News Article | April 25, 2017
Neuroscientists have, for the first time, shown that gut bacteria "speak" to the brain to control food choices in animals. In a study publishing April 25 in the Open Access journal PLOS Biology, researchers identified two species of bacteria that have an impact on animal dietary decisions. The investigation was led by Carlos Ribeiro, and colleagues from the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal and Monash University, Australia. There's no question that nutrients and the microbiome, the community of bacteria that resides in the gut, impact health. For instance, diseases like obesity have been associated with the composition of the diet and the microbiome. However, the notion that microbes might also be able to control behavior seems a big conceptual leap. Yet that's what the new study shows. Experiments conducted using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, a model organism allowed the scientists to dissect the complex interaction of diet and microbes and its effect on food preference. The scientists initially showed that flies deprived of amino acids showed decreased fertility and increased preference for protein-rich food. Indeed, the team found that the removal of any single essential amino acid was sufficient to increase the flies' appetite for protein-rich food. Furthermore, the scientists tested the impact on food choices of five different species of bacteria that are naturally present in the guts of fruit flies in the wild. The results exceeded the scientists' expectations: two specific bacterial species could abolish the increased appetite for protein in flies that were fed food lacking essential amino acids. "With the right microbiome, fruit flies are able to face these unfavorable nutritional situations," says Santos. "In the fruit fly, there are five main bacterial species; in humans there are hundreds," adds co-author Patrícia Francisco. This highlights the importance of using simple animal models to gain insights into factors that may be crucial for human health. How could the bacteria act on the brain to alter appetite? "Our first hypothesis was that these bacteria might be providing the flies with the missing essential amino acids," Santos explains. However, the experiments did not support this hypothesis. Instead, the gut bacteria "seem to induce some metabolic change that acts directly on the brain and the body, which mimics a state of protein satiety," Santos says. In sum, this study shows not only that gut bacteria act on the brain to alter what animals want to eat, but also that they might do so by using a new, unknown mechanism. In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Biology: https:/ Citation: Leitão-Gonçalves R, Carvalho-Santos Z, Francisco AP, Fioreze GT, Anjos M, Baltazar C, et al. (2017) Commensal bacteria and essential amino acids control food choice behavior and reproduction. PLoS Biol 15(4): e2000862. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2000862 Funding: Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (grant number postdoctoral fellowship SFRH/BPD/78947/2011). Received by RLG. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (grant number PTDC/BIA-BCM/118684/2010). Received by CR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Human Frontier Science Program (grant number RGP0022/2012). Received by CR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; EUROPEAN COMMISSION - MARIE CURIE ACTIONS (grant number FLiACT - Grant agreement no.: 289941). Received by CR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Ciência sem Fronteiras program of the CNPq (grant number 200207/2012-1). Received by GTF. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Royal Society (grant number UF100158). Received by MDWP. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; BIAL Foundation (grant number 283/14). Received by CR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; EMBO (grant number ALTF 1602-2011). Received by RLG. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (grant number BB/I011544/1). Received by MDWP. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Champalimaud Foundation. Received by CR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Australian Research Council (grant number Australian Research Council Future Fellow - FT150100237). Received by MDWP. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (grant number postdoctoral fellowship SFRH/BPD/76201/2011). Received by ZCS. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (grant number postdoctoral fellowship SFRH/BPD/79325/2011 ). Received by PMI. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript; Kavli Foundation. Received by CR. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: I have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests. PMI has a commercial interest in the flyPAD open-source technology.
News Article | April 21, 2017
When you get surgery or have a mole removed, and there’s leftover tissue or blood, there’s a chance that it might not be discarded. It might live on in a lab somewhere, available to researchers, unbeknownst to you. Your doctors didn’t ask you if you wanted to donate your cells. They didn’t have to. As long as your specimens are “de-identified” — meaning your name and other personal information are no longer attached to them anymore — they’re fair game. This practice went on for decades without much controversy — until the bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot came along in 2010. The story sparked a debate among the public, researchers, and bioethicists about whether this practice is ethical — and whether the benefits to science truly outweigh the potential harms to individuals whose donations may come back to haunt them. A new HBO movie starring Oprah based on the book will surely reignite that debate. The movie strongly suggests the practice of using anonymous tissues in research can be nefarious and deeply disturbing for families — while at the same time great for science. And so the research community is bracing for a backlash once again. What happens next may hinge on whether the public gets involved in the debate about reforming the consent rules around donating tissues to science — but first, more people need to know this debate is happening at all. And there’s nothing like an Oprah movie to get Americans talking. The book and movie center around Henrietta Lacks, an impoverished Virginia tobacco farmer whose cells, leftover from a cervical cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins, were used to create the first “immortal cell line.” (Her cells, named “HeLa,” could thrive and grow outside the body, in culture in the lab — leading to a cascade of medical breakthroughs.) Though Lacks died in 1951, HeLa cells were and still are used in labs around the world. They were used for the discovery of the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization, among other medical breakthroughs. (Researchers still haven’t figured out why they’re “immortal,” but they’ve since discovered other similarly inextinguishable cell lines.) Because of systemic prejudices in the health care system (the Lacks were poor African Americans) and the sometimes clandestine nature of research, for years after her death, the Lacks family had no idea about Henrietta’s contribution to science. While her cells multiplied in labs everywhere, helping to advance medicine and make innovators a lot of money, the family was living in poverty and didn’t have access to basic health care. Skloot, the book’s author, does a fine job of balancing the tension of the incredible contribution Lacks’s cells made to science and the damage that science did to the Lacks family. “The thing about Lacks’s story that’s often missed in this discussion is that it’s not just about the moment the cells were taken from Henrietta,” Skloot told me in a recent interview. “It’s about the very long tale that can follow that moment if you take cells from people without consent.” Scientists went back to her children in the ’70s and did research on them without consent in order to learn more about the cells. In 2013, researchers sequenced the HeLa genome, making the family DNA public without their consent. And this could happen again today, Skloot warned. Ethical guidelines called the “Common Rule” govern research on human subjects. These guidelines consider science on human tissues as somewhat separate from research on people. When a scientist interacts with a person for the purposes of research, and collects tissue in that process, the researcher’s interactions and use of those biospecimens require informed consent. But when a researcher uses anonymous tissues that have been collected for some other purpose (for a biopsy, or during surgery, say), no consent is required. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (and 15 other federal departments and agencies) considered changes to the Common Rule, including, most controversially, one that would require researchers to get consent for use of even those anonymous tissues. The Lacks story helped spark a push for that revision. But while other amendments passed earlier this year, the change to consent for biospecimens was thrown out because of a backlash from the research and bioethical communities. In interviews, researchers critical of the change outlined several reasons why suddenly mandating consent could be a threat to the advancement of science and medicine. For starters, they say, it’d be difficult and burdensome to build systems that connect people’s decisions about consent to all the tissues that are floating around out there. “If you’re a wealthy academic institution, maybe you can build the front-end infrastructure,” said Steven Joffe, an associate professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, who detailed his concerns in this article and Times op-ed. “But think about trying to do that at every hospital, clinic, and surgical place around the country.” The institutions that can put these systems in place would likely be the wealthier and more urban centers, he added, which could end up biasing the pool of tissues that are available for research. “If you want to get representative samples [of tissues] all around the country, including those that serve rural areas or minority communities or less wealthy institutions,” Joffe said, this consent rule might make that difficult. These losses could damage science, he argues. “A huge amount of what we learned about cancer comes from studying tumor specimens that were left over after people had them biopsied or taken out as part of their clinical care. That leftover tissue is medical waste. Pathology could throw it — or it could be used for research in which we are all better off.” Holly Fernandez Lynch, executive director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, emphasized that the benefits to society in terms of advancing knowledge and medical discovery are much greater than the risks to any individual, such as somehow re-identifying the source of the anonymous tissue. “There haven’t been any examples of nefarious re-identification of specimens,” Lynch argues. “And even if there were, the way to go about that wouldn’t be to demand consent but to go after the people nefariously trying to re-identify and use information against you.” Lynch and Joffe also point out that the Lacks case is more the exception than the rule: It’s very rare for a single person’s cells to make such a large contribution to science. (A lot of discovery these days is based on researchers looking at many people’s cells in aggregate.) “We’re worried that [the Lacks story] is getting people riled up and worried about something that wasn't really risky to them,” Lynch added. But the critics acknowledge, as Joffe puts it, that “there’s little evidence one way or the other of what a requirement for consent would do to science, and what the impact of the burdens would be.” He and others are making “predictions under uncertainty.” That uncertainty is part of what irks supporters of a change to the consent rule. They say there’s no proof that requiring scientists to ask for permission to use anonymous tissues would hinder science — and instead, that it would make science more transparent and respectful of the contributions of research participants. “In my view of the future of research, people will know if they or their tissues are being used in research and they will feel a true sense of participating and pride in that fact,” said Kathy Hudson, a former deputy director at the National Institutes of Health. She worked with the Lacks family to craft an agreement about sharing their genome for science. And she wants to see consent requirement for all tissue donations. “The notion that you can harvest excess specimens and use them in research — sure that’s convenient for the random researcher, but is it good for the biomedical research enterprise?” Hudson says. In not asking for permission, scientists diminish public trust, she argues. And de-identifying specimens also means researchers can’t go back to the participants who donated their tissues and ask follow-up questions that might aid discovery. In the face of uncertainty about the impact requiring consent would have, it depends on how people feel about the fact that their tissues may be used for research without their permission. And Skloot points out that many people don’t even know this is going on. “We all want this research to happen,” Skloot said. “The problem is people don’t understand a lot of about the research, and there isn’t an effort to explain it to them.” When you ask people for their consent to use tissues for research, she added, the vast majority say yes. In a Times op-ed about this issue in 2015, she urged readers to share their comments about the changes to the Common Rule. This year, the rule was finalized after a multi-year revision process, so it’s unlikely to be altered again anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean the debate is going away — especially now that Oprah is involved. “There are a lot of people who feel very strongly that research on tissue should require consent,” Skloot said. “The current practices aren’t what people want them to be.” With the new HBO film, the debate could heat up. Let’s just be sure we’ve carefully considered the potential harms and benefits — to ourselves and to science — in the process.
News Article | April 13, 2017
A wild-born, pure Australian desert dingo called Sandy Maliki has taken out first place in the World's Most Interesting Genome competition.The UNSW-led proposal to have Sandy's DNA decoded was one of five finalists for the Pacific Biosciences SMRT Grant, which provides cutting-edge sequencing of the complete genome of a particularly fascinating plant or animal. The public determined the winner, with 2-year-old Sandy securing 41 percent of the international community votes, closely followed by a Temple Pitviper snake, then a solar-powered sea slug, an explosive bombardier beetle, and a pink pigeon. "We are thrilled that our bid to have Sandy's DNA sequenced captured the public's imagination," says project leader, Professor Bill Ballard of the UNSW School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences. "Sandy is truly a gift to science. As a rare, wild-born pure dingo, she provides a unique case study. Pure dingoes are intermediate between wild wolves and domestic dogs, with a range of non-domesticated traits. So sequencing Sandy's genome will help pinpoint some of the genes for temperament and behaviour that underlie the transition from wild animals to perfect pets. "As well, learning more about dingo genetics will help efforts to conserve these wonderful Australian animals, through the development of improved tests for dingo purity," Professor Ballard says. Sandy and her sister and brother were discovered as 3-week-old pups in the Australian desert near the Strzelecki Track in 2014 by NSW animal lovers, Barry and Lyn Eggleton, who have hand-reared them ever since. The pups were close to death and their parents could not be found. The dingo sequencing project will be the first to test Charles' Darwin's 1868 theory that the process of domestication can be divided into two steps: unconscious selection as a result of non-intentional human influences; and artificial selection as a result of breeding by humans for desired traits. "This project will reveal the DNA changes between wolves and dingoes (unconscious selection) and dingoes and dogs (artificial selection)," says Ballard. A key aim of the annual international PacBio competition, which attracted more than 200 entries this year, is to raise public awareness of science and how genomic research can benefit society. Sandy's team, which set up a DancingwithDingoes Facebook page, enlisted the support of a wide variety of people around the world, including animal conservationists and fans of wolves, dingoes and dogs. "We also engaged with staff and students at UNSW, by bringing two pure alpine dingoes from the Bargo Dingo Sanctuary onto campus for everyone to meet," says Ballard. The cutting edge PacBio technology allows DNA to be sequenced in long sections containing tens of thousands of bases, rather than in shorter sections of a few hundred bases, as with existing techniques. This can reveal important rearrangements in the genome that affect gene expression. The sequencing will be carried out at the University of Arizona, with initial analysis by Computomics in Germany. The Australian team behind the Sandy project also includes Claire Wade of the University of Sydney, Richard Melvin of UNSW, Robert Zammit of the Vineyard Veterinary Hospital and Andre Minoche of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. UNSW has a strong reputation in genomics research, with scientists at the university's Ramaciotti Centre for Genomics having worked on the genomes of a variety of other important native creatures, including the koala, the Tasmanian devil, the wombat, the platypus, the Queensland fruit fly and the Wollemi Pine. "We're very proud of UNSW's history of contribution to genomics and we are delighted that Sandy's genome will now be sequenced as the prize for winning this competition," says UNSW molecular biologist and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Merlin Crossley. "Australia has so many interesting animals to sequence and the results enhance our understanding of evolution and biology and help improve agriculture and pest management". Dingoes were introduced to Australia about 5,000 years ago. It is widely accepted they were not domesticated by Indigenous Australians. Pure dingoes are becoming increasingly rare as the native animals interbreed with wild dogs and domestic dogs, and are targeted as pests by landowners.
News Article | May 25, 2017
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Arlen Meyers, M.D., has joined BridgeHealth as its chief medical officer. BridgeHealth is a leader in making value-based healthcare accessible through high-quality, lower-cost, bundled surgical case rate benefit plans. “Dr. Meyers’ strong clinical expertise and working relationships in the medical community will enhance BridgeHealth’s delivery of high-quality, lower-cost surgical benefits to self-funded employers and their employees and dependents,” said Mark Stadler, BridgeHealth’s chief executive officer. “As chief medical officer, Dr. Meyers will guide us in defining quality care, adding surgical procedures to our benefits solution, conducting medical case reviews and charting the clinical course of our growth.” Meyers is president and chief executive officer of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs and professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He has founded several medical device and digital health companies. Meyers has consulted companies, governments and universities worldwide on bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT and medical travel. Meyers serves as associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship, and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape Reference: Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “All my activities are synergistic,” said Meyers. “They’re part of a larger effort to transform our country from ‘sick care’ to value-based healthcare, from provider-centered care to patient-centered care. I’m passionate about this, and BridgeHealth plays a positive, important role in this transformation.” BridgeHealth negotiates with centers of excellence – the nation’s top-performing surgical teams, according to an independent third-party ranking – for episode-of-care case rates. BridgeHealth bundles the charges for each of the most common surgeries into a single discounted price for self-funded employers. Employer customers save 20-40 percent on surgery costs. Employees and their dependents travel to the centers of excellence for the procedures. To encourage employees to use the BridgeHealth benefits, employer customers typically waive deductibles and coinsurance and pay for travel and accommodations. BridgeHealth’s care coordinators provide information and decision support to patients, relieving them of administrative hassle. Founded in 2007, BridgeHealth (www.bridgehealth.com) is a bundled surgical benefit management company that offers a suite of products for self-insured group health plans to improve quality and outcomes of surgery, reduce costs and positively affect the rate of unnecessary surgery. Through decision support, a high-quality narrow network, care coordination and other strategies, clients get real savings in cost and high-quality outcomes while providing an outstanding patient experience through a facilitated process. Clients achieve very quantifiable results for themselves and their employee/plan members in a manner that integrates with their full suite of health plan benefits. BridgeHealth is headquartered in Denver, Colo.
News Article | May 11, 2017
Flash Physics is our daily pick of the latest need-to-know developments from the global physics community selected by Physics World's team of editors and reporters The quantum properties of molecular ions have been controlled by physicists in the US and Germany. Led by Chin-wen Chou of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US, the researchers determined a molecular-ion's quantum state by transferring the information to an atomic ion. A calcium ion and calcium-hydride ion are first confined in an electromagnetic trap. The atomic ion is then laser cooled, which also slows the motion of the partner molecular ion. Although the molecular ion is now in its lowest-energy electronic and vibrational states, it still rotates randomly. A pulse of laser light is applied to the molecule at a frequency that targets only one, unique transition in its rotational spectrum. If the molecule does jump into the target state, the system remains motionless. But if it makes the transition, both ions start moving again because energy is returned to their shared motion. This movement can be detected by applying a laser pulse to the atomic ion that changes its internal state, causing it to scatter light that can be detected. Described in Nature, the method is an alternative to laser cooling and controlling molecules, which has proven very difficult to do. "Whatever trick you can play with atomic ions is now within reach with molecular ions," says Chou. "This is comparable to when scientists could first laser cool and trap atoms, opening the floodgates to applications in precision metrology and information processing. It's our dream to achieve all these things with molecules." The biophysicist Julia Goodfellow will be the next president of the UK's Royal Society of Biology (RSB). Currently vice chancellor of the University of Kent and president of Universities UK, Goodfellow did a PhD in biophysics at the Open University Research Unit before embarking on a career in biomolecular science at Birkbeck College, where she served as vice-master and head of the School of Crystallography. She has also served as chief executive of the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and chair of the British Science Association. Goodfellow will succeed the current RSB president Jean Thomas in May 2018 and will become the third president of the society since it was founded in 2009. "I look forward to working with the RSB to help strengthen the bioscience community they have successfully fostered, and ensure we are able to represent their views and priorities in the coming months and years," says Goodfellow. A hologram that switches between multiple images as the material used to generate it is stretched has been unveiled by Ritesh Agarwal and colleagues that the University of Pennsylvania in the US. The system is based on a metasurface, which is a flat, ultrathin material with nanometre-scale features. The team had previously shown that coherent light passing through such metasurfaces can produce colour holograms – 3D images created by the interference of light. Now, Agarwal and colleagues have created a metasurface by embedding gold nanorods in a stretchable film of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Using a computer simulation, the team worked-out the distribution of nanorods that would result in a sequence of different holograms as the film is stretched. In its relaxed state, a pentagon-shaped hologram forms 340 μm away from the film. As the material is stretched the hologram changes shape – changes first becoming a square and then a triangle. The team was also able to switch between a happy-face hologram and a sad face. The new technique could have applications in virtual reality, flat displays and optical communications and is described in ACS Nano.
News Article | May 9, 2017
— Global Erythritol Market 2012- 2022 Report provides detailed analysis of market in 9 chapters with required tables and figures. Applications covered in this report are Beverage, Confectionery, Personal Care and Health Care. This report also provides key analysis for the geographical regions like Europe, North America, China, Japan & Korea. Companies like Cargill, Jungbunzlauer, Baolingbao Biology, Zibo Zhongshi Gerui Biotech, Zhucheng Dongxiao Biotechnology, Shandong Sanyuan Biotechnology and more are profiled in this report providing information on sale, price, sales regions, products and overview. Purchase a copy of this report at: https://www.themarketreports.com/report/buy-now/503259 Table of Contents: 1 Market Overview 1.1 Objectives of Research 1.2 Market Segment 2 Industry Chain 2.1 Industry Chain Structure 2.2 Upstream 2.3 Market 3 Environmental Analysis 3.1 Policy 3.2 Economic 3.3 Technology 3.4 Market Entry 4 Major Vendors 5 Market/Vendors Distribution 5.1 Regional Distribution 5.2 Product and Application 6 Regions Market 6.1 Global 6.2 Europe 6.3 North America 6.4 China 6.5 Japan & Korea 6.6 Trade 7 Forecast 7.1 Market Trends 7.2 Segment Forecast 8 Marketing Overview 8.1 Ex-factory Price 8.2 Buyer Price 8.3 Price Factors 8.4 Marketing Channel 9 Conclusion Inquire more about this report at: https://www.themarketreports.com/report/ask-your-query/503259 For more information, please visit https://www.themarketreports.com/report/global-erythritol-market-research-2011-2022
News Article | May 11, 2017
Scientists have demonstrated that a human protein known as valosin containing protein (VCP) is essential for replication of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). The findings, published in PLOS Pathogens, identify VCP as a potential new treatment target. HCMV infects 30 to 100 percent of people worldwide, depending on socioeconomic status. While most remain symptom-free, HCMV can be dangerous or deadly for people with weakened immune systems or for babies infected before birth. Some HCMV treatments exist, but their benefits are limited, and scientists are investigating new ways to treat and prevent infection. To better understand how HCMV replicates during active infection, Yao-Tang Lin and colleagues at the University of Edinburgh, U.K., performed a search for human genes needed by the virus for replication. They found that reducing the expression of the VCP gene in HCMV-infected human cells significantly reduced viral replication in the cells. Additional experiments showed that, without VCP, HCMV is unable to express a critical gene known as IE2. This viral gene is known to be essential for replication and is thought to play a major role when the virus switches from symptom-free, dormant infection to active infection. Given the critical importance of VCP for HCMV replication, the scientists tested the effects of a chemical known to inhibit the activity of VCP. They found that the inhibitor, known as NMS-873, reduced HCMV replication and IE2 expression in infected cells. NMS-873 appeared to be ten times more potent than Ganciclovir, the most commonly used antiviral treatment for HCMV. Further research is needed to determine whether NMS-873 -- originally developed as a potential anti-cancer drug -- is safe and effective in humans. Nonetheless, these findings suggest that NMS-873 and other molecules designed to inhibit VCP could potentially serve as HCMV treatments, particularly in patients infected with HCMV strains that are resistant to existing drugs. "Human Cytomegalovirus infection is an important human disease," the authors further explain. "By gaining a better understanding of how the virus works, we can develop improved antiviral drugs. While more work is required, this study shows the potential of such approaches." In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Pathogens: http://journals. Citation: Lin Y-T, Prendergast J, Grey F (2017) The host ubiquitin-dependent segregase VCP/p97 is required for the onset of human cytomegalovirus replication. PLoS Pathog 13(5): e1006329. https:/ Funding: This work was supported by funding from The Wellcome Trust (088308/z/09/z), the Institute Strategic Programme Grant Funding from the U.K. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council [grant number BBS/E/D20241864] and the Medical Research Council, MR/N001796/1. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
News Article | May 10, 2017
As a postdoc studying marine biology at the University of Bristol, UK, Shelby Temple invented a device that assesses the health of human eyes. He describes his move out of research to commercialize the device. How did you create this tool? I was characterizing the ability of animals to see polarized light, and was curious about the human perception of polarization. So, using LCD screens, some customized components and the contents of my recycling bin, I invented a device to examine it. When I used the device to measure the threshold of human perception of polarized light, those measurements corresponded with the density of macular pigment in the eye. A low level correlates with poor vision and is a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration. What did you do next? With the support of the business incubator at the University of Bristol and programmes including Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research, I conducted market research and developed the device. I believed that my invention had potential for commercialization, so I left the incubator to launch a start-up company. The university owns the intellectual property and they gave me an exclusive global licence in exchange for equity and royalties. How did you transition out of your postdoc? I was able to ease away from lab commitments with funding that allowed me to take a four-month break while doing market research. I passed on a lot of my projects to colleagues, and although I am trying to finish off a few papers, it's really more of a hobby now. Are you pleased with your present career path? Yes. I felt like I was stagnating and was frustrated by the lack of opportunities in my home nation of Canada. Commercializing the device seemed like a great opportunity and could allow me to return to Canada in the future. How does your company run with no revenue? I won a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Enterprise Fellowship, which has paid my salary for the past year. We have a start-up grant from Innovate UK and just completed our first round of investments. What did your market research find? Most people, including optometrists, don't know what macular pigments are, so we'll need to educate them. I also learnt how the device would fit into optometrists' business models. Has it been difficult to move from research? The learning curve was sharp: I took numerous courses to learn about business planning and modelling, accounting, sales and marketing. It has taken me a long time to shift my thinking to making money — there is a lot of pressure to get the device to the point of sale as soon as possible. It's a fantastic amount of work, but I have also been having a great deal of fun. What are you doing now? We are conducting a more focused, large-scale study to compare our tool's results with results from the existing method for measuring macular-pigment density, so there is a big push to get the next prototype ready for trial. As technical officer, I am working on the manufacturing process and am currently operating out of my house. We hope that by late 2017, a more developed version of the device will be ready before we invest in large-scale manufacturing. My dream is for the device to be used in every optometrist's office, and maybe in the future by primary-care doctors. I envision it as a standard part of eye-health checks, a bit like a blood-pressure monitor. What is the best aspect of starting a business? Building a great team with key skills to complement my own. For instance, the chief operating officer has taken over some of the business planning, which allows me to focus on the science. And it's my company, so I run it with my own ethos. Why not have board meetings that start off with nipping to Devon to surf?
News Article | May 10, 2017
Nutriad, world leader in feed additive solutions for livestock and aquaculture, announced the appointment of Jeroen De Gussem as Marketing Director and Joke Van De Velde as Marketing Communications Manager. Operating out of the Dendermonde (Belgium) headquarters they will support Nutriad in its’ growth ambitions across geographies and species. Stated Nutriad CEO Erik Visser: “Over the past years Nutriad has significantly grown its’ market share. To ensure we keep on working closely with customers, suppliers and our own technical staff in bringing new concepts to market and reach producers across the world we constantly invest in people. Our marketing department will ensure that our commitment of being big enough to cover the world, yet small enough to care will be applied towards achieving growing customer intimacy.” Jeroen De Gussem holds a master degree in Biotechnology and Laboratory Animal Science. He will finish his MBA this year. Jeroen has extensive experience in animal health and nutrition and most recently was a partner in a company that provided independent research for the veterinary pharmaceutical and nutritional industry. Commented De Gussem: “I have always been intrigued by how science can be applied into workable solutions for producers. Joining Nutriad allows me to focus on just that. Many companies try to enter the feed additives market, but Nutriad truly stands out as their technical excellence has allowed them to introduce concepts that prove themselves in the most challenging circumstances.” Joke Van De Velde was trained as a Marketing and Communication specialist and has worked on brand and content communication in a variety of industries. NUTRIAD, a multinational feed additives producer headquartered in Belgium, delivers products and services to over 80 countries, supported by 4 application laboratories and 5 manufacturing facilities on 3 continents. Find out more at www.nutriad.com
News Article | May 11, 2017
Dayhuff Group, a premier IBM partner, Lighthouse Computer Services and North Carolina State University have partnered to present a webinar focused on the future of artificial intelligence in the pharmaceutical industry. Dayhuff Group has worked alongside IBM for over a decade implementing solutions that enhance the signal detection process and correct compliance oversights. Today, Dayhuff Group is leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence within IBM Watson Explorer to exploit the information contained in structured and unstructured data, quality control reports, product impact assessments, clinical trials, ingredients and more. Dayhuff Group, Lighthouse and NCSU invite you to join the discussion and learn more as we edge closer to the future of the pharmaceutical industry and the quality and speed that AI can bring to the digital structure of each enterprise. The guest speaker, Dr. Michael Kowolenko, Director of the Institute of Next Generation Computing, is an Industry Fellow in the Center of Innovation Management Studies, and Research Professor in the Department of Computer Science at North Carolina State University. Before joining NCSU, Kowolenko was a senior executive in Wyeth’s Biotechnology and Vaccine Division. In this webinar, he will share pharmaceutical industry insights as well as thoughts on the future of pharma as IBM Watson Explorer becomes more relevant and necessary for industry growth. "Combine data with artificial intelligence in order to justify operation in a state of control." One of the many challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry is to demonstrate compliance with the multitude of regulations that touch on all aspects of business. The ability to demonstrate control and to act proactively to address issues is the hallmark of a well-run organization that places patient safety first. Many systems have been employed by these companies to aggregate data. The fusion of both structured and unstructured data through Watson creates a valuable tool necessary to assess the wide array of information that is generated in the development and post market surveillance in order to remain compliant as required by the various regulatory agencies. Watch the live stream on May 23, 2017 from 11:00am EST - 12:00pm EST. http://www.dayhuffgroup.com/may23 Dayhuff Group is a premier IBM partner. Dayhuff Group’s industry solutions help solve today’s increasingly complex business challenges by providing deep expertise in the Artificial Intelligence of Watson Explorer for use in the pharmaceutical industry.