Dr Sam Abraham is an associate professor at Murdoch University, Australia, with a research interest in antimicrobial resistance and drug discovery. His presentation at Tecan’s virtual Genomics Symposium can be viewed here.
Several outbreaks of the Zika virus have been reported around the world since its discovery in 1947, but a commercially available treatment for the disease is still not available, and scientists continue to search for the best antiviral agent. Professor Martin Würtele and his colleagues in the Department of Science and Technology at the Federal University of São Paulo recently published a study identifying several natural substances that showed potent antiviral activity against the Zika virus protease.
Synthetic DNA has become the central component of countless scientific and technological innovations across many applications, from biopharmaceuticals to biofuels. However, research and drug development pipelines are often hindered by the cost and the length of time that it takes to obtain long sequences of DNA or multiple DNA variants. Ribbon Biolabs, based in Vienna, is addressing this issue by combining automation and adaptive algorithmic control with highly precise, optimized enzymatic synthesis.
Several studies have shown that healthcare clowning has a strong positive effect on pediatric patients in general, but there is limited research into its impact on those with psychological disorders. RED NOSES Clowndoctors Austria – an organization with decades of experience in healthcare clowning – is addressing this issue through a collaboration with the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Vienna. A joint study is currently being conducted in several psychiatric in-patient wards across Austria, using salivary stress biomarkers to assess whether clown visits are really benefitting patients.
9-Delta Analytical LLC in California provides independent forensic and clinical toxicology testing services for academic research groups, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies across the USA and Canada. Focusing mainly on human samples, the company uses numerous analytical techniques to screen for a wide range of legal and illicit drugs.
Ralf Griebel, Head of the Partnering Business Division
The biomanufacturing industry is constantly on the lookout for new technologies to improve the speed, accuracy and performance of its processes, particularly in the biologics arena. Biotechnology company ValitaCell has embraced this challenge, developing novel assays and label-free bright field imaging approaches employing artificial intelligence to complement fluorescence-based cell monitoring techniques.
Trauma is the main cause of premature death internationally, resulting in more deaths in people under 40 years old than all other causes combined. Even trauma victims receiving hospital care have a high mortality rate, in part due to massive systemic inflammatory reactions leading to the dysfunction of organs that were not initially injured. A team at Oslo University Hospital in Norway has been investigating the role of the protein HMGB1 (High Mobility Group Box 1) in the development of trauma pathologies and its potential as a clinical biomarker or therapeutic target in these cases.
Opioid addiction, alongside addiction to other substances, is a significant public health, social and economic challenge in the US. In 2017, the opioid epidemic was declared a public health emergency by the Department of Health and Human Services, with one of its aims to improve access to treatment and recovery services. Despite this, over 100,000 US lives were lost to opioid overdoses in the year to April 2021. Increasingly, outpatient centers such as Ideal Option are providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) – combining approved medications with counseling and support therapy – to offer a ‘whole-patient’ approach to treatment of, and sustained recovery from, these addictions.
The use of enzymes as biocatalysts in industrial applications has steadily gained popularity, as it offers an efficient way to use raw materials while minimizing waste. This approach has been successfully scaled for commercial processes in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries, largely thanks to the use of automation to screen, optimize and produce suitable enzymes. Roal Oy in Rajamäki, Finland – a leading producer of industrial enzymes – has automated large parts of its enzyme discovery and screening activities to accelerate product development and optimization.
The human gut microbiome has been found to affect metabolic health and nutrient absorption, and preliminary research also suggests that it contributes to the development of the immune response, food allergies and intolerances, obesity, and a wide range of other conditions. This field is the focus of Ortho-Analytic, an integrative medicine laboratory based in Wallisellen, Switzerland, that identifies bacterial, fungal and parasite DNA found in stool samples. The company uses molecular genetic analyses to build a detailed picture of a patient’s gut microbiome, aiding practitioners in formulating specific treatment plans.