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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

EL PASO, TX--(Marketwired - May 04, 2017) - This week, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) officially broke ground on the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) II, an $83 million, 219,900-square-foot facility. The five-story building will more than double the campus' research capacity and add crucial instructional space to support its growing student population. "This building is integral to our vision for TTUHSC El Paso," said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of the university. "This will enable us to recruit more researchers to tackle our region's medical challenges, increase student enrollment in our programs, and ultimately, retain some of the nation's most well-prepared, culturally competent health care professionals right here in the borderland." The MSB II second, third, and fourth floors -- more than 87,000 square feet -- will be dedicated to research, including laboratories, offices, and research administration. The first floor will house the campus' largest teaching auditorium yet -- a 9,200-square-foot space that can accommodate up to 500 people -- and will also feature a dining and food services area that will be staffed by outside vendors. The remaining space will be dedicated to a library, a reflection room for quiet space, classrooms, student study rooms and administration. "The completion of MSB II will catalyze the development of basic and translational biomedical research at TTUHSC El Paso by providing us with new laboratory facilities to grow interconnected scientific programs that address major diseases and other problems in health care," said Peter Rotwein, M.D., vice president for research. "We will have the opportunity to recruit new faculty, teach our students the newest aspects of biomedical investigation, and enhance our capabilities in translating discoveries into better treatments and cures." Like other campus facilities, the building's exterior will mirror the architecture of the Spanish Renaissance, which is distinguished by ornate columns, red-tiled roofs, and colossal archways. Funding for the MSB II was approved by the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015 under House Bill 100, which appropriated $75 million for the building's construction. TTUHSC El Paso will contribute an additional $8 million, bringing the total construction cost to $83 million. Construction of the MSB II will be complete in approximately two years. Houston-based architectural firm Perkins + Will designed the building and Sundt Construction, Inc. is contracted to build the new facility. Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/4/11G137910/Images/photo1-43f400d561cca0e9aa4b19c03923470e.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/4/11G137910/Images/Photo2-a8300e16bd2394bf8a19e35d47f40ca2.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/4/11G137910/Images/_RENDERING_1_MSB_II-43029931c5b0b58993834f7040ed9a46.jpg Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/5/4/11G137910/Images/_RENDERING_0_MSB_II-c718cef547d688e8b173ec217e1a4351.jpg


News Article | October 31, 2016
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

"The antidepressant bupropion is a negative allosteric modulator of serotonin type 3A receptors," was published in the September issue of the journal Neuropharmacology. These receptors, which are members of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel (pLGIC) family abundant within and outside the human brain, are implicated in the causation and development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression as well as schizophrenia, irritable bowel syndrome, addiction and substance abuse and cognitive dysfunction. More than 30 years ago, researchers discovered that molecular targets for bupropion were certain reuptaketransporters within the brain neuronal networks. Drugs modulating the function of these transporters were considered good for the treatment of depression. Years later in 1999, researchers found bupropion also inhibited nicotinic receptors and thus could help with smoking cessation. In this recent study, the research team lead by Michaela Jansen, Pharm.D., Ph.D., at the TTUHSC Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, examined the ability of bupropion and its primary metabolite hydroxybupropion to block the function of serotonin type 3A receptors (5-HT3ARs). "For a long time, the blockade of dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake by the antidepressant bupropion within the hypofunctioning central nervous system monoamine systems has remained one of the pharmacological underpinnings for its therapeutic efficacy," Akash Pandhare, M.D., Ph.D., first author of the study and researcher at the TTUHSC Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, said. "This study for the first time established the 5-HT3ARs as a hitherto unidentified molecular target of bupropion." The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people suffer from depression. Many FDA prescription medications cause multiple side effects. Jansen believes these novel findings will bring new hope to those who suffer from depression. "The research will provide the basis for the development of improved pharmacological interventions for both addiction and depression," Jansen said. Jansen's team's research demonstrates blockade by bupropion as well as its major metabolite at 5-HT3ARs clinically-relevant concentrations. The research findings of Jansen's team now will be a part of medical and pharmacy textbooks. The research team included Pandhare, Jansen, Aneesh Satya Pappu, Ph.D., Henrik Wilms, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Paul Blanton, Ph.D. The research was supported in part by a seed grant from the South Plains Foundation and a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health. "Now when a psychiatrist prescribes this drug, they also will have a better understanding of how it works as an antidepressant," Pandhare said.


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

"The antidepressant bupropion is a negative allosteric modulator of serotonin type 3A receptors," was published in the September issue of the journal Neuropharmacology. These receptors, which are members of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channel (pLGIC) family abundant within and outside the human brain, are implicated in the causation and development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression as well as schizophrenia, irritable bowel syndrome, addiction and substance abuse and cognitive dysfunction. More than 30 years ago, researchers discovered that molecular targets for bupropion were certain reuptaketransporters within the brain neuronal networks. Drugs modulating the function of these transporters were considered good for the treatment of depression. Years later in 1999, researchers found bupropion also inhibited nicotinic receptors and thus could help with smoking cessation. In this recent study, the research team lead by Michaela Jansen, Pharm.D., Ph.D., at the TTUHSC Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, examined the ability of bupropion and its primary metabolite hydroxybupropion to block the function of serotonin type 3A receptors (5-HT3ARs). "For a long time, the blockade of dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake by the antidepressant bupropion within the hypofunctioning central nervous system monoamine systems has remained one of the pharmacological underpinnings for its therapeutic efficacy," Akash Pandhare, M.D., Ph.D., first author of the study and researcher at the TTUHSC Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics, said. "This study for the first time established the 5-HT3ARs as a hitherto unidentified molecular target of bupropion." The World Health Organization estimates 350 million people suffer from depression. Many FDA prescription medications cause multiple side effects. Jansen believes these novel findings will bring new hope to those who suffer from depression. "The research will provide the basis for the development of improved pharmacological interventions for both addiction and depression," Jansen said. Jansen's team's research demonstrates blockade by bupropion as well as its major metabolite at 5-HT3ARs clinically-relevant concentrations. The research findings of Jansen's team now will be a part of medical and pharmacy textbooks. The research team included Pandhare, Jansen, Aneesh Satya Pappu, Ph.D., Henrik Wilms, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Paul Blanton, Ph.D. The research was supported in part by a seed grant from the South Plains Foundation and a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health. "Now when a psychiatrist prescribes this drug, they also will have a better understanding of how it works as an antidepressant," Pandhare said.


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

EL PASO, Texas - Haoquan Wu, Ph.D., has received a two-year, $420,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to study Enterovirus 71 (EV71), a relatively new virus that has been compared to polio. EV71 is considered the second-most important enterovirus after polio because of its similar ability to cause paralysis in young children. In recent years, several severe outbreaks of the virus have been reported worldwide, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2012, the virus killed more than 60 children in Cambodia and less than a year later, caused neurological complications in about 30 children in Australia. "The importance of this virus has not been recognized yet by the scientific community," says Wu, a biomedical scientist at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). "Little research has been dedicated to EV71; consequently, it is not well understood and no effective treatment exists." With the NIAID grant, Wu and colleagues will be try to determine which human genes enable the virus to attack and kill human cells. To do this, Wu will conduct a genome-wide knockout screening -- specifically knocking out, or deactivating, each gene in the human genome -- using the process of elimination to identify the genes involved. "By deactivating one gene at a time, we hope to understand how the virus takes advantage of certain properties of human cells to aid the virus in multiplying and ultimately destroying our cells," says Wu. "With this information we then could develop specific and effective treatments to stop the illnesses caused by EV71." The TTUHSC El Paso team plans to use CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that allows scientists to deactivate genes, to conduct their work. Research reported in this news release is supported by the NIAID under award number R21AI123565. This content is solely the responsibility of TTUHSC El Paso and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIAID, an institute of the National Institutes of Health.


News Article | November 10, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

EL PASO, Texas -- Co-principal investigators Richard McCallum, M.D., and Irene Sarosiek, M.D., have received a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The funds will support basic research and clinical trials on patients living with a digestive disorder named gastroparesis. "Gastroparesis is prevalent here in El Paso; about 100,000 people in our region are affected by it," says Dr. McCallum, a professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). "This grant will help us collect new and important data on how the disorder affects Hispanics and others, but it will also help us provide health care to more patients." Gastroparesis is a disorder in which food moves through the stomach much slower than normal. The condition affects more than 10 million Americans and symptoms include chronic nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In severe cases, a permanent feeding tube is required to ensure adequate nutrition; a medical implant to stimulate the digestive system can also be provided for patients with profoundly severe, drug-resistant symptoms. With the funding, the TTUHSC El Paso team will enroll patients to help test a new drug that may reduce the severity and frequency of their gastrointestinal problems. They'll also examine the effectiveness of a novel diagnostic procedure for the condition. The technique was invented by the TTUHSC El Paso team, and if successful, could replace an invasive surgical procedure that's currently used in patients with gastroparesis. Individuals with gastroparesis who opt to participate in the TTUHSC El Paso studies will receive free health care related to the disorder, such as access to diagnostic tests like endoscopies and the latest treatment options. "Many El Paso patients appreciate the opportunity to participate in our NIH-funded research," Dr. Sarosiek says. "It gives them access to cutting-edge health care that they otherwise would not receive, and at the same time, it helps us find possible risk factors that could play a role in initiating the progression of gastroparesis in affected patients." Drs. McCallum and Sarosiek are studying the disease as part of their membership in the Gastroparesis Clinical Research Consortium (GpCRC), a prestigious national partnership that focuses on the cause of gastroparesis and therapies for the disorder. Membership includes Baylor College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic, as well as TTUHSC El Paso.


News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

EL PASO, Texas -- A team of medical students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) is one of 11 winners of the international Space Race competition. More than 300 individuals from across the globe entered the entrepreneurial challenge. The Space Race is a multi-phase business plan competition that helps launch innovative start-up companies, while encouraging the adoption of NASA technologies. "I thought the TTUHSC El Paso team proposed the most innovative use of any of the technologies in the entire challenge, and their development efforts went well beyond what is typically seen in a business plan competition," says Jeff Fuchsberg, director of innovation projects at the Medical Center of the Americas, who was one of the judges in the competition. As winners of the Space Race, the students will now license a promising NASA technology -- bypassing up-front licensing fees -- to create their own spin-off company. They'll also receive $2,500 to back their start-up venture. For the competition, the TTUHSC El Paso team created a business plan for its company Minus Tau. The company is based on smart helmet technology that can help diagnose concussions in football players. "Concussions that go undiagnosed are a huge health problem, especially for football players," says Derrick Oaxaca, second-year med student and team captain. "It is very common for athletes to remain in the game after experiencing concussion-like symptoms, receiving more impacts to the head -- and that is when the brain becomes significantly damaged." The medical students -- who have backgrounds in physics, psychology and even engineering -- selected NASA's "self-aware," or intelligent wiring system to address the problem. The wires instantly detect damage or defects and pinpoint the location of the problem. "In space, the technology can tell astronauts exactly where a rock or meteor impact occurred on a spacecraft so that they can address the problem right away," Oaxaca explains. Those capabilities were translated to helmet impact sensors for the Space Race, but the group also patented its own unique technology for the challenge. In October, the team pitched its business and prototype to a panel of Space Race judges, which included officials from NASA and successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from throughout the world. With seed funding from their Space Race winnings, the students will now incorporate Minus Tau, seek additional funding from investors to raise venture capital, and move forward with the licensing and development process. "We are extremely excited and eager to get this helmet technology out into the market so that we can begin having an impact on the treatment of concussions," says Oaxaca. "I have been fortunate to be a leader of an outstanding team; this accomplishment could not have been done without them." Additional winners of the Space Race included teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Rochester. The Minus Tau smart helmet team is made up of Oaxaca and second-year TTUHSC El Paso medical students Tyler Trevino, Justin Thomas and Sovanarak Lek, as well as Toriell Simon, an undergraduate business student at The University of Texas at El Paso. In the future, the students anticipate that the technology will also be applicable to military and motorcycle helmets. Related stories: Smart Helmet for Football Players May Help Detect Concussions


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.marketwired.com

Dental school will be first on the U.S.-Mexico border EL PASO, TX--(Marketwired - October 25, 2016) - Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) has received a $6 million grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PDNHF) to support its new dental school. "We are incredibly grateful to the Paso del Norte Health Foundation for supporting us in this endeavor," said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. "Our shared mission of improving the health and quality of life for residents in this bi-national region will only strengthen our cause: to bring a dental school to El Paso that will change the face of health care in West Texas." The multimillion-dollar grant will fund the development of a unique, community-centered curriculum for the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine (WLHSODM) -- the first dental school on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unlike traditional rote-based learning, the WLHSODM curriculum will focus on service education, a form of teaching that encourages meaningful community service. The approach results in one-of-a-kind, hands-on experiences that allow students to apply their newfound knowledge and skills to life beyond the classroom, while simultaneously helping the community. "We are excited to be part of a leadership opportunity to bring a dental school to the region," said Jose Prieto Jr., M.D., board chair of the PDNHF. "Poor dental care has been linked to numerous chronic disorders that can be prevented with education and early detection." As part of the community-based teaching approach, a low-cost dental health clinic will be established in central El Paso. There, students will train with WLHSODM faculty and provide affordable dental services to one of the city's most underserved communities. Additional training opportunities will take place at local private practice dentists' offices, as well as clinic sites for organizations that provide affordable dental services to the poor. As part of the school's mission to improve access to oral health care on the border, faculty and students in the WLHSODM will reach out to rural communities in West Texas. These communities -- which currently have few to no dental health professionals -- will receive preventive oral health education. "Our new school of dental medicine is just as much about giving back to the community as it is about providing top-of-the-line, innovative education to future health professionals," said Victoria Pineda, TTUHSC El Paso associate vice chancellor. "This unprecedented show of support represents a shared vision of excellence for the border and a dream that all people in our region will one day have access to health care." Once established, the WLHSODM is expected to create 100 new, highly-skilled local jobs, infusing an additional $5 million into the El Paso economy in labor income. "We believe that the health foundation's commitment to the new dental school will increase the awareness of the importance of oral health, support a local supply of future dentists and hygienists, support community dental clinics, provide faculty appointments for local dentists, and contribute to the overall economic growth in the region," says Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the PDNHF. The first cohort of 20 future dentists will be admitted in 2020. By 2023, the WLHSODM is expected to admit its first class of dental hygienists; the two-year program will educate dental professionals on how to work closely alongside the school's newly graduated dentists. At full capacity, the WLHSODM will graduate 75 dentists and 60 dental hygienists per year. The development of the new dental school is expected to cost between $50 and $60 million. $31 million, however, has already been raised, thanks to a generous gift from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, and now, the PDNHF. About Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso: TTUHSC El Paso became a standalone university in 2013 after separating from TTUHSC in Lubbock. It is the fourth university in the Texas Tech University System. The health sciences center consists of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, and the future Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

EL PASO, Texas - Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) has received a $6 million grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PDNHF) to support its new dental school. "We are incredibly grateful to the Paso del Norte Health Foundation for supporting us in this endeavor," said TTUHSC El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A. "Our shared mission of improving the health and quality of life for residents in this bi-national region will only strengthen our cause: to bring a dental school to El Paso that will change the face of health care in West Texas." The multimillion-dollar grant will fund the development of a unique, community-centered curriculum for the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine (WLHSODM) -- the first dental school on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unlike traditional rote-based learning, the WLHSODM curriculum will focus on service education, a form of teaching that encourages meaningful community service. The approach results in one-of-a-kind, hands-on experiences that allow students to apply their newfound knowledge and skills to life beyond the classroom, while simultaneously helping the community. "We are excited to be part of a leadership opportunity to bring a dental school to the region," said Jose Prieto Jr., M.D., board chair of the PDNHF. "Poor dental care has been linked to numerous chronic disorders that can be prevented with education and early detection." As part of the community-based teaching approach, a low-cost dental health clinic will be established in central El Paso. There, students will train with WLHSODM faculty and provide affordable dental services to one of the city's most underserved communities. Additional training opportunities will take place at local private practice dentists' offices, as well as clinic sites for organizations that provide affordable dental services to the poor. As part of the school's mission to improve access to oral health care on the border, faculty and students in the WLHSODM will reach out to rural communities in West Texas. These communities -- which currently have few to no dental health professionals -- will receive preventive oral health education. "Our new school of dental medicine is just as much about giving back to the community as it is about providing top-of-the-line, innovative education to future health professionals," said Victoria Pineda, TTUHSC El Paso associate vice chancellor. "This unprecedented show of support represents a shared vision of excellence for the border and a dream that all people in our region will one day have access to health care." Once established, the WLHSODM is expected to create 100 new, highly-skilled local jobs, infusing an additional $5 million into the El Paso economy in labor income. "We believe that the health foundation's commitment to the new dental school will increase the awareness of the importance of oral health, support a local supply of future dentists and hygienists, support community dental clinics, provide faculty appointments for local dentists, and contribute to the overall economic growth in the region," says Tracy J. Yellen, CEO of the PDNHF. The first cohort of 20 future dentists will be admitted in 2020. By 2023, the WLHSODM is expected to admit its first class of dental hygienists; the two-year program will educate dental professionals on how to work closely alongside the school's newly graduated dentists. At full capacity, the WLHSODM will graduate 75 dentists and 60 dental hygienists per year. The development of the new dental school is expected to cost between $50 and $60 million. $31 million, however, has already been raised, thanks to a generous gift from the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation, and now, the PDNHF. TTUHSC El Paso became a standalone university in 2013 after separating from TTUHSC in Lubbock. It is the fourth university in the Texas Tech University System. The health sciences center consists of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, and the future Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.


News Article | November 28, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Research has uncovered a new use for an established drug as a therapy for an age-old health problem. Nearly all Americans drink alcoholic beverages, but unfortunately many struggle with what physicians now describe as Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) includes problematic drinking such as binge and chronic consumption, with both increasing risk for poor health, including death. To date, there are not particularly effective therapies for AUD, with only three FDA approved drugs along with behavioral modification programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Together or alone, none are particularly effective and relapse is common, making the development of new therapies vital. A collaborative effort between Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) researchers Susan Bergeson, Ph.D., Joseé Guindon, Ph.D., Peter Syapin, Ph.D., clinicians David Edwards, M.D., David Trotter, Ph.D., and Deborah Finn, Ph.D., at Oregon Health and Science University has identified a potential new treatment for AUD. “Recent research has used new technologies to identify genes and pathways related to neuroinflammation as part of alcohol’s action on addiction processes,” said Bergeson, associate professor in the TTUHSC Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience. “Minocycline, a tetracycline antibiotic normally used against bacterial infections, has known anti-inflammatory actions and recently was shown to reduce alcohol consumption.” In research described in four companion papers published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the teams first reported the screening of several tetracycline drugs to see if all were effective in reducing alcohol use. The results pointed to a specific structural component of the drugs as responsible for positive outcomes and led to the discovery that tigecycline, a minocycline analog, was highly effective in reducing binge and chronic consumption, in both dependent and non-dependent animals. In addition, withdrawal seizures, which represent a medical emergency in humans, also were reduced in mice by tigecycline. Finally, binge drinking was shown to cause a persistent change in pain perception, which was reduced in males, but not females, by tigecycline. The Bergeson, Finn, Guindon and Syapin labs’ research lead to the conclusion that tigecycline, already approved by the FDA for use in humans for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA infections, may be a good lead drug for the effective reduction of alcohol drinking, withdrawal symptoms and pain. “We have known that high levels of alcohol consumption can cause damage to the liver and brain, but it has been more difficult to understand how AUD is cemented,” said Bergeson. “Every person knows a family member or close friend that struggles with AUD, and now with these findings, a simple antibiotic that is already FDA approved could help.”


TORONTO, Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) is transforming its web experience for people with disabilities using groundbreaking accessibility software. The technology is part of a comprehensive solution to improve digital...

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