In an attempt to shore up both the reputation and functionality of the nations's largest state-funded cancer agency, officials at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) just announced the appointment of Dr. Margaret Kripke as the agency's new chief scientific officer. The embattled agency has faced accusations from many of its key scientists that irregularities and favoritism in the funding process have undermined their scientific credibility and put commercialization above research.
Science Market Update
For both dairy and beef production, cows are an important part of the US economy and food supply. When they get sick, it's bad for business (and not too pleasant for the cow). The most common illness in cattle is Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), which accounts for losses of more than $690M annually in the US alone. To combat this threat to bovine health and productivity, the USDA has recently awarded a $9M 5-year grant to researchers at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Missouri, to study genetic selection for breeding more disease-resitant stock. A second $5M grant will go towards research into feed efficiency, again with the aim of breeding heartier, healthier, and more profitable animals.
Storms both meteorological and political have dominated the front page news in the past month, but the upset that has rocked Texas' Cancer Prevention & Research Institute (CPRIT) since the spring continues to make headlines in the science press. The journal Nature has published regular editorials since the flap began, intensifying in late October with the exodus of chief scientific officer and Nobel winner Alfred Gilman (right) and nearly 30 other scientists from the state cancer funding agency's review board. Here is our recap of the story, the issues at stake, and a look at where CPRIT is positioned to go from here.
Often growing up as a child you hear, “eat your veggies if you want to grow up to be big and strong.” With new research on triple negative breast cancer, that old saying might have to change to "eat your veggies if you want to keep cancer away". Recently, at the 2012 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting, Mandip Sachdeva announced: "We are confident that the compounds we are currently working with are an effective treatment for triple-negative breast cancer. These compounds are safer for the patient than current treatments available".
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It seems we can get oil from any number of unlikely substances these days, and a joint biofuel research team from Texas A&M and Cornell is trying to do just that. With a $2M grant from the NSF, researchers are studying how to extract the naturally-produced oil from algae. So next time you look at a green swimming pool, consider that a similar muck just might be able to fuel your car. Algae is an eukaryotic organism that is photosynthetic and generally aquatic, and it comes in a wide variety of forms. It can be a very small single cell organism like B. braunii or a very large multi-cellular organism like kelp. It fact algae is one of the newest and most promising subjects of research in the quest for biofuels.
Texas A&M University, College Station
The National Institute of Health recently awarded Texas A&M University with a $3.5 million grant to improve upon the laboratory research facilities in the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building. The $100 Million facility opened its doors last year. Improvement funding was aimed at divisions such as structural biology, molecular virology, and drug discovery. It will add 12,000 square feet of space to the 200,000 square foot building.