From Rutgers University: “Better Biosensor Technology Created for Stem Cells”

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From Rutgers University

November 10, 2019

Todd Bates
848-932-0550
todd.bates@rutgers.edu

Rutgers innovation may help guide treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases.

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This unique biosensing platform consists of an array of ultrathin graphene layers and gold nanostructures. The platform, combined with high-tech imaging (Raman spectroscopy), detects genetic material (RNA) and characterizes different kinds of stem cells with greater reliability, selectivity and sensitivity than today’s biosensors. Image: Letao Yang, KiBum Lee, Jin-Ho Lee and Sy-Tsong (Dean) Chueng

The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) involved in turning such cells into brain cells (neurons), according to a study in the journal Nano Letters.

Stem cells can become many different types of cells. As a result, stem cell therapy shows promise for regenerative treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke and spinal cord injury, with diseased cells needing replacement or repair. But characterizing stem cells and controlling their fate must be resolved before they could be used in treatments. The formation of tumors and uncontrolled transformation of stem cells remain key barriers.

“A critical challenge is ensuring high sensitivity and accuracy in detecting biomarkers – indicators such as modified genes or proteins – within the complex stem cell microenvironment,” said senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Our technology, which took four years to develop, has demonstrated great potential for analyzing a variety of interactions in stem cells.”

The team’s unique biosensing platform consists of an array of ultrathin graphene layers and gold nanostructures. The platform, combined with high-tech imaging (Raman spectroscopy), detects genes and characterizes different kinds of stem cells with greater reliability, selectivity and sensitivity than today’s biosensors.

The team believes the technology can benefit a range of applications. By developing simple, rapid and accurate sensing platforms, Lee’s group aims to facilitate treatment of neurological disorders through stem cell therapy.

Stem cells may become a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases including macular degeneration, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The study’s co-lead authors are Letao Yang and Jin-Ho Lee, postdoctoral researchers in Lee’s group. Rutgers co-authors include doctoral students Christopher Rathnam and Yannan Hou. A scientist at Sogang University in South Korea contributed to the study.

See the full article here .


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Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

rutgers-campus

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

#better-biosensor-technology-created-for-stem-cells, #applied-research-technology, #biology, #medicine, #rutgers-university

From Rutgers University: “Protein Data Bank at Rutgers Awarded $34.5 Million Grant”

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From Rutgers University

November 4, 2019

Todd Bates
848-932-0550
todd.bates@rutgers.edu

Data bank makes more than 150,000 3D biomolecular structures freely available to the public.

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Six proteins in the measles virus work together to infect cells.
Image: David S. Goodsell

The RCSB Protein Data Bank headquartered at Rutgers University–New Brunswick has been awarded $34.5 million in grants over five years from three U.S. government agencies.

The funding – an approximately 5 percent increase over the previous five-year period – covers ongoing operations and will expand the reach of the world’s only open-access, digital data resource for the 3D biomolecular structures of life.

The data bank, housed at Rutgers since 1998, plans to use the increased new funding to enhance services available to researchers, academic institutions, for-profit companies and the public. The operating grants come from the National Science Foundation; U.S. Department of Energy; and the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and National Institute of General Medical Sciences within the National Institutes of Health.

“These grants are vital and greatly appreciated because the Protein Data Bank plays a central role in the discovery of lifesaving drugs, basic and applied biological and medical research and patent applications by universities as well as biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies,” said principal investigator Stephen K. Burley, University Professor and Henry Rutgers Chair, who directs the data bank and the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine. “It is a public good with far-reaching impacts, and with renewed funding we plan to help usher in a new golden age of structural biology.”

The Protein Data Bank archive houses more than 150,000 3D structures for proteins, DNA and RNA that are freely available worldwide. The archive is jointly managed by the Worldwide Protein Data Bank partnership, involving data centers in the United States, Europe and Asia. U.S. operations are led by the RCSB Protein Data Bank at Rutgers, the University of California, San Diego-San Diego Supercomputer Center and the University of California, San Francisco.


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Helen M. Berman, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor Emerita of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers–New Brunswick, co-founded the data bank in 1971, brought it to Rutgers in 1998 and led the organization until 2014.

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Proteins play vital roles in all living organisms. Their specific amino acid sequences give proteins their distinct shapes and chemical characteristics. Proteins rely on the recognition of specific 3D molecular shapes to function correctly for defense, transport, enzymes, structure, storage and communication. These protein shapes and functions are highlighted in this collage. Image: Maria Voigt

The data bank is growing by nearly 10 percent per year and is used by millions worldwide. Nearly 2 million molecular structure data files are downloaded every day by researchers, educators, students, citizens, medical professionals, patients, patient advocates and biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Individuals working in agriculture, basic biology and zoology, biomedicine, computer science, math, physical sciences, materials science, biomedical engineering, bioenergy and renewable energy benefit from the freely available data. It would cost an estimated $15 billion to replicate the contents of the data bank archive.

A Rutgers team of expert bio-curators reviews each new structure deposited to the data bank, and a bicoastal team of software developers builds tools. Planned enhancements include improving the quality of data bank structures and broadening their availability across the sciences.

Rutgers also has an outreach/education team that develops award-winning illustrations and videos as well as curricula and other educational materials. More than 600,000 people a year visit the data bank’s education and outreach website.

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

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Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

#protein-data-bank-at-rutgers-awarded-34-5-million-grant, #applied-research-technology, #basic-research, #biology, #chemistry, #data-files-are-downloaded-every-day-by-biopharmaceutical-and-biotechnology-companies, #nearly-2-million-molecular-structure-data-files-are-downloaded-every-day-by-researchers-educators-students-citizens-medical-professionals-patients-and-patient-advocates, #rcsb-protein-data-bank, #rutgers-university, #the-data-bank-is-growing-by-nearly-10-percent-per-year-and-is-used-by-millions-worldwide, #the-protein-data-bank-archive-houses-more-than-150000-3d-structures-for-proteins-dna-and-rna-that-are-freely-available-worldwide, #worldwide-protein-data-bank-partnership

From Rutgers University: “Seeking Sustainable Solutions, a Young Scientist Finds his Calling in Rutgers Graduate Program”

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From Rutgers University

11.8.19
John Chadwick

“I was drawn to the potential for improving the quality of life for society and humanity.”

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Alan Goldman and Tariq Bhatti in the lab, which is located in the new chemistry and chemical biology building.

Tariq Bhatti’s career was finally starting to take off.

After graduating in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, he struggled through the Great Recession, working in retail and at his father’s gas station. But eventually he began landing jobs in the chemical industry, including W.R. Grace, the multi-billion dollar conglomerate, where he served as an analytical chemist.

“My last position at Grace was really great,” says Bhatti, a University of Maryland graduate. “They trusted me with important problems while giving me generous support and mentoring.”

Yet something was missing during the five years Bhatti spent in industry. He felt restless, though his passion for chemistry was as strong as ever. Some of the most intriguing questions he wanted to investigate were considered tangential because they were unrelated to business.

An offhand comment by one of his supervisors got him thinking in a new direction.

“He said that if those are the questions that interested me, then I ought to go to graduate school,” he says. “So I did.”

Today, Bhatti is a Ph.D. candidate at the Rutgers University School of Graduate Studies, where he works on the research team of Alan Goldman, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology in the School of Arts and Sciences. In Goldman’s lab, Bhatti is pursuing the questions that fascinate him, and conducting experiments that could have enormous impact on the environment and energy production.

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The Goldman lab seeks to develop catalysts to produce important chemicals using less energy and less waste.

“I was really drawn to Dr. Goldman’s lab for the potential for improving the quality of life for society and humanity,” Bhatti says.

And with Goldman, a 30-year veteran at Rutgers and a Distinguished Professor, he has found the ideal mentor and collaborator.

“When I walked into Alan’s office for the first time, there were papers everywhere and a chalkboard covered with formulas and drawings of molecules,” Bhatti recalls. “He was explaining something to me and had to take a moment to pause before deciding which ones he should erase.”

The Goldman Group, comprised of eight graduate students and a post-doc, specializes in organometallic chemistry—using metal atoms and organic molecules to make chemical transformations. The lab seeks to develop catalysts to produce society’s most important chemicals using less energy and with less waste.

Among those chemicals is ammonia, used to make fertilizer to grow the world’s food supply. Since the early 20th century, ammonia has been produced through the Haber-Bosch process, which combines nitrogen and hydrogen. This monumental breakthrough allowed fertilizer to be produced on an industrial scale. But the process, which requires high levels of heat and pressure, burns staggering quantities of natural gas and releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

“It’s an important process, obviously, because it allows us to eat,” Goldman says. “But it would nice to do that without the environmental impact.”

Toward that end, Goldman’s lab is collaborating with scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yale University in a National Science Foundation-funded project to develop new chemistry that would produce ammonia without reliance on fossil fuels, in part by obtaining the hydrogen from water, and using renewable electricity.

Another of the lab’s major projects could ultimately lead to the production of clean-burning synthetic diesel fuel through the development of a two-step catalytic process to convert simple hydrocarbon molecules.

“We are focused on the basic chemistry and where it can take us,” says Goldman in describing the overall mission of his lab. “Whether it can take us to sustainable production of ammonia or to synthetic fuel, we look for important applications of the interesting, fundamental chemistry.”

Bhatti has enjoyed the change from industry to academia. “I have more time to study a particular problem or question, and to really understand not just which reaction might work, but why it works and how it works,” he explains.

He still keeps in close contact and has productive working relations with industry. Indeed, he received a one-year fellowship from BASF Corporation last year.

Bhatti didn’t automatically gravitate to organometallic chemistry. As an undergraduate he was interested in the human health applications of chemistry, such as drug development. But he was wary of the economic woes affecting the pharmaceutical industry in the early 2000s.

“Then around 2011 I saw a really cool paper on turning carbon dioxide into methanol by this triple catalyst system,” he says. “That piqued my interest in organometallic chemistry.”

Goldman had a similar moment of discovery at around the same age. He was a graduate student at Columbia University when scientists discovered the potential for reactions between the type of organometallic complexes he had been working on and simple hydrocarbon molecules, known as alkanes, which are the major constituent of petroleum.

“Alkanes are the simplest and most abundant organic molecules and were regarded as nearly impossible to use for controlled chemical reaction,” he explains. “The idea of doing transformations on the simplest molecules, and at the same having an understanding that they are the most important molecules, has always been compelling to me.”

Beyond the potential benefits of their work, Bhatti and Goldman say there is an enduring beauty and mystery to their field. Bhatti recalls taking a class in art theory and learning about Emmanuel Kant and his understanding of beauty.

“To Kant, beauty was not just something that looks nice, but something that arrests you and makes you feel humbled,” Bhatti says. “I think that is what organometallic chemistry is. You see things that are so striking, it seems that nature is sharing a secret.”

Goldman agrees. “There is a very visual beauty in molecules, but it goes deeper than that. It’s the beauty of solving a puzzle where the solution is a deep understanding of how something works.”

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

rutgers-campus

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

#alan-goldman-mentor, #applied-research-technology, #chemistry, #organometallic-chemistry, #rutgers-university, #tariq-bhatti, #the-goldman-lab-seeks-to-develop-catalysts-to-produce-important-chemicals-using-less-energy-and-less-waste

From Rutgers University: “Rutgers Researchers Set Out to Prove Evolution of All Life, Possibility of Extraterrestrial Life”

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From Rutgers University

November 7, 2019

Cinthia Medina
c.medina@rutgers.edu

From simple proteins to living cells, NASA-funded research at Rutgers tests theories on the origins of life.

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Biophysics doctoral candidate Douglas Pike, along with postdocs Josh Mancini and Saroj Poudel, are replicating proteins from billions of years ago in an oxygen-free chamber that mimics the conditions of ancient Earth, moving one step closer to proving the origins of life.
Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University.

Using a computer and a protein synthesizer, Josh Mancini builds proteins that are supposed to resemble those that would have existed 4 billion years ago, before life arose on Earth.

He places millions of the tiny protein molecules, resembling white powder, into an oxygen-free chamber that mimics the conditions of the primordial Earth. He adds nickel – an element these pre-life proteins might have bonded with for catalysis to occur. And he tests to see if a similar reaction takes place in his chamber at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Department of Marine Science and at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine Building.

If it does, that will mean Rutgers’ NASA-funded ENIGMA team has taken a step closer to understanding how life arose on earth, and the likelihood of its happening elsewhere.

ENIGMA is part of NASA’s focus on astrobiology – the study of whether extraterrestrial life exists, and whether we can find it. The Rutgers program focuses on a key astrobiological question: How did proteins emerge from the chemistry of the early Earth, and then evolve to become the basis of life itself?

Mancini, a postdoctoral researcher, serves on an ENGIMA research team along with Saroj Poudel, another postdoc, and biophysics doctoral candidate Douglas Pike. Poudel and Pike create computer models of theoretical ancient proteins by modeling the physics and chemistry of the ancient Earth and by looking at the proteins present in living things and reverse-engineering their long-lost ancestral forms. Mancini utilizes a hybrid of both approaches and together they take their computational designs and go into the lab to test them for activity in early Earth conditions.

A key function of early proteins would have been to move electrons from one place to another – usually by binding with a conductive metal like nickel or iron. That’s how they power all life, from bacteria to plants to us.

“Humans get their energy from the sugars in the foods we eat. Proteins in our cells take electrons from sugar, then bind it to the oxygen we breathe in and eventually to the carbon dioxide we breathe out,” Pike said. “Whether it is a microorganism or a plant, all creatures on Earth had to find a source of electrons and a place to put them. Present day, that place is oxygen, which we breathe in.” said Pike. “What we are trying to figure out is the alternative places electrons could go in the absence of oxygen, before ‘life’ arose billions of years ago.”

Since there was no oxygen in ancient Earth, there were only a few ways in which organisms could get energy in such hostile environment.

“It was most likely either through hydrogen from hydrothermal vents or light energy from the sun. Our goal is to take early evolving enzymes and see how they could evolve into something more complex that we know exists today. That will help us determine how we could have evolved here on Earth, and what is possible on other planets,” Poudel said.

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Postdoctoral researcher Josh Mancini adds nickel to proteins inside of an oxygen-free chamber that mimics the conditions of primordial Earth.
Photo: Rutgers University.

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Douglas Pike creates a computer model of an ancient protein, or nanomachine, before going to the lab to test out his theories on how it could have evolved.
Photo: Douglas Pike/Rutgers University

In addition to their lab experiments, the three researchers have also embarked on a challenging, but rewarding part of working with ENIGMA — getting kids to like astrobiology.

“We go into classrooms and help teach the fundamentals of astrobiology to kindergarten through 12th grade students in the New Brunswick area. Sometimes we’re looking at organisms via foldable paper microscopes or we’re showing them a replica of a protein. We want them to get excited about science,” Poudel said. “We predict that astrobiology is going to be one of the biggest fields of science, and we want to prepare kids for potential careers in the future.”

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

rutgers-campus

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

#applied-research-technology, #biology, #biophysics, #enigma-research-project, #from-simple-proteins-to-living-cells-nasa-funded-research-at-rutgers-tests-theories-on-the-origins-of-life, #replicating-proteins-from-billions-of-years-ago, #rutgers-university

From Rutgers University: “Red Algae Thrive Despite Ancestor’s Massive Loss of Genes’

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From Rutgers University

October 28, 2019
Todd Bates
848-932-0550
todd.bates@rutgers.edu

Study may spawn ways to genetically alter and control red seaweeds.

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Red seaweed growing along the coast of South Korea. Photo: Debashish Bhattacharya/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

You’d think that losing 25 percent of your genes would be a big problem for survival. But not for red algae, including the seaweed used to wrap sushi.

An ancestor of red algae lost about a quarter of its genes roughly one billion years ago, but the algae still became dominant in near-shore coastal areas around the world, according to Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Debashish Bhattacharya, who co-authored a study in the journal Nature Communications.

The research may assist in the creation of genetically altered seaweeds that could be used as crops, help to predict the spread of seaweed pests and – as the climate warms and pollution possibly increases – control invasive seaweeds that blanket shorelines.

Scientists believe the 25 percent loss in genetic material resulted from adaptation by the red algal ancestor to an extreme environment, such as hot springs or a low-nutrient habitat. That’s when the genome of these algae became smaller and more specialized. So, how did they manage to escape these challenging conditions to occupy so many different habitats?

“It is a story akin to Phoenix rising from the ashes, and the study answers an important question in evolution,” said Bhattacharya, a distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “This lineage has an amazing evolutionary history and the algae now thrive in a much more diverse environment than hot springs.”

Red algae include phytoplankton and seaweeds. Nori and other red seaweeds are major crops in Japan, Korea and China, where they serve as sushi wrap, among other uses. Red seaweeds are also used as food thickeners and emulsifiers and in molecular biology experiments. Meanwhile, seaweed pests and invasive species are becoming a common threat to coastlines, sometimes inundating them.

The scientists hypothesized that the red algal ancestor was able to adapt to widely varying light environments by developing flexible light-harvesting apparatuses. And their results strongly support this hypothesis. They generated a high-quality genome sequence from Porphyridium, a unicellular red alga. They found that many duplicated as well as diversified gene families are associated with phycobilisomes – proteins that capture and transfer light energy to photosystem II (a protein complex that absorbs light) to split water, the critical first step in photosynthesis that powers our planet.

A key component of phycobilisomes are “linker proteins” that help assemble and stabilize this protein complex. The results show a major diversification of linker proteins that could have enhanced photosynthetic ability and may explain how the algae now thrive in diverse environments, from near-shore areas to coral reefs.

The lead author is JunMo Lee, a visiting scientist at Rutgers who works at Kyungpook National University in South Korea. Scientists at Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea contributed to the study.

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

rutgers-campus

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

#applied-research-technology, #biology, #earth-observation, #red-algae, #rutgers-university

From Rutgers University: “City Apartments or Jungle Huts: What Chemicals and Microbes Lurk Inside?”

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From Rutgers University

November 4, 2019
Neal Buccino

Media Contact
Megan Schumann
848-445-1907
megan.schumann@rutgers.edu

Scientists find more industrial chemicals, fungi in urbanized homes.

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Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, professor of biochemistry and microbiology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and senior author of the study that compared microscopic materials in homes spanning the spectrum of urbanization in the Amazon basin.

What are the differences between life in a walled urban apartment versus in a jungle hut that’s open to nature?

Researchers at Rutgers and other universities found city homes to be rife with industrial chemicals, cleaning agents and fungi that love warm, dark surfaces, while jungle huts had fresher air, more sunlight and natural materials with which humans evolved.

The differences may profoundly affect our health, according to the study in the journal Nature Microbiology. Urbanization is associated with a reduction in infectious diseases, but also with a worldwide increase in obesity, asthma, allergies, autism and other disorders as well as a massive loss of diversity in the human microbiome, the beneficial germs living on and in our bodies.

The researchers compared microscopic materials in homes and people’s bodies, spanning the spectrum of urbanization in the Amazon basin. The locations included a remote Peruvian jungle village of thatched huts with no walls; a Peruvian rural town with wooden houses lacking indoor plumbing; a Peruvian city of 400,000 residents and more modern amenities; and the metropolis of Manaus, Brazil, which has a population of two million.

“Urbanization represents a profound shift in human behavior. Modern living literally walls us off from the natural environment and shuts us in with industrial compounds, higher carbon dioxide levels and skin-loving fungi,” said senior author Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, a professor in Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Department of Anthropology. “This study sheds light on how human-created environments affect our health and how we can think about improving them.”

The study found that the diversity of chemicals clinging to indoor surfaces increases dramatically with urbanization. Molecules derived from medications and cleaning agents were part of the interior environment of homes in the metropolis and city but not in the rural or jungle homes.

Although the urban dwellers reported cleaning more frequently, surfaces in their homes had a greater diversity of fungal species associated with human skin. This may be because the fungi have become resistant to cleaning products, the study said. It may also reflect the urban homes’ warmer temperatures, reduced air exchange, lower levels of natural light and higher loads of human skin flakes. Samples from people in the different environments also found a greater diversity of foot fungus on the urban dwellers. Also, in the rural and jungle homes, the researchers found a greater variety of bacteria and fungi that live outside, and fewer species known for colonizing the human body.

“We are just now starting to quantify the effect of cutting ourselves off from the natural environment with which we as humans co-evolved and of replacing it with a synthetic environment,” said co-corresponding author Rob Knight, a professor and director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California-San Diego. “What’s next is to identify the specific differences associated with urbanization that have a health impact and to design interventions to reverse them. Those could be anything from knowing how many minutes a week should be spent outdoors in natural environments to air fresheners that are good for the microbiome.”

Dominguez-Bello said exposure to outdoor germs and natural materials may benefit the human microbiome. Her prior research found that people in urbanized societies have lost a substantial part of their microbiota diversity compared with hunter-gatherers in isolated Amazonian villages.

The study’s co-authors include Martin Blaser, director of Rutgers’ Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, and researchers at the University of Oklahoma, University of California-San Diego, Ghent University, University of Puerto Rico, Federal University of Amazonas, University of Texas at Austin, Concordia University-Portland, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Federal University of ABC.

See the full article here .


five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

Stem Education Coalition

rutgers-campus

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Rutgers is dedicated to teaching that meets the highest standards of excellence; to conducting research that breaks new ground; and to providing services, solutions, and clinical care that help individuals and the local, national, and global communities where they live.

Founded in 1766, Rutgers teaches across the full educational spectrum: preschool to precollege; undergraduate to graduate; postdoctoral fellowships to residencies; and continuing education for professional and personal advancement.

As a ’67 graduate of University college, second in my class, I am proud to be a member of

Alpha Sigma Lamda, National Honor Society of non-tradional students.

#city-apartments-or-jungle-huts-what-chemicals-and-microbes-lurk-inside, #jungle-huts-had-fresher-air-more-sunlight-and-natural-materials-with-which-humans-evolved, #rutgers-university, #scientists-find-more-industrial-chemicals-and-fungi-in-urbanized-homes

From Rutgers University: “Supporting a Better Way to Manufacture Pharmaceuticals”

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From Rutgers University

November 1, 2019

Dory Devlin
dory.devlin@rutgers.edu

Pallone introduces legislation for FDA, universities to partner on pioneering technology.

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Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-.N.J., tours the Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS) at Rutgers-New Brunswick last year with center director Fernando Muzzio.and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb (left). Mel Evans/Rutgers University

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., introduced legislation this week with Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky, that would allow designated universities, including Rutgers University, to partner with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and industry to further develop and implement a faster, more efficient pharmaceutical manufacturing process.

The legislation would authorize $80 million in funding for the effort and would allow the FDA to partner with and designate universities as National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. The designated universities would work with the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry to further develop and implement continuous manufacturing technology to improve product quality, reduce errors and help prevent drug shortages.

“Continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing is the future of medicine,” said Pallone, chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “This bipartisan legislation will foster the development of the emerging technology by expanding opportunities for the FDA to partner with universities across the country that are leading these efforts, including Rutgers University in my congressional district.”

Drug manufacturing has changed very little in 50 years, with most companies still using “batch” manufacturing techniques that can be inefficient, slow and may be subject to risk of defects or errors during the manufacturing process. Pharmaceuticals made using continuous manufacturing are moved nonstop through a facility, saving time, reducing the likelihood of human error and providing a better system for responding nimbly to market needs.

The technology also could allow more production sites to be U.S.-based, creating new jobs, reducing the need for transcontinental shipping and helping prevent future drug shortages, Pallone said.

“Implementation of continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing represents a unique opportunity to reduce manufacturing costs, improve product quality, protect the U.S. patient population and create high-wage manufacturing jobs in an industry that is vital to every American citizen,” said Fernando Muzzio, director of C-SOPS and Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers-New Brunswick, who praised Pallone’s leadership in the effort.

“The proposed centers of excellence, if properly implemented, will enable the American economy to receive the full benefits of breakthrough manufacturing technologies that were conceived, demonstrated and first implemented in American universities and American companies,” Muzzio said.

Last year, Pallone visited Rutgers with then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to tour the Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS). The university center has played a leading role in the advancement of continuous manufacturing technology.

Pallone also authored legislation that was signed into law as a part of 21st Century Cures Act authorizing the FDA to issue grants to institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations to study and make recommendations regarding improvements to the process of continuous manufacturing of drugs and biologics.

Founded in 2006, C-SOPS brings together a cross-disciplinary team of researchers from major universities to work closely with industry leaders and regulatory authorities to improve the way pharmaceuticals, foods and agriculture products are manufactured. In addition, the center provides opportunities for students to participate in projects that will prepare them for careers as industry leaders of the future.

Headquartered at Rutgers University, C-SOPS partners include the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Purdue University, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and more than 40 industrial consortium member companies.

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