News Article | April 20, 2017
MORGANTOWN, VA / ACCESSWIRE / April 20, 2017 / Majestic Oil & Gas Inc. (OTC PINK: MJOG) ("Majestic" "MJOG," or the "Company") today announced that it has appointed Lawrence S. Zeliadt as its President and Member of the Board of Directors. Majestic is pleased to announce the appointment of Lawrence S. Zeliadt as its President and Member of the Board of Directors. Lawrence Zeliadt is from Des Moines, Iowa, where he attended Grandview College and the University of Iowa. Mr. Zeliadt served honorably in the United States Army as a pilot and was the founder a successful air charter company. Mr. Zeliadt is a seasoned executive and understands business at the highest levels. His philosophy and business acumen make him well suited to contribute to overall corporate governance. Mr. Zeliadt commented, "I am excited to be on the MJOG team and help lead the company in a new direction. It appears our future is bright and I am anxious to move forward helping to create shareholder value by implementing some major changes within the company." Lawrence will be replacing Phillip Malkemes as President and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Malkemes will remain as marketing director and advisor. Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth above may include forward-looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties. Words such as "may," "could," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan," and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs of management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Majestic does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements and cautions investors to consider all other risks and uncertainties, including those disclosed in Majestic’s filings with OTC Markets.
News Article | April 17, 2017
Small traces of the world's most widely used insecticides have been detected in tap water for the first time. Samples taken by scientists in the US state of Iowa showed that levels of neonicotinoid chemicals remained constant despite treatment. However drinking water treated using a different method of filtration showed big reductions in neonic levels. Scientists say they cannot draw any conclusions relating to human health but argue that further study is needed. The use of neonicotinoids has increased rapidly since their introduction in the early 1990s. These systemic chemicals were seen as an advance because they are usually applied as a seed coating and are lethal to insects but not to other species. In the US, sales of seeds pre-treated with neonics tripled from 2004 to 2014. However concerns over their environmental impacts have also grown and they have been consistently associated with causing harm to bees. So great has the worry been, that there has been a moratorium on their use on flowering crops in the European Union since 2013. A study in 2015 from the US Geological Survey (USGS) found that neonics were widespread in water samples collected from 48 different rivers and streams in the US. This new study from the USGS and the University of Iowa, looked at tap water that was treated in two different filtration systems. Samples from the University of Iowa treatment plant barely removed any of the three main neonic chemicals, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. Water taken from the Iowa City treatment facility removed 100%, 94% and 85% respectively, of these substances. Drinking water from the less effective system had 0.24 to 57.3 nanograms of individual neonicotinoids per litre. "These are very low levels, these are nanograms per litre which means parts per trillion, a very low concentration," said Prof Gregory LeFevre, one of the authors from the University of Iowa. "But at the same time there are concerns about what those low levels might do from an exposure standpoint." In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates contaminants in water but as of now, neonics are not considered a threat. "At this point in time, these results don't indicate any violation of the system, we are trying to bring these contaminants to light more than saying this is or isn't a safe level," Prof LeFevre told BBC News. One of the issues of concern is not the direct exposure of humans to neonics in water, but how the insecticides might be transformed by the filtration process into other substances that pose a greater threat. "Based on some of the literature that has been published, the nitro group has the potential to be removed in the filtration processes and that is the group that confers the selectivity to insects," said lead author Kathryn Klarich from the University of Iowa. "If that were the case that could be a concern," she told BBC News. However the study also presents evidence that the presence of neonics in drinking water can be essentially negated if activated carbon filtration systems are used. "We were pleasantly surprised to see how well the activated carbon worked," said Prof LeFevre. "It is relatively economical compared to other technologies that are energy expensive. We need to do more research to understand how well these can work but it is encouraging." The authors believe that, given the scale of research looking at the impacts of neonics on bees and other creatures, it is important that further studies are carried out on drinking water to work out the levels of exposure around the world. "Without really good toxicity data it is hard to ascertain the scale of this, but whenever we have pesticides in the drinking water that is something that raises a flag no matter what type of concentration it is," said Prof LeFevre. The study has been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Follow Matt on Twitter and on Facebook.
News Article | April 20, 2017
MORGANTOWN, VA / ACCESSWIRE / April 20, 2017 / Majestic Oil & Gas Inc. (OTC PINK: MJOG) ("Majestic" "MJOG," or the "Company") today announced that it has appointed Lawrence S. Zeliadt as its President and Member of the Board of Directors. Majestic is pleased to announce the appointment of Lawrence S. Zeliadt as its President and Member of the Board of Directors. Lawrence Zeliadt is from Des Moines, Iowa, where he attended Grandview College and the University of Iowa. Mr. Zeliadt served honorably in the United States Army as a pilot and was the founder a successful air charter company. Mr. Zeliadt is a seasoned executive and understands business at the highest levels. His philosophy and business acumen make him well suited to contribute to overall corporate governance. Mr. Zeliadt commented, "I am excited to be on the MJOG team and help lead the company in a new direction. It appears our future is bright and I am anxious to move forward helping to create shareholder value by implementing some major changes within the company." Lawrence will be replacing Phillip Malkemes as President and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Malkemes will remain as marketing director and advisor. Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth above may include forward-looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties. Words such as "may," "could," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan," and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs of management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Majestic does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements and cautions investors to consider all other risks and uncertainties, including those disclosed in Majestic’s filings with OTC Markets. MORGANTOWN, VA / ACCESSWIRE / April 20, 2017 / Majestic Oil & Gas Inc. (OTC PINK: MJOG) ("Majestic" "MJOG," or the "Company") today announced that it has appointed Lawrence S. Zeliadt as its President and Member of the Board of Directors. Majestic is pleased to announce the appointment of Lawrence S. Zeliadt as its President and Member of the Board of Directors. Lawrence Zeliadt is from Des Moines, Iowa, where he attended Grandview College and the University of Iowa. Mr. Zeliadt served honorably in the United States Army as a pilot and was the founder a successful air charter company. Mr. Zeliadt is a seasoned executive and understands business at the highest levels. His philosophy and business acumen make him well suited to contribute to overall corporate governance. Mr. Zeliadt commented, "I am excited to be on the MJOG team and help lead the company in a new direction. It appears our future is bright and I am anxious to move forward helping to create shareholder value by implementing some major changes within the company." Lawrence will be replacing Phillip Malkemes as President and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Malkemes will remain as marketing director and advisor. Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth above may include forward-looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties. Words such as "may," "could," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "plan," and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs of management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Majestic does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements and cautions investors to consider all other risks and uncertainties, including those disclosed in Majestic’s filings with OTC Markets.
News Article | April 19, 2017
IMAGE: The Penn-led research team characterized the underlying mechanism that leads to the blinding Best disease; a loss of the microvilli that support and "feed " photoreceptor cells. The contrast can be... view more Named for Friedrich Best, who characterized the disease in 1905, Best disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy, affects children and young adults and can cause severe declines in central vision as patients age. The disease is one in a group of conditions known as bestrophinopathies, all linked to mutations in the BEST1 gene. This gene is expressed in the retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE, a layer of cells that undergirds and nourishes photoreceptor cells, the rods and cones responsible for vision. Despite the century of work on bestrophinopathies and the identification of genetic mutations responsible for the conditions, no one had identified the underlying mechanism that led to the vision loss seen in Best disease until now. Using an animal model of Best disease in combination with biochemical and optical assays, a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has pinpointed a number of abnormalities that give rise to the impairments seen in the disease. "The genetic cause of the disease has been known for 20 years, but no one had samples of patients at the stage when the disease starts," said Karina E. Guziewicz, research assistant professor of ophthalmology in Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine and lead author on the study. But "we were now able to pinpoint this early stage and find out what factors trigger the development of lesions." The new information sets the team up for testing a gene therapy to treat the disease, as the researchers will be able to observe whether or not these structural and biochemical abnormalities have been corrected. "Now that we understand what we're seeing, it allows us to judge the success of a particular therapy," said Gustavo D. Aguirre, professor of medical genetics and ophthalmology at Penn Vet. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry in Penn's School of Dental Medicine, also contributed her expertise in lipid biochemistry and spectral analysis of lipid debris to the study, which was published in the journal Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, the top ranked journal in the eye-research field. "Interestingly, the lipid debris accumulation is similar to cholesterol rich plaque formation, compounded by a complexity of vitamin A metabolism," said Boesze-Battaglia. "Alterations in lipid metabolism likely contribute to the secondary disease pathology in this model." The main puzzle surrounding Best disease was why, despite the BEST1 gene being mutated in the RPE throughout the retina, vision loss struck the macula and fovea, the central areas of the retina responsible for reading and tasks requiring high-resolution vision, while seeming to spare the rest. Researchers had observed lesions in this area, but it was unknown why they developed. In this study, the Penn-led team discovered that this predilection of the macula to develop lesions has to do with differences in the supporting structures of rods versus cones. Rods, which make up more than 90 percent of photoreceptor cells in the retina and are responsible for dim-light vision, have a cluster of supporting structures known as RPE microvilli that cup the cell like stakes holding up a plant. In contrast, cones, the color-sensing photoreceptors that make up 3 to 5 percent of all photoreceptors but are overrepresented in the macula, are engulfed in a sheath of microvilli. In addition, cones are supported by an insoluble matrix. Examining cross-sections of the fovea-like region in the canine macula of dogs affected with the canine equivalent of Best disease, the researchers found that the microvilli don't form and that the matrix is fragmented. The susceptibility of the macula is due to the fact that cones are the predominant cell type there and rely on the matrix for support and nutrient exchange. "We were not expecting to find such dramatic structural abnormalities," Guziewicz said. "For a hundred years, this has been thought to be a disease of the RPE, but we have now identified this as a disease of the RPE-photoreceptor interface." "The RPE provides transport of nutrients to the cones and engulfs the discarded part of cones and rods," said Aguirre. "When you lose the matrix, you lose the connection between those cells and the RPE and that leads to disease." To determine if the same would be true in humans, the researchers looked at human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived RPE from Best disease patients and found similar signatures: microvilli numbers were decreased in length and density. These experiments were conducted in collaboration with David Gamm's laboratory from the McPherson Eye Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Looking ahead, the research team would like to continue to probe the biochemical signals that lead to the improper development of the microvilli and matrix and push ahead with developing and testing a gene-therapy approach to treating bestrophinopathies. "Knowing where the disruptions occur will allow us to develop proper outcome measures for a gene therapy, which is in the works," said Guziewicz. The paper's other authors were Penn Dental Medicine's Néstor M. Gómez and Anuradha Dhingra, Penn Vet's Kathryn Zorych and Emily V. Dutrow, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Divya Sinha and David Gamm and the University of Iowa's Robert F. Mullins and Edwin M. Stone. The research was supported in part by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the Macula Vision Research Foundation, the National Eye Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, the Retina Research Foundation, the Van Sloun Fund for Canine Genetic Research and Hope for Vision.
News Article | April 23, 2017
Day 1 of the meeting was as inspiring as usual. The Porter Fellow Reunion Reception took place this evening. This 50 year-old program is designed to support trainees as they conduct research projects in physiology and learn to become independent researchers. It was amazing to see so many past and present fellows and to hear about their accomplishments since receiving the award. Following the Porter reception, I moseyed on over to the Walter B. Cannon memorial lecture. This year’s recipient of the award is Dr. Michael Welsh from the University of Iowa. His lab focuses on the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis and the development of therapies for this devastating disease. Globally, cystic fibrosis affects more than 70,000 people. It is a disease caused by a faulty gene. So, instead of producing watery mucus, sweat or digestive juices, people with cystic fibrosis develop thick, sticky mucus that can block tubes and airways in the body leading to many of the complications shown below.
News Article | May 1, 2017
Donald Trump has reportedly appointed to a position overseeing the US’s family planning safety net a law professor who once stated that “contraception doesn’t work” and “family planning is something that occurs between a husband and a wife and God, and it doesn’t really involve the federal government.” The prospect of Teresa Manning becoming deputy assistant secretary for population affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, first reported by PoliticoPro, has led reproductive rights activists to demand that Trump withdraw the appointment, saying his choice could jeopardize the federal program responsible for preventing millions of unplanned pregnancies, and by extension, abortions. Manning’s appointment would give her oversight of Title X, a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar federal program that provides contraceptive services to low-income and uninsured women and men, and a hand in guiding the federal government’s policy toward teen pregnancy, family planning, and pregnancy prevention. “Teresa Manning’s appointment is unacceptable,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice-president. “This is the fox guarding the hen house, and women with low incomes will pay the price. We are at the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years and a historic low for teen pregnancy because of access to birth control. Someone who promotes myths about birth control and reproductive care should not be in charge of the office that is responsible for family planning at HHS.” Manning is an adjunct law professor teaching legal research and writing at George Mason University. She previously worked with the National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion group, and the Family Research Council, an arch-conservative lobbying group known for its virulent opposition to LGBT rights. Manning once sued the University of Iowa law school for passing her over for a professorship, claiming the dean of the law school had discriminated on the basis of her political views. (The school claimed that Manning didn’t offer to fulfill all of the job’s requirements.) The administration has not publicly confirmed Manning’s appointment, but PoliticoPro reports that she already appears in the agency’s directory. Manning made her comments on contraception and family planning during a 2003 media tour to promote a book she had edited about the future of the anti-abortion movement. “I always shake my head,” she told C-Span, explaining her views on family planning. “You know, family planning is something that occurs between a husband and a wife and God, and it doesn’t really involve the federal government, much less the United Nations, where we hear about family planning all the time. What are they doing in that business?” In an interview with Boston’s NPR affiliate, Manning, who at the time went by Teresa Wagner, claimed that “contraception doesn’t work”. “Its efficacy is very low,” she said, “especially when you consider over years – which, a lot of contraception health advocates want to start women in their adolescent years, when they’re extremely fertile, incidentally, and continue for 10, 20, 30 years. The prospect that contraception would always prevent the conception of a child is preposterous.” In fact, many types of contraception, particularly IUDs and other implants designed to stay in the body for long periods of time, have a nearly 100% success rate at preventing pregnancy. The federal family planning program which Manning will oversee has provided thousands of such devices to US women. In 2014, Title X provided contraceptive drugs, devices, and counseling for nearly 4 million women who rely on the public safety net for their family planning needs. The same year, the program prevented nearly 1 million unintended pregnancies and more than 300,000 abortions.
News Article | May 3, 2017
There is much surprise from the results of NASA Cassini spacecraft's fist dive into the gap between Saturn and its rings. Details of the orbiter's debut dive on April 26 are showing that the region is bereft of charged particles, contrary to all expectations. In fact, an eerie silence exists between the space of Saturn and its rings with surprisingly little dust and debris. The lack of impacts is obvious in the new NASA sound video of the first dive. In the words of Cassini Project Manager Earl Maize, the gap is a "big empty." The soundscape generated has reinforced the emptiness more intensely with freaky sounds all around. "The region between the rings and Saturn is 'the big empty,' apparently," he said. The data of the mission into the "big empty" was made into a soundtrack. which was picked up by the Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument of the spacecraft. The converted RPWS data into audio files give the sounds resembling white noise. To safeguard against the particles during the first dive, Cassini had raised a large antenna as a shield at the front. However, that is looking unwarranted as the spacecraft encountered very few particles, and none were larger than 1 micron across, according to NASA. Maize said scientists are going to analyze the mystery in the gap contrary to expectations. Prior to dive, RPWS had "detected hundreds of ring particles hitting per second" with the particles being vaporized into electrically-excited gas outside the rings of the planet. Earlier images by Cassini had given the impression that ring particles will be in abundance at the approximately 1,200-mile-wide region between Saturn and the rings. There was also the likelihood of the spacecraft facing challenges from them. Though Cassini engineers are delighted at the apparent lack of particles, ring scientists are puzzled by the region's apparent dust-free nature. Considering the fact that it is the first time a spacecraft is venturing into the region, Cassini engineers had oriented the spacecraft in such a way that its 13-foot-wide antenna is pointing to the direction of incoming ring particles to shield the sensitive instruments. In the audio files, audible pops and cracks are the sounds of dust particles hitting the instrument's antenna. They are engulfing the normal whistles and squeaks. Obviously, the swooping Cassini at the gap between Saturn and the innermost ring was tuning into radio waves and plasma waves, around Saturn. The whistles and squeaks represent the waves in the environment of charged particles. "It was a bit disorienting - we weren't hearing what we expected to hear," said William Kurth, the instrument's team lead at the University of Iowa. The new data are of immense use to scientists. According to NASA, the sound data will offer new insights into Saturn's relationship with its moons and rings as well as its interaction with the solar wind. The dives are part of Cassini spacecraft's 'grand finale' with the epic journey ending on Sept. 15. After taking 20 more dives, Cassini will plunge into Saturn's atmosphere and mark the mission's end. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | March 31, 2017
In a groundbreaking experiment involving 3-day-old tadpoles, researchers at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, found an innovative way to speed up the innervation process of transplanted organs. To test their theory, the scientists chose to conduct their investigation on frogs because their molecular structure resembles that of humans. The team successfully restored vision in blinded tadpoles by perfecting a technique that allowed the grafted eyes — transplanted on the animals's tails rather than on their heads — to quickly grow nerves and reintegrate in the nervous system by connecting directly to the spinal cord. The study, published March 30 in npj Regenerative Medicine, offers conclusive proof that eyes — and, in all probability, other sensory organs as well — can function in optimum conditions without necessarily being attached to the brain. In view of the highly promising results, researchers believe their findings could one day be applied to transplant patients receiving bioengineered tissues, organs or even limbs. "If a human had an eye implanted on their back connected to their spinal cord, would the human be able to see out of that eye? My guess is probably yes," says Michael Levin, study author and biologist at the university's Allen Discovery Center. The ingenious experimentation owes its success to a pharmaceutical compound which the team previously found out could remarkably expedite neural development in amphibians. The drug, called Zolmitriptan, is generally used in the treatment of migraines and proved to be extremely efficient in supporting the innervation of transplanted organs. Levin's team began by grafting eyes on 38 blind African clawed frog tadpoles, with each recipient having a single eye implanted on its tail. The donor eyes were harvested from other tadpoles which had the same age as the transplant "patients." The compound's nerve regenerative power was confirmed when Levin applied the drug to some of the newly grafted eyes right after transplant and later compared the results with the control group. Researchers discovered that, eight days after surgery, 40 percent of tadpoles who were administered the drug developed fresh neurons which safely connected to the central nervous system. By comparison, only 5 percent of tadpoles that didn't receive Zolmitriptan reached the same outcome. Color and visual acuity tests revealed the drug led to full vision recovery in the treated tadpoles, which outperformed the ones that didn't get the compound, and were able to distinguish between differently colored areas and avoid colored triangles moving on a screen beneath them. The active ingredients in Zolmitriptan work by stimulating particular serotonin receptors, which in turn trigger electrical impulses at a cellular level. This allows grafted tissue to form new neural connections that tune in to the nervous system by directly embedding in the spinal cord. This explains why Levin's team chose the tadpoles's tails as a transplantation site, as opposed to the head: their procedure aimed to produce visual sensory restoration while bypassing the brain. "We have no idea how we would connect a retina to the brain, and if you wanted to replace an ear, you would have to cut out a big piece of the skull," states Bernd Fritzsch, from the University of Iowa. The new study eliminates the need for such concerns, opening up new horizons in the transplant of both harvested and bioengineered organs — from bladders, hearts, and tracheas through to eyes, ears and sensitive skin — which scientists could implant anywhere on the body, "on the neck, for example, and connect it to the spinal cord." "It might look funny, but it could still work," says Fritzsch, who points out further studies are needed to analyze if the drug retains its regenerative effects when used on human nerves as well. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | April 24, 2017
Children under a certain age don’t have the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger, report researchers. For the new study, children 6 to 14 years old participated in a realistic simulated environment and had to cross one lane of a busy road multiple times. Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only children who were 14 were able to navigate street crossing without incident. Children who were 12 mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps between cars. “Some people think younger children may be able to perform like adults when crossing the street,” says Jodie Plumert, professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Iowa. “Our study shows that’s not necessarily the case on busy roads where traffic doesn’t stop.” For parents, that means taking extra precautions. Be aware that your child may struggle with identifying gaps in traffic large enough to cross safely. Young children also may not have developed the fine motor skills to step into the street the moment a car has passed, something adults have mastered. And, your child may allow eagerness to outweigh reason when judging the best time to cross a busy street. “They get the pressure of not wanting to wait combined with these less-mature abilities,” says Plumert, corresponding author of the study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. “And that’s what makes it a risky situation.” Distraction skews actions and perception differently In 2014, there were 8,000 injuries and 207 fatalities involving motor vehicles and pedestrians age 14 and younger, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. For the study, researchers recruited children who were 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 years old, as well as a control group of adults. Each participant faced a string of approaching virtual vehicles traveling 25 mph (considered a benchmark speed for a residential neighborhood) and then crossed a single lane of traffic (about nine feet wide). The time between vehicles ranged from two to five seconds. Each participant negotiated a road crossing 20 times, for about 2,000 total trips involving the age groups. The crossings took place in an immersive, 3D interactive space. The simulated environment is “very compelling,” says first author Elizabeth O’Neal, a graduate student in psychological and brain sciences. “We often had kids reach out and try to touch the cars.” The finding show that 6-year-olds were struck by vehicles 8 percent of the time; 8-year-olds were struck 6 percent; 10-year-olds were struck 5 percent; and 12-year-olds were struck 2 percent. Children 14 and older had no accidents. Children contend with two main variables when deciding whether it’s safe to cross a street. The first involves perceptual ability, or how they judge the gap between a passing car and an oncoming vehicle, taking into account the oncoming car’s speed and distance from the crossing. Younger children, have more difficulty making consistently accurate perceptual decisions. The second variable involves motor skills: How quickly do children time their step from the curb into the street after a car just passed? Younger children are incapable of timing that first step as precisely as adults, which in effect gave them less time to cross the street before the next car arrived. “Most kids choose similar size gaps (between the passing car and oncoming vehicle) as adults,” O’Neal says, “but they’re not able to time their movement into traffic as well as adults can.” Virtual reality trick shifts depth perception Children as young as 6 crossed the street as quickly as adults, eliminating crossing speed as a possible cause for pedestrian–vehicle collisions. Parents should teach their children to be patient and to encourage younger ones to choose gaps that are even larger than the gaps adults would choose for themselves, O’Neal says. Also, civic planners can help by identifying places where children are likely to cross streets and make sure those intersections have a pedestrian-crossing aid. “If there are places where kids are highly likely to cross the road, because it’s the most efficient route to school, for example, and traffic doesn’t stop there, it would be wise to have crosswalks,” Plumert says. The National Science Foundation funded the work. Source: University of Iowa The post Kids struggle to safely cross busy streets appeared first on Futurity.
News Article | April 17, 2017
Blind tadpoles have learned to see again, using eyes implanted on their tails. With help from a migraine drug, these eyes were able to grow new connections to the tadpole’s nervous system. The same approach may work in humans, allowing the body to integrate bioengineered organs, say the team behind the work. “If a human had an eye implanted on their back connected to their spinal cord, would the human be able to see out of that eye? My guess is probably yes,” says Michael Levin, at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Levin is interested in how bioengineered organs might work within human bodies. Teams around the world have already created organs in the lab and implanted them in people, such as tracheas and bladders, and are now working on more complex organs, such as eyes and hearts. But in order for these to work, the organs would have to be connected to the central nervous system, which controls the body and feeds information back to the brain. To find out if the body might be able to adapt to a new eye, for instance, Levin’s team turned to frogs. Although they are very different to people, frogs share similarities with us at the molecular level, says Levin. The team removed eyes from three-day old tadpoles, and attached a single one into each of the tails of other tadpoles of the same age. Some of these were then given a migraine drug on the site of their eye transplant, straight after the surgery. This drug, called Zolmitriptan, activates a class of serotonin receptors that seem to trigger electrical activity in cells – something that Levin’s team had previously discovered encourages the growth of neurons. Only 5 per cent of the eyes attached to tadpoles that did not receive this drug grew new neurons, but 40 per cent of those that received the drug grew new neurons that reached their central nervous systems – an essential step for being able to send visual information to the brain for processing. The team found that these tadpoles could see with their new eyes. They were able to learn the difference between red and blue areas, for instance, and to avoid coloured triangles as they moved on a screen beneath them. The eyes did not even need to be connected to the animals’ brains for them to see – they only needed to be connected to the spinal cord. This is surprising, says Bernd Fritzsch at the University of Iowa. This is good news for teams developing engineered organs like eyes and ears, says Fritzsch. “We have no idea how we would connect a retina to the brain, and if you wanted to replace an ear, you would have to cut out a big piece of the skull,” he says. “This work suggests that this might not be necessary – that you could put the organ on the neck, for example, and connect it to the spinal cord. It might look funny, but it could still work.” But Fritsch says the team needs to find out whether the drug works the same way in people, and whether its effects extend beyond young animals to adults.
News Article | April 20, 2017
VIDEO: New research shows children may struggle when crossing a busy road. Two reasons are perceptual judgment and motor skills, which were identified in a series of tests in which children... view more For adults, crossing the street by foot seems easy. You take stock of the traffic and calculate the time it will take to get from one side to the other without being hit. Yet it's anything but simple for a child. New research from the University of Iowa shows children under certain ages lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger. The researchers placed children from 6 to 14 years old in a realistic simulated environment (see video) and asked them to cross one lane of a busy road multiple times. The results: Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with accident rates as high as 8 percent with 6-year-olds. Only by age 14 did children navigate street crossing without incident, while 12-year-olds mostly compensated for inferior road-crossing motor skills by choosing bigger gaps in traffic. "Some people think younger children may be able to perform like adults when crossing the street," says Jodie Plumert, professor in the UI's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "Our study shows that's not necessarily the case on busy roads where traffic doesn't stop." For parents, that means taking extra precautions. Be aware that your child may struggle with identifying gaps in traffic large enough to cross safely. Young children also may not have developed the fine motor skills to step into the street the moment a car has passed, like adults have mastered. And, your child may allow eagerness to outweigh reason when judging the best time to cross a busy street. "They get the pressure of not wanting to wait combined with these less-mature abilities," says Plumert, corresponding author on the study, which appears in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, published by the American Psychological Association. "And that's what makes it a risky situation." The National Center for Statistics and Analysis reported 8,000 injuries and 207 fatalities involving motor vehicles and pedestrians age 14 and younger in 2014. Plumert and her team wanted to understand the reasons behind the accident rates. For the study, they recruited children who were 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 years old, as well as a control group of adults. Each participant faced a string of approaching virtual vehicles travelling 25 mph (considered a benchmark speed for a residential neighborhood) and then crossed a single lane of traffic (about nine feet wide). The time between vehicles ranged from two to five seconds. Each participant negotiated a road crossing 20 times, for about 2,000 total trips involving the age groups. The crossings took place in an immersive, 3-D interactive space at the Hank Virtual Environments Lab on the UI campus. The simulated environment is "very compelling," says Elizabeth O'Neal, a graduate student in psychological and brain sciences and the study's first author. "We often had kids reach out and try to touch the cars." The researchers found 6-year-olds were struck by vehicles 8 percent of the time; 8-year-olds were struck 6 percent; 10-year-olds were struck 5 percent; and 12-year-olds were struck 2 percent. Those age 14 and older had no accidents. Children contend with two main variables when deciding whether it's safe to cross a street, according to the research. The first involves their perceptual ability, or how they judge the gap between a passing car and an oncoming vehicle, taking into account the oncoming car's speed and distance from the crossing. Younger children, the study found, had more difficulty making consistently accurate perceptual decisions. The second variable was their motor skills: How quickly do children time their step from the curb into the street after a car just passed? Younger children were incapable of timing that first step as precisely as adults, which in effect gave them less time to cross the street before the next car arrived. "Most kids choose similar size gaps (between the passing car and oncoming vehicle) as adults," O'Neal says, "but they're not able to time their movement into traffic as well as adults can." The researchers found children as young as 6 crossed the street as quickly as adults, eliminating crossing speed as a possible cause for pedestrian-vehicle collisions. So what's a child to do? One recommendation is for parents to teach their children to be patient and to encourage younger ones to choose gaps that are even larger than the gaps adults would choose for themselves, O'Neal says. Also, civic planners can help by identifying places where children are likely to cross streets and make sure those intersections have a pedestrian-crossing aid. "If there are places where kids are highly likely to cross the road, because it's the most efficient route to school, for example, and traffic doesn't stop there, it would be wise to have crosswalks," Plumert says. Yuanyuan Jiang, Luke Franzen, Pooya Rahimian, all graduate students in the UI's Department of Computer Science, and Joseph Kearney, computer science professor, are contributing authors. Paul Yon, who earned a master's degree at the UI, also contributed to the study. The U.S. National Science Foundation funded the work through grant awards BCS-1251694 and CNS-1305131.
News Article | May 8, 2017
New research suggests that advances in the production of Early Stone Age tools had less to do with the evolution of language and more to do with the brain networks involved in modern piano playing. Around 1.75 million years ago there was a revolutionary innovation in stone tool technology, when early humans moved from making simple Oldowan flake and pebble tools to producing two-sided, shaped tools, such as Acheulian hand axes and cleavers. This advance is thought to reflect an evolutionary change in intelligence and language abilities. Understanding the link between brain evolution and cognition is a challenge, however, because it is impossible to observe the brain activity of extinct humans. An innovative approach to this challenge is to bring together modern neuroscience methods and material artefacts from the archaeological record. To understand the brain changes that might have co-evolved with the advance in tool use, researchers in the field of neuroarcheology - from the University of East Anglia's (UEA) School of Psychology, The Stone Age Institute at Indiana University, and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Iowa - have been examining the brain activity of modern humans as they learn to make Oldowan and Acheulian stone tools. To test whether learning with language impacts which brain networks are involved in stone toolmaking, 15 of the 31 participants learned to knap stone via verbal instruction by watching videos of a skilled knapper's hands during individual training sessions. The other 16 participants learned via nonverbal instruction using the same videos, but with the sound turned off. The researchers found that the co-ordination of visual attention and motor control networks were sufficient to remove simple flakes for Oldowan tools. But the production of Acheulian tools required the integration of visual working memory, auditory and sensorimotor information, and complex action-planning - the same brain areas that are activated in modern piano playing. These findings, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, are a major step forward in understanding the evolution of human intelligence. Lead author Dr Shelby Putt, from the Stone Age Institute, said: "This work offers novel insights into prehistoric cognition using a cutting-edge neuroimaging technique that allows people to engage in complex actions while we are measuring localized brain activity. "The study reveals key brain networks that might underlie the shift towards more human-like intelligence around 1.75 million years ago. We think this marked a turning point in the evolution of the human brain, leading to the evolution of a new species of human." The researchers also reported that brain networks specialised for language in modern humans were only activated during Acheulian tool production when participants learned to make tools in the verbal instruction condition. Since language was likely not available 1.75 million years ago, this suggests that Acheulian tool production did not rely heavily on the evolution of language centres in the brain. Co-author Prof John Spencer from UEA said: "Our findings do not neatly overlap with prior claims that language and stone tool production co-evolved. There is more support for the idea that working memory and auditory-visual integration networks laid the foundation for advances in stone tool-making. "It is fascinating that these same brain networks today allow modern humans to perform such behaviours as skilfully playing a musical instrument." Previous studies have attempted to simulate early tool making, for example, by showing participants images of tool production and then looking at brain activity. Conducted at the University of Iowa, this is the first neuroimaging study to use a cutting-edge technique - functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) - to enable researchers to track real time changes in brain activity as participants made these two types of stone tools. Summing up the study, co-author Prof Robert Franciscus from the University of Iowa said: "When and how humans became the exceptionally intelligent and language-using species that we are today is still a great mystery. We discovered that the appearance of a type of more complexly shaped stone tool kit in the archaeological record marked an important cognitive shift when our ancestors started to think and act more like humans rather than apes. "The insights provided by this study into some of the biggest questions in human evolution - cognitive evolution and its relationship to the emergence of language - would have been difficult, if not impossible to achieve without the kind of interdisciplinary approach to research that this project was grounded on." 'The Functional Brain Networks that Underlie Early Stone Age Tool Manufacture', Shelby S Putt, Sobanawartiny Wijeakumar, Robert G Franciscus, John P Spencer, is published in Nature Human Behaviour.
News Article | April 19, 2017
The Clinical Research Forum, a national organization of senior researchers and thought leaders from the nation's leading academic health centers, selected two studies headed by University of Chicago researchers as among the three best clinical research papers published in 2016. These awards honor outstanding clinical research and identify major advances resulting from the nation's investment in improving the health of its citizens. Ten award winners were chosen for their innovation and creativity, advancement of science in a specific area, contribution to understanding human disease or physiology, and potential impact upon the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. The Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award is the Clinical Research Forum's highest honor. It is awarded to the research study that best exemplifies the spirit of the awards in that it shows a team science approach with a high degree of innovation and creativity, which advances science and has an impact upon human disease. The award comes with a cash prize of $5,000. This year, the Pardes Award went to a team headed by geneticist Carole Ober, PhD, professor and chairman of human genetics at the University of Chicago, and immunologist Anne Sperling, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Their study, "Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children," was published Aug. 4, 2016, in the New England Journal of Medicine. The interdisciplinary team of researchers showed that substances in the house dust from Amish, but not Hutterite, homes were able to engage and shape the innate immune system (the body's front-line response to most microbes) in young Amish, but not Hutterite, children in ways that appear to suppress pathologic responses leading to allergic asthma. The Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Awards are presented to the top two studies that demonstrate creativity, innovation, or a novel approach that demonstrates an immediate impact on the health and well-being of patients. These awards come with a cash prize of $3,500. One of those awards goes to a team led by pulmonologist John P. Kress, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, and Bhakti Patel, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at the University. Their study on the "Effect of Noninvasive Ventilation Delivered by Helmet vs Face Mask on the Rate of Endotracheal Intubation in Patients With Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial," was published May 15, 2016, in JAMA. It showed that using a transparent, air-tight helmet instead of a face mask helps critically ill patients breathe better and can prevent them from needing a ventilator. Patients with helmet ventilation had better survival and spent less time in the intensive care unit. The helmet "confers several advantages over the face mask," the authors note. It is less likely to leak. This enables the care team to increase air pressure into the helmet, which helps keep the airway and lungs open and improves oxygen levels. It is also more comfortable, easier to tolerate because it doesn't touch the face, and patients can see through it well enough to watch television, talk or read. Award recipients were recognized earlier this evening at the Clinical Research Forum's sixth annual awards ceremony on April 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Members of the research teams will visit congressional representatives on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, April 19, to brief officials on their findings and the critical and necessary role of federal funding for clinical research. These studies reflect major work being conducted at nearly 60 research institutions and hospitals across the United States, as well as at partner institutions from around the world, according to the Clinical Research Forum. "The 2017 awardees represent the enormous potential that properly funded research can have on patients and the public," said Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH, Chairman of the CR Forum Board of Directors. "It is our hope that the significance of these projects and their outcomes can help educate the public, as well as elected officials, on the important impact of clinical research on human health." Recognizing the need to celebrate our nation's clinical research accomplishments that involve both innovation and impact on human disease, the Clinical Research Forum conducts an annual competition to determine the ten outstanding research accomplishments in the United States. These major research advances represent a portion of the annual return on the nation's investment in the health and future welfare of its citizens. The mission of the Clinical Research Forum is to provide leadership to the national and clinical translational research enterprise and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare. For more information, visit http://www. . The National Institutes of Health, the St. Vincent Foundation and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation supported the asthma study. Additional authors were Michelle Stein, Cara Hrusch, Catherine Igartua and Jack Gilbert from the University of Chicago; Donata Vercelli, Justyna Gozdz, Vadim Pivniouk, Julie Ledford, Mauricius Marques dos Santos, Julia Neilson, Sean Murray, Raina Maier and Fernando Martinez from the University of Arizona; Erika von Mutius of the Dr. von Hauner Children Hospital in Munich, Germany; Nervana Metwali and Peter Thorne from the University of Iowa; and Mark Holbreich, an allergist-immunologist in Indianapolis, Indiana. Funding for the helmet study was supplied by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. The helmets were purchased using funds from an unrestricted grant from the Daniel J. Edelman family. Additional authors were Krysta Wolfe, Anne Pohlman and Jesse Hall, all from the University of Chicago.
News Article | May 4, 2017
People undergoing heart surgery may be getting infected with a deadly strain of bacteria, spread by machines used to cool blood. The design of blood-cooling machines is flawed, Daniel Diekema at the University of Iowa told the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Vienna, Austria, last week. “This was an infection risk that was hiding in plain sight for decades,” Diekema said. The risk arises during open-heart surgery when inserting a device, such as a valve or blood-vessel graft. This process requires a machine to cool and later warm up the blood. During the operation, machines contaminated by the bacteria can blow them out into the operating room, where they can land on the devices to be implanted. It was thought that the microbe, called Mycobacterium chimaera and common in soil and water, was present in only a certain brand of blood-cooling machine, due to factory contamination. But doctors are now reporting that other machines seem to be affected too, and there is no known way of decontaminating them. The problem is causing alarm among doctors worldwide, because M. chimaera infection is difficult to treat. There are 110 known cases of this happening in heart patients so far, and half of those infected have died. The problem is that once M. chimaera gets into an implant, it forms an indestructible “biofilm” which antibiotics can’t penetrate, said Diekema. “It results in continuous reseeding [of the bacteria] in the bloodstream.” People who show signs of infection are usually treated first with antibiotics, but Diekema said the only solution was additional surgery to replace the implant. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even if a hospital has had one case of infection in this way, the observed risk to other patients is very low – between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 100. However, there may have been many more cases than the 110 identified so far. M. chimaera is difficult to grow in the lab, so tests of samples from machines or patients may wrongly come back negative. It can also take months or years before an infected person shows symptoms, such as weight loss, tiredness and night sweats. Hospitals around the world have started notifying patients who are at risk to tell them to watch out for symptoms, mainly if the type of machine first identified as contaminated was used in their surgery. In the UK, Public Health England has sent letters to doctors warning them that any patient who has had valve replacement or valve repair surgery could be at risk – although they have not specified any particular brand of machine. A spokesperson for Public Health England says the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency is working with manufacturers of blood-cooling machines to engineer “solutions which could be safely and universally implanted”. One solution may be to use long tubing, so the machine can be placed outside the operating room, Diekema said. Alternatively, venting the machine’s exhaust outside the room might work.
News Article | May 5, 2017
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dr. Boyce Watkins, the highly acclaimed author and scholar focused on economic empowerment and education in the African American community, is re-launching his digital empire of more than 50 properties to the Maven Network (MVEN), the Seattle-based startup launching in beta this month. Watkins is considered one of the founding fathers in the field of financial activism – with the objective of creating social change through the use of conscientious capitalism – and has written numerous books and articles on finance, education and black social justice. He is a regular guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, BET, NPR and other national networks. Between social media and subscribers to his numerous websites, Watkins built a regular following of more than four million people. “I am very excited about this partnership, and have tremendous respect for James Heckman and his team for creating this brilliant, state-of-the-art business platform for independent media brands,” Watkins said. “From the first conversation, he impressed me as a person who wants to use his resources to better all of humanity through cutting-edge technology. I’ve chosen to be a first-mover and leader in this extraordinary project, as we continue our goal of developing black economic and political strength throughout the world.” Heckman, Maven CEO, calls Watkins an “intellectual giant and brilliant communicator who will amplify his message through our advanced publishing technology, new community platform and seamless integration with social media.” “Boyce is authentic, smart and more than anything, courageous,” he added. “We will continue to reserve our technology and resources for hand-picked, inspiring, independent content and community leaders. Boyce is all that and more, tackling real issues with innovative ideas and thoughtful social commentary - we’re honored to be his partner.” Maven provides a select group of content leaders an end-to-end digital media business platform within a cooperative - sharing technical resources, distribution and monetization. Dozens of award-winning journalists, best-selling authors, top analysts, important global causes, and foundations have already joined the coalition. Watkins plans to organize his numerous websites into four main channels on Maven: Black Wealth, Black Men United, Black Women United, and Black America. Among his signature initiatives are The Black Wealth Bootcamp, The Black Business School, and The Black Millionaires Of Tomorrow program which introduces young people to finance and entrepreneurship. He also has produced two critically acclaimed documentaries: "Resurrecting Black Wall Street" and "The Secrets Of Black Financial Intelligence.” Maven is an expert-driven, group media network, whose state-of-the-art platform serves, by invitation-only, professional, independent channel partners. By providing broader distribution, greater community engagement, and efficient advertising and membership programs. Maven enables partners to focus on the key ingredients to their business: creating, informing, sharing, discovering, leading and interacting with the communities and constituencies they serve. Based in Seattle, Maven is publicly traded under the ticker symbol MVEN. For more information, visit themaven.net. Key members of the team include: Founder and CEO James Heckman has extensive experience in digital media, advertising, video and online communities for major public companies and several times as founder. He served as Head of Global Media Strategy for Yahoo!, leading all significant transactions and revenue strategy under Ross Levinsohn’s tenure. As Chief Strategy Officer at Fox Digital, he architected the first programmatic social advertising platform, as part of the market-changing, $900 million ad alliance between Google and Myspace and was instrumental in Hulu’s formation. Prior to Yahoo!, Mr. Heckman was founder/CEO of 5to1.com (sold to Yahoo!), CSO of Zazzle.com, Founder/CEO of Scout.com (sold to Fox), Founder/CEO of Rivals.com and Rivals.net (sold to Yahoo!, post tenure and 365-Sports, respectively) and held the position of President and Publisher of NFL Exclusive, an official NFL publication network. Heckman holds a BA in Communications from the University of Washington. Co-founder and COO William Sornsin ran MSN's Core Technology team before joining Rivals as co-founder and CTO in 1999, co-founded Scout.com as CTO/COO; was VP Engineering & Operations at Fox Interactive Media after Scout acquisition. Earlier, Sornsin held a variety of product and program management roles at Microsoft. He holds a BS Electrical/Computer Engineering from the University of Iowa and an MBA from UCLA. Co-founder and CTO Benjamin Joldersma’s career spans nearly two decades of large-scale platform development, including CTO and chief architect of Scout.com. Ben held the role of Senior Software Engineer, Geo/Imagery at Google, was a Principal Software Engineer at Yahoo!, Chief Architect at 5to1 and held senior engineering roles at aQuantive, Rivals.com and Microsoft. Ben studied Computer Science at University of Puget Sound. Director Ross Levinsohn is a leading industry figure who has long focused on the convergence of technology and media. He served as CEO at Yahoo in 2012 and prior to that role was Executive Vice President, Americas and Head of Global Media from 2010 to 2012. Levinsohn served as President of Fox Interactive where he helped create one of the largest digital businesses amongst the traditional media companies, and was instrumental in the formation of what is now Hulu. He serves on several public and private media and technology boards, including Tribune Media, mobile advertising marketplace YieldMo, Vubiquity, Zefr, and the National Association of Television Program Executives. He was Executive Chairman and Director of Scout Media, Inc. from 2014-2016, previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of Guggenheim Digital Media and co-founded 5to1 Holding Corp, serving as its Executive Chairman. He co-founded Fuse Capital in 2005 and served as its Managing Director and Managing Partner. He served as General Manager at AltaVista Network and Vice President of Programming and Executive Producer at CBS Sportsline. Mr. Levinsohn received a BA in Broadcast Communications from American University, and is a trustee there.
News Article | May 8, 2017
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Agilis Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Agilis), a biotechnology company advancing innovative gene therapy products for the treatment of rare genetic diseases that affect the central nervous system (CNS), announced today that the Company has expanded its commercial and medical teams, hiring Markus Peters, Ph.D., as Chief Commercial Officer, Kirsten Gruis, M.D. as Chief Medical Officer, and Anne Marie Conway, M.H.A, R.N., as Vice President Clinical Operations. “We are pleased to welcome these three talented individuals to our leadership team. Each brings a wealth of experience to Agilis that is directly aligned with our mission to help patients with rare CNS diseases, advance our clinical pipeline, and lay the foundation for future approval and commercialization of our promising gene therapy product candidates,” said Dr. Mark Pykett, President and CEO of Agilis. Dr. Markus Peters will lead Agilis’ commercial, business development and business analytics activities, and will spearhead market efforts for the company’s aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency gene therapy globally. He brings a significant background to Agilis in the commercialization of rare disease therapeutics and specialty pharmaceuticals. Most recently, he was an Associate Partner with the consulting group Alacrita. Dr. Peters was previously Vice President, Global Marketing/Commercial with Synageva, where he led the cross-functional global launch team for first-in-class enzyme replacement therapy Kanuma to develop and implement the global strategy and launch plan for the product in ultra-rare LAL deficiency. He was also responsible for the commercial assessment of the Synageva pipeline. Before Synageva, he was Head of Global Marketing Nephrology and Transplant Therapeutic Area at Alexion, leading the global launch of the ultra-orphan Soliris aHUS (atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome) franchise. Dr. Peters previously worked at Merck where he led the global launch of recombinant biologic Elonva, and at Sepracor, Wyeth, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim in the US, Japan and Europe in business and commercial roles of increasing responsibility. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Heinrich-Heine Universität. Kirsten Gruis, M.D., is an accomplished physician scientist, board certified neurologist, and rare disease specialist, with a broad background in the development of innovative therapeutics. She has worked in Friedreich’s ataxia, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), among others, across a range of development stages, including pre-clinical, Phase I, Phase II and Phase III programs. Dr. Gruis was most recently at WAVE Life Sciences leading their clinical development plans in DMD. Previously, she was at Idera Pharmaceuticals where she lead the team to initiate a global, phase II trial in dermatomyositis and, before that, she was at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as the clinical lead of a global, phase III program of patisiran in the rare disease familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy and, before that, was with Pfizer managing pre-clinical and phase I-II assets in the Rare Disease Research Unit focused on Friedreich’s ataxia, SMA, ALS, and DMD. Dr. Gruis held academic appointments as an Associate Professor of Neurology at both the University of Michigan and SUNY Upstate Medical University. She received her MD from the University of Iowa and did her residency training at the University of Michigan, where she subsequently joined the faculty. While at SUNY Upstate Medical University, she served as the Director of the MDA clinic, Co-Director of the ALS Clinic, and prior to that was Director of the Motor Neuron Disease Center/ALS Clinic at the University of Michigan. Dr. Gruis is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and World Muscle Society, as well as a Fellow American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine with additional board certification in Neuromuscular Disorders. She has served on multiple NIH Scientific Review Panels for the NINDS and Neurotechnology study groups as well as a principal investigator of several clinical studies for ALS. Anne Marie Conway, M.H.A., R.N., brings extensive experience in clinical operations to Agilis’ clinical development programs. Most recently, she was Principal at AMC Consulting, providing clinical operations services to a range of drug development organizations including Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, bluebird bio and Lantheus Medical Imaging, among others. Before that, she worked at Ziopharm Oncology as head of Clinical Operations and Data Management. While there, she managed the start-up of the gene therapy program for high grade gliomas. Prior to that, she was at Shire Human Genetic Therapies (now integrated into Shire, plc) as Vice President, Development Operations, providing management oversight for the global filing and approval of VPRIV™ for Gaucher disease, running a global Phase III trial and subsequent approval of Firazyr™ for hereditary angioedema and, leading global clinical operations, data management and registry group for eight rare disease pipeline products in Phases I through IV studies. Prior to its acquisition by Shire, Ms. Conway worked at Transkaryotic Therapies and led the integrated development team for the clinical sections of the BLA/MAA filing and subsequent approval in the United States, European Union, and Japan for elaprase™. Before moving into industry, Ms. Conway worked at Tufts Medical Center as a Clinical Trials Manager, Outpatient Nurse Coordinator, and Staff Nurse. She has an M.H.A. from Suffolk University and a B.S. from Boston University, is a licensed nurse, and holds an adjunct faculty position at Suffolk University. Agilis is advancing innovative gene therapies designed to provide long-term efficacy for patients with debilitating, often fatal, rare genetic diseases that affect the central nervous system. Agilis’ gene therapies are engineered to impart sustainable clinical benefits by inducing persistent expression of a therapeutic gene through precise targeting and restoration of lost gene function to achieve long-term efficacy. Agilis’ rare disease programs are focused on gene therapy for AADC deficiency, Friedreich’s ataxia, and Angelman syndrome, all rare genetic diseases that include neurological deficits and result in physically debilitating conditions. We invite you to visit our website at www.agilisbio.com Some of the statements made in this press release are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon our current expectations and projections about future events and generally relate to our plans, objectives and expectations for the development of our business. Although management believes that the plans and objectives reflected in or suggested by these forward-looking statements are reasonable, all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and actual future results may be materially different from the plans, objectives and expectations expressed in this press release.