Tag Archives: infectious disease

bioscience

Helios Scholars at TGen featured at symposium

The 45 interns in the 2014 Helios Scholars at TGen summer internship program graduated today, following a daylong scientific symposium at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

Arizona’s future leaders in biology and medicine worked for eight weeks in one of the nation’s premier scientific internship programs, sponsored by the Helios Education Foundation in partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

At today’s symposium, students presented scientific posters and oral presentations about their biomedical investigations, which were conducted under the one-on-one guidance and mentorship of TGen researchers. Like their mentors, Helios Scholars use cutting-edge technology to help discover the genetic causes of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, infectious disease and many types of cancer.

This is the eighth class of Helios Scholars at TGen, funded for 25 years by Helios Education Foundation. Helios is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectations, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida.

“TGen’s summer intern program enables students to learn first-hand what it is like to work in a professional scientific environment, and helps them discover the skills they will need to make important contributions in science and medicine,” said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. “The Helios Scholars at TGen program is helping prepare students for further academic success and for meaningful careers that not only benefit them, but will improve people’s lives through breakthrough medical and scientific research.”

The program is open to Arizona high school, undergraduate and graduate level students, including those in medical school.

“Our partnership with the Helios Education Foundation helps prepare a new generation of biomedical investigators for Arizona,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen’s President and Research Director. “As we help them explore the biosciences beyond the classroom, TGen provides them with opportunities to participate in potentially life-changing research that can benefit actual patients.”

Helios Scholars also participate in professional development programs in science communication, public speaking, and basic business etiquette. This year’s interns were selected from among more than 500 applications.

“Our students arrive here with a passion for science and medicine,” said Julie Euber, TGen’s Education and Outreach Specialist and supervisor of the Helios Scholars at TGen. “Participating in authentic research projects helps shape their skills and abilities, preparing them for a lifetime of discovery and achievement in the biosciences.”

The program application opens in January of each year for the following summer at www.tgen.org/intern.

defense threat reduction

ASU Secures Defense Threat Reduction Agency Contract

Arizona State University has been awarded a four-year contract from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a novel diagnostic technology called immunosignaturing for rapid detection of exposure to infectious disease agents before symptoms occur. This contract, with a cumulative value of $30,718,054, consists of a base period with 12 months of performance, valued at $9,057,732; and one option period with 36 months of performance, valued at $21,660,322.

Early detection saves lives by allowing rapid deployment of treatment and implementation of infection control measures to limit further spread, according to George Poste, chief scientist of the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative at ASU.

Stephen Albert Johnston, co-director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, will lead the project. Johnston with co-principal investigators Poste and Neal Woodbury, co-director of the Center for Innovations in Medicine, will direct the effort to develop a silicon-chip based technology capable of detecting a broad range of infectious organisms based on their triggering the body to produce highly specific antibodies that are unique to each different infectious disease (the immunosignature).

Although this project seeks to develop a sophisticated and highly sensitive detection system to protect military personnel against bioterrorism, it is anticipated that immunosignature profiling will be equally valuable in creating a major advance in rapid detection of infectious and other disease in conventional medical settings.

Poste, a Regents’ Professor and Del E. Webb Chair in Health Innovation, founded the Biodesign Institute at ASU before moving to establish the Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative, a research focus of the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

Johnston is a professor in the ASU School of Life Sciences and with Woodbury co-directs the Center for Innovations in Medicine, which is bringing together the multidisciplinary scientific teams to develop the immunosignature diagnostic technology as well as a prophylactic cancer vaccine and new classes of therapeutics and anti-infectives.

Woodbury is a professor in ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a senior scientist in ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. In addition to co-directing the Center for Innovations in Medicine, he leads research efforts to develop molecular devices and nanoscale hybrid electronics as miniaturized sensors for use in national security, medicine, environmental monitoring and remediation, and agriculture.

“Our success in securing this federal contract, one of the largest in ASU’s history, is a compelling validation of the strength of our research faculty and our growing track record in innovation and technology,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development.

For more information on ASU’s contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, visit ASU’s website at asunews.asu.edu/20120618_immunosignaturing.