Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Our 5th year of Science on Tap continues!

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central is our new home 

Join us Thursday, May 4 at 5:30!

 

 Testable You: Bioengineering approaches to personalised medicine

 
The conventional approach to cell culture uses 2D surfaces to attach and grow cells on tissue culture polystyrene. These systems are used to examine the fundamental biological pathways of disease, evaluate the cytotoxicity of biomaterials, explore biochemical pathways and model wound healing (to name just a few). While these systems are central to much of our current research, it is well established that they fail to reproduce many of the cell-cell signalling and external cues experienced by cells in tissue (1) Research over the last 5-10 years has shown that cell behaviour in 2D varies significantly from that in 3D, with variations in cell shape, gene profile and migration behaviour to name a few. (2, 3) Critically have restricted lifespans making it difficult to undertake long-term studies (4). 
At the other end of the testing spectrum we have a wide range of animal models which are currently the gold standard for drug and medical devices evaluation. Increasingly it is becoming clear that many animal models do not correlate well with specific disease states. (3) While humanised mouse models are developing rapidly, (5), there is an increasing movement internationally towards replacing, reducing and refining animal testing including the EU Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes (EU Directive 2010/63/EU).
It is clear that we need new approaches for cell culture that replicate the cell microenvironment, are easily manipulated to address specific research questions or target specific pathways. The systems need to be reproducible, scalable and critically validated against the gold standards. One of the most popular current approaches is the spheroid. Used to replicate tumour structures and a range of other tissues (4), part of their attraction in the flexibility they enable when created from stem cells. (6) The alternative to the spheroid is a scaffold based model. Based on tissue engineering knowledge, these systems use both synthetic and natural materials to create a 3D framework to support cell attachment and growth. Examples include tissue engineered skin models built around decellurised tissue or collagen-1 (7).  Interestingly it is only recently that any of these models have started to integrate inflammatory or infection pathways. (2, 8) This is particularly critical for toxicity testing and disease models where inflammatory cells play a critical role secreting proteases, cytokines, growth factors and other allogeneic substances. (2).
This talk will discuss the range of methods currently being used to develop personalised testing systems for Medical and Health Technologies.

1.   Alépée N. State-of-the-art of 3D cultures (organs-on-a-chip) in safety testing and pathophysiology. Altex. 2014.
2.   Carvalho MR, Lima D, Reis RL, Correlo VM, Oliveira JM. Evaluating Biomaterial- and Microfluidic-Based 3D Tumor Models. Trends Biotechnol. 2015;33(11):667-78.
3.   Hutmacher DW, Holzapfel BM, De-Juan-Pardo EM, Pereira BA, Ellem SJ, Loessner D, et al. Convergence of regenerative medicine and synthetic biology to develop standardized and validated models of human diseases with clinical relevance. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 2015;35:127-32.
4.   Wrzesinski K, Magnone MC, Hansen LV, Kruse ME, Bergauer T, Bobadilla M, et al. HepG2/C3A 3D spheroids exhibit stable physiological functionality for at least 24 days after recovering from trypsinisation. Toxicol Res-Uk. 2013;2(3):163-72.
5.   Shultz LD, Brehm MA, Garcia-Martinez JV, Greiner DL. Humanized mice for immune system investigation: progress, promise and challenges. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012;12(11):786-98.
6.   Villasante A, Vunjak-Novakovic G. Tissue-engineered models of human tumors for cancer research. Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery. 2015;10(3):257-68.
7.   Linde N, Gutschalk CM, Hoffmann C, Yilmaz D, Mueller MM. Integrating Macrophages into Organotypic Co-Cultures: A 3D In Vitro Model to Study Tumor-Associated Macrophages. Plos One. 2012;7(7).
8.   Chau DYS, Johnson C, MacNeil S, Haycock JW, Ghaemmaghami AM. The development of a 3D immunocompetent model of human skin. Biofabrication. 2013;5(3).



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Our 5th year of Science on Tap continues!

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central is our new home 

Join us Thursday, April 6 at 5:30!


Infectious Diseases:
where's the line between public health and security?

 

Lisa Astuto-Gribble, PhD, MPH

Sandia National Laboratories



Bioscience research is changing rapidly. For example, improvements in sequencing have exceeded Moore's Law. In parallel with the scientific advances, there has been a growing concern about the threat of bioterrorism. A selective review of the changes in the science and in bioterrorism incidents will provide a background for considering the various controls to address bioterrorism that are being implemented in the US and internationally. Should the materials be controlled? Should the equipment be controlled? Should there be controls on the expertise that could contribute to biological weapons? There is not a consensus approach to assessing the risks or the appropriate measures to address those risks, or how to evaluate tradeoffs of possible impacts to science and public health.


Jennifer Gaudioso leads the International Biological and Chemical Threat Reduction (IBCTR) program at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM, USA.  This program enhances United States and international security by seeking innovative solutions for countering biological and chemical threats globally.  Specifically, IBCTR develops and applies systems-based approaches to reduce the risk of intentional or accidental release of dangerous biological and chemical agents globally. The program has organized many international conferences, trainings, and workshops to build local capacity to address these issues.  In the last five years, Jennifer and her team have visited facilities in more than 40 countries specifically to consult on biosecurity and chemical security issues. IBCTR is an OIE Collaborating Centre for Laboratory Biorisk Management. Jennifer has served on the National Academies' Committee on Education on Dual Use Issues in the Life Sciences and their Committee on “Anticipating Biosecurity Challenges of the Global Expansion of High Containment Biological Laboratories”. She has served as a member of three international teams to develop biosafety and biorisk management international standards. She has been named a principal-external collaborator with the Japanese National Institute for Infectious Disease. Jennifer is author of numerous journal articles, and book chapters, and has presented her research at national and international meetings. Gaudioso co-edited the book Laboratory Biorisk Management: Biosafety and Biosecurity. She also co-authored the Laboratory Biosecurity Handbook.  Jennifer has served on SNL’s Institutional Biosafety Committee, is an active member of the American Biological Safety Association, and is on the board of the Elizabeth R Griffin Research Foundation. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry at Cornell University.



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Our 5th year of Science on Tap continues!

Thanks to the continued support of UNM, Explora and the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History

 

 A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


on Central is our new home 

Join us Thursday, March 2 at 5:30!


How Safe is Safe?
A Water Engineer's Perspective on Water and Public Risk

 

Bruce M Thomson, Ph.D., P.E.

Professor Emeritus and Research Professor
Department of Civil Engineering

University of New Mexico

 



Life is filled with all sorts of risks, some are voluntary like rock climbing and smoking, while others are involuntary like breathing the air and being struck by lightning.  The first canon in the professional engineers’ code of ethics states that engineers “shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public” but it gives no guidance on what level of safety is expected.  Achieving zero risk for most activities is virtually impossible, so what are acceptable levels of risk and who makes those decisions?  Water poses both voluntary and involuntary risks to humans.  Two of the most recognized involuntary risks are health risks from contaminants in drinking water and threats to life and property from flooding.  This talk will discuss what level of risk has been determined to be acceptable for each situation, how this determination was made, and consider some of the factors that may influence whether the goal is being met and at what cost.
Then, after we’ve all consumed an adult beverage or two, we’ll head home and test the transportation risks on the Albuquerque road system.


 
Bruce Thomson is Professor Emeritus and Research Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Mexico.  He served as Director of UNM’s Water Resources Program from 2005 to 2013.  He has recently been re-elected to a 6 year term and is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA).  He has been at UNM since the late Pleistocene epoch and is among the last practicing engineers in the state who still knows how to use a slide rule.