What colored blobs in the brain can tell us about environmental decision making

April 22, 2019 | 63 views

Growing up in California in the 1990s with a brittle bone disability, Nik Sawe appreciated every chance he got to go to Yosemite National Park. Spending time outside meant he was healthy, and that association helped touch off a lifelong love of nature. That love led him to study biology in college, but breaking bones every few months due to seemingly minor injuries left him unable to do fieldwork. He shifted his focus from ecology to neuroscience and, after college, took a job in the medical device industry. Reading research papers late at night, Sawe became interested in neuroeconomics, a field that explores our brain’s role in how we allocate scarce resources and weigh trade-offs between short- and long-term benefits. He saw that the questions neuroeconomics was asking could be applied to environmental issues. After reaching out to his old biology professors at Stanford, he ended up applying to an interdisciplinary environmental Ph.D. program with a proposal to use neuroeconomics to study how people make environmental decisions.

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Syngene

Syngene provides instruments, software and systems for documenting and analysing gels used by molecular biologists in genomic and proteomic studies. Almost all research in the biological sciences involves an understanding of the underlying molecular processes involving DNA, RNA and proteins and gel electrophoresis is a fundamental process in many laboratories working in this area.

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MEDTECH

Top 10 biotech IPOs in 2019

Article | July 16, 2022

The big question at the start of 2019 was whether the IPO window would stay open for biotech companies, particularly those seeking to pull off ever-larger IPOs at increasingly earlier stages of development. The short answer is yes—kind of. Here’s the long answer: In the words of Renaissance Capital, the IPO market had “a mostly good year.” The total number of deals fell to 159 from 192 the year before, but technology and healthcare companies were standout performers. The latter—which include biotech, medtech and diagnostics companies—led the pack, making up 43% of all IPOs in 2019. By Renaissance’s count, seven companies went public at valuations exceeding $1 billion, up from five the year before

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MEDTECH

Cell Out? Lysate-Based Expression an Option for Personalized Meds

Article | September 22, 2022

Cell-free expression (CFE) is the practice of making a protein without using a living cell. In contrast with cell line-based methods, production is achieved using a fluid containing biological components extracted from a cell, i.e., a lysate. CFE offers potential advantages for biopharma according to Philip Probert, PhD, a senior scientist at the Centre for Process Innovation in the U.K.

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RESEARCH

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

Article | July 11, 2022

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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Selexis Cell Line Development Strategies

Article | February 11, 2020

In today’s biotechnology landscape, to be competitive, meet regulations, and achieve market demands, “we must apply Bioprocessing 4.0,” said Igor Fisch, PhD, CEO, Selexis. In fact, in the last decade, “Selexis has evolved from cloning by limiting dilution to automated cell selection to nanofluidic chips and from monoclonality assessment by statistical calculation to proprietary bioinformatic analysis,” he added. Single-use processing systems are an expanding part of the biomanufacturing world; as such, they are a major component of Bioprocessing 4.0. “At Selexis, we use single use throughout our cell line development workflow. Currently, we have incorporated single-use automated bioprocessing systems such as ambr® and the Beacon® optofluidic platform for accelerated cell line development. By using these systems and optimizing our parameters, we were able to achieve high titers in shake flasks. Additionally, the Beacon systems integrate miniaturized cell culture with high-throughput liquid handling automation and cell imaging. This allows us to control, adjust, and monitor programs at the same time,” noted Fisch.

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Spotlight

Syngene

Syngene provides instruments, software and systems for documenting and analysing gels used by molecular biologists in genomic and proteomic studies. Almost all research in the biological sciences involves an understanding of the underlying molecular processes involving DNA, RNA and proteins and gel electrophoresis is a fundamental process in many laboratories working in this area.

Related News

Neurocrine Biosciences and Xenon Launch Up-to-$1.7B Epilepsy, Neuroscience Collaboration

GEN | December 02, 2019

Neurocrine Biosciences has agreed to exclusively license and co-develop Xenon Pharmaceuticals’ Phase I epilepsy candidate XEN901 as a treatment for children—as well as develop three preclinical compounds, the companies said today—through a collaboration that could generate up to $1.7 billion for Xenon. XEN901 is designed as a highly selective Nav1.6 sodium channel inhibitor being developed to treat children with SCN8A developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (SCN8A-DEE) and other potential indications, including adult focal epilepsy. Xenon has completed a Phase I trial of a powder-in-capsule formulation of XEN901 in healthy adults. However, Xenon has also developed a pediatric-specific, granule formulation of XEN901, and has completed juvenile toxicology studies intended to support pediatric development of the drug candidate. “With its proven expertise in developing and commercializing treatments for neurological disorders, we believe Neurocrine Biosciences is an ideal partner to maximize the potential value of XEN901 for patients,” Xenon CEO Simon Pimstone, MD, PhD, FRCPC, said in a statement.

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Using Machine Learning To Reveal How the Brain Encodes Memories

Technology Networks | November 28, 2019

Researchers working in The N.1 Institute for Health at NUS, led by Assistant Professor Camilo Libedinsky from NUS Psychology, and Senior Lecturer Shih-Cheng Yen from the Innovation and Design Programme at NUS Engineering, have discovered that a population of neurons in the brain’s frontal lobe contain stable short-term memory information within dynamically-changing neural activity. This discovery may have far-reaching consequences in understanding how organisms have the ability to perform multiple mental operations simultaneously, such as remembering, paying attention and making a decision, using a brain of limited size. In the human brain, the frontal lobe plays an important role in processing short-term memories. Short-term memory has a low capacity to retain information. “It can usually only hold six to eight items. Think for example about our ability to remember a phone number for a few seconds – that uses short-term memory,” Libendisky explained.

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Researchers Uncovered a New Mechanism of Neurodegeneration

Technology Networks | November 22, 2019

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is an inherited neurodegenerative condition that affects 1 in 2500 individuals. Currently, however, it is still lacking effective treatment options. New research has demonstrated that a class of cytoplasmic enzymes called tRNA synthetases can cause CMT by interfering with the gene transcription in the nucleus. This breakthrough is the result of an international academic collaboration, where scientists from the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology and the Scripps Research Institute were the driving force. The study was published in the leading journal Nature Communications. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a condition that affects the peripheral nervous system. It leads to progressive muscle weakness and loss of sensation in the lower and - later on - upper limbs. It is the most commonly inheritable neuromuscular disorder and, at the moment, remains incurable. The first symptoms can appear both in early childhood or during adult life. Over 90 genes are implicated in the pathology so far and these are involved in a variety of processes. This complexity makes it a difficult condition to study and find a treatment for.

Read More

Neurocrine Biosciences and Xenon Launch Up-to-$1.7B Epilepsy, Neuroscience Collaboration

GEN | December 02, 2019

Neurocrine Biosciences has agreed to exclusively license and co-develop Xenon Pharmaceuticals’ Phase I epilepsy candidate XEN901 as a treatment for children—as well as develop three preclinical compounds, the companies said today—through a collaboration that could generate up to $1.7 billion for Xenon. XEN901 is designed as a highly selective Nav1.6 sodium channel inhibitor being developed to treat children with SCN8A developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (SCN8A-DEE) and other potential indications, including adult focal epilepsy. Xenon has completed a Phase I trial of a powder-in-capsule formulation of XEN901 in healthy adults. However, Xenon has also developed a pediatric-specific, granule formulation of XEN901, and has completed juvenile toxicology studies intended to support pediatric development of the drug candidate. “With its proven expertise in developing and commercializing treatments for neurological disorders, we believe Neurocrine Biosciences is an ideal partner to maximize the potential value of XEN901 for patients,” Xenon CEO Simon Pimstone, MD, PhD, FRCPC, said in a statement.

Read More

Using Machine Learning To Reveal How the Brain Encodes Memories

Technology Networks | November 28, 2019

Researchers working in The N.1 Institute for Health at NUS, led by Assistant Professor Camilo Libedinsky from NUS Psychology, and Senior Lecturer Shih-Cheng Yen from the Innovation and Design Programme at NUS Engineering, have discovered that a population of neurons in the brain’s frontal lobe contain stable short-term memory information within dynamically-changing neural activity. This discovery may have far-reaching consequences in understanding how organisms have the ability to perform multiple mental operations simultaneously, such as remembering, paying attention and making a decision, using a brain of limited size. In the human brain, the frontal lobe plays an important role in processing short-term memories. Short-term memory has a low capacity to retain information. “It can usually only hold six to eight items. Think for example about our ability to remember a phone number for a few seconds – that uses short-term memory,” Libendisky explained.

Read More

Researchers Uncovered a New Mechanism of Neurodegeneration

Technology Networks | November 22, 2019

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is an inherited neurodegenerative condition that affects 1 in 2500 individuals. Currently, however, it is still lacking effective treatment options. New research has demonstrated that a class of cytoplasmic enzymes called tRNA synthetases can cause CMT by interfering with the gene transcription in the nucleus. This breakthrough is the result of an international academic collaboration, where scientists from the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology and the Scripps Research Institute were the driving force. The study was published in the leading journal Nature Communications. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is a condition that affects the peripheral nervous system. It leads to progressive muscle weakness and loss of sensation in the lower and - later on - upper limbs. It is the most commonly inheritable neuromuscular disorder and, at the moment, remains incurable. The first symptoms can appear both in early childhood or during adult life. Over 90 genes are implicated in the pathology so far and these are involved in a variety of processes. This complexity makes it a difficult condition to study and find a treatment for.

Read More

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