Category Archives: Biotechnology

Undergrad researcher at N.C. A&T lab recognized for work on cancer prevention and wheat bran

N.C. Research Campus logoAn undergraduate research technician at N.C. A&T’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies has been named a finalist in the Undergraduate Student Research Symposium sponsored by the American Chemical Society.

The center is located at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. It is operated by the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

Nicholas Stone, a senior biology major at Davidson College, is one of six finalists chosen from an international pool of applicants. He will present his research on “Alkylresorcinols: Purification from wheat bran and quantification in whole grain wheat breads” at the 249th ACS National Meeting in Denver, March 22 to 26.

The symposium is conducted by the Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division of the ACS. It is open to all undergraduates conducting research in agricultural food chemistry.

Stone, who is originally from Winston-Salem, works in the lab of Dr. Shengmin Sang, associate professor and lead scientist for functional foods. Originally a summer intern, Stone quickly progressed from helping with small tasks like washing dishes to becoming a full-fledged member of the research team focusing on the study of alkylresorcinols (AR), a bioactive compound in whole grain wheat and rye.

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Energy & Environmental Systems weekly seminars

This spring, the Department of Energy and Environmental Systems will hold weekly seminars conducted by its doctoral students. All seminars will be held on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to noon. The location will vary between Fort IRC Room 410 and Gibbs 307.

The first seminar is this Thursday, Jan. 29, in Gibbs 307.

The seminars will cover a broad range of disciplines and topics, including carbon sequestration modeling, smart grid systems, sustainability in higher education, natural products’ immunotherapy effects on cancer, and topics relating to the NSF CREST Bioenergy Center and NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials.

Dates and topics for the entire series follow the jump.

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Seminar: Medical radioisotopes via reversible gels

Headshot of Dr. Bridges

Dr. Novella Bridges

The Chemistry Department invites you to attend a seminar Thursday, October 9, 11 a.m. in the New Science Building, Room 200. The guest speaker is Dr. Novella Bridges of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Abstract

“Radiogels: Reversible Gels for Delivery of Medical Radioisotopes: Using our RadioGel™ technology, it will be possible to successfully deliver a self-contained high-dose of radiation into a cancerous tumor. This technology will enable the maximum dose of radiation to be absorbed and allow a concise and uniform delivery into the targeted cancer tissue. This delivery system will minimize the radiation dose to the patient and other closely associated healthy tissue that might garner side effects.

“A vital component of the radiogel is a new polymer-based material. This material is biodegradable, water-based and thermally reversible stimulus-sensitive gelling copolymer. This copolymer is combined (in solution) with a high-energy, beta-particle-emitting radioisotope (Yttrium-90) in the form of a colloid. It is the colloid that is trapped within the solidified matrix of the gel that produces the high-dose of radiation.

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N.C. A&T, Xemerge launch spin-off peanut company; 1st hypoallergenic peanuts ready for food industry

Group shot of A&T and Alrgn executives

The team bringing safer peanuts to the world (from left): Wayne Szafranski, A&T director of economic outreach; Barry Burks, vice chancellor for research; Louis Judge, director of technology transfer; Jianmei Yu, research scientist; Johnny Rodrigues, Alrgn Bio founder; and Ann Russell, Alrgn director of U.S. operations.

The world’s first commercially available hypoallergenic peanuts have officially emerged from the laboratory.

Alrgn Bio, exclusive licensee of the hypoallergenic process patented by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has opened an office in the Gateway University Research Park.  Batches of peanuts are available to the food industry for evaluation, Alrgn announced today.

“We have received tremendous interest since we announced in June that the technology is available,” said Johnny Rodrigues, Alrgn founder.

“We will work with food processors and manufacturers to establish this process as the industry standard for peanuts and peanut-derived ingredients. We’ll work together to deliver safer peanut products to consumers as quickly as possible.”

Alrgn made the announcement Thursday at its demonstration facility at the Gateway University Research Park in Greensboro, North Carolina. Alrgn is a spin-off of N.C. A&T and Xemerge, the North Carolina- and Toronto-based technology development company that originally licensed the A&T peanut technology.

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Fall seminar series begin in Biology, Engineering with microbial evolvability and pectus excavatum

UPDATE: New venue for this week’s ERC seminar and new set of locations for the seminars this semester.

Two weekly seminar series will begin this week for the fall semester. The Biology seminar series is held on Wednesdays at noon in Barnes Hall Room 224.  The Engineering Research Center seminars are held on Friday, 11 a.m. Check weekly for location, which alternates among three locations in McNair (Room 128; Room LR4, an A/V- and distance learning-enabled classroom, and the Auditorium).

Biology: Wednesday, August 27, Noon

Biology seminar flyer

From Dr. Barrick’s bio page:

“We use experiments with microorganisms, nucleic acids, and digital organisms to study evolution in action with the ultimate goal of understanding and harnessing evolution as a creative force. To ask how different types of mutations impact evolutionary potential, we are using deep sequencing to monitor the competitive dynamics of spontaneous beneficial mutations in these populations and also engineering specific genomic changes. Systems biology and biochemistry approaches are used to link the effects of mutations on cell physiology to how they affect competitive fitness at the organism level, and bioinformatics and comparative genomics are used to investigate whether similar mutational pathways are important in nature. Other research interests include investigating the functions of cryptic genomic elements and using mark-recapture techniques on microbial genomes to watch them as they evolve in the context of complex wild and pathogenic communities.”

Engineering Research Center: Friday, August 29, 11 a.m.

Flyer for ERC seminar, August 29, 2014
Introduction:

Pectus excavatum (PE) is the most common chest wall deformity. In PE patients, the middle lower portion of the sternum is depressed producing concavity of the anterior part of the chest wall. Correction is accomplished by using minimally invasive technique of chest remodeling developed by Dr. Donald Nuss in 1987. A curved metal bar is implanted to lift the sternum to its normal position. Upward force from the bar is opposed by downward sternal force, partially flattening the bar.  The bar may be removed 1-2 years later without PE recurrence provided that sternal force has become negligible. There is currently no method available for the in vivo measurement of sternal force. This project sought a noninvasive assay of sternal force using bar end-to-end distance.

Welcome back! Here’s a summer news recap: Hypoallergenic peanuts, EPICS, NC TraCS & more

To all who were gone over the summer, welcome back. Here’s a rundown of the top research-related news at A&T since May:

Faculty members, department chairs, and deans: We want to write about your research, scholarly and creative activity!  Let us know about it; click here for email.

Translational and clinical sciences researchers: Hold Wednesday Oct. 1 for NC TraCS open house

A hold-the-date note from our partners at the NC TraCS Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill:

On behalf of Dr. Marshall Runge, principal investigator of the CTSA, we are sending this note so that you are aware that plans are in the works for an NC TraCS Institute Open House on Wednesday October 1st.

The goal is to educate and inform the research community about our services, our accomplishments, and our vision for the future of TraCS. More details will follow. If you have any questions please contact Ben Gellman-Chomsky.

In particular, researchers in these and related fields are invited:

  • Allied Health
  • Biochemistry & Biophysics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Dentistry
  • Exercise & Sports Science
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Information & Library Science
  • Journalism & Mass Communication
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology & Immunology
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy
  • Public Health
  • Social Work

Click here for information on N.C. A&T’s role with NC TraCS in the Clinical and Translations Science Awards program.

Aggieland is part of a #NationOfMakers

Group photo of the students behind the Sophisticated Genius clothing line

Co-founder and A&T student entrepreneur Romel Reaves, left, and the team that makes the Sophisticated Genius clothing line

This is part of the deal at a land-grant university: We make things.

We make things you can hold or touch, like hypoallergenic peanuts and asphalt that requires less petroleum. And we make things you can’t hold or touch, like biometric software and carbon nanotubes (and history, which is something else you can’t hold that Aggies make).

We design and build things. And we grow things, which is another very old and very powerful way of making.

N.C. A&T’s motto is “Mens et Manus”: Mind and Hands. Those words set us on a course more than 100 years ago that we’re still traveling. Today, that course brings us together with President Obama and more than 150 other universities to celebrate a Nation of Makers (#NationOfMakers on Twitter).

“On Wednesday, June 18, President Obama will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing. The President will also announce new steps the Administration and its partners are taking to support the ability of more Americans, young and old, to have to access to these tools and techniques and brings their ideas to life.

“America has always been a nation of tinkerers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. In recent years, a growing number of Americans have gained access to technologies such as 3D printers, laser cutters, easy-to-use design software, and desktop machine tools. These tools are enabling more Americans to design and build almost anything.

“The rise of the Maker Movement represents a huge opportunity for the United States. Nationwide, new tools for democratized production are boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in manufacturing, in the same way that the Internet and cloud computing have lowered the barriers to entry for digital startups, creating the foundation for new products and processes that can help to revitalize American manufacturing.”

And so we celebrate our researchers, like Dr. Salil Desai, Dr. Stephanie Luster-Teasley, and Dr. Jianmei Yu, who all have received patents recently for things they’ve made. And Dr. Ellie Fini and Dr. Ajit Kelkar, who have made things that they’ve been able to build businesses around.

And we especially celebrate our students, so many of whom aren’t waiting to graduate before they start making things. The students who compete in the annual Innovation Challenge … the students we feature on the Aggie Entrepreneurs webpage … and the many more we’ll meet this year and next and the year after that.

New products and processes that can help to revitalize American manufacturing: We’re working with America’s other makers on that. Join us. We can always use more minds and hands.

JSNN researchers go both broad and deep with new book on nanotechnology advances and applications

Cover of nanotechnology book produced by JSNN researchersThe Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering is a collaborative enterprise by nature, with two universities contributing faculty and students.* Its researchers have extended that teamwork with a new book on nanotechnology.

Nanoscience and Nanoengineering: Advances and Applications was written by researchers in both disciplines at the school and a small number of collaborators at other institutions. It was edited by the school’s leadership — Dr. Ajit D. Kelkar, chairman of the Department of Nanoengineering; Dr. Daniel J.C. Herr, chairman  of the Department of Nanosciences; and Dr. James G. Ryan, founding dean of the school.

The book focuses on emerging areas of nanotechnology. “To show the true interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology, the authors wanted to address the breadth of the field, from research to manufacturing, while also providing sufficient depth that the reader would gain understanding of some of the most important discoveries,” the editors write in the preface.

Topics covered include nanoelectronics, nanobio, nano medicine, nanomodeling,  nanolithography and nanofabrication, and nanosafety.

“This book is intended to be used by students and professionals alike with a goal of sparking their interest to investigate more deeply into the technological advances achieved through manipulation of atomic building blocks,” the editors write.

The book is available online from the publisher, CRC Press, for $159.95 or $111.00 for the ebook. CRC also offers ebook rentals. Amazon lists the book for $143.63.  And if you hurry, you could be Amazon’s first online reviewer.

* If you aren’t from around here or deep into the nano world, the JSNN is a research and graduate-level educational institution operated by N.C. A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

 

Hypoallergenic peanuts developed by N.C. A&T licensed for use in food products, immunotherapy

Hypoallergenic peanuts, peanut butter, and other peanut products are a step closer to grocery stores with the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement for the patented process that reduces allergens in peanuts by 98 percent.

Head shot of Dr. Yu

Dr. Jianmei Yu

N.C. A&T signed the agreement with Xemerge, a Toronto-based firm that commercializes emerging technologies in food, agriculture, and a variety of other fields. Xemerge has opened an office at the Gateway University Research Park south campus in Greensboro.

“This is one of the best technologies in the food and nutrition space we have seen,” said Johnny Rodrigues, Chief Commercialization Officer of Xemerge.

“It checks all the boxes: non-GMO, patented, human clinical data, does not change physical characteristics of the peanut along with maintaining the nutrition and functionality needed, ready for industry integration from processing and manufacturing to consumer products.”

The process was developed by Dr. Jianmei Yu, a food and nutrition researcher in A&T’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, and two former A&T faculty members, Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna and Dr. Ipek Goktepe, both of whom are now at Qatar University.

“Treated peanuts can be used as whole peanuts, in pieces or as flour to make foods containing peanuts safer for many people who are allergic,” Dr. Yu said.

“Treated peanuts also can be used in immunotherapy,” she said. “Under a doctor’s supervision, the hypoallergenic peanuts can build up a patient’s resistance to the allergens.”

Research funding was provided by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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