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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-15-2013
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a menu of 61 new strains of genetically engineered bacteria that may improve the efficacy of vaccines for diseases such as flu, pertussis, cholera and HPV.
Biological adjuvants have been used for years to increase the effectiveness of vaccines. Historically, adjuvants consisted of contaminants that were intentionally added to the vaccine to help prime the immune system to react to the actual vaccine. These adjuvants were known as immunology’s dirty little secret. Now, scientists have engineered 61 bacterial strains to express endotoxin adjuvants on the cell surface which have proven to be effective in rendering a vaccine effective against multiple pathogens at the same time.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 09-20-2010
In a statement released earlier this month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it has awarded the first new grants under the Biomedical Research on the International Space Station (BioMed-ISS) initiative, a collaborative effort between NIH and NASA. Using a special microgravity environment that Earth-based laboratories cannot replicate, researchers will explore fundamental questions about important health issues, such as how bones and the immune system get weak.
The National Laboratory at the ISS provides a virtually gravity-free — or microgravity — environment where the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie human diseases can be explored.
NIH is hosting three rounds of competition for the BioMed-ISS initiative. The first round of grants for the ground-based phase — totaling an estimated $1,323,000 included an award to Millie Hughes-Fulford, from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education, San Francisco who is studying immune system suppression in space. A reduction in the immune response also occurs in the elderly, who, like astronauts, are at increased risk for infection. As a former astronaut, Hughes-Fulford aims to apply lessons learned from studies of immune cells in microgravity to a new model for investigating the loss of immune response in older women and men.
For more information on this exciting new initiative see the NIH website.