Tech (11), Vanderbilt (24) and Emory (27). As a state, Alabama received $281.5 million in NIH funding in fiscal year 2016, which makes UAB responsible for more than 85 percent of the state’s NIH-funding dollars.

    UAB researchers have contributed breakthrough scientific research throughout its 49-year history, and this recent year is no different.

    From advancements on the cutting edge of precision medicine research to showing how plants sense the world and securing data sent via voice over internet, to new research showing how a component of neurons may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, UAB continues to produce game-changing scientific breakthroughs throughout its diverse research portfolio.

    The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research also reports that UAB’s National Institutes of Health funding reached $238 million in fiscal year 2016, including $186 million to the School of Medicine. That number is expected to top $195 million in School of Medicine funding in 2017, as the school also exceeded 300 principal investigators for the first time in two decades.

    “UAB is Alabama’s largest single employer, with more than 23,000 employees and an economic impact exceeding $7.15 billion a year; but we have no greater impact than when our innovations improve and save lives,” said Christopher S. Brown, Ph.D., vice president for Research. “We have the right people and priorities to maintain the momentum we have built to ensure we are among the world’s leading comprehensive research universities, and these new data further affirms our efforts.”

    Read more UAB Research news at www.uab.edu/news/research.

    See original article…


  • 6 Feb 2018 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BIO Alabama is looking to formalize a life sciences network throughout the state to enhance economic development in an important industry that stretches to nearly every corner of Alabama.

    The state’s industry organization is aligned with the national Biotechnology Innovation Organization, or BIO, the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotech centers and related organizations.

    Peggy Sammon, CEO of GeneCapture Inc. in Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, is on the BioAlabama board of directors. She outlined plans for BioAlabama to take the lead in helping grow biotech in the state at the Economic Development Association of Alabama Winter Conference earlier this week.


    A key element of that plan is to formalize a relationship between the state’s nine major bioscience assets in the state – UAB, HudsonAlpha, Southern Research, Tuskegee University, Auburn University, Alabama A&M, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of South Alabama.

    “In every one of those locations, there is some groundbreaking research happening – whether it’s in human health or genetics or plant science,” Sammon said. “There is also a surprising amount of collaboration between these organizations and institutions, so it’s a good time in Alabama to see the bio-focus happening.”

    BIO Alabama fosters economic development in Alabama’s life sciences from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

    In addition to the nearly $1 billion in research dollars coming into these institutions each year, Sammon said investors are putting money behind a number of entrepreneurs starting bioscience companies in the state, and programs like Alabama Launchpad are putting dollars into the industry.

    “The research dollars that pour into the state are a very big part of what’s happening here,” she said. “They are the catalyst that gets a lot of new products to come out of the state.”

    Sammon said Alabama can do more to support the industry and help it grow. She said states like Georgia and Massachusetts have programs and private sector support that Alabama could learn from.

    But, Sammon said, Alabama is already focusing on one important area for the industry to grow.

    “The companies that are coming to Alabama or growing in Alabama are looking for a highly skilled workforce,” she said. “If we look across the state, there are good science and biology programs in a lot of the major universities, of course, but also in a lot of the community colleges, so there is a good drive to bring a workforce into this part of the ecosystem.”

    Local and state economic development groups have identified bioscience as an area where the state is poised to grow.

    “Alabama’s bioscience industry is a vital economic engine for our state, creating high-paying jobs and generating important innovations that improve the quality of life for people here at home and all around the world,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We’re focused on fostering growth in the bioscience sector and collaborating with the state’s research leaders to make that happen.”

    Sammon said BioAlabama is ready to take a lead role in making that growth happen.

    “In the last couple of years, because there has been so much growth in Alabama – in all of the research centers and in commercial development – this is a time where we’re starting to see the ecosystem is actually having a bigger component in BioAlabama,” she said.

    See original article…


  • 6 Feb 2018 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Huntsville, Ala. – HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, a nonprofit research institute in Huntsville, Ala., will host the second Genomic Medicine Conference March 26-28, 2018.

    The Genomic Medicine Conference is an interdisciplinary and international program where physicians, researchers and other medical professionals will convene at the HudsonAlpha campus to discuss new findings, best practices, and challenges in the full implementation of genomics into clinical care.

    Keynote speakers include Neil Lamb, PhD, HudsonAlpha vice president for Educational Outreach; Nancy Cox, PhD, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and Vandana Shashi, MD, MBBS, from Duke University School of Medicine.

    “The conference is going to discuss a variety of genomics topics including new discoveries in rare and common disease, sequencing technologies, ethical considerations and more,” said Lamb, “This is intended to empower clinicians with the information they need to integrate genomics into medical practice.”

    The conference also will feature speakers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine, Emory School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and more.

    In addition, practitioners will have the opportunity receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits.

    For more information and to register, visit hudsonalpha.org/genomicmedicineconference/.


  • 6 Feb 2018 12:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Human peripheral nerves — all the nerves outside of the central nervous system — are protected by the blood-nerve barrier. This is a tight covering of endothelial cells that maintains the microenvironment within the nerves by restricting the amounts or types of water, ions, solutes and nutrients that can reach the axons, or electric cables within the nerves, from the blood circulation system.

    This allows the nerves to function.

    “I describe these endothelial cells as a gate or door that controls what goes into and out of the nerve; it is the gateway between the systemic blood circulation and the peripheral nerves,” said Eroboghene Ubogu, M.D., professor of neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

    Little is known about the components that make up this door, and without that knowledge, neurologists like Ubogu are hard-pressed to develop specific treatments for the 20 million to 30 million U.S. patients, and hundreds of millions worldwide, with peripheral nerve disease. “If we don’t understand what makes up this door that allows materials to go in or out, and how the door really works, how can we come up with specific treatments when nerves do not work?” Ubogu said.

    In research published in Scientific Reports, Ubogu and UAB colleagues — for the first time — describe the transcriptome of these specialized cells called endoneurial endothelial cells, finding 12,881 RNA transcripts that define the normal human blood-nerve barrier. These messenger RNAs are the templates for a cell’s building blocks, the proteins that provide structure and function to the living cell.

    Previous research on the blood-nerve barrier tended to look at just one or a few cell components at a time. The transcriptome reveals every component active in normal endoneurial endothelial cells that form the human blood-nerve barrier.

    “It is as if previously we worked before with a little flashlight,” said Ubogu, who has studied the blood-nerve barrier since 2007. “This is a huge, revealing floodlight. For example, I probably knew no more than six components of the tight junctions present at the blood-nerve barrier. With this paper, we came up with 133 components involved in tight and adherens junctions. This is like a dream come true.”

    Knowledge of normal RNA and protein expression in the endoneurial endothelial cells provides an essential blueprint or reference guide. This guide will help physicians and researchers understand how peripheral nerves are kept healthy and help clinicians and medical chemists figure out which transporters are active in endoneurial endothelial cells, so they can design drug treatments that can actually reach the nerves or are prevented from causing toxic damage to nerves. The guide can also direct translational research in peripheral neuropathies by observing how components may be disrupted or altered during disease or injury, and help develop better treatments for chronic pain.

    Ubogu’s study started from normal frozen human sural nerves preserved in the Shin J. Oh Muscle and Nerve Histopathology Laboratory at UAB. The sural nerve, found in the outer calf region of the leg, is commonly biopsied as part of certain peripheral neuropathy workups.

    “I describe these endothelial cells as a gate or door that controls what goes into and out of the nerve; it is the gateway between the systemic blood circulation and the peripheral nerves,” said Ubogu.The UAB team isolated RNA transcripts from the blood-nerve barrier forming microvessels directly from the frozen sural nerve tissue using a specialized technique called laser-capture microdissection. At least 200 microvessels were collected from two female and two male adults who had normal nerve biopsies. The team also isolated RNA from purified endoneurial endothelial cells previously isolated from an adult woman and grown in tissue culture. They isolated RNA from three passages, or early, and eight passages, or late, for this study. The early and late comparison was to make sure the RNA did not change in these cells because of tissue culture.

    RNA from the endoneurial microvessels and endothelial cells was sequenced. For the microvessels from the biopsies, called the in situ blood-nerve barrier, transcripts had to agree for at least three of the four sources. For the endoneurial endothelial cells from tissue culture, called in vitro blood-nerve barrier, transcripts had to agree at both passages. The researchers found 12,881 RNA transcripts that were common to the in situ and in vitro blood-nerve barrier. The tissue-cultured endoneurial endothelial cells acted as a control to correct for possible contamination of the in situ blood-nerve barrier by cells like pericytes and leukocytes present with microvessels during laser-capture microdissection.

    The transcriptome was validated two ways. First, the transcriptome was found to include previously identified vascular endothelial markers, enzymes, scavenger receptors, mitogen receptors, nutrient transporters, cellular adhesion molecules, chemokines, adherens and tight junction, and junction associated molecules. Second, the researchers showed expression, as detected by indirect fluorescent immunohistochemistry, of specific proteins that were identified by this study in the sural nerve endoneurial microvessels of another adult woman with a normal biopsy. This included markers that had and had not been previously identified in these endothelial cells — 31 selected cell membrane, chemokine receptor, cytoskeletal, junctional complex and secreted proteins.

    Ubogu expects a host of translational work to build upon this research.

    Knowing the molecules relevant for growth of blood vessels and formation of intercellular junction complexes could guide therapeutic strategies to repair peripheral nerves after traumatic injury. This knowledge could also help restore and preserve peripheral nerve function in patients with peripheral neuropathies from other reasons, such as diabetes and cancer.Knowledge of the components and regulators of small molecule and macromolecular transport unique to the human blood-nerve barrier can aid development of drugs that can use the array of influx transporters, channels and receptor-mediated transcytosis components to reach the nerves. This is important in developing effective drugs for peripheral neuropathies and treating chronic neuropathic pain, a condition that affects 1 percent to 10 percent of people worldwide. This is crucially important as the world deals with the opioid crisis and seeks better treatments, with fewer side effects, for chronic pain.

    Ubogu says the study provides essential information on the possible determinants of leukocyte trafficking during normal immunosurveillance and the biological networks that may be involved in peripheral nerve innate and adaptive immune responses. This could improve our understanding of how the human blood-nerve barrier responds to injury, viral infections or microbial entry from the bloodstream into peripheral nerves.

    The work could also help us better understand the pathogenesis and targeted treatment of peripheral nerve-restricted autoimmune disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, two conditions that can lead to loss of productivity and economic independence, chronic pain or disability.

    “The unique resources within the UAB neuromuscular division and the collaboration with the UAB Heflin Center for Genomic Science were essential to this project to figure out the human blood-nerve barrier transcriptome as quickly and comprehensively as we did,” Ubogu said.

    Co-authors with Ubogu of the paper “The human blood-nerve barrier transcriptome” are Steven P. Palladino, E. Scott Helton and Chaoling Dong, Neuromuscular Immunopathology Research Laboratory, Division of Neuromuscular Disease, UAB Department of Neurology; and Preti Jain, Michael R. Crowley, Ph.D., and David K. Crossman, Ph.D., Heflin Center for Genomic Science, UAB Department of Genetics.

    Support came from National Institutes of Health grant NS075212 and UAB institutional funds.

    See original article…


  • 23 Jan 2018 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Auburn University President Steven Leath is establishing a new graduate fellowship program to support research and innovation by Auburn doctoral students, while enhancing their careers as academic and societal leaders.

    The Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship program will provide $3 million over three years, consisting of $1 million from the university and $2 million from the respective colleges, schools and departments in which the fellows are enrolled.

    “The fellowships are a significant part of the university’s strategic plan to conduct and bring impactful research to the national forefront,” Leath said. “We expect the program to attract top students already at Auburn as well as those from across the world. Fellowship recipients will work with renowned faculty in established and emerging areas of excellence.”

    A minimum of 33 new fellowships will be available each fall beginning in fall 2018. Each award will be for three years and will consist of a $10,000 Presidential Fellowship, a minimum $5,000 Dean’s Fellowship and a minimum $15,000 graduate research assistantship, along with tuition and fees. Additional financial support may be provided in subsequent years by the fellow’s department and college or school.

    “These fellowship will be used as a tool to recruit outstanding students from across the country to study in any doctoral degree program on campus,” said George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School. “We expect that these students will have a major positive impact on our research and scholarship.”

    Leath and Flowers developed the program with Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, and John Mason, Auburn University vice president for research and economic development.

    Proposal criteria and other program information are available at www.graduate.auburn.edu/presidential. The deadline for nominations is March 1.

    See original article…


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