Sticking It To Rogue DNA

Michigan Technological University chemistry professor Shiyue Fang and his team have developed a process that could lead to stickier—and better—gene therapy drugs.

The drugs, called antisense DNA, are made from short, single strands of synthetic DNA. They work by blocking cells from making harmful proteins, which can cause maladies ranging from cancer to Ebola to HIV-AIDS. Only a couple of these synthetic DNA drugs are on the market, but a number are in clinical trials, including a potential treatment for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Organisms can inject harmful proteins into our bodies, and so can mutations in our own genetic material.

Here’s how it works in a nutshell. When all goes well, messenger RNA molecules in our cells produce the good proteins that are essential to life. However, when mutations occur, messenger RNA can go rogue and start making proteins that make us sick.

Drugs made from synthetic DNA are tailored to grab onto these mutant messenger RNA molecules, binding to them and preventing them from churning out toxic proteins. However, a serious shortfall with synthetic DNA is that it can be wimpy. Sometimes it loosens its grip, setting the messenger RNA free to resume its dirty work.

Read the full story.

Tis the Season

With the heat waves this summer, many of us are dreaming of snow, but right now is the height of the season for something else. Aquatic invasive species. 

This summer, a handful of our researchers started work on several new EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) projects to quell Eurasian Watermilfoil in the Les Cheneaux Islands and Phragmites in Saginaw Bay.
 
You can read the full story at mtu.edu/news.

Campus Store and University Images Sidewalk Sale

Come join the Campus Store and University Images for a former sports logo sidewalk sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow (Aug. 12). Clearance items will be an additional 25 percent off the stickered price. Get 75 percent off the original price men's shoes and selected women's dress apparel. Look for Campus Store items on the campus mall in front of the MUB and University Images in front of the SDC, weather permitting. If the weather is frightful, we'll be located inside near our respective locations.

Physics Colloquium

The next Physics Colloquium will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 15 in Fisher 101. 

J. Manuel Recio will present "Chemical Pressure Reveals Chemical Bonding." 

Recio is the University Professor (chair) of Physical Chemistry at Universidad de Oviedo in Oviedo, Spain. He has authored or co-authored about 110 research papers or journal and a textbook on spectroscopy for graduates. 

The concept of chemical pressure has been invoked to understand the new behavior of materials emerging when chemical elements are replaced by others of different size. Recio's research shows that CP is a successful approach in the identification and characterization of the chemical bonding nature not only of prototype solids but also mixed-bonded crystals.

New Funding

Petra Huentemeyer (Physics/EPPSI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $170,00 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
 
The project is entitled "Investigating Large Scale Structures and Galactic Plane Morphologies at TeV Energies with the HAWC Observatory."
This is the first year of a three-year project potentially totaling $510,000.

 

In the News

Guy Meadows (Director, GLRC) discusses shoreline safety with Bill Hart on Media Meet.

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Tech Century, a web-based science, engineering and technology news site published by the Engineering Society of Detroit, ran a research story about Michigan Tech's work on invasive species. Read the story here.

Reminders

National Instruments LabVIEW Bootcamp

National Instruments will be on campus for a LabVIEW Boot Camp from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday Aug. 15 - Thursday Aug. 18 in Fisher 139.

Graduate students, researchers and educators seeking an introduction to LabVIEW system design software should enroll in this class.

Complete Information and registration can be found here. For additional information see the original Tech Today story