Grant supports use of data science to optimize HIV care

: A Brown University biostatistician and an infectious disease specialist have received a $3.5-million grant to develop new ways to use data from patient health records to optimize effectiveness of HIV treatment where resources are limited, such as in the developing world. They will work with an HIV care program in Kenya that provides healthcare to more than 130,000 patients a year.

Suppressing a protein reduces cancer spread in mice

In a new study, researchers found that a specific protein called “chitinase 3-like-1” appears key in enabling malignant melanoma or breast cancer to spread to the lungs of mice. Decreasing its levels or blocking the protein dramatically reduced that spread.

Cliatt named VP for communications

Cass Cliatt, currently vice president for communications at Franklin & Marshall College, has been appointed vice president for communications at Brown University. Cliatt will begin her work at Brown April 1, 2015, succeeding Marisa Quinn.
Aroma of basil, scent of pine

Bacteria could be rich source for making terpenes

New research at Brown University and in Japan suggests bacteria could be a rich source of terpenes, the natural compounds common in plants and fungi that are used to make drugs, food additives, perfumes, and other products.

New technique reveals immune cell motion through variety of tissues

Neutrophils, cells recruited by the immune system to fight infection, need to move through a great variety of tissues. New research shows how neutrophils move through confined spaces in the body. A new system can mimic tissues of different densities and stiffness, enabling improved development and testing of drugs.
Big Data v. cancer

Algorithm identifies networks of genetic changes across cancers

Cancers often involve far more than a genetic mutation acting alone. Multiple mutations, many of which are rare, may occur in different networks of multiple genes. HotNet2 is a powerful algorithm that analyzes genes at the network level and can help cancer researchers search for genetic associations and likely sources of disease across almost unimaginable genetic complexities.

New technology makes tissues, someday maybe organs

A new device for building large tissues from living components of three-dimensional microtissues borrows on ideas from electronics manufacturing. The Bio-Pick, Place, and Perfuse (BioP3) is a step toward someday making whole organs. A new grant from the National Science Foundation will allow for major improvements including automation.

Molecular decoys help overcome drug resistance

Efflux pumps are surface proteins that prevent antimicrobial drugs from getting a foothold in a bacterial cell by identifying and pumping them out of the cell. New research suggests that small pieces of those drugs could keep the efflux pumps busy and allow the antimicrobial drugs to reach a critical mass inside the cell.
Ferguson evidence

Med students’ site translates Ferguson medical jargon

A group of nine Brown University medical students has posted lay translations of the medical evidence considered by the grand jury in the Michael Brown/Ferguson, Mo., case. The effort to provide a straightforward simplification of the jargon is meant to make the information more publicly accessible.