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TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed

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TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 042 — Considering Cannabinoids

Professor Mahesh Mohan, Ph.D. and Professor Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D., Director of the SNPRC The newest professor at our biomedical research institute is Dr. Mahesh Mohan. His research is focused on HIV…the virus that causes AIDS. However, he’s been branching out into a new area recently: the effect of cannabinoids on the inflammation caused by this disease…and potentially other illnesses as well. Dr. Mohan will also be a member of the Southwest National Primate Research Center on the Texas...


TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 041 — Quantitative Biology adds up to New Insights

Assistant Professor Diako Ebrahimi, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Diako Ebrahimi, Ph.D., is one of the newest faculty members at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. He’s a quantitative biologist. His job is to take massive amounts of data from different disciplines to develop new ways to research virology and cancer. Dr. Ebrahimi joins Texas Biomed from the University of Minnesota where he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics. He is...


TX Byobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 040 — In Favor of Vaccinations

Professor Joanne Turner, Ph.D.VP for Research As students gear up to head back to classes, public health officials and school districts encourage parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on their immunizations. A new trend called “vaccine hesitancy” has created unwarranted fear of these life-saving preventive measures. Texas Biomed scientists are working hard to create better and new vaccines….and to educate people about why following a vaccine schedule is so important to protect...


TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 039 — Discovery + Learning = Success

Texas Biomed strives to create an educationally rich learning environment. As part of that initiative, 21 college and university students have spent summer 2019 interning on the campus. They are science and support staff workers. They have spent several weeks in labs and office all around the Institute. Our bright, talented students include: Joshua Castro -- St. Mary's University Payan (Max) Pour -- Southwestern University Catalina Lopez -- Barnard College Sarah Mohamed -- Texas A&M...


TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 038 — Aging Answers: Combating Cognitive Decline

Associate Professor Marcel Daadi, Ph.D. One of the newest research projects at the Southwest National Primate Center on the campus of Texas Biomed is a study to figure out if a drug -- already approved by the Food and Drug Administration -- can help stave off unwanted cognitive problems that come with aging. Is there a way to repair damage to the cell organelles called mitochondria that become inefficient with age? Baboon at the SNPRCCourtesy Kathy West Studios To test this particular...


TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 037 — The Heart of the Problem: A Genetic Study of Native Americans

Thirty years ago, NIH-funded researchers began looking at particular risk factors for heart disease in the Native American population. What Texas Biomed scientists and collaborators across the country have found is impacting all of us. Now, Texas Biomed has received a 7-year, $3 million dollar grant to continue working on the Strong Heart Study of American Indians (SHS). Shelley Cole, Ph.D., Associate Professor and co-lead of the Population Health program at Texas Biomed, will direct the...


TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 036 — Animal Behaviorists: Monitoring the Monkeys

Heath Nevill records behavior of baboons at the SNPRC. Texas Biomed is home to one of only seven National Primate Research Centers in the country. We house more than 2,000 nonhuman primates including baboons, rhesus macaques and marmosets. Besides veterinarians and technicians, the Southwest National Primate Research Center also employs animal behaviorists. Much of the animal behaviorists’ time is spent observing the animals, recording their behavior and gathering data. If observation alone...


TX Biobytes from Texas Biomed Episode 035 — The Buzz About Zika

Zika VirusCourtesy: NIH Image Gallery What’s the latest buzz about Zika? The mosquito-borne virus is still infecting people around the globe -- even in the U.S. -- and putting unborn babies in particular at risk. Texas Biomed has just won a grant from the federal government to test two different ways of immunizing pregnant women. The idea is to prevent transmission of the infectious disease from expectant woman to her child. Zika has been around for decades, but the virus roared into the...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 034 — The impact of marmosets from A to Z: Aging to Zika

Marmosets are small New World monkeys from South America. © Clem Spalding 210-271-7273 Marmosets are a useful biomedical research animal model that is growing in popularity with researchers. The monkeys' small size and shorter life span make it an easier model to work with, in some cases, than larger nonhuman primates. Texas Biomed currently has more than 350 of these squirrel-sized monkeys. UT Health San Antonio and the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies have just...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 033 — Celebrating Biomedical Research Awareness Day

Enrichment specialists at Texas Biomed celebrate BRAD by treating the research animals to Fiesta munchies. We owe many ways to treat and prevent disease to biomedical research, but none of our scientific discoveries would be possible without teamwork—that is, teamwork between scientists and research animals. BRAD celebrates the many contributions of research animals to human health. Biomedical Research Awareness Day (BRAD) was created by Americans for Medical Progress to educate students and...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 032 — TB and HIV: Battling Back Against a One-Two Punch

Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D. Co-infections with HIV and TB are a persistent health problem. In otherwise health people with latent TB, only 5% will go on to develop active tuberculosis. In HIV/AIDS patients, the risk of developing active TB increases ten-fold to 50%. Workers in Dr. Kaushal's lab take part in TB/HIV experiments. About a third of everyone who has HIV dies of complications from TB. Professor and Director of the Southwest National Primate Research Center, Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D. a Texas...


TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 031 — Battling Bacteria and Biofilms

Biofilm is a thin, slimy film of bacteria. Daniel Wozniak, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University is a recognized expert in the field of infectious diseases. Recently, he visited Texas Biomed as the keynote speaker at the Research Symposium 2019. Dr. Wozniak is looking for new ways to treat stubborn infections that often make life miserable for patients or ultimately claim their lives. These secondary infections are the kinds of diseases caused by bacteria that often plague vulnerable patients....


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 030 — Collaborating to Control A Killer

Dr. Larry Schlesinger visited India in Feb. 2019. The President and CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Dr. Larry Schlesinger, is a physician researcher who is a leader in his field – infectious diseases and tuberculosis in particular. He recently traveled to India to visit one of the many places across the globe where TB has a huge impact. The 8th annual RePORT India Joint Leadership Meeting was held in Chennai, India, February 4-6, 2019.


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 029 — Out of Africa: Teaming up to Develop a New TB Test

Dr. Jordi Torrelles meets with future collaborators on a 2019 trip to Africa. Tuberculosis is the deadliest infectious disease in the world: tuberculosis. Somewhere in the world, a person dies of TB every 21 seconds. Africa is a continent full of supreme beauty. Sadly, it is also a continent facing some intense health crises. Imagine trying to test for TB in areas where there may not be electricity of even running water. One of Texas Biomed’s TB researchers traveled to three countries Africa...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 028 — “Lab on a Chip” Holds the Power to Test for Zika

This technology would help clinicians tailor therapies. (Photo courtesy of Josh Parks) A collaboration of scientists including Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s Professor Jean Patterson, Ph.D., are working on a new way to detect Zika virus that will help guide clinicians in their treatment of patients with the disease. The new technology will screen bodily fluids such as blood, urine or semen, for the presence of the virus. The experimental diagnostic tool will also help pinpoint the...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 027 — Epigenetics & Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. Now, with the help of a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Associate Professor Melanie Carless, Ph.D., is using the field of epigenetics to study this nagging problem. Dr. Carless will look at the way DNA, RNA, and proteins are affected by both the environment and genetic makeup to impact the risk of obesity. Melanie Carless, Ph.D. Two Texas Biomed researchers are collaborating with Dr....


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 026 — ‘Colaboracion con Mexico’ Targets Cardiovascular Disease

Raul Bastarrachea, MD, and Jack Kent, Ph.D. Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists have been granted funding from the National Institutes of Health to pursue a promising study on the ultimate causes of heart disease and metabolic disorders. Principal Investigators Raul A. Bastarrachea, MD, and Jack W. Kent Jr., Ph.D., of Texas Biomedical Research Institute have designed the GEMM Family Study (Genetics of Metabolic Diseases in Mexico or Genética de las Enfermedades Metabólicas en...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 025 — Tissue Bank Deposits Generate Interest

Samples from nonhuman primates make up the tissue bank at the SNPRC. In the Hixon Hospital, drawers upon drawers hold thousands of animal tissue samples. Protected in wax, this collection is a valuable resource for Texas Biomed scientists and researchers at other institutions that participate in a tissue sharing program. Scientists who wrote a recent article published in the Journal of Medical Primatology titled “Papio Spp. Colon microbiome and its link to obesity in pregnancy” used tissue...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 024– Natural History Studies

Macaques are used for Ebola research.© Clem Spalding 210-271-7273 When you hear the phrase “natural history” – what comes to mind? A display at a museum? A college course? At Texas Biomed, natural history means a certain kind of study that tracks the course of an infectious disease Associate Scientist Ricardo Carrion, Jr., Ph.D., serves as the Director of Maximum Containment Contract Research. He explains that documenting the course of a disease -- in this case, Ebola virus --in a nonhuman...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 023 — The Ebola-malaria connection

Ebola VirusNIH Image Gallery Can an infection with a parasitic disease increase the risk of developing a deadly virus? That's the question under study at Texas Biomed, where Staff Scientist Olena Shtanko, Ph.D. is conducting work as part of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Olena Shtanko, Ph.D. The hypothesis under study is that people who have acute malarial infection may experience some protective effects against Ebola infection. On the flip side, patients who have been...