Personalizing Cancer Care with Improved Tumor Models

While decades of research have resulted in substantial improvements in surviving cancer, a key challenge remains in identifying new drugs that improve outcomes for patients. In APL Bioengineering, researchers suggest a major hurdle is the paucity of models for cancer research that accurately represent patient tumors. They provide a perspective on strategies using models from individual patients and where the field needs to go in terms of research in animal systems and in culture systems.

Taking greenhouse gas analysis on the road, er, rails

Since 2014, the University of Utah has maintained research-grade suites of air quality instruments installed on light rail trains. These mobile sensors cover the same area as 30 stationary sensors, providing the Salt Lake Valley with a highly cost-effective way to monitor its greenhouse emissions and fill in gaps in emissions estimates.

Ice-Binding Molecules Stop Ice Growth, Act as Natural Antifreeze

Certain molecules bind tightly to the surface of ice, creating a curved interface that can halt further ice growth. Some insects, plants, and sea-dwelling creatures contain protein molecules of this type that act as natural antifreeze agents, allowing the organisms to withstand freezing temperatures. In The Journal of Chemical Physics, scientists report a computational method to model ice binding using a biasing technique to drive the formation of ice in the simulation.

Informatics Approach Helps Reveal Risk Factors for Pressure Injuries

Researchers used informatics to examine 5,000+ patient records and five years of data related to nursing skin assessments and hospital-acquired pressure injuries. The results underscore the importance of treating and monitoring irritated skin early and eliminating the cause as an important step to prevent pressure injuries.

How to Get a Handle on Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Plants

How much carbon dioxide, a pivotal greenhouse gas behind global warming, is absorbed by plants on land? It’s a deceptively complicated question, so a Rutgers-led group of scientists recommends combining two cutting-edge tools to help answer the crucial climate change-related question.

U team offers daily tips for parenting, schooling and e-learning in a pandemic

The Behavior Response Support Team (BRST, pronounced “burst), a joint project of the University of Utah’s Department of Educational Psychology and the Granite School District, provides daily tips and teaches skills for managing kids’ behavior amid remote learning, in-person learning and general pandemic conditions. The animated videos, featuring avatars representing diverse children and families, are provided in seven languages and on five social media platforms.

Research Group Wins and Loses Through COVID-19

In our series, The ECS Community Adapts and Advances, Shelley Minteer reviews changes—both positive and negative—wrought by the pandemic on her research group.

Shelley holds the Dale and Susan Poulter Endowed Chair of Biological Chemistry and Associate Chair of Chemistry at the University of Utah. The Minteer Research Group works at the interface of electrochemistry, biology, synthesis, and materials chemistry, to provide solutions and address challenges in the areas of catalysis, fuel cells, sensing, and energy storage.

Know the risks of investing in forests

Some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.
Forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes.

A sound treatment

University of Utah biomedical engineering assistant professor Jan Kubanek has discovered that sound waves of high frequency (ultrasound) can be emitted into a patient’s brain to alter his or her state. It’s a non-invasive treatment that doesn’t involve medications or surgery and has a unique potential to treat mental disorders including depression and anxiety and neurological disorders such as chronic pain and epilepsy.

University of Utah exceeds federal energy reduction commitment

The U.S. Department of Energy confirmed the University of Utah has exceeded its goal to reduce energy use by 20 percent by 2020, as part of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. The U achieved energy savings of 25% across 17 million square feet of building space since 2008, the base year for the commitment.

University of Utah libraries produce much-needed supplies for COVID-19 crisis

Library employees at the University of Utah are working together to produce and distribute face shields desperately needed in the health care community while facing the COVID-19 pandemic. In an agreement with University of Utah Health, the shields are 3-D printed to meet personal protective equipment (PPE) standards. Approximately 300 face shields can be produced daily.

2020 Economic Report to the Governor shows uncertainty and moderation, but still healthy growth

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute today presented the 32nd Economic Report to the Governor to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert at the 2020 Economic Outlook & Public Policy Summit, hosted by the Salt Lake Chamber. The report has been the preeminent source for data and commentary on Utah’s economy for over 30 years. The consensus forecast predicts increased uncertainty and moderation, but still healthy growth for the state in the coming year.

Opening Up DNA to Delete Disease

Protein editorial assistants are clearing the way for cut-and-paste DNA editors, like CRISPR, to access previously inaccessible genes of interest. Opening up these areas of the genetic code is critical to improving CRISPR efficiency and moving toward futuristic, genetic-based assaults on disease. The DNA-binding editorial assistants were devised by a U.S.-based team of bioengineers, who describe their design in APL Bioengineering.

University of Utah announces new chief sustainability officer

University of Utah Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed announced Monday that Kerry Case has accepted an offer to serve as the U’s chief sustainability officer. Case is currently assistant provost for Integrative Learning at Westminster College and has led that institution’s sustainability initiatives for 13 years.

U. of Utah ranked among best schools for entrepreneurship by Princeton Review

The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah continues to be ranked among the best schools in the country to study entrepreneurship by the Princeton Review. In the latest listing issued this month, Princeton Review ranked the Eccles School No. 12 for undergraduate and No. 18 for graduate entrepreneurship for 2020.