These three research projects in Houston come up with life-saving innovations

Research, perhaps now more than ever, is crucial to expanding and growing innovation in Houston—and it’s happening all over the city right under our noses.

In InnovationMap’s latest research news report, three Houston institutions are working on life-saving healthcare research thanks to new technologies.

Groundbreaking study by Rice University scientists on Alzheimer’s disease

Angel Martí (right) and co-authors (left) Utana Umezaki and Zhi Mei Sonia publish their latest findings on Alzheimer’s disease. Photo by Gustavo Raskowski/Rice University

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alzheimer’s disease will affect approximately 14 million people in the United States by 2060. A group of scientists from Rice University They’re looking at a peptide associated with disease, and they have it study Posted in Chemical sciences.

Angel Marty – Professor of chemistry, bioengineering, materials science and nanoengineering, and director of the faculty at the college Rice Young Scholars Program – And his team Develop a new approach using Time spectroscopy And Computational chemistryAccording to a press release from Rice. Scientists have found experimental evidence of an alternative binding site on amyloid beta aggregates, which opens the door to the development of new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases associated with amyloid deposits.”

Amyloid plaque deposits in the brain are a major feature of Alzheimer’s disease. per rice.

Amyloid beta is peptide that collect in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, and form these nanofibers or supramolecular fibers,” Marty says in the release. “Once they grow enough, these fibers precipitate and form what we call amyloid plaques.

“Understanding how the molecules generally bind to amyloid-beta is particularly important not only for developing drugs that bind better to their combinations, but also for learning who the other players are contributing to brain tissue toxicity,” he adds.

The National Science Foundation and the family of the late Professor Donald Dupree, a Houston-born Rice graduate student and former professor of chemistry at the University of Louisville, supported the research, which is explained more thoroughly about Rice site.

A University of Houston professor has awarded $1.6 million for a gene therapy for a rare eye disease

Mona Naach, a professor at UH, hopes her research will lead to a cure for a rare genetic disease that causes vision loss. Image via

A University of Houston researcher is working on a way to restore sight to people suffering from a rare genetic eye disease.

Mona Nash, a professor of biomedical engineering at John S. Dunn University, is working to expand a gene therapy method to treat vision loss in patients with Usher syndrome type 2A, or USH2A, a rare genetic disease.

Nash received a $1.6 million grant from the National Eye Institute to support her work. Mutations in the USH2A gene can include hearing loss from birth and progressive vision loss, according to a UH press release. Nash’s work looks at the application of gene therapy — inserting a normal gene into cells to correct genetic disorders — to treat this genetic disease. There is currently no other treatment for USH2A.

“Our goal is to advance our existing intravitreal gene therapy platform consisting of DNA nanoparticles/hyaluronic acid nanoparticles for large gene delivery in order to develop safe and effective therapies for type 2a Usher vision loss,” says Nash. “Developing an effective treatment for USH2A has been challenging due to its large coding sequence (15.8 kb) that precluded its delivery using standard methods and the presence of many isoforms with functions that are not fully understood.”

BCM researcher on the effect of stress

This Baylor researcher is investigating the link between stress and brain cancer thanks to a new grant. photo via Andrei Onofrinko/Getty Images

Stress can affect the human body in many ways—from high blood pressure to hair loss—but a Houston scientist is looking into what happens to bodies in the long term, from age-related neurodegeneration to cancer.

Dr. Stephen Boenims He is an assistant professor Molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. His lab is located at the Jean and Dan Duncan Institute for Neurological Research at Texas Children’s Hospital, which is also part of the Therapeutic Innovation Centrethe Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseasesand the Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor.

Recently, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, awarded Boeynaems a grant to continue his work studying how cells and organisms respond to stress.

Buenemes says BCM press release. “The main problem that all cells face in such conditions is that they can no longer fold proteins properly, and this leads to abnormal agglomeration of proteins into clumps. We have seen such aggregation occur in many species and under a variety of stress-related conditions. , whether it was in a plant dealing with dehydration or in a human patient with Alzheimer’s disease associated with aging.”

Now, thanks to CPRIT funding, he says his lab will now also venture into studying the role of cellular stress in brain cancer.

“A tumor is a very stressful environment for cells, and cancer cells need to constantly adapt to this stress in order to survive and/or spread,” he says in the statement.

Moreover, the same principles of toxic protein aggregation and protection through protein droplets appear to be at play here as well, he continues. We have studied protein droplets not only in humans but also in stress-tolerant organisms such as plants and bacteria for years now. We propose building and leveraging that knowledge to come up with new and innovative therapies for cancer patients.”

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