Friday, February 23, 2018

Forecasting diseases one image at a time

The article’s author, Nick Generous. LANL photo.

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, we’ve been using mathematics and computer modeling since the early 2000s to better track infectious diseases. It’s easy to see how tracking diseases and stemming their spread are vital to national security. Diseases don’t care about boundaries. They don’t respect borders, and they aren’t governed by political ideology. All it takes to spread an infectious disease is for an infected person to carry it from one place to another. In today’s globally connected society, that’s all too easy.

To help prevent disease outbreaks in the United States, we need to improve public health all around the world, not just within our own borders. Better disease tracking—and, more importantly, forecasting—can help us do this. If disease outbreaks could be forecasted like the weather, communities could set up protective measures to mitigate their impact. (Full Story)

Using poop to cure gut infections

Anand Kumar works with a biosafety level 2 facility at Los Alamos, LANL photo.

If all disease begins in the gut, as Hippocrates declared more than 2,000 years ago, then surely the cures for those diseases must be tied to the gut, as well. That’s the basic idea behind research at Los Alamos National Laboratory that aims to make fecal transplants a thing of the past.

The gut – a.k.a. the gastrointestinal tract that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus – contains trillions of bacterial cells. A majority are good bacteria that reside in the nearly 30 feet of the large and small intestines. These good bacteria are responsible for a person’s overall health. (Full Story)

Exascale computers set to produce a quintillion calculations

Jim Ahrens, Exascale Computer Project Data and Visualization area lead. Post photo.

When thinking about the fastest supercomputers available today solving problems at the petascale, a quadrillion calculations per second, it is amazing to realize what has been achieved in the world of computer science.

Now comes the Exascale Computer Project (ECP), which was launched in 2016 as a collaboration between the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration involving six core national laboratories including Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

Also from the Daily Post this week:

Crowd packs UnQuarked to hear about ATHENA

LANL scientist Jennifer Harris draws a crowd for a discussion on ATHENA, Daily Post photo.

Despite snowy weather conditions Wednesday night, more than 50 people attended the Science On Tap to hear Jennifer Harris talk about the ATHENA project underway at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Harris discussed with the group gathered at UnQuarked at 145 Central Park Square, the fact that while new drugs are under constant development, most fail in clinical trials. Why do so many drugs pass animal testing, but fail in Phase 1 clinical trials in humans? Are animal models of human diseases ultimately really a good model for humans? (Full Story)

A nanowire array to screen drugs for neurodegenerative diseases

A human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) neuron on a nanowire array, ACS image.

The team developed a new hybrid integration scheme that offers, for the first time, a nanowire-on-lead approach. The approach enables independent electrical addressability, is scalable, and has superior spatial resolution in vertical nanowire arrays.

The team is from the University of California San Diego, the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories. (Full Story)

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