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Illuminating the flu: A new technology could make it easier for researchers to fight a host of diseases

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Photo of AIR platform device

A prototype of the AIR platform, which monitors
strains of the flu virus in order to develop effective
vaccines. [Permission granted by Benjamin Miller]

To stop a flu epidemic before it starts, you’ve got to know your enemy. But for epidemiologists and vaccine developers involved in the annual fight against the flu, it’s not enough to identify the mere presence of a flu virus. You’ve got to know exactly which virus you’re dealing with and how widely it has spread.

Figuring that out can be costly and difficult for scientists racing to contain a highly contagious disease, but an innovative, newly-patented test that needs only a drop of blood and a silicon chip offers hope for speeding up the process. And its inventor thinks his device, which may be on the market as early as next year, could be useful for detecting other diseases, too.

“What really excites me is having this tool that people come up to me with exciting applications that I haven’t thought of — that really is neat to me,” says Benjamin Miller, a dermatologist at the University of Rochester in New York.

Read More: Illuminating the flu: A new technology could make it easier for researchers to fight a host of diseases

URMC Researchers Discover Rare Flu-Thwarting Mutation

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A rare and improbable mutation in a protein encoded by an influenza virus renders the virus defenseless against the body’s immune system. This University of Rochester Medical Center discovery could provide a new strategy for live influenza vaccines in the future.

A new approach to the live flu vaccine would be particularly advantageous right now after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped recommending use of the live attenuate flu vaccine, FluMist® earlier this year. Several studies found that the pain-free nasal spray, which was used in about one-third of young children in the U.S., offered no protection to that especially vulnerable population. The flu shot, on the other hand, performed well and the CDC recommends using this vaccine in place of FluMist®.

“There is a need to understand what's happening with the existing live vaccine and potentially a need to develop a new one,” said David Topham, Ph.D., Marie Curran Wilson and Joseph Chamberlain Wilson Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at URMC and author of the study. “We proposed that the mutation we found could be used to create a live vaccine.”

Read More: URMC Researchers Discover Rare Flu-Thwarting Mutation

Minsoo Kim Wins Dolph O. Adams Award

Friday, July 15, 2016

Congratulations to professor of Microbiology and Immunology and The Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, Minsoo Kim, who has won the 2016 Dolph O. Adams Award. Dr. Kim will be accepting the award at the SLB Annual Meeting in September in Verona Italy!

This annual award is named in honor of the outstanding macrophage researcher Dolph O. Adams, M.D., Ph.D. The award is to recognize excellence of an investigator working in the area of cellular and molecular mechanisms of host defense and inflammation.

Minsoo Kim's Research Highlighted in 'Wilmot Stories'

Monday, June 27, 2016

Immunotherapy for cancer is an exciting topic, as it involves stimulating a patient’s own immune system to fight the malignancy. Although the concept has been around for 100 years,Wilmot scientists such as Minsoo Kim are making it more relevant today.

Kim is using a process called optogenetics to try to improve the response rates for immunotherapy, which range from about 30 percent to 70 percent. He wants to know why immunotherapy doesn’t work 100 percent of the time.

“It’s like we’re sending T-cells on a spy mission and guiding them throughout the process.”Read More: Minsoo Kim's Research Highlighted in 'Wilmot Stories'

Katie Richards Reaches 15 Years of Service at the University of Rochester

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

We would like to honor Katie Richards, a Technical Associate in the Sant Lab, for reaching 15 years of service at the University of Rochester.

"Katie has been invaluable to my laboratory’s success.  She has contributed her expertise, diligence, and thoughtful approach to research towards the success of multiple projects in the laboratory. She has also been tremendously valuable to the laboratory for securing grant funding and publishing the results of our studies" ~ Andrea Sant.

Congratulations again to Katie and thank you for your continued service

Tara Capece and Brandon Walling Receive Trainee Abstract Award

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

We are proud to recognize Tara Capece and Brandon Walling, who recently won the AAI Trainee Abstract Award. This award provides travel support to AAI Trainee members (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) whose first-author abstracts submitted to the AAI annual meeting are selected for oral presentation in Block symposia.  

Tara and Brandon are part of Minsoo Kim's lab. The Kim lab focuses on understanding how lymphocytes home to and migrate within tissues, specifically studying the role of integrin LFA-1. Tara studies the function of LFA-1 in T cell activation and differentiation while Brandon's project aims to elucidate the LFA-1 mediated mechanism of chemokine independent migration. 

Congratulations again to Tara and Brandon for their exciting science and gift to travel and present in the Block Symposium.