2020 saw a substantial increase in the number of acquisitions of startup biotechnology companies. Many buyers are becoming increasingly interested in buying these promising companies before they go public, as this often makes the purchase more economically feasible. Acquisitions of startup biotech firms increased in 2020 in spite of the ongoing pandemic, which caused many buyers to negotiate contracts remotely. Silicon Valley…
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A University of Washington physician and professor, whose team of researchers identified the first case of the coronavirus in the United States, has been named “Washingtonian of the Year.” Dr. Helen Chu of the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine (BBI) at the UW’s School of Medicine, was cited for the discovery and ongoing work leading to COVID-related therapies, treatments,…
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Scientists have determined the optimal conditions following a stem cell transplant that could control HIV without the need of an everyday pill, according to a study published today in eLife. Finding the right balance of stem cell dose, cell type and timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) could potentially lead to a spontaneous cure of HIV. There are only two cases of…
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Neutrophils are the most abundant leukocytes in circulation and the first responders to infectious and sterile inflammation, including skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. We demonstrate that neutrophils not only migrate to the UV light–exposed skin but also disseminate systemically. In the kidney, neutrophils mediate inflammatory and injury responses triggered by skin exposure to UV. They had a proinflammatory phenotype:…
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Leroy Hood: Reflections on a Legendary Career

Leroy Hood is the perfect scientist to write the lead article in the first issue celebrating the 40th anniversary of GEN. Lee’s career essentially parallels that of the biotech industry, and as you will see from his article, he is hugely responsible for many of the essential tools and technologies that have driven much life sciences research and clinical product development…
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Researchers from the Division of Rheumatology and colleagues have demonstrated the previously not-understood mechanism in which UV light exposure in lupus patients leads to local inflammation of the skin and systemic inflammation of other organs including the kidneys. Lupus, a systemic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, affects over 300,000 people in the United…
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Researchers in ISB’s Subramanian Lab have found that a small, persistent increase in the expression of NOD1 could be responsible for higher cancer risks.  NOD1 is an innate immune sensor within our cells that detects pathogens and cell-state disturbances and mounts an inflammatory response. When its regulation is thrown out of whack, uncontrolled NOD1 signaling leads to an increase of proto-oncogenes (multi-functioning…
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Dr. Alec Smith Receives Early Investigator Award

When Alec Smith arrived at the University of Washington in 2014, the postdoc from London brought bona fides in disease modeling, a keen interest in neuromuscular research, and a desire to establish himself as an independent researcher in a collaborative environment. Landing in a lab affiliated with the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM), Alec soon found the…
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Study Offers Good News on COVID-19 Immunity

For close to a decade the labs of Dr. David Rawlings at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Dr. Marion Pepper at the University of Washington have collaborated on a project studying the immune response in malaria infections. As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the U.S., they turned their expertise and the techniques pioneered for malaria to a new line of inquiry: Did mild infection from…
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