Building Blocks for a Greener Future

KAREN STEWARD PHD | January 14, 2019

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Many of us will have grown up with this childhood (and for some adulthood) institution, and those of you with children will appreciate it is possibly one of the most painful things known to man when found with a barefoot. Yes, I’m talking about LEGO! Plastics are a hot topic and mostly for all the wrong reasons. Research has highlighted their negative environmental impact from production, disposal and long-term contamination of the environment. But at a time when plastic use is coming under great scrutiny, what are LEGO, whose foundations are built on plastic products, doing to alleviate the problem?



Closing bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome using long-read sequencing

Article | February 12, 2020

In our lab, we focus on the impact of the gut microbiome on human health and disease. To evaluate this relationship, it’s important to understand the particular functions that different bacteria have. As bacteria are able to exchange, duplicate, and rearrange their genes in ways that directly affect their phenotypes, complete bacterial genomes assembled directly from human samples are essential to understand the strain variation and potential functions of the bacteria we host. Advances in the microbiome space have allowed for the de novo assembly of microbial genomes directly from metagenomes via short-read sequencing, assembly of reads into contigs, and binning of contigs into putative genome drafts. This is advantageous because it allows us to discover microbes without culturing them, directly from human samples and without reference databases. In the past year, there have been a number of tour de force efforts to broadly characterize the human gut microbiota through the creation of such metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs)[1–4]. These works have produced hundreds of thousands of microbial genomes that vastly increase our understanding of the human gut. However, challenges in the assembly of short reads has limited our ability to correctly assemble repeated genomic elements and place them into genomic context. Thus, existing MAGs are often fragmented and do not include mobile genetic elements, 16S rRNA sequences, and other elements that are repeated or have high identity within and across bacterial genomes.

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Defense biotech research looks to eliminate bacteria causing traveler’s diarrhea, reduce jet lag duration

Article | April 9, 2020

World traveler‘s will rejoice at the idea of a seemingly magical device that would guarantee they never suffer from the all-too-familiar stomach issues that come from traveling internationally while reducing jet lag at the same time. But it’s not just privileged globetrotters that would benefit from a device that eliminates the bacteria associated with the so-called Montezuma’s Revenge. In 2016, more than 230,000 children around the world died from some of the same types of bacteria as those that cause traveler’s diarrhea, and the bacteria mainly come from unsafe “drinking water, poor sanitation and malnutrition,” according to Oxford University’s Our World In Data portal. On Monday, DARPA announced it was researching an “implantable or ingestible bioelectronic carrier” that would eliminate the five major bacteria associated with traveler’s diarrhea.

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Translating Pharmacomicrobiomics: Three Actionable Challenges/Prospects in 2020

Article | February 24, 2020

The year 2020 marks a decade since the term pharmacomicrobiomics was coined (Rizkallah et al., 2010) to crystallize a century-old concept of mutual interactions between humans, drugs, and the microbial world. The human microbiome, with its immense metabolic potential that exceeds and expands the human metabolic capacities, has the ability to modulate pharmacotherapy by affecting both pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drug molecules:

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AI and Biotechnology: The Future of Healthcare Industry

Article | January 20, 2021

Artificial intelligence has grasped the foundation in biotech. It can have the most innovative impact on biotechnology. AI has already established its presence in our day-to-day life. AI has made the existence of self-driving cars possible. Likewise, the benefits and quality that it can contribute to biotech can also be felt. With AI, bio technicians will be able to enhance virtual screening, overlook preliminary datasets from clinics, and decipher an enormous amount of information. It can also help in improving the medication process by gathering and analyzing every bit of information. The Significance of AI in Biotechnology In the past few years, the application of artificial intelligence in the biotechnology industry has shifted from being sci-fi to sci-fact. A vast number of biotech companies like Deep Genomics are adopting AI for making data-driven decisions and use analytics tools to work efficiently. Unlike the AI robots in sci-fi that are ready to take over the world. AI designed for biotech has been designed to solve certain problems or complete a bunch of tasks by using automated algorithms. The aim of AI technology for biotech is to collect insights along with hidden patterns from large amounts of data. All the different industries of biotech including agriculture, animal, medical, industrial, and bioinformatics are gradually being affected by artificial intelligence. Moreover, the biotech industry is realizing that AI enables them some of the important strength to their business, including: Expanding accessibility Cost-effectiveness Critical predictions Efficient decision-making Research centers like PwC have also estimated output of $15.7 trillion by 2030 solely with AI contribution in industries. A survey revealed that about 44% of life science experts are using AI for R&D activities, as well. Use of AI in Biotechnology Altering Biomedical and Clinical Data So far the most developed use of AI is its ability to read voluminous data records and interpret them. It can prove to be a life-save for bio technicians who would have to examine that much data from research publications by themselves for the validation of their hypothesis. With the help of AI, clinical studies of patients will also become easier as all the examination reports and prescriptions will be stored in one place for cross-reference. Furthermore, it will also help in blending and fetching data into usable formats for analysis. Test Result Prediction Through trial and error, AI along with machine learning can help in predicting the response of the patient to certain drugs to provide more effective outcomes. Drug Design & Discovery AI plays a vital role whether it’s designing a new molecule or identifying new biological targets. It helps in identifying and validating drugs. It reduces the cost and time spent on the entire drug trial process and reaches the market. Personalized Medications for Rare Diseases With the combination of body scan results, patients’ body and analytics, AI can also help in detecting dangerous diseases at an early stage. Improving Process of Manufacturing To improve the process of manufacturing in biotechnology, AI offers a wide range of opportunities. It controls quality, reduces wastage, improves useability, and minimizes the designing time. Moving Towards AI-Enhanced Biotech Future Ever since the concept of artificial intelligence has arrived, being curious by nature, humans have started working towards achieving this goal. It has been growing at a fast pace while showing unbelievable growth and achievements at times. In comparison to the traditional methods used in the biotechnology industry, AI-based methods seem more reliable and accurate. In the upcoming years, it will show its success by improving the quality of health people have. You can also develop your AI-based application or know more about it by taking IT consultations.

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