CSU research news: 5 things you should know

1. Researchers at CSU have revealed new links between tuberculosis and diabetes, showing evidence that TB becomes more deadly when it occurs with diabetes and showing for the first time that tuberculosis can trigger pre-diabetes.

Christopher Gentile. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

Christopher Gentile. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

2. Christopher Gentile, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at CSU, will receive a $225,000 grant from the Boettcher Foundation to support his research to find out why obese people are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

3.  To help Colorado research institutions develop new medications to fight cancer and other illnesses, the Colorado Center for Drug Discovery has received $750,000 from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

4. The Physical Activity Laboratory at CSU is seeking 7- to 11-year-old overweight children to volunteer for a research study exploring how children of varying body sizes walk, run and play.

Tracy Nelson. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

Tracy Nelson. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

5. Tracy Nelson, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at CSU, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Health District of Northern Larimer County. Congratulations!


Walk Again Project Managed by VPR at CSU

This June 12th, a paralyzed Brazilian clad in a robotic bodysuit will be wheeled onto the field at the opening ceremony of the 2014 World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In front of thousands of people in the stands, and millions watching on television, he will walk several steps and kick a soccer ball aided only by a new prosthetic exoskeleton – or mechanical suit – he controls with his brain waves via an EEG cap.  He will feel his feet for the first time as tactile feedback is delivered to him about his progress.  More than 170 researchers from around the world are working on the Walk Again Project, which is led by Miguel Nicolelis, a native of Brazil, and a prominent neuroscience researcher at Duke University.

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CSU Ventures Innovation Symposium is one week away

The 2014 CSU Ventures Innovation Symposium is only a week away on Friday, April 25th at 4pm to 7pm in the Scott Bioengineering Building at Colorado State University, located at the southwest corner of Meridian Ave. and W. Plum St. Fort Collins, CO

This is a great opportunity to network with colleagues, interact with representatives from Industry, and hear what it takes to be innovative with academic technologies.

Keynote speakers include

  • Susan James, PhD – Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering, CSU
  • Cory Christensen, PhD – Group Leader, Principal Research Scientist, Dow AgroSciences

Registration is required


Hitting the MARC at CSU

We have an ever-increasing awareness of the consequences of emerging pathogens as well as our inability to respond to high consequence pathogens such as Ebola or antibiotic resistance bacteria (e.g. MRSA).   In the news of the day, we are experiencing a severe Ebola outbreak in Africa, the acknowledgement of an isolated hemorrhagic Lassa fever case in Minnesota, and the tracking of vectors associated with the Middle Eastern Respiratory syndrome (MERs) which is looking more like a species jump from Camels.  These rare seemingly infrequent events are seeing global attention, reminding us of our lack of preparedness.

Over a decade ago, these events were foretold in the creation of regional centers of excellence (COEs) created by NIH.  One of these resides here as the Rocky Mountain regional center of excellence and leveraged our significant assets in infectious disease as well as the close integration of federal laboratories partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).  These programs were designed to contribute both fundamental understanding of pathogens and more importantly the ability to translate discoveries into useful countermeasures that could be implemented in the event of a new pathogen outbreak or an unusually virulent and noxious flu.

One of the intended outcomes of the investment in COEs was to create parallel manufacturing capabilities that would accelerate translation and production of needed countermeasures.  Very few of the centers realized this outcome.  Yet, I am very pleased to report that within our COE we have created BioPharmaceutical Manufacturing & Academic Resource Center (BioMARC). Of even greater significance is that we have just received FDA approval to manufacture a commercial product in the BioMARC facility fulfilling the original design of those who invested to increase the preparedness of our country.

The BioMARC approval not only signals a long standing commitment and investment in manufacturing but has achieved a standard of manufacturing that few universities have achieved.  The facility was just FDA approved to manufacture Alplisol, a tuberculin purified protein derivative under good manufacturing practices for commercial sale under sponsorship from a commercial partner.  This is a monumental undertaking and represents years of dedicated work by the staff at BioMARC and the IDRC.  There are many who should be recognized for their hard work and certainly under the direction of Rick Lyons and Dennis Pierro this would not have happened.  Many in the Office of the Vice President of Research, Infectious Disease Research Center, the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, The Research Integrity & Compliance Review Office and The Office of Sponsored Programs should be recognized for this outstanding achievement.  Big thanks to all.

The future is bright for this facility as we seek additional commercial partners seeking to produce medicines for the challenge we face in increasing our preparedness to infectious challenges of the day.

Way to hit the MARC!

Measurable Me. The Muse: January 10

I hope you all are returning from the holidays refreshed and ready for a great new year. Over the holidays I took the opportunity to do some deep dives into areas of interest on and off campus.

There may be a revolution going on in the technology and information sectors driven by both consumer interest and economics that will favor the deployment of new low cost detection and diagnostic systems.  There is an adage that I have heard more over the last years that says “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”.  I think this has been one of the motivations for our healthcare issues, where measuring health through wellness and disease is proposed to help manage the costs of healthcare delivery.

This adage covers many sectors.  The recent passage of the Food Safety Compliance Act introduced by the FDA sets new guidelines on testing for food safety and security and will also take advantage of this apparent revolution.  The opportunity for sustainable systems driven by this new act may also be enhanced as regulation and industrial shareholder value coincide.

For public health and agriculture, this convergence is recognized in the increased interest in outbreak detection for mitigating disease and protecting commodity value.  The outstanding diagnostic assets at CSU seem to me to be poised to participate in this exciting trend. Over the holidays I had the pleasure of meeting Barb Powers at the Diagnostics Lab that houses the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and supports the diagnostic needs of the veterinary school as one great example of the potential here.

In the next few months, I will be inviting senior thought leaders from different sectors to interact with campus on this topic.  We will do this through a new series called Leaders in Innovation.  Invitees for the next semester include science and technology leaders from Starbucks, Mars Corporation, the Biological Advanced Research and Development Agency at NIH, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.  Each of these organizations has an interest in this area and will be interacting with faculty and administrators to learn how CSU can help solve problems in their fields.  I welcome your interest and participation.