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Category Archives: Michigan Stem Cells

Rowan University hosts National Science Foundation research program for undergrads – Rowan Today

Posted: August 31, 2021 at 1:59 am

When Brady Moore, a biomedical engineering senior, first began his journey into the scientific world as a high school student, he could not have predicted the path he would take over the next four years. His biology teacher recommended a summer research internship at Rowan University that he eagerly pursued. He chose to attend Rowan as a freshman the following year.

This summer, Moore took part in another hands-on program directed by Rowans Department of Biomedical Engineering, called Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). The 10-week program hosted 12 undergraduate students from eight states: Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded 10 of the fellows and Rowan funded two more through its Division of University Research.

The NSF supports research sites that represent specific areas of interest with a focus on developing leaders in the field and igniting their passion for discovery, innovation and research, according to Dr. Mary Staehle, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering. Rowans site focuses on biomedical materials, devices, therapeutics and emerging frontiers, and includes faculty mentors in these areas from engineering, science and medicine.

Students work full-time in a lab with a faculty mentor, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to complete meaningful, impactful research throughout the summer, explained Staehle, who directs the REU program along with Dr. Mark Byrne, professor and founding head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The program provides extensive research opportunities that students may not have at their home institutions and broadens opportunities for scientists, Staehle said.

Rowans REU program first began in 2018. Its return following the COVID-19 pandemic was a welcome sign of normalcy.

It is really great to have students on campus, Staehle said. This program provides an opportunity to learn firsthand about being a graduate student and how to pursue a career in science or engineering research.

This summer, Moore returned to the lab of Dr. Peter Galie, associate professor of biomedical engineering, studying cell cultures with a focus on strokes and aneurysms. Moore plans to do more hands-on lab work before applying to medical school.

Everyone in the lab was welcoming and friendly and showed me when I needed to know something. I really appreciate all the help, Moore said.

Brady worked in my lab as a high school student, so things came full circle this summer, Galie said. It was great seeing his growth, both as a young adult and as a biomedical engineer, thanks to the training hes received during his three years here.

Alexis Pacheco Benitez, a Rowan junior, also credited the faculty and students for enriching his research experience.

The people there really brought life to the lab and made me look forward to being there in the lab every day, said Pacheco Benitez, who spent the summer exploring 3D cellular remodeling. I will also remember the trips I and the other REU fellow students went to throughout the entire program.

Tochukwu Iyke-Nzeocha, a sophomore from the University of Rochester, worked in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. One experience she found beneficial during the program was a Women in Chemistry event.

From the presentation, I saw that I could strive in the entrepreneurial world. Before I was considering medical school, but now I have narrowed down my options, she said.

Sky Fuller, a Columbia University junior, commuted from the Glassboro campus to the Joint Health Sciences Center in Camden to work in the field of synthetic biology.

Our primary focus is redesigning receptors and synthetic circuits of immune cells to fight cancer. I had a minimal background in synthetic biology when I arrived at the start of these 10 weeks, so I learned a lot about this field, Fuller said.

Mulan Tang, a junior from the University of Oklahoma, recounted a story about adding stem cells to cross-linked fibers.

It was a bit late in the day, at around 8 p.m., but it was extremely exciting to look through the confocal microscope and see that the attachment was successful, Tang said. I felt like I really did make a lot of research progress during my time at Rowan.

These programs are vital to fostering that excitement and creating the next leaders in the field, said Byrne. Exposing these young engineers and scientists to top research and having them contribute in a real and meaningful way during the summer and beyond is the spark that leads to meaningful careers in the field. Rowan is the ideal place for these types of programs.

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Loss of a top autism gene may alter neuron structure – Spectrum

Posted: January 17, 2021 at 5:51 am

Like new: Neurons lacking ASH1L (bottom left) come to resemble control neurons (top left) after treatment with an experimental drug (top and bottom right).

Mutations in the autism-linked gene ASH1L change how neurons grow and develop, according to two unpublished studies presented virtually this week at the 2021 Society for Neuroscience Global Connectome. (Links to abstracts may work only for registered conference attendees.)

ASH1L helps regulate chromatin, the mass of DNA and proteins in the nucleus of a cell.

Blocking a protein that is overactive when ASH1L is deficient reverses the structure changes seen in neurons lacking the gene, one of the studies shows.

The researchers used human stem cells to generate neurons that express low levels of ASH1L protein. The ASH1L-deficient neurons had fewer and shorter projections and larger cell bodies than control neurons did.

The changes could affect the neurons ability to send signals across synapses, the junctions between neurons, says Janay Vacharasin, a doctoral student in Sofia Lizarragas lab at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, who presented the work.

If you scale this up to the brain, maybe [the neurons] cant connect to the right systems or different areas of the brain, since they cant grow as well, she says.

Next the researchers treated the neurons with an experimental drug that inhibits EZH2, an enzyme that represses gene transcription in a process regulated by ASH1L. After this treatment, the structure of the ASH1L neurons appeared more similar to that of control neurons.

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an inhibitor, called tazemetostat, similar to the one the team used to treat a form of lymphoma in adults.

The neuron findings echo those in ASH1L mice presented by Sally Campers lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

That team created mice missing one or both copies of ASH1L throughout their bodies. They also made mice missing the gene only in the cerebral cortex or neural progenitor cells, using a system that edits genes only when mice are given a drug called tamoxifen.

Most of the mice lacking ASH1L died within two weeks of birth, a finding in line with the observation that people with mutations in ASH1L typically have those changes in only one copy of the gene.

Mice missing both copies of the gene showed differences in brain development from the control mice, including unusually large ventricles fluid-containing cavities deep within the brain. The team is currently probing whether other parts of the brain are affected.

What we can tell is, there is definitely a structural abnormality of the brain, says Kevin Toolan, a graduate student in Campers lab, who presented the work.

They also found that knocking out ASH1L changed the expression of other genes associated with autism, including NRXN2. But these results are preliminary, Toolan says.

Both studies found that ASH1L mutations seem to disrupt a signaling pathway necessary for neurons to grow, Vacharasin says. She plans to next study cells derived from autistic people with mutations in the gene.

Read more reports from the 2021 Society for Neuroscience Global Connectome.

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Rogel team receives $11.2M to leverage the microbiome against GVHD – Newswise

Posted: October 28, 2020 at 3:51 am

For immediate release

Newswise ANN ARBOR, Michigan A team of researchers from the Rogel Cancer Center received an $11.2 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to study how to use the microbiome to limit complications of stem cell transplants for blood cancers and other diseases.

Hematopoietic cell transplants using donor cells can be a lifesaving treatment. But graft-versus-host disease, is a common serious side effect that can limit its use.

Researchers who have been exploring the role the microbiome and host-metabolism interactions have on GVHD have teamed up for this program project grant, which has four components.

Our overarching goal is to make allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation safer and more efficacious. The proposal has a unifying central theme to understand the role of intestinal microbial metabolite interactions with host metabolism and the impact on intestinal GVHD, says principal investigator Pavan Reddy, M.D., deputy director of the Rogel Cancer Center and division chief of hematology/oncology at Michigan Medicine.

The projects will address the importance of the microbiome in mitigating the severity of graft-versus-host disease and improving outcomes after allogeneic transplants.

The proposal is supported by four core services, which are led by Gregory Dick, Ph.D., Tom Braun, Ph.D., Eric Martens, Ph.D., and Costa Lyssiotis, Ph.D. The collaboration represents multiple schools across the University of Michigan, including the Medical School, the School of Public Health and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

This project brings together a team of investigators from diverse fields and schools, who have worked and published together previously. These collective projects are the results of unifying our preliminary datasets over the past several years. We hope that by working collaboratively we can make a difference for patients receiving hematopoietic cell transplants, Reddy says.

Grant citation: 1P01HL149633-01

Resources:

University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, http://www.rogelcancercenter.org

Michigan Health Lab, http://www.MichiganHealthLab.org

Michigan Medicine Cancer AnswerLine, 800-865-1125

# # #

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Latest Update 2020: What Are the Key Players Evolving In the Growth of the 3D Cell Culture Market? – re:Jerusalem

Posted: at 3:51 am

Post COVID-19 Impact on 3D Cell Culture Market With the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, the world is fighting a health pandemic as well as an economic emergency, almost impacting trillions of dollars of revenues. Research Dive group of skilled analysts provide a solution to help the companies to survive and sustain in this economic crisis. We support companies to make informed decisions based on our findings resulting from the comprehensive study by our qualified team of experts.

Our study helps to acquire the following: Long-term and short-term impact of Covid-19 on the market Cascading impact of Covid-19 on 3D Cell Culture Market, due to the impact on its extended ecosystem Understanding the market behavior Pre- and Post-COVID-19 pandemic Strategy suggestions to overcome the negative impact or turn the positive impact into an opportunity Well help you fight this crisis through our business intelligence solutions.

Pre COVID-19 Analysis of 3D Cell Culture Market

According to a study of Research Dive, global 3D Cell Culture market forecast shall cross $12,638.8 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 29.4 during forecast period.

3D Cell culture is an essential tool in clinical analysis and biological science. It has multiple applications such as in biosensors, drug screening and others. Many improvements have been made in automated high-throughput cell culture systems. Increasing demand for regenerative medicine and economic drug discovery is expected to drive the demand for the 3D cell culture market. 3D cell cultures are primarily used to observe the abnormal behavior of cells and the cell-cell interaction. Furthermore, 3D cell culture systems play a significant role in the development of precision medicine and personalized medicine. For instance, as per study of cancer researchers (University of Michigan) newly invented 3D structure could enable physicians to test medications on model tumors grown from a patients own cells. These advances are projected to boost the growth of global cell culture market. However, more complex culture system, added expenses and threats from substitutes like 2D cell cultures are projected to limit the 3D cell culture market growth.

With new advances, 3D composite scaffolds have many versatile properties. It will be tremendously useful to develop treatments for nerve disorders and spinal cord injury (SCI) by taking help of cell transplantation methodologies and biomaterials. The most remarkable advantage of 3D cell culture is, their properties can be easily adapted by modifying the structure and composition. These key factors of 3D cell culture are projected to create enormous opportunities for the growth of 3D cell culture industry.

According to Analyst Evaluation, Microchips market shall register a revenue of $2,515.5 million by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 30.1% during the forecast period; this is significantly due to new advances in 3D culture organs-on-chips. Organs-on-chips allow study of human physiology and also reveal development of novel in vitro disease models. It could provide potential replacements for animals used in toxin testing and drug development. These advancements are anticipated to grow the demand of microchips in global market, and are projected to boost the global market. Scaffold-based platforms have the largest market share and this segment will register a revenue of $3,425.1 million by the end of 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28.4%. Scaffolds can be significantly used in drug development therapeutic or specialty areas; which is anticipated to fuel the of global market growth.

Based on applications, the market is segmented into Stem Cell research, drug discovery, cancer research, and regenerative medicine. 3D cell culture market size for cancer research will generate a revenue of $4,057.1 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28.5% throughout the forecast period; this is majorly due to various types of cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer and others being dominant among the population. Cancer has a pervasive prevalence across the globe, which has led to rise in demand for cancer research, which is further attributed to boost the demand for 3D cell culture market. 3D cell culture market for regenerative medicine will register a revenue of $3,690.5 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 30.1%. Many developed and developing countries such as Japan is focusing more on contract manufacturing tie-ups, and continues to be a lucrative place for biotech ventures to do business. Japan is the world leader in regenerative medical products; these key strategies of the government are anticipated to spur the growth of 3D cell culture market.

3D cell culture market for biotechnology & pharmaceutical companies will register a revenue of $5,184.4 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28.9% during the forecast period; this is majorly due to huge developments in the laboratory, technology and operations. Furthermore, rising pressure on sales of established treatments, rapid growth of cell therapies and focus on advanced manufacturing and technologies are the factors expected to grow the market.

Heavy investments in research & development, high healthcare expenditure, and extensively increasing number of cancer cases are considered to be one of the driving factors that are booming the growth of North American market.

3D Cell Culture market share for Asia-Pacific region is expected to rise at a CAGR of 30.7% by generating a revenue of $3,020.7 million by 2026. The market growth in the region is increasing drug discovery initiatives among pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies in the region. Major economies such as India, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are emphasizing more on public sector openness to partnership with established companies. For instance, leading market players such as Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are collaborating with Singapore partners across drug discovery.

The major 3D Cell Culture manufacturers includeQGel SA, Hrel Corporation, SynVivo, Greiner Bio-One International, Advanced BioMatrix, Lonza, Corning Incorporated, Thermo Fisher Scientific, TissUse GmbH, 3D Biotek. Players using updated technologies for their 3D Cell Culture will have good probability of having success in the rapidly blooming market. For example, Lonza has innovated the RAFT 3D Culture System that produces hepatocytes with increased stability and stronger cytochrome responses.

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Mr. Abhishek PaliwalResearch Dive30 Wall St. 8th Floor, New YorkNY 10005 (P)+ 91 (788) 802-9103 (India)+1 (917) 444-1262 (US) TollFree : +1 -888-961-4454Email:support@researchdive.comLinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/company/research-diveTwitter:https://twitter.com/ResearchDiveFacebook:https://www.facebook.com/Research-DiveBlog:https://www.researchdive.com/blogFollow us on:https://covid-19-market-insights.blogspot.com

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Listings – CON, THE on ABC | TheFutonCritic.com – The Futon Critic

Posted: October 15, 2020 at 11:56 pm

ABC NEWS DEBUTS NEW PRIMETIME SERIES "THE CON," NARRATED BY WHOOPI GOLDBERG

Series Documents the Stories and People Behind the Most Stunning Cons

Series Premiere Examines a Love Story Gone Bad for a Television Producer and Her World-Renowned Surgeon Fianc, Wednesday, Oct. 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC

ABC News will debut the new primetime series "The Con," narrated by Emmy(R), GRAMMY(R), Tony(R) and Oscar(R) winner and "The View" moderator Whoopi Goldberg, on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The series explores the troubling tales of people taken in by claims and promises that proved too good to be true, from identity fraud and misleading romance to the high-profile college admission scandal and Fyre Festival. It will reveal how the victims were fooled and the cost of their false trust - emotional and financial. "The Con" will feature interviews with the key people caught up in the cons, including victims and eyewitnesses, and, in some cases, law enforcement and the perpetrators themselves. The series will lift the curtain on the people behind some of the most outrageous cons ever. "The Con" kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.

In the series premiere, Goldberg introduces viewers to Benita Alexander, an award-winning documentary television producer and single mother, and Paolo Macchiarini, an internationally renowned surgeon. Alexander meets Macchiarini while producing a documentary on his groundbreaking surgical techniques using stem cells in synthetic trachea transplants. Despite crossing professional lines, Alexander finds herself wooed by Macchiarini's charm, intellect and good looks, and the pair quickly falls in love. After traveling the world together, the couple gets engaged and, according to Alexander, Macchiarini tells her he wants to take over planning the wedding. It quickly becomes a grand, fairy-tale affair with an impressive guest list, including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Elton John. He says they'll even be married by the pope. However, weeks before their Italian wedding, Alexander realizes things aren't as perfect as they seem and uses her investigative producer skills to uncover the truth behind Macchiarini and the planned wedding.

At around the same time, the Karolinska Institute, where Macchiarini performed some of his transplant surgeries, has been digging into allegations from Macchiarini's colleagues that he fabricated parts of his medical research. Macchiarini eventually loses his position at the institute. His groundbreaking surgeries have been under investigation by Swedish prosecutors, and just last week he was indicted on charges of aggravated assault relating to three of his surgeries. A court date has yet to be set and Macchiarini has not yet entered a plea. He has denied all of the allegations against him. The premiere episode includes interviews with Alexander, her friends, family and former co-workers.

Each week, "The Con" will document a different con and its victims. Future episodes feature the stories of Johnathan Walton and con artist Marianne Smyth, who claimed to be an Irish heiress whose family was trying to swindle her out of her massive inheritance; Anthony Gignac of Michigan, who created a false identity to deceive people into thinking he was a member of the Saudi royal family; and the story of three women who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to psychic frauds who preyed on their vulnerability and dependency.

For the series, David Sloan is senior executive producer, and Carrie Cook and Colleen Halpin serve as executive producers for ABC News. Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman are executive producers for IPC, along with executive producer and director Star Price. The premiere episode of "The Con" is produced by ABC News. Other episodes in the series are produced by Industrial Media's The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) for ABC News.

About ABC News

ABC News is responsible for all of The ABC Television Network's news programming, including broadcast, digital and radio. ABC's award-winning newscasts include "Good Morning America," "World News Tonight with David Muir," "Nightline," "20/20" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." ABC's "The View" joined the news division in 2014; and in 2018, ABC News launched 24/7 streaming news channel ABC News Live and acquired renowned data journalism organization FiveThirtyEight. NewsOne, the affiliate news service of ABC News, provides live and packaged news, sports and weather reports as well as footage of news events to over 200 ABC affiliates and more than 30 domestic and international clients. More people get their news from ABC News than from any other source.

About The Intellectual Property Corporation

Industrial Media's The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) is an Emmy-winning IP creation and production studio based in Van Nuys, California. Founded in 2016, IPC develops and produces a wide range of television, film, documentary, and interactive mobile content. The company has series in production or development with a wide range of US broadcast, cable networks, and streamers, and is well known for being awarded with two Emmy Awards and a Producers Guild Award for its series Leah Remini: Scientology & the Aftermath. IPC was acquired by Industrial Media in 2018.

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ABC News Debuts New Primetime Series THE CON Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg – Broadway World

Posted: October 8, 2020 at 9:52 am

Premiering October 14.

ABC News will debut the new primetime series "The Con," narrated by Emmy(R), GRAMMY(R), Tony(R) and Oscar(R) winner and "The View" moderator Whoopi Goldberg, on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The series explores the troubling tales of people taken in by claims and promises that proved too good to be true, from identity fraud and misleading romance to the high-profile college admission scandal and Fyre Festival. It will reveal how the victims were fooled and the cost of their false trust - emotional and financial. "The Con" will feature interviews with the key people caught up in the cons, including victims and eyewitnesses, and, in some cases, law enforcement and the perpetrators themselves. The series will lift the curtain on the people behind some of the most outrageous cons ever. "The Con" kicks off Wednesday, Oct. 14 (10:02-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.

In the series premiere, Goldberg introduces viewers to Benita Alexander, an award-winning documentary television producer and single mother, and Paolo Macchiarini, an internationally renowned surgeon. Alexander meets Macchiarini while producing a documentary on his groundbreaking surgical techniques using stem cells in synthetic trachea transplants. Despite crossing professional lines, Alexander finds herself wooed by Macchiarini's charm, intellect and good looks, and the pair quickly falls in love. After traveling the world together, the couple gets engaged and, according to Alexander, Macchiarini tells her he wants to take over planning the wedding. It quickly becomes a grand, fairy-tale affair with an impressive guest list, including Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Elton John. He says they'll even be married by the pope. However, weeks before their Italian wedding, Alexander realizes things aren't as perfect as they seem and uses her investigative producer skills to uncover the truth behind Macchiarini and the planned wedding.

At around the same time, the Karolinska Institute, where Macchiarini performed some of his transplant surgeries, has been digging into allegations from Macchiarini's colleagues that he fabricated parts of his medical research. Macchiarini eventually loses his position at the institute. His groundbreaking surgeries have been under investigation by Swedish prosecutors, and just last week he was indicted on charges of aggravated assault relating to three of his surgeries. A court date has yet to be set and Macchiarini has not yet entered a plea. He has denied all of the allegations against him. The premiere episode includes interviews with Alexander, her friends, family and former co-workers.

Each week, "The Con" will document a different con and its victims. Future episodes feature the stories of Johnathan Walton and con artist Marianne Smyth, who claimed to be an Irish heiress whose family was trying to swindle her out of her massive inheritance; Anthony Gignac of Michigan, who created a false identity to deceive people into thinking he was a member of the Saudi royal family; and the story of three women who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to psychic frauds who preyed on their vulnerability and dependency.

For the series, David Sloan is senior executive producer, and Carrie Cook and Colleen Halpin serve as executive producers for ABC News. Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman are executive producers for IPC, along with executive producer and director Star Price. The premiere episode of "The Con" is produced by ABC News. Other episodes in the series are produced by Industrial Media's The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC) for ABC News.

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HOME GROWN: Pumpkins best left on the vine for as long as possible – The Oakland Press

Posted: at 9:52 am

Q: When can I pick my pumpkins and how do I do it right? I have a bunch of nice ones in my garden but I dont want them to rot before Halloween.

A: The longer they can remain attached to their vines the better, even if the vines are dead. But do not allow them to get frosted or frozen.

You might want to put a small piece of board or something else under each pumpkin where it is sitting. This will keep the bottoms dry and help to prevent rotting. You also dont want those attractive slugs feeding on the softened spots.

When you do harvest the pumpkins, dont try to break the pumpkins from the stems; cut them with a knife or pruners. Cut the stem several inches above the pumpkin. This is your handle. If the stem is broken off right at the pumpkin, it can begin rotting there sooner.

Once a pumpkin is removed, be careful that it does not get bruised or have the skin broken or abraded.

If the pumpkin is damp or wet, dry it off. Some people will wipe the pumpkin with a 10% bleach solution to remove bacteria. Thats one part household bleach to nine parts water. Then, dry the pumpkin. You can tip the pumpkin on its side to let the bottom dry. Store the pumpkins out of the sun but in a cool area, such as a garage or barn. Put them on newspaper or something dry. Cold concrete floors attract moisture.

If you plan to carve the pumpkins, do it right before the holiday, because carving will cause them to break down rapidly, especially if the weather is warm. Keep them from frosting, which also breaks down the cells. Small pumpkins that are not carved can be used for pumpkin pie, and the others can be composted.

Q: I just went to the sale of all sales for plants. The deals were amazing. I bought many potted perennials for a flower garden that I have yet to make. I know I wont get this area ready until next spring. But how to I keep the plants in good shape until next spring? I have gotten some advice but I dont trust how good it is. What can I do?

A: Lets start with several things that wont work.

Leaving the plants and pots sitting on top of the ground will cause big trouble. Plants go dormant when its cold enough, but the small amount of soil in the pots will freeze and thaw dozens of times over the winter. This slow-motion yo-yo behavior will kill them.

In Michigan, the goal is for plants to go dormant as the soil freezes and stay that way until spring. The soilless potting medium in the pots is porous and freezes and thaws much more rapidly than the mineral soil in the garden. Thats why its a good idea to pick away some of the soilless stuff when you plant and integrate some of your mineral soil around the plants next spring. Do it carefully and dont trash the roots on your new plant kiddies.

The soilless medium also accepts water differently. If you have heavy soil, the water remains with the porous rootball and the roots marinate in in the small swamp you created. Root rot will soon follow.

Putting plants in a dark garage is not much protection if the winter is cold, and a heated garage does not allow them to go dormant. Packing straw or leaves around the pots is one possibility, but they still can freeze and thaw just more slowly.

The best solution is to sink your pots into the ground up to their rims. Put at least 3 inches of straw or leaves over them. You can tell where they are in the spring by the protruding rims.

If you live in Critterville, you may want to put a piece of hardware screening over the tops of the straw and weigh down the corners and sides. Hardware screening has smaller holes than chicken wire and will keep dinkies like voles out.

Questions? MSU Master Gardener Hotline 888-6783464. Gretchen Voyle is an MSU extension horticulture educator, retired.

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Official Missteps in Michigan’s Worst Covid Prison Outbreak – The Intercept

Posted: September 29, 2020 at 6:57 am

Thomas Shulick prayed inside a church at the end of July at the Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan. He had regularly attended services since joining a faith-based dormitory at the prison for inmates within a few years of their release date. Men from the prisons other units were also in attendance, all wearing face masks.

Shulick wasnt concerned about becoming infected by the coronavirus that morning. The Muskegon prison, which has 1,319 beds set up mostly in two-man cells, had remained unscathed by the pandemic, recording zero infections even as the virus ripped through the states prison system earlier in the year. More than 5,000 prisoners at other facilities had been infected, and 68 had died.

We had dodged it so long, and out of a general trust for the administration, I assumed it was safe to go to these programs, Shulick told The Intercept. But unbeknownst to him, the virus was quietly spreading at Muskegon, which would soon become the site of the states worst prison outbreak.

On July 31, after several weeks with no reported new infections across the entire prison system, the Michigan Department of Corrections reported six positive Covid-19 cases at Muskegon. The prison then commenced testing everyone at the facility, sending the number of cases skyrocketing. By late September, 997 prisoners more than 75 percent of those in custody had tested positive for the virus, in addition to 27 staff members.

The Intercept spoke with Shulick and two other men at the prison, and collected the accounts of two others. They describe a situation in which the Michigan DOC exacerbated the incipient outbreak from the start, by shuffling prisoners between units in a haphazard attempt to separate the confirmed infected from both the uninfected and possibly infected.

I feel like this prison had plenty of time to learn from the mistakes of other prisons.

The institutional errors they cite include the frequent mixing of potentially infected and uninfected prisoners; inadequate sanitation of prison cells between occupants; and at least one improper transfer of a person who was not known to be infected to a unit full of infected prisoners.

That person, Ruben Jordan, tested positive for the virus within days and died two weeks later at a local hospital. His was the first Covid-19 death of a Michigan prisoner since June 2, and the 69th overall. The Michigan DOC confirmed that Jordan, who also worked as a groundskeeper at the prison, had been inadvertently moved to the unit for infected prisoners after his roommate tested positive, then sent back to his original unit the same day potentially carrying the virus with him. Three others who had originally been incarcerated at Muskegon died from the virus in September.

Advocates say that in addition to incompetence by prison staff, the states severely overcrowded prison system added to the difficulty of separating prisoners in time to stem the outbreak. And prisoners say these institutional flubs were aided by some correction officers callous disregard for their lives.

In response to questions from The Intercept, Michigan DOC spokesperson Chris Gautz said the prison couldnt verify the source of the outbreak. But because visitors have not been allowed into the prisons since early March and transfers have been rare, it likely came from prison staff, who Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon called the principal vector for Covid-19 to enter a prison facility. On August 22, well into the outbreak, Gordon issued an executive order mandating that all staff working at facilities with an infected prisoner be tested each week.

Staff at Muskegon werent tested for the virus until August 25.

By the time officials there discovered the outbreak, there were so many positive cases that the DOCs Correctional Facilities Administration deputy director, Ken McKee, decided to quarantine entire units at the prison based on three designations: confirmed infected, confirmed uninfected, and potentially infected (prisoners whod had close contact with confirmed infected). A Michigan DOC flow chart indicates that infected prisoners are normally transferred to one of several designated facilities, but officials did not follow this protocol at Muskegon because the outbreak was so widespread.

Prisoners who spoke with The Intercept believe that rather than contain the virus, officials actions contributed to its spread. In a handwritten letter obtained by The Intercept, one prisoner who had not tested positive for the virus said that he and dozens of others were forced to move from a unit with only two confirmed cases to a unit with more than 50 confirmed cases. The prisoner was transferred to a cell where sick prisoners had been staying less than 24 hours before, he said.

The majority of rooms we were moved to had positive case people moved out of it the same day, without sanitation of rooms until we were forced to move in, wrote the prisoner, who did not want his name published for fear of retribution. He wrote that he was provided with rubber gloves and bleach to clean the cell himself a task normally relegated to cleaning staff.

According to Michigan DOC protocol, officials are recommended to close off areas used by ill prisoners and wait up to 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection.

Gautz, the spokesperson, confirmed to The Intercept that some units were not properly cleaned but noted that the issue was promptly addressed to ensure it would not happen again.

A week after he was moved, the prisoner who wrote the letter tested positive for the virus.

Another prisoner who spoke with The Intercept, Larry Cowan, said that he was moved to a new unit in early August after being informed that he had come into close contact with somebody who tested positive. But rather than being isolated, he was moved to a cell with a bunkmate in a unit with infected prisoners.

They said we could only shower every other day, Cowan said. They were treating us like were in the hole or did something wrong.

Then, he said, prison officials started bringing him back and forth between two units at the prison until he was finally kept in his original unit, which by then had been designated for infected prisoners. Cowan had also tested positive by that point, 10 days after his initial move. For at least one night, the unit was kept on lockdown for 18 hours, and prisoners couldnt leave their cells even to use the bathroom.

Sick prisoners were beating on their doors to use the bathroom, Cowan recalled. They eventually resorted to urinating and defecating in trash bags. They didnt tell us why we were being locked down.

Theres a feeling among prisoners that the strategy is now just to let it run its course or maybe even help it along.

Another prisoner at Muskegon, who preferred to use the pseudonym Adam, was transferred out of his unit after his bunkmate tested positive for the virus. When Adam spoke to The Intercept, he was being held at a unit for those suspected of coming into contact with the virus, where prisoners were free to move around in common areas.

Every time they bring new people in, they are exposing potentially infected prisoners to whole new groups of people, he complained. They sent me over here and gave me another bunkmate, so now Im being exposed to this guy and everyone this guy was exposed to.

Shulick, the prisoner whod been at church in late July, was at first moved inexplicably from his unit to another one with his bunkmate. After that bunkmate tested positive for the virus, Shulick was moved again, this time to the same close contact unit as Adam. He hasnt tested positive but fears its inevitable.

I feel like this prison had plenty of time to learn from the mistakes of other prisons, he told The Intercept. He says that one guard told him that prisoners in his current unit should hurry up and test positive so the prison could resume normal operations without the constant transfers.

Adam echoed this perspective.

Theres a feeling among prisoners that the strategy is now just to let it run its course or maybe even help it along, he stated.

The problems at Muskegon were part of a broader year of mishaps by the Michigan DOC to properly handle the pandemic in its facilities.

In April, people incarcerated at four Michigan prisons hardest hit by the virus filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the DOC neglected to move infected prisoners out of their cells, electing instead to quarantine entire units with both infected and non-infected prisoners.

Prisoners also alleged that officers did not change their clothing in between visits to infected and non-infected units; that they did not make cleaning supplies readily available; and that they did not properly sanitize nurses offices.

In June, officials mixed up more than 100 coronavirus test results at the Macomb Correctional Facility, leading them to house infected and non-infected people together in the same units. Several people in custody at the Michigan Reformatory prison facility also reported to The Intercept that the DOC lost track of their tests results, though this doesnt appear to have seeded an outbreak.

Daniel Manville, the lead lawyer suing the Michigan DOC, said hes heard a number of times that prison officials at other facilities moved prisoners around in a similar fashion as at Muskegon.

It doesnt make any sense, because Covid-19 is in the air, its on the beds, its on whatever [in] the housing unit, Manville said.

One place where Manville, people in custody, and the Michigan DOC agree is that the prison systems extreme overcrowding makes it impossible to effectively separate prisoners or practice social distancing. Several factors have contributed to this problem.

The state passed a truth-in-sentencing law in 1998 that mandated people serve their full minimum prison sentence, greatly reducing the number who could be eligible for early release. According to the Michigan DOC, few of its 37,000-plus prisoners are parole-eligible; 4,797 people since March have been released on parole. A lawsuit that aimed to put the repeal of truth-in-sentencing to a ballot vote in November was dismissed by a federal judge in June.

Relief for prisoners at Muskegon and elsewhere in Michigan is not likely to come any time soon.

Manvilles lawsuit stalled after an injunction approved by a U.S. district judge was stayed by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The stay was prompted after another appeals court denied relief in a similar lawsuit against the federal Bureau of Prisons.

And Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has the power to release prisoners via executive order, has declined to do so and shown no indication of changing her mind.

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Regenerative medicine and war: The next breakthrough in treating injured veterans? – Genetic Literacy Project

Posted: at 6:57 am

Many Americans, and indeed people all over the world, were outraged when reports surfaced this past summer that President Trump had once dismissed the dead from one of World War Is iconic battles, The Battle of Belleau Wood, as suckers and losers. Amputees should be excluded from parades because nobody wants to see them, the article also reports he had said.

The president denied these claims, but the outcry highlighted the high regard in which the American public holds veterans; although the country is sharply divided politically, it is united by the pride and respect the people hold for those brave enough to risk life and limb for their country.

The number of injured soldiers returning home alive has risen from 75% to 92% since the Vietnam War, but combat takes a toll on the survivors. Its estimated that one in every 10 veterans alive today was injured seriously while serving. And, for many, the nature of the injury makes treatment very difficult. Soldiers can find themselves returning home with severe burns, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, blindness, deafness, brain injuries and loss of limbs, as well as psychological trauma, some linked directly to physical injuries.

The most significant development in recent years for severely maimed veterans and other victims of physical injuries is the acceleration of whats known as regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine was first defined in 1999 and it encompasses many disciplines of science. Its goal is to provide clinicians with the tools to effectively repair or replace a patients damaged tissues and organs in order to return normal function.

The technology really emerged into the public consciousness in the 2000s because of the Iraq war and, since then, great strides have been made in applying it to treating many different healthcare issues. So, what about the specifics? What are the most promising breakthroughs in recent years?

Some of the most challenging war-related injuries involve bones. Severe burns, spinal cord injuries, blast injuries, traumatic brain injuriesthese seemingly disparate traumas can each lead to a painful complication during the healing process called heterotopic ossification (HO).

A team at Michigan Medicines Department of Surgery is focusing its research on how the healing process often goes awry. The problem often emerges at limb amputation sites. Weeks after surgery or injury, abnormal bones often form within soft tissues like muscleplaces where theyre not supposed to be, causing the patient agonizing pain.

Theres no way to prevent it and once its formed, theres no way to reverse it, said Benjamin Levi, M.D, co-head of the research team at the Center for Basic and Translational Research at Michigan Medicines Department of Surgery.

There may be a solution thanks to a collaborative study between Levi and a research group led by Stephen Kunkel, Ph.D. at Michigans Department of Pathology. It had been theorized that HO could be linked to inflammation at the site of injury or surgery. The researchers built on this theory by studying the cells that are present at the early stages of HO.

Working with mice, they have been able to identify a specific protein that is responsible for sending the signals that trigger stem cells within the bone to start this process of uncontrolled tissue growth. By targeting this protein and stopping its action, it could be possible to stop the process in the first place. This would improve the quality of life for many injured veterans.

Treating HO is very much a case of prevention being better than cure. Progressing this discovery into a therapeutic setting could eventually provide doctors with a mechanism to stop HO before it has a chance to develop. It would be a game changer for many veterans who would otherwise be left with this agonizing condition.

Severe blast injuries and bullet traumas also leave many veterans needing implants or prosthetics to replace bone that has been lost to severe injury. If you break a leg, a doctor will put it in a cast and allow the natural healing process to occur. If its a severe break, you may need surgery. But when a soldiers bone is ripped apart by a gunshot or a blast, the damage to the network of cells within the bone is so severe that it often cannot heal on its own.

Regenerative medicine may provide a solution. After leaving the US Army more than 20 years ago, solider Luis Alvarez founded a firm at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that developed a paint derived from key proteins that can trigger bone regeneration. The inspiration behind Alvarezs innovation?

During my time in Iraq, I witnessed service members who suffered traumatic injuries undergo amputations weeks or months after the initial wound, because there was no reliable method for regenerating the bone.

The technology developed by his company allows doctors to coat implants with specific proteins, allowing them to trigger regeneration, thus aiding recovery of the damaged tissue. They are making great progress and looking to have something ready for doctors to use in clinics by 2021. Its an inspiring story. The company is rolling out multiple therapies heading into clinical trials over the next two years.

The military is also starting to invest heavily in one of the most exciting avenues of regenerative medicine to help veterans replace lost tissue. Bioprinting uses human cells mixed with specially designed bioinks to 3D print tissue-like structures for the purpose of regenerating damaged body parts. Using bioprinting, scientists can build replacement grafts using a patients own stem cells, thus removing the issues associated with transplant rejection. The technology is still in its infancy but, thanks to recent military investment, scientists are now applying bioprinting to the generation of skin grafts to treat the severe burns that many veterans are afflicted with.

Treating severe burns is an incredibly difficult process and many rarely heal completely. Patients can be left with extreme scarring, tight and itchy skin and disfigurement. When the skin is severely burned the body focuses on preventing infection by closing the wound as quickly as possible. New skin is generated but the structure is vastly different to normal tissue.

A 5-year research project led by Prof Jeff Biernaskie at the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has made a big step forward.

What weve shown is that you can alter the wound environment with drugs, or modify the genetics of these progenitor cells directly, and both are sufficient to change their behaviour during wound healing. And that can have really quite impressive effects on healing that includes regeneration of new hair follicles, glands and fat within the wounded skin.

This research could lead to new drugs that greatly improve the healing process.

It is clear from the number of veterans currently coping with a compromised quality of life that we need to do more to treat their injuries. It is estimated that the number of veterans currently living with these life changing injuries is in the millions and their healthcare needs come at an immense economic cost. Fortunately, there is now a much stronger horse in the race to a cure.

Regenerative medicine was estimated to draw nearly $15 billion in investments in 2017. That figure is predicted to rise to in excess of $79 billion by 2026. Those are serious resources, providing hope that our veterans will benefit in the decade ahead.

Sam Moxon has a PhD in regenerative medicine and is currently involved in dementia research. He is a freelance writer with an interest in the development of new technologies to diagnose and treat degenerative diseases. Follow him on Twitter@DrSamMoxon

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Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) Market Primary Research, Secondary Research, Product Research, Trends And Forecast By 2026- Kite Pharma Inc., Thermo…

Posted: at 6:57 am

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