TXBiobytes from Texas Biomed https://www.txbiomed.org The latest news on biomedical research and discoveries from Texas Biomedical Research Institute Sat, 23 Feb 2019 12:19:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 The latest news on biomedical research and discoveries from Texas Biomedical Research Institute Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean episodic Texas Biomedical Research Institute *protected email* *protected email* (Texas Biomedical Research Institute) The latest news on biomedical research and discoveries from Texas Biomedical Research Institute TXBiobytes from Texas Biomed http://www.txbiomed.org/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/Final-Podcast-Texas_Biomed-649.jpg https://www.txbiomed.org *protected email* The latest news on biomedical research and discoveries from Texas Biomedical Research Institute TV-G San Antonio, Texas BiWeekly TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 028 — “Lab on a Chip” Holds the Power to Test for Zika https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-028-lab-on-a-chip-holds-the-power-to-test-for-zika/ Tue, 12 Feb 2019 15:00:06 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=8411 A collaboration of scientists including Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Professor Jean Patterson, Ph.D., are working on a new way to detect Zika virus that will help guide clinicians in their treatment of patients with the disease. The new technology will screen bodily fluids such as blood, urine or semen, for the presence of the virus. The experimental diagnostic tool will also help pinpoint the stage of the disease in those infected. Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Brigham Young University, and the University of California at Berkeley developed the technology that is now being tested to see if it is effective. Electrical engineering Professor Holger Schmidt, Ph.D., of UC Santa Cruz is one of the leading researchers testing the technology, which he describes as “a lab on a chip.” Texas Biomed’s role in this scientific advancement is to provide knowledge about the virus and viral material to the team of researchers. “What this technology will do is tell us, first of all, if you’ve already been infected,” Dr. Patterson explained. “If you have antibodies, you wouldn’t be at risk for a new infection. It will also tell us where you are in your infection.” Knowing the stage of the disease is critical since many antivirals only work early in infections and are not effective later in the course of the disease. This particular diagnostic test would tell clinicians if the patient is showing a sign of recent infection or if the disease has progressed. The mosquito-borne illness was first identified in Uganda in 1947, but Zika roared into international headlines in 2014 when cases of the virus in Brazil were shown to have a connection to devastating birth defects in babies born to mothers who had Zika while pregnant. The study into a new diagnostic technology to pinpoint Zika started two years ago. Patterson is confident her work will contribute to more effective diagnostics. “We’ve got this,” Patterson stated. The same test is being developed for another pathogen Texas Biomed researches: Ebola virus. Dr. Schmidt is hopeful this technology would be helpful for people in remote areas affected by Ebola, such as parts of Africa. The collaboration of scientists working on the project have applied for another scientific grant and they plan to apply for a grant to commercialize the experimental Zika test. A collaboration of scientists including Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Professor Jean Patterson, Ph.D., are working on a new way to detect Zika virus that will help guide clinicians in their treatment of patients with the disease. A collaboration of scientists including Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Professor Jean Patterson, Ph.D., are working on a new way to detect Zika virus that will help guide clinicians in their treatment of patients with the disease. The new technology will screen bodily fluids such as blood, urine or semen, for the presence of the virus. The experimental diagnostic tool will also help pinpoint the stage of the disease in those infected.<br /> <br /> Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Brigham Young University, and the University of California at Berkeley developed the technology that is now being tested to see if it is effective. Electrical engineering Professor Holger Schmidt, Ph.D., of UC Santa Cruz is one of the leading researchers testing the technology, which he describes as “a lab on a chip.”<br /> <br /> Texas Biomed’s role in this scientific advancement is to provide knowledge about the virus and viral material to the team of researchers.<br /> <br /> “What this technology will do is tell us, first of all, if you’ve already been infected,” Dr. Patterson explained. “If you have antibodies, you wouldn’t be at risk for a new infection. It will also tell us where you are in your infection.”<br /> <br /> Knowing the stage of the disease is critical since many antivirals only work early in infections and are not effective later in the course of the disease. This particular diagnostic test would tell clinicians if the patient is showing a sign of recent infection or if the disease has progressed.<br /> <br /> The mosquito-borne illness was first identified in Uganda in 1947, but Zika roared into international headlines in 2014 when cases of the virus in Brazil were shown to have a connection to devastating birth defects in babies born to mothers who had Zika while pregnant.<br /> <br /> The study into a new diagnostic technology to pinpoint Zika started two years ago. Patterson is confident her work will contribute to more effective diagnostics.<br /> <br /> “We’ve got this,” Patterson stated.<br /> <br /> The same test is being developed for another pathogen Texas Biomed researches: Ebola virus. Dr. Schmidt is hopeful this technology would be helpful for people in remote areas affected by Ebola, such as parts of Africa.<br /> <br /> The collaboration of scientists working on the project have applied for another scientific grant and they plan to apply for a grant to commercialize the experimental Zika test. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 9:48 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 027 — Epigenetics & Childhood Obesity https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-027-epigenetics-childhood-obesity/ Tue, 29 Jan 2019 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=8177 Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. Now, with the help of a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Associate Professor Melanie Carless, Ph.D., is using the field of epigenetics to study this nagging problem. Dr. Carless will look at the way DNA, RNA, and proteins are affected by both the environment and genetic makeup to impact the risk of obesity. Two Texas Biomed researchers are collaborating with Dr. Carless. Associate Professor Tiziano Barberi, Ph.D., is lending his expertise in the development of pluripotent stem cells. Associate Professor Shelley Cole, Ph.D., is helping with the date from the cohort of 900 Texas Hispanic children used in the study.   Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. Now, with the help of a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Associate Professor Melanie Carless, Ph.D., is using the field of epigenetics to study this... Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. Now, with the help of a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Associate Professor Melanie Carless, Ph.D., is using the field of epigenetics to study this nagging problem. Dr. Carless will look at the way DNA, RNA, and proteins are affected by both the environment and genetic makeup to impact the risk of obesity.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Two Texas Biomed researchers are collaborating with Dr. Carless. Associate Professor Tiziano Barberi, Ph.D., is lending his expertise in the development of pluripotent stem cells. Associate Professor Shelley Cole, Ph.D., is helping with the date from the cohort of 900 Texas Hispanic children used in the study.<br /> <br />   Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 17:29 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 026 — ‘Colaboracion con Mexico’ Targets Cardiovascular Disease https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-026-colaboracion-con-mexico-targets-cardiovascular-disease/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 15:00:59 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7893 Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists have been granted funding from the National Institutes of Health to pursue a promising study on the ultimate causes of heart disease and metabolic disorders. Principal Investigators Raul A. Bastarrachea, MD, and Jack W. Kent Jr., Ph.D., of Texas Biomedical Research Institute have designed the GEMM Family Study (Genetics of Metabolic Diseases in Mexico or Genética de las Enfermedades Metabólicas en México). The GEMM Family Study examines volunteers from 10 university hospital sites in Mexico. Blood samples and tissue samples collected from participants are analyzed at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Healthy adults provide baseline blood samples and muscle biopsies at fasting. Then, they are given what’s called a meal challenge. The volunteers eat 30 percent of what their bodies need for their individual daily energy needs based on their Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) and activity level. If their metabolism is working correctly, that food – a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fat and micronutrients – should be metabolized, oxidized, or stored within five hours. By taking another muscle biopsy and blood samples at several points during the five hours following the meal, the researchers hope to find out why some otherwise healthy people may have an impaired response to a meal which can lead to cardiovascular disease over time. “The idea behind the GEMM Family Study is to pinpoint novel biomarkers of metabolic responses that could be early predictors of cardiovascular disease,” explained Dr. Bastarrachea. Distinguishing those biomarkers could lead to earlier diagnoses and interventions based on individual results. Heart disease is a major health problem for Hispanic Americans. High rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure put them at great risk for cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart attacks. The scientists anticipate that findings from the GEMM Family Study will have implications for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the GEMM Family Study researchers $544,803 over two years to study data from 40 people in Mexico. Using that preliminary data, Texas Biomed scientists plan to apply for a larger NIH grant that would fund the study of data collected from 400 individuals. Texas Biomed has a long history of researching genetic contributors to heart disease risk in family studies, including ongoing collaboration in the StrongHeart Study of American Indians. The GEMM Family Study is being supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R56DK114703. This study will involve collaborative research by scientists at TBRI and UT Health San Antonio. Molecular analyses of gene expression will be conducted by the laboratory of Dr. Shelley Cole and the TBRI Genomics Sequencing Core. Other molecular profiling will be conducted at the UT Health Mass Spectrometry Laboratory under the supervision of Drs. Susan Weintraub and Xianlin Han. The locations in Mexico where volunteers are taking part in the GEMM Family Study are: MONTERREY, Facultad de Enfermería, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL), Facultad de Salud Pública y Nutrición (Faspyn), UANL, Hospital Metropolitano Monterrey (Dr. Esther Gallegos and Dr. Edna Nava) MERIDA, Escuela de Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad Marista de Mérida (Dr. Hugo Laviada and LN Maria Fernanda Molina) CUERNAVACA, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (Dr. Jesús Santa-Olalla and and Dr. Jose Ángeles Chimal) CHIHUAHUA, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua (Dr. Irene Leal) MORELIA, Universidad Latina de América, Michoacán (Dr. Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists have been granted funding from the National Institutes of Health to pursue a promising study on the ultimate causes of heart disease and metabolic disorders. Principal Investigators Raul A. Bastarrachea, Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists have been granted funding from the National Institutes of Health to pursue a promising study on the ultimate causes of heart disease and metabolic disorders. Principal Investigators Raul A. Bastarrachea, MD, and Jack W. Kent Jr., Ph.D., of Texas Biomedical Research Institute have designed the GEMM Family Study (Genetics of Metabolic Diseases in Mexico or Genética de las Enfermedades Metabólicas en México).<br /> <br /> The GEMM Family Study examines volunteers from 10 university hospital sites in Mexico. Blood samples and tissue samples collected from participants are analyzed at Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.<br /> <br /> Healthy adults provide baseline blood samples and muscle biopsies at fasting. Then, they are given what’s called a meal challenge. The volunteers eat 30 percent of what their bodies need for their individual daily energy needs based on their Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) and activity level.<br /> <br /> If their metabolism is working correctly, that food – a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fat and micronutrients – should be metabolized, oxidized, or stored within five hours. By taking another muscle biopsy and blood samples at several points during the five hours following the meal, the researchers hope to find out why some otherwise healthy people may have an impaired response to a meal which can lead to cardiovascular disease over time.<br /> <br /> “The idea behind the GEMM Family Study is to pinpoint novel biomarkers of metabolic responses that could be early predictors of cardiovascular disease,” explained Dr. Bastarrachea. Distinguishing those biomarkers could lead to earlier diagnoses and interventions based on individual results.<br /> <br /> Heart disease is a major health problem for Hispanic Americans. High rates of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure put them at great risk for cardiovascular problems like strokes and heart attacks. The scientists anticipate that findings from the GEMM Family Study will have implications for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.<br /> <br /> The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the GEMM Family Study researchers $544,803 over two years to study data from 40 people in Mexico. Using that preliminary data, Texas Biomed scientists plan to apply for a larger NIH grant that would fund the study of data collected from 400 individuals.<br /> <br /> Texas Biomed has a long history of researching genetic contributors to heart disease risk in family studies, including ongoing collaboration in the StrongHeart Study of American Indians.<br /> <br /> The GEMM Family Study is being supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R56DK114703.<br /> <br /> This study will involve collaborative research by scientists at TBRI and UT Health San Antonio. Molecular analyses of gene expression will be conducted by the laboratory of Dr. Shelley Cole and the TBRI Genomics Sequencing Core. Other molecular profiling will be conducted at the UT Health Mass Spectrometry Laboratory under the supervision of Drs. Susan Weintraub and Xianlin Han.<br /> <br /> The locations in Mexico where volunteers are taking part in the GEMM Family Study are:<br /> <br /> MONTERREY, Facultad de Enfermería, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL), Facultad de Salud Pública y Nutrición (Faspyn), UANL, Hospital Metropolitano Monterrey (Dr. Esther Gallegos and Dr. Edna Nava)<br /> MERIDA, Escuela de Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad Marista de Mérida (Dr. Hugo Laviada and LN Maria Fernanda Molina)<br /> CUERNAVACA, Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (Dr. Jesús Santa-Olalla and and Dr. Jose Ángeles Chimal)<br /> CHIHUAHUA, Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 13:55 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 025 — Tissue Bank Deposits Generate Interest https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-025-tissue-bank-deposits-generate-interest/ Tue, 01 Jan 2019 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7697 In the Hixon Hospital, drawers upon drawers hold thousands of animal tissue samples. Protected in wax, this collection is a valuable resource for Texas Biomed scientists and researchers at other institutions that participate in a tissue sharing program. Scientists who wrote a recent article published in the Journal of Medical Primatology titled “Papio Spp. Colon microbiome and its link to obesity in pregnancy” used tissue samples from the Southwest National Primate Research Center to test a hypothesis: Are there changes in the kinds of bacteria found in obese animals versus normal weight animals? Could those differences influence the outcome of pregnancy? Obese women at are increased risk of a number of pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and the need for a cesarean delivery. Edward Dick, Jr., D.V.M., is a veterinary pathologist at the SNPRC who is one of the authors of the article. He explains “the microbiome is a new research area that’s being studied extensively in humans, but no one had really looked at the baboon to see how it compares to the human. This was the first attempt to do that.” The colon microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. It plays an important role in health, including digestion and immunities. The SNPRC tissue bank provided samples of gut microbiome from four obese pregnant baboons and four normal weight pregnant baboons.  These were evaluated by researchers from the College of Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. When comparing the samples, scientists noted some differences. For instance, the population of one certain bacterium was increased ten-fold in the obese baboons. Antibodies to this particular bacterium have been associated with metabolic disturbances and insulin resistance in people. On the flip side, two other bacteria used to help ferment carbohydrates and metabolize fatty acids were reduced in the obese baboons. The question is whether differences in the colon microbiome could make a difference in the outcome of pregnancy. The short answer is that it’s possible. Much more research needs to be conducted. The study concludes “changes in the gut microbiome in pregnant obese animals open the venue for dietary manipulation in pregnancy.” If this proves to be the case, researchers may be able to come up with a suitable target for microbiome-related intervention during pregnancy. The article also acknowledges “the help and dedication of the many excellent animal caretakers, technicians, and veterinarians of the Southwest National Primate Research Center.” Obesity is a public health concern in the U.S. and around the world. Since the children of obese mothers have a risk of future obesity and heart disease, this kind of research into underlying factors that might be controlled during pregnancy is important. Dr. Dick says this collaborative research project is a good example of the power of banked tissue for biomedical research. The SNPRC has samples with records on diagnoses that go all the way back to 1988. Dr. Schlabritz-Lutsevich (Associate Professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin) is the Principal Investigator, senior and corresponding author on this study.  Study was funded by UTHSCSA, UTHSC and TTUHSC. Dr. Schlabritz-Lutsevich worked closely with the group of Dr. Peter Nathanielsz, who provided continuous support. She assembled the interdisciplinary team, which included Dr. Karen Nelson – the first scientists, who published first microbiome study in 2006, Dr. Christopher Rensing – University of Denmark (in addition to other authors). The help of Dept. of Pathology SNPRC was critical for this research, especially Dr. Edward Dick and Dr. Gene Hubbard. Dr. Franco Folli is now Professor of Endocrinology, University of Milan, Italy. In the Hixon Hospital, drawers upon drawers hold thousands of animal tissue samples. Protected in wax, this collection is a valuable resource for Texas Biomed scientists and researchers at other institutions that participate in a tissue sharing program... In the Hixon Hospital, drawers upon drawers hold thousands of animal tissue samples. Protected in wax, this collection is a valuable resource for Texas Biomed scientists and researchers at other institutions that participate in a tissue sharing program.<br /> <br /> Scientists who wrote a recent article published in the Journal of Medical Primatology titled “Papio Spp. Colon microbiome and its link to obesity in pregnancy” used tissue samples from the Southwest National Primate Research Center to test a hypothesis: Are there changes in the kinds of bacteria found in obese animals versus normal weight animals? Could those differences influence the outcome of pregnancy?<br /> <br /> Obese women at are increased risk of a number of pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and the need for a cesarean delivery.<br /> <br /> Edward Dick, Jr., D.V.M., is a veterinary pathologist at the SNPRC who is one of the authors of the article. He explains “the microbiome is a new research area that’s being studied extensively in humans, but no one had really looked at the baboon to see how it compares to the human. This was the first attempt to do that.”<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The colon microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. It plays an important role in health, including digestion and immunities.<br /> <br /> The SNPRC tissue bank provided samples of gut microbiome from four obese pregnant baboons and four normal weight pregnant baboons.  These were evaluated by researchers from the College of Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.<br /> <br /> When comparing the samples, scientists noted some differences. For instance, the population of one certain bacterium was increased ten-fold in the obese baboons. Antibodies to this particular bacterium have been associated with metabolic disturbances and insulin resistance in people.<br /> <br /> On the flip side, two other bacteria used to help ferment carbohydrates and metabolize fatty acids were reduced in the obese baboons.<br /> <br /> The question is whether differences in the colon microbiome could make a difference in the outcome of pregnancy. The short answer is that it’s possible. Much more research needs to be conducted.<br /> <br /> The study concludes “changes in the gut microbiome in pregnant obese animals open the venue for dietary manipulation in pregnancy.” If this proves to be the case, researchers may be able to come up with a suitable target for microbiome-related intervention during pregnancy.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The article also acknowledges “the help and dedication of the many excellent animal caretakers, technicians, and veterinarians of the Southwest National Primate Research Center.”<br /> <br /> Obesity is a public health concern in the U.S. and around the world. Since the children of obese mothers have a risk of future obesity and heart disease, this kind of research into underlying factors that might be controlled during pregnancy is important.<br /> <br /> Dr. Dick says this collaborative research project is a good example of the power of banked tissue for biomedical research. The SNPRC has samples with records on diagnoses that go all the way back to 1988.<br /> <br /> Dr. Schlabritz-Lutsevich (Associate Professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin) is the Principal Investigator, senior and corresponding author on this study.  Study was funded by UTHSCSA, UTHSC and TTUHSC. Dr. Schlabritz-Lutsevich worked closely with the group of Dr. Peter Nathanielsz, who provided continuous support. She assembled the interdisciplinary team, which included Dr. Karen Nelson – the first scientists, who published first microbiome study in 2006, Dr. Christopher Rensing – University of Denmark (in addition to other authors). The help of Dept. of Pathology SNPRC was critical for this research, especially Dr. Edward Dick and Dr. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 7:57 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 024– Natural History Studies https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-natural-history-studies/ Tue, 18 Dec 2018 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7646 When you hear the phrase “natural history” – what comes to mind? A display at a museum? A college course? At Texas Biomed, natural history means a certain kind of study that tracks the course of an infectious disease Associate Scientist Ricardo Carrion, Jr., Ph.D., serves as the Director of Maximum Containment Contract Research. He explains that documenting the course of a disease -- in this case, Ebola virus --in a nonhuman primate helps make sure the monkey is a good and accurate model. The FDA will use these animal models to evaluate experimental Ebola vaccines and therapeutics that come through the pipeline. The federal government characterizes Ebola as a high priority threat. That’s why money is being invested – to protect people – with either a vaccine or a therapeutic if the virus happened to come into the United States, as it did in 2014 when two nurses in Dallas contracted the disease from a patient with Ebola who traveled here from Africa. While most people in America don’t see Ebola as a threat, there is a chance the virus could be weaponized for a bioterrorism attack…or it could show up again in a visitor arriving from another country. Texas Biomed competed for -- and won -- the grant to conduct these natural history studies, in part, because of its long and successful history working with high containment pathogens. When you hear the phrase “natural history” – what comes to mind? A display at a museum? A college course? At Texas Biomed, natural history means a certain kind of study that tracks the course of an infectious disease - When you hear the phrase “natural history” – what comes to mind? A display at a museum? A college course? At Texas Biomed, natural history means a certain kind of study that tracks the course of an infectious disease<br /> <br /> Associate Scientist Ricardo Carrion, Jr., Ph.D., serves as the Director of Maximum Containment Contract Research. He explains that documenting the course of a disease -- in this case, Ebola virus --in a nonhuman primate helps make sure the monkey is a good and accurate model.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The FDA will use these animal models to evaluate experimental Ebola vaccines and therapeutics that come through the pipeline. The federal government characterizes Ebola as a high priority threat. That’s why money is being invested – to protect people – with either a vaccine or a therapeutic if the virus happened to come into the United States, as it did in 2014 when two nurses in Dallas contracted the disease from a patient with Ebola who traveled here from Africa. While most people in America don’t see Ebola as a threat, there is a chance the virus could be weaponized for a bioterrorism attack…or it could show up again in a visitor arriving from another country.<br /> <br /> Texas Biomed competed for -- and won -- the grant to conduct these natural history studies, in part, because of its long and successful history working with high containment pathogens. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 7:26 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 023 — The Ebola-malaria connection https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-023-the-ebola-malaria-connection/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 15:00:16 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7622 Can an infection with a parasitic disease increase the risk of developing a deadly virus? That's the question under study at Texas Biomed, where Staff Scientist Olena Shtanko, Ph.D. is conducting work as part of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The hypothesis under study is that people who have acute malarial infection may experience some protective effects against Ebola infection. On the flip side, patients who have been infected with malaria but are no longer in the acute phase of the disease may be more susceptible to Ebola infection. Knowing whether this is true could lead to more targeted therapies and also open the door to new discoveries about the interplay of other infectious diseases. Ebola and malaria are both endemic in Africa. Can an infection with a parasitic disease increase the risk of developing a deadly virus? That's the question under study at Texas Biomed, where Staff Scientist Olena Shtanko, Ph.D. is conducting work as part of a study funded by the National Institute... Can an infection with a parasitic disease increase the risk of developing a deadly virus? That's the question under study at Texas Biomed, where Staff Scientist Olena Shtanko, Ph.D. is conducting work as part of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The hypothesis under study is that people who have acute malarial infection may experience some protective effects against Ebola infection. On the flip side, patients who have been infected with malaria but are no longer in the acute phase of the disease may be more susceptible to Ebola infection.<br /> <br /> Knowing whether this is true could lead to more targeted therapies and also open the door to new discoveries about the interplay of other infectious diseases.<br /> <br /> Ebola and malaria are both endemic in Africa. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:24 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 022 – Promising Protection Against a Killer https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-022-promising-protection-against-a-killer/ Tue, 20 Nov 2018 16:53:49 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7556 Growing up in Africa, Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D. witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. She decided to study science and work on ways to combat this global killer. Her heart still breaks for the way the African people have suffered in the AIDS epidemic. Now, as a Texas Biomed scientist, she is studying ways to combat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Gauduin and her team came up with a patented way to create a vaccine. It's a genetically-engineered vaccine strategy to prevent HIV infection that targets the outer layers of body structures that are the first site of contact for the virus. Designed to be a single dose that lasts a lifetime, the vaccine will lead to the continual production of disease-fighting cells without being eliminated by the immune system. The experimental vaccine is directed to what are known as the musocal layers of the epithelium in the genital and rectal areas where the virus enter the body.         Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D., in Africa   Another feature of the vaccine system is that it could be adapted to other infections. Now, Dr. Gauduin is working on another approach to vaccinating against HIV using a different virus that targets the same area of the body HPV (human papilloma virus). Dr. Gauduin has more than 25 years of experience in HIV/AIDS research and medical microbiology. Growing up in Africa, Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D. witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. She decided to study science and work on ways to combat this global killer. Her heart still breaks for the way the African ... Growing up in Africa, Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D. witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. She decided to study science and work on ways to combat this global killer. Her heart still breaks for the way the African people have suffered in the AIDS epidemic.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Now, as a Texas Biomed scientist, she is studying ways to combat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Dr. Gauduin and her team came up with a patented way to create a vaccine. It's a genetically-engineered vaccine strategy to prevent HIV infection that targets the outer layers of body structures that are the first site of contact for the virus.<br /> <br /> Designed to be a single dose that lasts a lifetime, the vaccine will lead to the continual production of disease-fighting cells without being eliminated by the immune system. The experimental vaccine is directed to what are known as the musocal layers of the epithelium in the genital and rectal areas where the virus enter the body.<br /> <br />     <br /> <br />   <br /> <br /> Marie-Claire Gauduin, Ph.D., in Africa<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Another feature of the vaccine system is that it could be adapted to other infections.<br /> <br /> Now, Dr. Gauduin is working on another approach to vaccinating against HIV using a different virus that targets the same area of the body HPV (human papilloma virus).<br /> <br /> Dr. Gauduin has more than 25 years of experience in HIV/AIDS research and medical microbiology. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 14:48 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 021 — Protecting Research Animals https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-021-protecting-research-animals/ Tue, 06 Nov 2018 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7358 The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is appointed in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. But it’s more passion than legal obligation that guides this group. The IACUC Committee at Texas Biomed makes extraordinary efforts to ensure the nonhuman primates that the more than 2,000 monkeys that live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on our campus have the best care possible. Not only people who work here, but lay people from the community as well help make important decisions about the research conducted on our campus involving the use of animals. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is appointed in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. But it’s more passion than legal obligation that guides this group. - The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is appointed in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. But it’s more passion than legal obligation that guides this group.<br /> <br /> The IACUC Committee at Texas Biomed makes extraordinary efforts to ensure the nonhuman primates that the more than 2,000 monkeys that live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on our campus have the best care possible.<br /> <br /> Not only people who work here, but lay people from the community as well help make important decisions about the research conducted on our campus involving the use of animals. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 20:26 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 20 — Fitness Tests for Parasites https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-20-fitness-tests-for-parasites/ Tue, 23 Oct 2018 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7295 Malaria is worldwide scourge infecting 200 million people around the world and killing more than 400,000 of them. The parasite is carried by the Anopheles mosquito, particularly in tropical areas like Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Texas Biomed scientists are “particularly interested in the evolution of drug resistance,” said Scientist Tim Anderson, Ph.D., adding that it is “a recurring problem in controlling tropical diseases.” Artemisinin is a recently discovered drug that is the gold standard for treating malaria, considered instrumental in reducing the number of cases of the infectious disease over the last decade. However, more than 125 mutation variations of drug resistance have emerged in Southeast Asia. Those mutations impact the metabolism of the parasite itself – inhibiting growth rate, for instance. A recent NIH-funded study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy by Anderson and his team looked at one particular drug resistant variant sequence (called an allele) that is outpacing the others. Anderson’s team wanted to test the idea that successful resistance alleles have fewer adverse consequences for the parasites and, thus, thrived and spread. Senior Research Associate Shalini Nair, who has worked at Texas Biomed for 18 years, was a key part of this project. “I started out by figuring out how to use CRISPR-Cas9 to edit key mutations in the malaria parasite,” Nair explained. CRISPR is short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It’s a system for genome editing, using the cell’s own DNA repair mechanism to add or delete pieces of genetic material. To maximize the relevance of their results, the team used “a recently isolated parasite clone from the Thailand-Myanmar border for manipulation rather than a laboratory adapted parasite clone,” the journal article stated. In a head-to-head comparison between two mutants – one strong and thriving in patients and one not as strong and waning – researchers grew the parasites in flasks of blood cells in the lab. Scientists measure how the mutations impacted the “fitness” of the parasites. In other words, they checked to see if the mutations impacted the metabolism of the more common and less common strains in the expected way. Scientists hypothesized the more common and thriving mutations would have less “fitness cost” to the parasite. The cultures were maintained for 60 days. Then they extracted DNA and amplified it, comparing frequencies of the different mutations. Xue Li, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral student who compiled the data from the study. “Our results were not the same as our hypothesis,” Li stated. The scientists want to see if there are other mutations in different areas of the genome impacting whether these drug-resistant parasites flourish or fail. The answer may be more complicated than first thought. Dr. Anderson emphasized that malaria researchers like his team need to understand the process by which parasites adapt to anti-malarials.” If we understand that,” he said, “we are in a far better position to then to develop more effective, evolution proof interventions.”   Malaria is worldwide scourge infecting 200 million people around the world and killing more than 400,000 of them. The parasite is carried by the Anopheles mosquito, particularly in tropical areas like Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. - Malaria is worldwide scourge infecting 200 million people around the world and killing more than 400,000 of them. The parasite is carried by the Anopheles mosquito, particularly in tropical areas like Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.<br /> <br /> Texas Biomed scientists are “particularly interested in the evolution of drug resistance,” said Scientist Tim Anderson, Ph.D., adding that it is “a recurring problem in controlling tropical diseases.”<br /> <br /> Artemisinin is a recently discovered drug that is the gold standard for treating malaria, considered instrumental in reducing the number of cases of the infectious disease over the last decade. However, more than 125 mutation variations of drug resistance have emerged in Southeast Asia. Those mutations impact the metabolism of the parasite itself – inhibiting growth rate, for instance.<br /> <br /> A recent NIH-funded study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy by Anderson and his team looked at one particular drug resistant variant sequence (called an allele) that is outpacing the others. Anderson’s team wanted to test the idea that successful resistance alleles have fewer adverse consequences for the parasites and, thus, thrived and spread.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Senior Research Associate Shalini Nair, who has worked at Texas Biomed for 18 years, was a key part of this project. “I started out by figuring out how to use CRISPR-Cas9 to edit key mutations in the malaria parasite,” Nair explained. CRISPR is short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It’s a system for genome editing, using the cell’s own DNA repair mechanism to add or delete pieces of genetic material.<br /> <br /> To maximize the relevance of their results, the team used “a recently isolated parasite clone from the Thailand-Myanmar border for manipulation rather than a laboratory adapted parasite clone,” the journal article stated.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> In a head-to-head comparison between two mutants – one strong and thriving in patients and one not as strong and waning – researchers grew the parasites in flasks of blood cells in the lab. Scientists measure how the mutations impacted the “fitness” of the parasites. In other words, they checked to see if the mutations impacted the metabolism of the more common and less common strains in the expected way. Scientists hypothesized the more common and thriving mutations would have less “fitness cost” to the parasite.<br /> <br /> The cultures were maintained for 60 days. Then they extracted DNA and amplified it, comparing frequencies of the different mutations.<br /> <br /> Xue Li, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral student who compiled the data from the study. “Our results were not the same as our hypothesis,” Li stated. The scientists want to see if there are other mutations in different areas of the genome impacting whether these drug-resistant parasites flourish or fail. The answer may be more complicated than first thought.<br /> <br /> Dr. Anderson emphasized that malaria researchers like his team need to understand the process by which parasites adapt to anti-malarials.” If we understand that,” he said, “we are in a far better position to then to develop more effective, evolution proof interventions.”<br /> <br />   Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 20:20 TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Podcast Episode 019 — HIV and the Genome: The Other 97% https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tx-biobytes-from-texas-biomed-podcast-episode-019-hiv-and-the-genome-the-other-97/ Tue, 09 Oct 2018 14:00:38 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7184 Despite more than three decades’ worth of research, HIV continues to be a major health threat in the U.S. and around the world. Although effective therapies exist that can give HIV-patients a relatively normal lifespan, the life-long treatment poses an enormous financial burden. That’s why scientists who study the problem of infectious diseases continue to focus on the virus that causes AIDS. Smita Kulkarni, Ph.D., was recently awarded a $525,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on the interaction between what are called long non-coding RNAs and HIV, a new area of investigation. Dr. Kulkarni specializes in host-pathogen interactions, specifically involving HIV. “We have worked on HIV and the impact of host factors on HIV for so long,” Dr. Kulkarni said, “but in reality we’ve looked at only 3% of the genome.” Scientists have focused exclusively on protein-coding genes. The rest of the human genome -- 97% -- does not code for proteins. The protein coding genes make RNA messenger molecules that take the coded information from nucleus to cytoplasm where it is translated into proteins. The non-coding RNAs carry out diverse regulatory work in the cells rather than just ferry information. “What we found in our preliminary observations is that one of these long non-coding RNAs can inhibit HIV replication,” Dr. Kulkarni explained. Although this research is in the very early stages, Dr. Kulkarni and her team will try to pinpoint molecular mechanisms which explain how this RNA stops the virus from making copies of itself. Using this novel information, scientists will attempt to come up with a way to use this information against HIV, perhaps opening up a new field for intervention. Dr. Kulkarni also believes these long-coding RNAs have potential for recruitment in therapies against other infectious pathogens that live inside cells.   Despite more than three decades’ worth of research, HIV continues to be a major health threat in the U.S. and around the world. Although effective therapies exist that can give HIV-patients a relatively normal lifespan, Despite more than three decades’ worth of research, HIV continues to be a major health threat in the U.S. and around the world. Although effective therapies exist that can give HIV-patients a relatively normal lifespan, the life-long treatment poses an enormous financial burden.<br /> <br /> That’s why scientists who study the problem of infectious diseases continue to focus on the virus that causes AIDS.<br /> <br /> Smita Kulkarni, Ph.D., was recently awarded a $525,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research on the interaction between what are called long non-coding RNAs and HIV, a new area of investigation.<br /> <br /> Dr. Kulkarni specializes in host-pathogen interactions, specifically involving HIV.<br /> <br /> “We have worked on HIV and the impact of host factors on HIV for so long,” Dr. Kulkarni said, “but in reality we’ve looked at only 3% of the genome.”<br /> <br /> Scientists have focused exclusively on protein-coding genes. The rest of the human genome -- 97% -- does not code for proteins.<br /> <br /> The protein coding genes make RNA messenger molecules that take the coded information from nucleus to cytoplasm where it is translated into proteins. The non-coding RNAs carry out diverse regulatory work in the cells rather than just ferry information.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> “What we found in our preliminary observations is that one of these long non-coding RNAs can inhibit HIV replication,” Dr. Kulkarni explained.<br /> <br /> Although this research is in the very early stages, Dr. Kulkarni and her team will try to pinpoint molecular mechanisms which explain how this RNA stops the virus from making copies of itself. Using this novel information, scientists will attempt to come up with a way to use this information against HIV, perhaps opening up a new field for intervention.<br /> <br /> Dr. Kulkarni also believes these long-coding RNAs have potential for recruitment in therapies against other infectious pathogens that live inside cells.<br /> <br />   Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 9:00 TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed podcast Episode 018 — Target: Parkinson’s Disease https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/txbiobytes-from-texas-biomed-podcast-episode-018-target-parkinsons-disease/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=7047 What does a monkey wearing a Fitbit-like device have to do with Parkinson's disease? A newly-published study shows marmosets at the Southwest National Primate Research Center can mimic the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's. Marmosets are small, New World monkeys that can mimic the sleep disturbances, changes in circadian rhythm, and cognitive impairment people with Parkinson's disease develop. Associate Scientist Marcel Daadi, Ph.D., leader of the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Unit at the SNPRC, is the lead author of a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. In addition to monitoring the marmosets, scientists videotaped the animals to document their ability to perform certain tasks and how those abilities were impacted over time by the disease. By developing an effective animal model that can emulate both the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, scientists have a better chance of understanding the molecular mechanisms of the neuro-circuitry responsible for changes in the brain during the course of the disease. Scans like magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and analysis after dissections may lead to potential targets for new therapies for patients.   What does a monkey wearing a Fitbit-like device have to do with Parkinson's disease? A newly-published study shows marmosets at the Southwest National Primate Research Center can mimic the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's. - Marmosets are small, What does a monkey wearing a Fitbit-like device have to do with Parkinson's disease? A newly-published study shows marmosets at the Southwest National Primate Research Center can mimic the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's.<br /> <br /> Marmosets are small, New World monkeys that can mimic the sleep disturbances, changes in circadian rhythm, and cognitive impairment people with Parkinson's disease develop.<br /> <br /> Associate Scientist Marcel Daadi, Ph.D., leader of the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Unit at the SNPRC, is the lead author of a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. In addition to monitoring the marmosets, scientists videotaped the animals to document their ability to perform certain tasks and how those abilities were impacted over time by the disease.<br /> <br /> By developing an effective animal model that can emulate both the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, scientists have a better chance of understanding the molecular mechanisms of the neuro-circuitry responsible for changes in the brain during the course of the disease. Scans like magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and analysis after dissections may lead to potential targets for new therapies for patients.<br /> <br />   Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 10:03 TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 017 — Promising Protection Against HIV https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/txbiobytes-from-texas-biomed-episode-017-promising-protection-against-hiv/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 15:20:10 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6910 Texas Biomed scientists say what they've learned in the lab recently is an exciting development on the front lines of the battle against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Using macaques as an animal model, the team showed for the first time that an antibody called immunoglobulin M – called IgM – was effective in preventing infection when the monkeys were exposed to HIV in the mucosal cavity. More than 90 percent of new cases of HIV are caused through exposure to the virus in body cavities during sexual intercourse. Creating a manmade version of the IgM molecule in the lab and testing it is challenging. Dr. Ruth Ruprecht leads the team which published its findings in a recent journal. For more information on this recent work, click here. Texas Biomed scientists say what they've learned in the lab recently is an exciting development on the front lines of the battle against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. - Using macaques as an animal model, Texas Biomed scientists say what they've learned in the lab recently is an exciting development on the front lines of the battle against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.<br /> <br /> Using macaques as an animal model, the team showed for the first time that an antibody called immunoglobulin M – called IgM – was effective in preventing infection when the monkeys were exposed to HIV in the mucosal cavity. More than 90 percent of new cases of HIV are caused through exposure to the virus in body cavities during sexual intercourse.<br /> <br /> Creating a manmade version of the IgM molecule in the lab and testing it is challenging. Dr. Ruth Ruprecht leads the team which published its findings in a recent journal.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> For more information on this recent work, click here. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:51 TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 016 — Meet the New Director of the Primate Center https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/txbiobytes-podcast-episode-016-meet-the-new-director-of-the-primate-center/ Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6813 The Southwest National Primate Center's Mission is to improve the health of our global community through innovative biomedical research with nonhuman primate. The newest member of the team who will direct this program -- one of only seven of its kind in the country -- is Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D. He comes to Texas Biomedical Research Institute from the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Dr. Kaushal specializes in tuberculosis (TB) research in nonhuman primates. "I think this is a tremendous opportunity for me to bring my research here and build collaboration with what is already a very strong tuberculosis research team at Texas Biomed," Dr. Kaushal said. "I am also looking forward to the chance to administer a large research center like the SNPRC." Most of Dr. Kaushal's TB research with animals has involved macaques, but he plans on expanding that work using the baboons and marmosets that are also housed at the SNPRC. Dr. Kaushal begins his new job as Director of the SNPRC on January 2, 2019. The Southwest National Primate Center's Mission is to improve the health of our global community through innovative biomedical research with nonhuman primate. The newest member of the team who will direct this program -- one of only seven of its kind i... The Southwest National Primate Center's Mission is to improve the health of our global community through innovative biomedical research with nonhuman primate. The newest member of the team who will direct this program -- one of only seven of its kind in the country -- is Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D. He comes to Texas Biomedical Research Institute from the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Dr. Kaushal specializes in tuberculosis (TB) research in nonhuman primates.<br /> <br /> "I think this is a tremendous opportunity for me to bring my research here and build collaboration with what is already a very strong tuberculosis research team at Texas Biomed," Dr. Kaushal said. "I am also looking forward to the chance to administer a large research center like the SNPRC."<br /> <br /> Most of Dr. Kaushal's TB research with animals has involved macaques, but he plans on expanding that work using the baboons and marmosets that are also housed at the SNPRC.<br /> <br /> Dr. Kaushal begins his new job as Director of the SNPRC on January 2, 2019. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:19 Baboon Brain Scans — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 015 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/baboon-brain-scans-txbiobyes-podcast-episode-015/ Tue, 14 Aug 2018 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6740 Neuropsychiatric diseases affect millions of people and can be disabling. Only about 8% of therapies that work in animal models make it all the way to humans. That's why Texas Biomed scientists are taking part in a study to try and find a better animal model to work with these complex health problems. The ultimate goal of this research, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, is to provide evidence for the use of baboons as a preclinical model for neuropsychiatric diseases. This two-year project involves 32 animals from the Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed. The idea is to determine a miRNA biomarker signature of structural variation in the brains of baboons. The animals are being imaged at the Research Imaging institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Melanie Carless, Ph.D., an Associate Scientist at Texas Biomed, is principal investigator on the study. Neuropsychiatric diseases affect millions of people and can be disabling. Only about 8% of therapies that work in animal models make it all the way to humans. That's why Texas Biomed scientists are taking part in a study to try and find a better animal... Neuropsychiatric diseases affect millions of people and can be disabling. Only about 8% of therapies that work in animal models make it all the way to humans. That's why Texas Biomed scientists are taking part in a study to try and find a better animal model to work with these complex health problems.<br /> <br /> The ultimate goal of this research, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, is to provide evidence for the use of baboons as a preclinical model for neuropsychiatric diseases. This two-year project involves 32 animals from the Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed. The idea is to determine a miRNA biomarker signature of structural variation in the brains of baboons.<br /> <br /> The animals are being imaged at the Research Imaging institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Melanie Carless, Ph.D., an Associate Scientist at Texas Biomed, is principal investigator on the study. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 7:45 Animal Enrichment: Munchies for Monkeys — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 014 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/animal-enrichment-munchies-for-monkeys-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-014/ Thu, 02 Aug 2018 15:32:34 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6689 The animal enrichment programs at the Southwest National Primate Research Center aim to stimulate species-typical behaviors and promote psychological well-being using social, physical, occupational, feeding and sensory enrichment opportunities, many of which mimic natural behaviors seen in the wild, which we aim to encourage. We also want to prevent or limit the occurrence of abnormal behaviors, which may result from the stress or boredom that sometimes occurs in a captive environment. We use enrichment devices to invite and encourage a wide range of species-typical behaviors that primates living in the wild express. Foraging, locomotion and socializing are all examples of species-typical behaviors. We have developed an Environmental Enhancement Plan that codifies these principles. Also, a list and description of devices can be found in our Enrichment Device Manual, and recipes for treats are found in our new Enrichment Cookbook. Almost all of the primates at SNPRC are housed in groups. They spend much of their time interacting socially, including grooming each other. This rich social environment is important for the well-being of all primates, and is particularly critical for developing infants. For primates that are housed indoors for research, we pair as many individuals as possible. The primates can also see, hear and sometimes touch other primates with which they are not directly housed. All cages are equipped with some form of structural enrichment, such as climbing structures, perches or swings. Baboons, chimpanzees and other monkeys are very agile. They can jump great distances and walk along a rope or chain with ease. They also like to rest in areas above the ground, where they can get away from others in their group if they wish, or just get a better view of the surroundings. We provide many additional types of structural enrichment, including hanging 55-gallon drums, perches made from PVC or metal pipes, rope and chain swings and tire swings. The baboon corrals have large culverts and climbing structures that also provide shade. The roofs of most chimpanzee housing areas are made of pipes so that the chimpanzees can brachiate from one area to another. We provide a stable, nutritionally complete diet and additional fruits, grains and vegetables to all primates. Our feeding enrichment program also includes foods that are not available very often, such as seasonal fruits, pumpkins at Halloween, yogurt or frozen juice treats. Occupational enrichment includes devices to stimulate problem-solving behavior, motor skills and coordination. Some foods are placed in special devices so that the animal has to spend some time extracting it. For example, balls filled with grain and peanuts must be moved around or shaken so that the food pieces fall out of small holes drilled in the side. Working to acquire food in this manner is similar to foraging for food in the wild. Feeding devices for chimpanzees include those that require the use of a tool. Our simulated termite mounds are filled with applesauce, oatmeal, spaghetti sauce or other thick liquids. The chimpanzees use straws or sticks to poke down into the pipe and pull out a small amount of food at a time. This is a similar process that wild chimpanzees use to get termites or ants from their nests using twigs. Many of our enrichment items increase sensory stimuli; the favorite taste of peanut butter, the new smell of a toy or the feel of a kiwi fruit. Some items are given specifically to elicit particular sensations. For example, mirrors can be attached to the wall so the animals can view their neighbors, radios are placed in indoor areas for extra auditory stimuli and televisions are located in many indoor areas for chimpanzees and monkeys to view television shows and children’s and nature videos. All primates are very good at manipulating their environments. They have opposable thumbs and are very strong and persistent. The animal enrichment programs at the Southwest National Primate Research Center aim to stimulate species-typical behaviors and promote psychological well-being using social, physical, occupational, feeding and sensory enrichment opportunities, The animal enrichment programs at the Southwest National Primate Research Center aim to stimulate species-typical behaviors and promote psychological well-being using social, physical, occupational, feeding and sensory enrichment opportunities, many of which mimic natural behaviors seen in the wild, which we aim to encourage. We also want to prevent or limit the occurrence of abnormal behaviors, which may result from the stress or boredom that sometimes occurs in a captive environment. We use enrichment devices to invite and encourage a wide range of species-typical behaviors that primates living in the wild express. Foraging, locomotion and socializing are all examples of species-typical behaviors.<br /> <br /> We have developed an Environmental Enhancement Plan that codifies these principles. Also, a list and description of devices can be found in our Enrichment Device Manual, and recipes for treats are found in our new Enrichment Cookbook.<br /> <br /> Almost all of the primates at SNPRC are housed in groups. They spend much of their time interacting socially, including grooming each other. This rich social environment is important for the well-being of all primates, and is particularly critical for developing infants.<br /> <br /> For primates that are housed indoors for research, we pair as many individuals as possible. The primates can also see, hear and sometimes touch other primates with which they are not directly housed.<br /> <br /> All cages are equipped with some form of structural enrichment, such as climbing structures, perches or swings. Baboons, chimpanzees and other monkeys are very agile. They can jump great distances and walk along a rope or chain with ease. They also like to rest in areas above the ground, where they can get away from others in their group if they wish, or just get a better view of the surroundings.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> We provide many additional types of structural enrichment, including hanging 55-gallon drums, perches made from PVC or metal pipes, rope and chain swings and tire swings.<br /> <br /> The baboon corrals have large culverts and climbing structures that also provide shade. The roofs of most chimpanzee housing areas are made of pipes so that the chimpanzees can brachiate from one area to another.<br /> <br /> We provide a stable, nutritionally complete diet and additional fruits, grains and vegetables to all primates. Our feeding enrichment program also includes foods that are not available very often, such as seasonal fruits, pumpkins at Halloween, yogurt or frozen juice treats.<br /> <br /> Occupational enrichment includes devices to stimulate problem-solving behavior, motor skills and coordination. Some foods are placed in special devices so that the animal has to spend some time extracting it. For example, balls filled with grain and peanuts must be moved around or shaken so that the food pieces fall out of small holes drilled in the side. Working to acquire food in this manner is similar to foraging for food in the wild.<br /> <br /> Feeding devices for chimpanzees include those that require the use of a tool. Our simulated termite mounds are filled with applesauce, oatmeal, spaghetti sauce or other thick liquids. The chimpanzees use straws or sticks to poke down into the pipe and pull out a small amount of food at a time. This is a similar process that wild chimpanzees use to get termites or ants from their nests using twigs.<br /> <br /> Many of our enrichment items increase sensory stimuli; the favorite taste of peanut butter, the new smell of a toy or the feel of a kiwi fruit. Some items are given specifically to elicit particular sensations. For example, mirrors can be attached to the wall so the animals can view their neighbors, radios are placed in indoor areas for extra auditory stimuli and televisions are located in many indoor areas for chimpanzees and monkeys to view television shows and children’s and nature videos.<br /> Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:37 Tackling Liver Cancer Using CRISPR to Develop a New Animal Model — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 013 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tackling-liver-cancer-using-crispr-to-develop-a-new-animal-model-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-013/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6592 Scientists at Texas Biomed are using CRISPR technology to try to create a new animal model for liver cancer. Liver cancer can have its roots in infectious diseases or metabolic conditions. And it’s a killer worldwide. Promising therapies developed in mouse models have failed in humans. So the experts at the Southwest National Primate Research Center think a bigger animal like a monkey might work better. The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed is home to more than a thousand of these Old World monkeys. CRISPR came on to the scientific scene in 2012. Christopher Chen, Ph.D., says it’s really making a huge impact in labs around the country.   Scientists at Texas Biomed are using CRISPR technology to try to create a new animal model for liver cancer. Liver cancer can have its roots in infectious diseases or metabolic conditions. And it’s a killer worldwide. - Scientists at Texas Biomed are using CRISPR technology to try to create a new animal model for liver cancer. Liver cancer can have its roots in infectious diseases or metabolic conditions. And it’s a killer worldwide.<br /> <br /> Promising therapies developed in mouse models have failed in humans. So the experts at the Southwest National Primate Research Center think a bigger animal like a monkey might work better.<br /> <br /> The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed is home to more than a thousand of these Old World monkeys.<br /> <br /> CRISPR came on to the scientific scene in 2012. Christopher Chen, Ph.D., says it’s really making a huge impact in labs around the country.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />   Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 12:28 Tom Slick: Pioneer of the Possible — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 012 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tom-slick-pioneer-of-the-possible-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-012/ Tue, 03 Jul 2018 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6554 The founder of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Tom Slick, was a man of great vision and curiosity. His niece, Catherine Nixon Cooke, wrote a fascinating book about him title Tom Slick Mystery Hunter. We talked with Cooke about her uncle who lived some larger-than-life adventures and planted to seeds of scientific research in San Antonio that has yielded many breakthroughs in diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. Cooke says Tom Slick would have been delighted at what his vision in the early 40s has become in 2018. The founder of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Tom Slick, was a man of great vision and curiosity. His niece, Catherine Nixon Cooke, wrote a fascinating book about him title Tom Slick Mystery Hunter. - The founder of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Tom Slick, was a man of great vision and curiosity. His niece, Catherine Nixon Cooke, wrote a fascinating book about him title Tom Slick Mystery Hunter.<br /> <br /> We talked with Cooke about her uncle who lived some larger-than-life adventures and planted to seeds of scientific research in San Antonio that has yielded many breakthroughs in diagnostics, therapies and vaccines.<br /> <br /> Cooke says Tom Slick would have been delighted at what his vision in the early 40s has become in 2018. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:49 Behind Steel Doors: High Containment Laboratories — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 011 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/behind-steel-doors-high-containment-laboratories-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-011/ Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6489 Developing vaccines and therapies to successfully treat some of the world’s deadliest diseases for which there are no known treatments or vaccines requires the safest laboratory in the world in which to study them. Texas Biomedical Research Institute is home to one of only six such labs in North America and the only operational BSL-4 lab owned by a private institution. Designed for maximum containment, BSL-4 labs offer a safe setting for scientists and the surrounding environment. This unique resource has allowed scientists in Texas Biomed’s Department of Virology and Immunology to become world leaders in the fight against emerging diseases and bioterror agents, such as SARS, Anthrax, Ebola virus and more. Our Biosafety Level 3 lab works on contagious pathogens that are treatable, but contagious. Right now, scientists are focusing on findings new treatments and vaccines for Mycobacterium tuberulosois (M.tb) which causes tuberculosis, one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases. Developing vaccines and therapies to successfully treat some of the world’s deadliest diseases for which there are no known treatments or vaccines requires the safest laboratory in the world in which to study them. Developing vaccines and therapies to successfully treat some of the world’s deadliest diseases for which there are no known treatments or vaccines requires the safest laboratory in the world in which to study them. Texas Biomedical Research Institute is home to one of only six such labs in North America and the only operational BSL-4 lab owned by a private institution.<br /> <br /> Designed for maximum containment, BSL-4 labs offer a safe setting for scientists and the surrounding environment. This unique resource has allowed scientists in Texas Biomed’s Department of Virology and Immunology to become world leaders in the fight against emerging diseases and bioterror agents, such as SARS, Anthrax, Ebola virus and more.<br /> <br /> Our Biosafety Level 3 lab works on contagious pathogens that are treatable, but contagious. Right now, scientists are focusing on findings new treatments and vaccines for Mycobacterium tuberulosois (M.tb) which causes tuberculosis, one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:47 Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Cough? — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 010 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-cough-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-010/ Tue, 05 Jun 2018 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6409 A killer infectious disease called Pertussis is a bacterial infection that causes whooping cough. Vaccines had brought the numbers of cases down dramatically, but now they’re on the rise again and Texas Biomed animals and scientists are involved in the search for something better to treat this health problem that kills more than a hundred thousand infants a year. Pertussis has seen an alarming resurgence in the last decade. That’s surprising, given that a vaccine for this infectious disease has existed since the 1930s. The original vaccine, made with whole-cell killed Bordetella pertussis bacteria, was very effective but associated with some adverse events. A newer acellular pertussis vaccine with fewer adverse events was approved by the FDA in 1997. Recent epidemiological studies have found, however, that the immunity conferred by the new vaccine wears out during adolescence. That’s a problem, because although whooping cough isn’t fatal to adults, adults whose immunity has waned can carry and transmit the disease to infants, for whom it is frequently fatal. Infants typically receive antibodies from their mothers, but if the mother is not immune to pertussis, she cannot pass on immunity to the infant — thus putting the infant at risk of infection. And although the pertussis bacteria can be killed with antibiotics, the toxins released by the bacteria have done irreparable damage to the lung by the time the infant develops whooping cough. A current but imperfect strategy to protect infants is “cocooning” — that is, vaccinating anyone who might come into contact with the infant, including parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, and the like. Nevertheless, the loss of pertussis immunity in the population as a whole, combined with the fact that many parents now choose not to vaccinate their children, has caused pertussis to become one of the largest preventable causes of death due to infectious disease worldwide in infants. To address this problem, researchers have been working to develop an improved pertussis vaccine. Some of these new strategies are now ready for pre-clinical testing, which is required by the FDA before moving forward with human clinical trials. “It turns out the baboon is the perfect model for pre-clinical testing, because it is the only animal that mimics humans in that infant baboons develop a persistent cough when exposed to pertussis,” explained Robert Lanford, Ph.D., Director of the Southwest Primate Research Center (SNPRC). SNPRC is one of seven NIH-funded primate research centers across the country, and the only one that houses a colony of baboons. It is thus in a unique position to advance pertussis vaccine research at this critical stage. Working with the FDA and pharmaceutical companies, Lanford’s team is using the baboon model for testing new approaches to improving the acellular vaccine. Some of these new approaches use novel adjuvants (compounds designed to enhance immunity to vaccines) that can be used in combination with the existing acellular pertussis vaccine. “The fastest way to get a better vaccine is not to make a new vaccine, because it takes decades to get a new vaccine approved; it is to enhance one that we already know is safe,” Dr. Lanford said. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed to work, so some research groups are taking different approaches and attempting to develop a new vaccine from scratch, he added. The goal is to produce data that will be used by the FDA to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the new vaccine and to decide if it can move forward to testing in human clinical trials, explained Dr. Lanford. It is usually a multi-year process. “Drugs that look most promising at first can run into safety problems,” Dr. Lanford explained. “It’s hard to predict which one will get through all three phases of human clinical trials — that’s why we need to work on multiple different approaches simultaneously.”   A killer infectious disease called Pertussis is a bacterial infection that causes whooping cough. Vaccines had brought the numbers of cases down dramatically, but now they’re on the rise again and Texas Biomed animals and scientists are involved in the... A killer infectious disease called Pertussis is a bacterial infection that causes whooping cough. Vaccines had brought the numbers of cases down dramatically, but now they’re on the rise again and Texas Biomed animals and scientists are involved in the search for something better to treat this health problem that kills more than a hundred thousand infants a year.<br /> <br /> Pertussis has seen an alarming resurgence in the last decade. That’s surprising, given that a vaccine for this infectious disease has existed since the 1930s. The original vaccine, made with whole-cell killed Bordetella pertussis bacteria, was very effective but associated with some adverse events. A newer acellular pertussis vaccine with fewer adverse events was approved by the FDA in 1997. Recent epidemiological studies have found, however, that the immunity conferred by the new vaccine wears out during adolescence. That’s a problem, because although whooping cough isn’t fatal to adults, adults whose immunity has waned can carry and transmit the disease to infants, for whom it is frequently fatal. Infants typically receive antibodies from their mothers, but if the mother is not immune to pertussis, she cannot pass on immunity to the infant — thus putting the infant at risk of infection. And although the pertussis bacteria can be killed with antibiotics, the toxins released by the bacteria have done irreparable damage to the lung by the time the infant develops whooping cough. A current but imperfect strategy to protect infants is “cocooning” — that is, vaccinating anyone who might come into contact with the infant, including parents, siblings, grandparents, babysitters, and the like.<br /> <br /> Nevertheless, the loss of pertussis immunity in the population as a whole, combined with the fact that many parents now choose not to vaccinate their children, has caused pertussis to become one of the largest preventable causes of death due to infectious disease worldwide in infants. To address this problem, researchers have been working to develop an improved pertussis vaccine. Some of these new strategies are now ready for pre-clinical testing, which is required by the FDA before moving forward with human clinical trials.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> “It turns out the baboon is the perfect model for pre-clinical testing, because it is the only animal that mimics humans in that infant baboons develop a persistent cough when exposed to pertussis,” explained Robert Lanford, Ph.D., Director of the Southwest Primate Research Center (SNPRC). SNPRC is one of seven NIH-funded primate research centers across the country, and the only one that houses a colony of baboons. It is thus in a unique position to advance pertussis vaccine research at this critical stage. Working with the FDA and pharmaceutical companies, Lanford’s team is using the baboon model for testing new approaches to improving the acellular vaccine. Some of these new approaches use novel adjuvants (compounds designed to enhance immunity to vaccines) that can be used in combination with the existing acellular pertussis vaccine.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> “The fastest way to get a better vaccine is not to make a new vaccine, because it takes decades to get a new vaccine approved; it is to enhance one that we already know is safe,” Dr. Lanford said. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed to work, so some research groups are taking different approaches and attempting to develop a new vaccine from scratch, he added. The goal is to produce data that will be used by the FDA to evaluate the potential effectiveness of the new vaccine and to decide if it can move forward to testing in human clinical trials, explained Dr. Lanford. It is usually a multi-year process. “Drugs that look most promising at first can run into safety problems,” Dr. Lanford explained. “It’s hard to predict which one will get through all three phases of human clinical trials — that’s why we need to work on multiple different approac... Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:37 Biomedical Science’s Instrumental Model: Rhesus Macaques — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 009 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/biomedical-sciences-most-popular-monkey-model-rhesus-macaques-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-009/ Tue, 22 May 2018 12:00:26 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6091 Rhesus macaque monkeys are nonhuman primates that originate from the jungles of India. Hundreds of them live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on the Texas Biomedical Research Institute campus. Macaques are useful for studying diseases from HIV to Ebola. While the macaques live in indoor/outdoor housing, the scientific work performed on their samples takes place in a lab setting.   Rhesus macaque monkeys are nonhuman primates that originate from the jungles of India. Hundreds of them live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on the Texas Biomedical Research Institute campus. - Rhesus macaque monkeys are nonhuman primates that originate from the jungles of India. Hundreds of them live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on the Texas Biomedical Research Institute campus.<br /> <br /> Macaques are useful for studying diseases from HIV to Ebola.<br /> <br /> While the macaques live in indoor/outdoor housing, the scientific work performed on their samples takes place in a lab setting.<br /> <br />   Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 8:07 Texas Biomedical Forum: Women Who Support Science — TX BioBytes Podcast Episode 008 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/texas-biomedical-forum-women-who-support-science-tx-biobytes-podcast-episode-008/ Tue, 08 May 2018 12:00:39 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6203 The Texas Biomedical Forum started in 1970 as a group of women on a mission – to support the hope and promise of life-saving research at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. What started as the brainchild of a handful of women has turned into an organization that is more than 300 members strong. The Forum raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in support of the science at Texas Biomed. The purpose of the Texas Biomedical Forum continues to be to support the Texas Biomedical Research Institute through community relations,volunteer services and fundraising. The Forum hosts student tours of the 200-acre Texas BioMed campus for a handful of high school science programs each year. These tours of San Antonio’s biomedical research jewel expose these bright young students to the exciting possibilities of a career in science. The student tours are a fantastic opportunity for area high school students, and a rewarding experience for Forum volunteers. For the past 21 years, the Texas Biomedical Forum and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation have joined forces for the Science Education Awards. Local public and private high school teachers are invited to participate. The awards are given to the top six teachers whose proposals demonstrate the strongest commitment to the scientific process and the further development of progressive science education programs. The Forum’s commitment to educating its membership and the community about Texas Biomed’s research is highlighted at the fall and spring Lecture Luncheon events featuring Texas Biomed scientists discussing timely research topics. Held at The Argyle, the lectures inform members and guests about innovative medical topics and the cutting-edge research taking place at Texas Biomed and its positive impact on human health. All Forum members as well as guests are invited to participate in these educational events.   The Forum in partnership with Texas Biomed hosts a Roundtable Discussions evening event annually at The Argyle. These events feature the work being done by a handful of the Texas BioMed research scientists. Attendees are afforded the incredible opportunity of sitting alongside a scientist with the ability to ask questions regarding their current project. This is truly a unique experience where anyone can learn about the exciting research that in ongoing at Texas BioMed in a congenial environment. Forum members and guests are welcome to attend. The first Saturday in May annually marks the occasion of the Forum Gala. One of the most sought after event gala tickets in the city. This is the primary fundraising tool of the Forum. Every summer, the Forum presents Texas Biomed with a sizable check from that year’s Gala proceeds. These funds are then distributed to select scientists in support of their research needs. The Forum sponsors a series of one-year pilot projects that can lead to subsequent and often significant federal research funding. Over the last sixteen years, the Forum has provided over $3 million. The results of those pilot studies has generated an additional $60 million in grant funding for Texas Biomed. The impact of the Forum’s fundraising efforts through the Gala and Forum Grants is a valuable component in furthering Texas Biomed’s mission of enhancing lives through research. The Texas Biomedical Forum started in 1970 as a group of women on a mission – to support the hope and promise of life-saving research at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. - What started as the brainchild of a handful of women has turned into an org... The Texas Biomedical Forum started in 1970 as a group of women on a mission – to support the hope and promise of life-saving research at Texas Biomedical Research Institute.<br /> <br /> What started as the brainchild of a handful of women has turned into an organization that is more than 300 members strong. The Forum raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in support of the science at Texas Biomed.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The purpose of the Texas Biomedical Forum continues to be to support the Texas Biomedical Research Institute through community relations,volunteer services and fundraising.<br /> <br /> The Forum hosts student tours of the 200-acre Texas BioMed campus for a handful of high school science programs each year. These tours of San Antonio’s biomedical research jewel expose these bright young students to the exciting possibilities of a career in science. The student tours are a fantastic opportunity for area high school students, and a rewarding experience for Forum volunteers.<br /> <br /> For the past 21 years, the Texas Biomedical Forum and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation have joined forces for the Science Education Awards. Local public and private high school teachers are invited to participate. The awards are given to the top six teachers whose proposals demonstrate the strongest commitment to the scientific process and the further development of progressive science education programs.<br /> <br /> The Forum’s commitment to educating its membership and the community about Texas Biomed’s research is highlighted at the fall and spring Lecture Luncheon events featuring Texas Biomed scientists discussing timely research topics. Held at The Argyle, the lectures inform members and guests about innovative medical topics and the cutting-edge research taking place at Texas Biomed and its positive impact on human health. All Forum members as well as guests are invited to participate in these educational events.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> The Forum in partnership with Texas Biomed hosts a Roundtable Discussions evening event annually at The Argyle. These events feature the work being done by a handful of the Texas BioMed research scientists. Attendees are afforded the incredible opportunity of sitting alongside a scientist with the ability to ask questions regarding their current project. This is truly a unique experience where anyone can learn about the exciting research that in ongoing at Texas BioMed in a congenial environment. Forum members and guests are welcome to attend.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The first Saturday in May annually marks the occasion of the Forum Gala. One of the most sought after event gala tickets in the city. This is the primary fundraising tool of the Forum.<br /> <br /> Every summer, the Forum presents Texas Biomed with a sizable check from that year’s Gala proceeds. These funds are then distributed to select scientists in support of their research needs. The Forum sponsors a series of one-year pilot projects that can lead to subsequent and often significant federal research funding. Over the last sixteen years, the Forum has provided over $3 million. The results of those pilot studies has generated an additional $60 million in grant funding for Texas Biomed. The impact of the Forum’s fundraising efforts through the Gala and Forum Grants is a valuable component in furthering Texas Biomed’s mission of enhancing lives through research. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 6:31 Baboons: 50 years of Helping Human Health — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 007 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/baboons-50-years-of-helping-human-health-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-008/ Tue, 24 Apr 2018 12:00:22 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6166 The baboon is widely used as a model for the study of genetics of complex diseases, and continues as a successful model for many chronic and infectious diseases, including insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, hypertension and osteoporosis. This resource has also been used to further studies in contraception, tissue engineered heart valves, epilepsy, immune system aging, pertussis, sepsis and ischemic stroke. SNPRC provides pedigreed baboons for research projects investigating the etiology and pathogenesis of human disease. We have developed and refined the baboon model for biomedical research through selective breeding, inbreeding, environmental manipulations and identifying naturally occurring conditions. Our pedigreed baboon colony was established in 1972 with 200 feral baboons. Today, SNPRC is home to the world’s largest baboon colony, including about 1,100 animals. The structure of the pedigreed baboon colony has been developed carefully over seven generations of baboons. Because of the complex genetic structure of the colony, animals from this population are uniquely suited to genetic research on normal and disease-associated traits. Most of the animals in the pedigreed colony have been genotyped, and we’ve used that information to create the first genetic linkage map of any nonhuman primate. Together, the pedigreed colony and the baboon gene map give scientists an incredibly powerful research tool. It helps to locate the underlying genes that lead to natural susceptibility to or protection from a variety of diseases. The baboon is widely used as a model for the study of genetics of complex diseases, and continues as a successful model for many chronic and infectious diseases, including insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, hypertension and osteoporosis. The baboon is widely used as a model for the study of genetics of complex diseases, and continues as a successful model for many chronic and infectious diseases, including insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, hypertension and osteoporosis. This resource has also been used to further studies in contraception, tissue engineered heart valves, epilepsy, immune system aging, pertussis, sepsis and ischemic stroke.<br /> <br /> SNPRC provides pedigreed baboons for research projects investigating the etiology and pathogenesis of human disease. We have developed and refined the baboon model for biomedical research through selective breeding, inbreeding, environmental manipulations and identifying naturally occurring conditions.<br /> <br /> Our pedigreed baboon colony was established in 1972 with 200 feral baboons. Today, SNPRC is home to the world’s largest baboon colony, including about 1,100 animals. The structure of the pedigreed baboon colony has been developed carefully over seven generations of baboons. Because of the complex genetic structure of the colony, animals from this population are uniquely suited to genetic research on normal and disease-associated traits.<br /> <br /> Most of the animals in the pedigreed colony have been genotyped, and we’ve used that information to create the first genetic linkage map of any nonhuman primate. Together, the pedigreed colony and the baboon gene map give scientists an incredibly powerful research tool. It helps to locate the underlying genes that lead to natural susceptibility to or protection from a variety of diseases. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 15:45 Marmosets: Miniature but Mighty — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 006 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/marmosets-miniature-but-mighty-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-006/ Tue, 10 Apr 2018 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=6025 The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Center is one of only two national primate research centers that provide marmoset research resources. Our resources include the only large population (>70) of aged marmosets (>10 years) in the country. Common marmosets have been a biomedical research resource since the early 1960’s, used predominately in studies of infectious disease, immunology and neuroscience.  Historically, they have been a more commonly used research model in Europe and Japan than in the United States. However, cellular and molecular resources have recently been developed that greatly enhance the value of marmosets in research and have increased interest here in the United States. As a non-endangered anthropoid primate with small size, the highest fertility and the shortest life span, marmosets also offer a remarkably cost-effective, high efficiency nonhuman primate model for biomedical research. In addition, many areas of research take advantage of unique features of its biology for application to human disease. They’re closely related to humans, but marmosets also have unique features that make them particularly valuable for certain types of studies. For example, marmosets have small body size, usually produce dizygotic twins, mature quickly, have the highest fertility of any anthropoid primate and have a short life span. Our marmoset resources have achieved notable accomplishments in genomics, regenerative medicine, obesity, aging and reproduction research. The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Center is one of only two national primate research centers that provide marmoset research resources. Our resources include the only large population (>70) of aged marmosets (>... The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Center is one of only two national primate research centers that provide marmoset research resources. Our resources include the only large population (>70) of aged marmosets (>10 years) in the country.<br /> <br /> Common marmosets have been a biomedical research resource since the early 1960’s, used predominately in studies of infectious disease, immunology and neuroscience.  Historically, they have been a more commonly used research model in Europe and Japan than in the United States. However, cellular and molecular resources have recently been developed that greatly enhance the value of marmosets in research and have increased interest here in the United States.<br /> <br /> As a non-endangered anthropoid primate with small size, the highest fertility and the shortest life span, marmosets also offer a remarkably cost-effective, high efficiency nonhuman primate model for biomedical research. In addition, many areas of research take advantage of unique features of its biology for application to human disease.<br /> <br /> They’re closely related to humans, but marmosets also have unique features that make them particularly valuable for certain types of studies. For example, marmosets have small body size, usually produce dizygotic twins, mature quickly, have the highest fertility of any anthropoid primate and have a short life span.<br /> <br /> Our marmoset resources have achieved notable accomplishments in genomics, regenerative medicine, obesity, aging and reproduction research. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 6:27 Unraveling a Childhood Medical Mystery: Kawasaki Disease — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 005 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/unraveling-childhood-medical-mystery-kawasaki-disease-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-005/ Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:00:27 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=5785 Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that can cause serious heart trouble for patients later in life. Now, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Children's Hospital of San Antonio are teaming up to research possible interventions to cut down on the serious side effects of the disease. Dr. Mark Gorelik is a pediatric rheumatologist. He uses a mouse model now housed at Texas Biomed. Jean Patterson, Ph.D., is helping him on the project. Listen to learn more about this exciting collaborative project. Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that can cause serious heart trouble for patients later in life. Now, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Children's Hospital of San Antonio are teaming up to research possible interventions to cut down ... Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that can cause serious heart trouble for patients later in life. Now, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Children's Hospital of San Antonio are teaming up to research possible interventions to cut down on the serious side effects of the disease.<br /> <br /> Dr. Mark Gorelik is a pediatric rheumatologist. He uses a mouse model now housed at Texas Biomed. Jean Patterson, Ph.D., is helping him on the project.<br /> <br /> Listen to learn more about this exciting collaborative project. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 7:24 What do Snails have to do with it? — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 004 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/what-do-snails-have-to-do-with-it-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-004/ Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=5825 Schistosomiasis is an important tropical disease caused by schistosome trematodes (a parasitic blood fluke). Those parasites are found in South America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. An estimated 200 million people worldwide are infected with schistosomes and 200,000 people die each year. Schistosomiasis is a waterborne disease. Infected freshwater snails release larvae (cercariae) which can infect humans during their water related activities.   Only one drug – praziquantel – is currently available to treat patients but drug resistance starts to emerge. Vaccines have been designed in laboratory but have never conferred decent level of protection to people in the field. Therefore new approaches are needed to identify drug targets, understand drug resistance, predict vaccine efficacy by understanding parasite population diversity and identify potential vaccine candidates. The Texas Biomed schistosomiasis lab has pioneered the use of genetic crosses between schistosomes in the laboratory for identifying the genetic basis of biomedically important parasite traits. Scientists have used this approach, together with exome sequencing, to identify the precise mutations that underlie oxamniquine resistance, and are now applying the same approach to understand praziquantel resistance, host specificity, parasite virulence, and multiple other important biomedical traits. Schistosomiasis is an important tropical disease caused by schistosome trematodes (a parasitic blood fluke). Those parasites are found in South America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Schistosomiasis is an important tropical disease caused by schistosome trematodes (a parasitic blood fluke). Those parasites are found in South America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. An estimated 200 million people worldwide are infected with schistosomes and 200,000 people die each year. Schistosomiasis is a waterborne disease. Infected freshwater snails release larvae (cercariae) which can infect humans during their water related activities.<br /> <br />  <br /> <br /> Only one drug – praziquantel – is currently available to treat patients but drug resistance starts to emerge. Vaccines have been designed in laboratory but have never conferred decent level of protection to people in the field. Therefore new approaches are needed to identify drug targets, understand drug resistance, predict vaccine efficacy by understanding parasite population diversity and identify potential vaccine candidates.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The Texas Biomed schistosomiasis lab has pioneered the use of genetic crosses between schistosomes in the laboratory for identifying the genetic basis of biomedically important parasite traits. Scientists have used this approach, together with exome sequencing, to identify the precise mutations that underlie oxamniquine resistance, and are now applying the same approach to understand praziquantel resistance, host specificity, parasite virulence, and multiple other important biomedical traits. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 10:30 “Z” is for Zika – TXBiobytes Podcast Episode 003 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/z-zika-txbiobytes-podcast-episode-003/ Tue, 27 Feb 2018 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=5581 The birth of a child is typically one of the happiest moments in a family’s life. But for mothers and fathers infected with the Zika virus, pregnancy can be particularly stressful, as they wait to see if their child will suffer the sometimes devastating consequences of infection. Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are in the United States and infections are on the rise. Microcephaly appears to be the most devastating consequence and little is known how to stop it. Scientists at Texas Biomed have begun several projects aimed at understanding the Zika virus and its impact on newborns. Suzette Tardif, Ph.D., and Jean Patterson, Ph.D., talk about efforts to figure out how the virus works and how scientists can best test therapies to intervene. Discovered in Uganda in 1947, Zika virus has been impacting lives for more than half a century. While Africans have built up an apparent immunity, the Western Hemisphere was left relatively unscathed until near the end of 2013 when cases of Zika virus and its most dangerous known consequence of infection, microcephaly, were reported in Brazil. Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are now in the U.S. Scientists at Texas Biomed have started several projects aimed at understanding this relatively unknown disease and are leading efforts to figure out how the virus works and how best we can test therapeutic strategies. They hope to: 1. Develop an animal model to determine a timeline for infection and answer the questions: how long will Zika last in the body? When will it be most problematic for pregnant women, and how long do men have to wait before having sexual contact? 2. When vaccines and therapies are being developed, test them in animal models that mimic human immune and gestational systems to make sure that the vaccine offers protection against the various strains of the disease and does no harm to mothers or unborn children. Applying the expertise of Texas Biomed scientists in virology, immunology, genetics, and pregnancy in several different nonhuman primate models will help lead to a better understanding of how Zika virus impacts fetal development. Texas Biomed scientists believe that different nonhuman primate models for this disease have the potential to reveal unique consequences of Zika virus infection. Zika virus is a long-term health issue for the United States, and it is imperative we know more. The birth of a child is typically one of the happiest moments in a family’s life. But for mothers and fathers infected with the Zika virus, pregnancy can be particularly stressful, as they wait to see if their child will suffer the sometimes devastatin... The birth of a child is typically one of the happiest moments in a family’s life. But for mothers and fathers infected with the Zika virus, pregnancy can be particularly stressful, as they wait to see if their child will suffer the sometimes devastating consequences of infection.<br /> <br /> Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are in the United States and infections are on the rise. Microcephaly appears to be the most devastating consequence and little is known how to stop it.<br /> <br /> Scientists at Texas Biomed have begun several projects aimed at understanding the Zika virus and its impact on newborns.<br /> <br /> Suzette Tardif, Ph.D., and Jean Patterson, Ph.D., talk about efforts to figure out how the virus works and how scientists can best test therapies to intervene.<br /> Discovered in Uganda in 1947, Zika virus has been impacting lives for more than half a century. While Africans have built up an apparent immunity, the Western Hemisphere was left relatively unscathed until near the end of 2013 when cases of Zika virus and its most dangerous known consequence of infection, microcephaly, were reported in Brazil.<br /> Mosquitos carrying the Zika virus are now in the U.S. Scientists at Texas Biomed have started several projects aimed at understanding this relatively unknown disease and are leading efforts to figure out how the virus works and how best we can test therapeutic strategies.<br /> <br /> They hope to:<br /> <br /> 1. Develop an animal model to determine a timeline for infection and answer the questions: how long will Zika last in the body? When will it be most problematic for pregnant women, and how long do men have to wait before having sexual contact?<br /> <br /> 2. When vaccines and therapies are being developed, test them in animal models that mimic human immune and gestational systems to make sure that the vaccine offers protection against the various strains of the disease and does no harm to mothers or unborn children.<br /> <br /> Applying the expertise of Texas Biomed scientists in virology, immunology, genetics, and pregnancy in several different nonhuman primate models will help lead to a better understanding of how Zika virus impacts fetal development. Texas Biomed scientists believe that different nonhuman primate models for this disease have the potential to reveal unique consequences of Zika virus infection.<br /> <br /> Zika virus is a long-term health issue for the United States, and it is imperative we know more. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean Much Ado About Malaria – TXBioBytes Episode 002 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/much-ado-malaria-txbiobytes-episode-002/ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=5524   Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year. Scientist Ian Cheeseman, Ph.D., of Texas Biomed specializes in the genetics of the parasite that causes malaria. His newest study published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution was recently highlighted in the Editors Choice section of the prestigious journal Science. “At the basic level we simply do not know what’s in a malaria infection, even though this has profound implications for how we think about treating and eradicating this disease,” Cheeseman said. Using various technologies, these scientists are literally cracking open cells and using single cell DNA sequencing to discover previously unknown characteristics of malarial infections.   - Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year. Scientist Ian Cheeseman, Ph.D., of Texas Biomed specializes in the genetics of the parasite that causes malaria.  <br /> <br /> Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year. Scientist Ian Cheeseman, Ph.D., of Texas Biomed specializes in the genetics of the parasite that causes malaria. His newest study published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution was recently highlighted in the Editors Choice section of the prestigious journal Science.<br /> <br /> “At the basic level we simply do not know what’s in a malaria infection, even though this has profound implications for how we think about treating and eradicating this disease,” Cheeseman said.<br /> <br /> Using various technologies, these scientists are literally cracking open cells and using single cell DNA sequencing to discover previously unknown characteristics of malarial infections. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 12:00 TB or not TB – TXBioBytes Episode 001 https://www.txbiomed.org/news-press/news-releases/tb-not-tb-txbb001/ Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:54:57 +0000 http://www.txbiomed.org/?p=5401 Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio is a new focal point for TB research, with scientists studying the disease from dozens of angles, researching new therapies and a better way to vaccinate people against the insidious infection that targets the lungs. Tuberculosis is an ancient health threat that’s still claiming several thousand lives each day around the globe. It’s the world’s deadliest infectious disease. And TB isn’t just a third world concern. It’s an American problem, too. The World Health Organization Global TB Strategy aims to eradicate TB by 2035. In 2016, Bexar County had one of the four highest rates of TB in the state, along with Harris, Dallas, and Hidalgo Counties. Texas, California, Florida and New York have the highest rates of tuberculosis in the U.S. The new President/CEO of Texas Biomed, Larry Schlesinger, M.D., is a globally-recognized expert researcher in the TB field. He is joined at Texas Biomed by Joanne Turner, Ph.D. and Jordi Torrelles, Ph.D. Between the three of them and their team members, these scientists are poised to make real progress in their collaborative work. With their expertise in both lab and animal research, the new Tuberculosis research team at Texas Biomed is a unique asset for South Texas. Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio is a new focal point for TB research, with scientists studying the disease from dozens of angles, researching new therapies and a better way to vaccinate people against the insidious infection that tar... Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio is a new focal point for TB research, with scientists studying the disease from dozens of angles, researching new therapies and a better way to vaccinate people against the insidious infection that targets the lungs.<br /> <br /> Tuberculosis is an ancient health threat that’s still claiming several thousand lives each day around the globe. It’s the world’s deadliest infectious disease. And TB isn’t just a third world concern. It’s an American problem, too. The World Health Organization Global TB Strategy aims to eradicate TB by 2035.<br /> <br /> In 2016, Bexar County had one of the four highest rates of TB in the state, along with Harris, Dallas, and Hidalgo Counties. Texas, California, Florida and New York have the highest rates of tuberculosis in the U.S.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The new President/CEO of Texas Biomed, Larry Schlesinger, M.D., is a globally-recognized expert researcher in the TB field. He is joined at Texas Biomed by Joanne Turner, Ph.D. and Jordi Torrelles, Ph.D. Between the three of them and their team members, these scientists are poised to make real progress in their collaborative work.<br /> <br /> With their expertise in both lab and animal research, the new Tuberculosis research team at Texas Biomed is a unique asset for South Texas. Texas Biomedical Research Institute clean 13:16