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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Karen Osborn was supposed to be exploring hidden worlds in the Turks and Caicos, cataloguing the mysterious creatures that thrive in pools connected to the ocean by deep underwater caves. But instead of barcoding blind crustaceans on a trip she’s planned for six months, the marine biologist is stuck at home in Fairfax, Virginia. Osborn is one of roughly 800,000…
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A Conversation with Mary-Claire King

Few scientists have had a more massive contribution to genetics than Mary-Claire King of the University of Washington. King (Figure 1) was the first to show that breast cancer is inherited in some families as a result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. She had already changed our view of evolution when she demonstrated during her PhD work…
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The Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment (CARE), a public-private partnership that supports cancer research in Washington, today announced grant awards totaling $1.15 million to leading research scientists advancing cancer research in the state. The CARE Breakthrough Research program funds innovative, cross-disciplinary research and multi-institution collaborations that aim to find the next big discovery in cancer research. Grants were awarded to…
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IDRI is partner in a European Union-funded consortium that is focused on demonstrating how advanced computer modelling and simulation can be used to reduce the costs of the clinical trials to test the efficacy of new therapies for tuberculosis. In a step towards that goal, the STriTuVaD consortium recently published a technical report entitled “A Computer Modeling System of the Dynamics…
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Enhancing the Development of Heart Cells Using Materials Derived from Silk

In an exciting breakthrough that may have implications for stem cell-based treatment of heart disease, the lab of Dr. Deok-Ho Kim at the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) has successfully used silk-based materials to enhance the development of stem-cell derived cardiomyocytes. In a recent study detailed in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, Dr. Kim and his lab…
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