The Vaginal Microbiome of Transgender Men

Hormonal changes influence the composition of vaginal flora, which is directly related to the health of an individual. Transgender men prescribed testosterone experience a vaginal hormone composition that differs from cisgender women. To the author’s knowledge, there are no clinical studies evaluating the influence that testosterone administration has on the vaginal microbiome. Vaginal swabs were self-collected by a cohort of…
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Former Juno Therapeutics executives Hans Bishop and Steve Harr have launched Sana Biotechnology, a startup focused on cell therapy, gene therapy and gene editing. Backed by ARCH Venture Partners, Flagship Pioneering and F-Prime Capital Partners, the new company is notable not just for its experienced leadership team, but also the amount of funding it is looking to raise out of the…
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Angie Karalis Johnson has a dream that a cure for the progressive eye disease known as age-related macular degeneration will one day happen because of research advances at UW Medicine. To help realize this dream, Karalis Johnson has made a significant donation to the UW Medicine Eye Institute to establish the new Karalis Johnson Retina Center. The Karalis Johnson Retina…
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Things are a little on edge in Seattle’s biotech scene after the Jan. 3 announcement that pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) intends to buy Celgene, the parent company of Juno Therapeutics, in one of the industry’s largest acquisitions ever. The $74 billion cash-and-stock buyout has the potential to accelerate the development of new treatments in areas such as cancer immunotherapy, Juno’s…
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Neutrophils release neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in response to invading pathogens. Although NETs play an important role in host defense against microbial pathogens, they have also been shown to play a contributing mechanistic role in pathologic inflammation in the absence of infection. Although a role for NETs in bacterial pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is emerging, a comprehensive…
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Many researchers realize that mice and rats are social and chatty. They spend all day talking to each other, but  what  are they really saying? Not only are many  rodent vocalizations unable to be heard by humans, but also existing computer programs to detect these vocalizations are flawed.  They pick up other noises, are slow to analyze data, and rely…
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Microgels, Middle School, and the UW Grad Student Who Makes Science Matter

Mary O’Kelly Boit is a graduate student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington, where she is living out a childhood dream of using biomaterials to solve real medical problems. Yes, really. “As a kid, it started with a scientist who showed me a whole new world,” says Mary. “I loved the idea that if you can imagine it,…
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Making Research Funding More Efficient

As scientific funding becomes increasingly scarce, professors in STEM fields spend more time in their offices writing grant applications: by one estimate, as much as one-fifth of their research time. That takes time and energy away from teaching students, training young researchers and making discoveries that boost our collective knowledge and well-being. Two scientists believe that, with professors vying for such…
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For Cells, Keeping Quiet Is a Cinch

Stress can make you wish life had a pause button. Single-celled organisms like yeast actually have this option. Faced with a lack of food or other stressors, baker’s yeast can enter a “paused,” energy- and resource-conserving state called quiescence. In this paused state, in which DNA becomes more compact and most genes are shut off, yeast can live weeks or…
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Seattle-based biotech startup Immusoftthis week closed a $20 million Series B venture capital round that will fuel development of its gene therapy technology. Founded in 2009, Immusoft develops immune cell technology that uses blood cells from a patient to create therapeutic proteins targeted to treat diseases. The process is called immune system programming, or ISP, and was invented by Nobel laureate David…
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