Friday, August 25, 2017

DNA detectives crack the case on biothreat look-alikes

Principal investigator Jean Challacombe (left) assisted by Cheryl Gleasner. LANL photo.

Biological "detectives" are tracking down biothreats such as the bacteria that causes tularemia ("rabbit fever"), but they constantly face the challenge of avoiding false positives. Sounding the alarm over a bioattack, only to find it's a harmless relative in the same genus, reduces credibility and public trust. New work at Los Alamos National Laboratory is narrowing down the confusion over Francisella bacteria, a few species of which include highly virulent human and animal pathogens, fish pathogens, opportunistic human pathogens, tick endosymbionts, and free-living isolates inhabiting brackish water.   (Full Story)

LANL scientist testing bacteria to stop diseases

Pebble Labs in Los Alamos use fluorescence from jellyfish and UV light to view bacteria, Journal photo.   

A Los Alamos scientist is assembling a growing team of international experts to test his biotechnology for attacking vector-borne diseases.

Richard Sayre, a top-level senior research scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is also chief scientific officer of Pebble Labs Inc., which he helped create last year along with investors interested in his ideas for preventing the spread of viral diseases like Zika that live in mosquitoes – and doing so without killing off the bug. (Full Story)

Also from the Journal this week

Descartes gets $30 million in financing

Journal photo.

Los Alamos-based startup Descartes Labs Inc. has received $30 million in financing, the company announced today.

The Series B round of funding is led by March Capital, a Los Angeles-based venture capital fund, the company announced today.

Descartes, which launched in 2015, has been growing quickly with advanced image-recognition software from Los Alamos National Laboratory that allows industry, government and academic researchers to rapidly analyze global trends in almost any field using satellite imagery. (Full Story)

Medical imaging research leader selected for high honor by SPIE

Ken Hanson.         

Ken Hanson, a medical imaging research scientist at Los Alamos National Lab, has been selected as this year’s recipient of a top award from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

Hanson is receiving the 2017 SPIE Directors’ Award in recognition of substantial contributions to the long-running SPIE Medical Imaging symposium and of advances in medical image quality, restoration and 3D reconstruction techniques. (Full Story)

NM college lands funding to launch high-growth tech field program

Jorge Crichigno, chair of the Northern New Mexico College's College of Engineering and Technology.

The College of Engineering and Technology at Northern New Mexico College in EspaƱola has been awarded a nearly $434,000 grant from the National Science Foundation so it can launch a cybersecurity concentration under its Information Engineering Technology bachelor's degree program.

Collaborators include Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, the Western Academy Support and Training Center in California and the Network Development Group in North Carolina. (Full Story)

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