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TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed

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TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 021 — Protecting Research Animals

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is appointed in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act and the Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. But it’s more passion than legal obligation that guides this group. The IACUC Committee at Texas Biomed makes extraordinary efforts to ensure the nonhuman primates that the more than 2,000 monkeys that live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on our campus have the best care possible. Not only people who...


TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 20 — Fitness Tests for Parasites

Malaria is worldwide scourge infecting 200 million people around the world and killing more than 400,000 of them. The parasite is carried by the Anopheles mosquito, particularly in tropical areas like Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Texas Biomed scientists are “particularly interested in the evolution of drug resistance,” said Scientist Tim Anderson, Ph.D., adding that it is “a recurring problem in controlling tropical diseases.” Artemisinin is a recently discovered drug that is the gold...


TX BioBytes from Texas Biomed Podcast Episode 019 — HIV and the Genome: The Other 97%

Despite more than three decades’ worth of research, HIV continues to be a major health threat in the U.S. and around the world. Although effective therapies exist that can give HIV-patients a relatively normal lifespan, the life-long treatment poses an enormous financial burden. That’s why scientists who study the problem of infectious diseases continue to focus on the virus that causes AIDS. Smita Kulkarni, Ph.D., was recently awarded a $525,000 grant from the National Institutes of...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed podcast Episode 018 — Target: Parkinson’s Disease

What does a monkey wearing a Fitbit-like device have to do with Parkinson's disease? A newly-published study shows marmosets at the Southwest National Primate Research Center can mimic the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's. Marmosets are small, New World monkeys that can mimic the sleep disturbances, changes in circadian rhythm, and cognitive impairment people with Parkinson's disease develop. Associate Scientist Marcel Daadi, Ph.D., leader of the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Unit at...


TXBioBytes from Texas Biomed Episode 017 — Promising Protection Against HIV

Texas Biomed scientists say what they've learned in the lab recently is an exciting development on the front lines of the battle against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Using macaques as an animal model, the team showed for the first time that an antibody called immunoglobulin M – called IgM – was effective in preventing infection when the monkeys were exposed to HIV in the mucosal cavity. More than 90 percent of new cases of HIV are caused through exposure to the virus in body cavities...


TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 016 — Meet the New Director of the Primate Center

The Southwest National Primate Center's Mission is to improve the health of our global community through innovative biomedical research with nonhuman primate. The newest member of the team who will direct this program -- one of only seven of its kind in the country -- is Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D. He comes to Texas Biomedical Research Institute from the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Dr. Kaushal specializes in tuberculosis (TB) research in nonhuman primates. "I think this...


Baboon Brain Scans — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 015

Neuropsychiatric diseases affect millions of people and can be disabling. Only about 8% of therapies that work in animal models make it all the way to humans. That's why Texas Biomed scientists are taking part in a study to try and find a better animal model to work with these complex health problems. The ultimate goal of this research, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, is to provide evidence for the use of baboons as a preclinical model for neuropsychiatric diseases....


Animal Enrichment: Munchies for Monkeys — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 014

The animal enrichment programs at the Southwest National Primate Research Center aim to stimulate species-typical behaviors and promote psychological well-being using social, physical, occupational, feeding and sensory enrichment opportunities, many of which mimic natural behaviors seen in the wild, which we aim to encourage. We also want to prevent or limit the occurrence of abnormal behaviors, which may result from the stress or boredom that sometimes occurs in a captive environment. We...


Tackling Liver Cancer Using CRISPR to Develop a New Animal Model — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 013

Scientists at Texas Biomed are using CRISPR technology to try to create a new animal model for liver cancer. Liver cancer can have its roots in infectious diseases or metabolic conditions. And it’s a killer worldwide. Promising therapies developed in mouse models have failed in humans. So the experts at the Southwest National Primate Research Center think a bigger animal like a monkey might work better. The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomed is home to more than a...


Tom Slick: Pioneer of the Possible — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 012

The founder of Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Tom Slick, was a man of great vision and curiosity. His niece, Catherine Nixon Cooke, wrote a fascinating book about him title Tom Slick Mystery Hunter. We talked with Cooke about her uncle who lived some larger-than-life adventures and planted to seeds of scientific research in San Antonio that has yielded many breakthroughs in diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. Cooke says Tom Slick would have been delighted at what his vision in the...


Behind Steel Doors: High Containment Laboratories — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 011

Developing vaccines and therapies to successfully treat some of the world’s deadliest diseases for which there are no known treatments or vaccines requires the safest laboratory in the world in which to study them. Texas Biomedical Research Institute is home to one of only six such labs in North America and the only operational BSL-4 lab owned by a private institution. Designed for maximum containment, BSL-4 labs offer a safe setting for scientists and the surrounding environment. This...


Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Cough? — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 010

A killer infectious disease called Pertussis is a bacterial infection that causes whooping cough. Vaccines had brought the numbers of cases down dramatically, but now they’re on the rise again and Texas Biomed animals and scientists are involved in the search for something better to treat this health problem that kills more than a hundred thousand infants a year. Pertussis has seen an alarming resurgence in the last decade. That’s surprising, given that a vaccine for this infectious...


Biomedical Science’s Instrumental Model: Rhesus Macaques — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 009

Rhesus macaque monkeys are nonhuman primates that originate from the jungles of India. Hundreds of them live at the Southwest National Primate Research Center on the Texas Biomedical Research Institute campus. Macaques are useful for studying diseases from HIV to Ebola. While the macaques live in indoor/outdoor housing, the scientific work performed on their samples takes place in a lab setting.


Texas Biomedical Forum: Women Who Support Science — TX BioBytes Podcast Episode 008

The Texas Biomedical Forum started in 1970 as a group of women on a mission – to support the hope and promise of life-saving research at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. What started as the brainchild of a handful of women has turned into an organization that is more than 300 members strong. The Forum raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in support of the science at Texas Biomed. The purpose of the Texas Biomedical Forum continues to be to support the Texas Biomedical...


Baboons: 50 years of Helping Human Health — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 007

The baboon is widely used as a model for the study of genetics of complex diseases, and continues as a successful model for many chronic and infectious diseases, including insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease, hypertension and osteoporosis. This resource has also been used to further studies in contraception, tissue engineered heart valves, epilepsy, immune system aging, pertussis, sepsis and ischemic stroke. SNPRC provides pedigreed baboons for research projects investigating the...


Marmosets: Miniature but Mighty — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 006

The Southwest National Primate Research Center at Texas Biomedical Research Center is one of only two national primate research centers that provide marmoset research resources. Our resources include the only large population (>70) of aged marmosets (>10 years) in the country. Common marmosets have been a biomedical research resource since the early 1960’s, used predominately in studies of infectious disease, immunology and neuroscience. Historically, they have been a more commonly used...


Unraveling a Childhood Medical Mystery: Kawasaki Disease — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 005

Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that can cause serious heart trouble for patients later in life. Now, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and Children's Hospital of San Antonio are teaming up to research possible interventions to cut down on the serious side effects of the disease. Dr. Mark Gorelik is a pediatric rheumatologist. He uses a mouse model now housed at Texas Biomed. Jean Patterson, Ph.D., is helping him on the project. Listen to learn more about this exciting...


What do Snails have to do with it? — TXBioBytes Podcast Episode 004

Schistosomiasis is an important tropical disease caused by schistosome trematodes (a parasitic blood fluke). Those parasites are found in South America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. An estimated 200 million people worldwide are infected with schistosomes and 200,000 people die each year. Schistosomiasis is a waterborne disease. Infected freshwater snails release larvae (cercariae) which can infect humans during their water related activities....


Much Ado About Malaria – TXBioBytes Episode 002

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year. Scientist Ian Cheeseman, Ph.D., of Texas Biomed specializes in the genetics of the parasite that causes malaria. His newest study published in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution was recently highlighted in the Editors Choice section of the prestigious journal Science. “At the basic level we simply do not know what’s in a malaria infection, even though this has profound...


TB or not TB – TXBioBytes Episode 001

Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio is a new focal point for TB research, with scientists studying the disease from dozens of angles, researching new therapies and a better way to vaccinate people against the insidious infection that targets the lungs. Tuberculosis is an ancient health threat that’s still claiming several thousand lives each day around the globe. It’s the world’s deadliest infectious disease. And TB isn’t just a third world concern. It’s an American problem,...