Bonding with LASIK: New Adhesive Could Improve Safety
by Maxine Lipner Senior EyeWorld Contributing Writer
While most of the time the LASIK flap continues to lay smoothly in place without any issues for the patient, blunt-force trauma from something as mundane as a misfired ball or Frisbee can change that. After surgery, the LASIK flap unfortunately remains forever vulnerable to dislocation, according to Gary Conrad, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan. "People thought that the LASIK flap was self-sealing, but in fact it's just like a wet piece of Saran Wrap on a wet windshield, held there beautifully by surface tension," Dr. Conrad said. Until now, a flap dislodged by trauma, with dirt likely flying everywhere, almost inevitably called for transplant. However, a new glue mixture developed by researchers in Dr. Conrad's lab may help to immobilize the flap and offset this risk, he thinks.
Results published in the June issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) highlighted the glue's ability to bind with the corneal surface. A second paper, published in the September issue of IOVS, focused on the molecular mechanisms at work here. The lead author of both, Stacy Littlechild, a recent bachelor's degree graduate in biology, began working in Dr. Conrad's lab as a "dishwasher" before undertaking the project. Ms. Littlechild's idea for the glue grew out of other work being done in the lab on changes on the surface of the cornea that occur after LASIK. Dr. Conrad explained: "I had colleagues who said, 'Did you know that if someone who has LASIK gets hit with a tennis ball or an automobile air bag, the flap comes right open, even though it may be several years after the operation?'" He agreed to take a look at potential causes of the unnervingly easy flap dislocations. Read More >>
K-INBRE to Hold Monthly Undergraduate Seminar Series
The Kansas INBRE is holding a monthly Undergraduate Seminar Series the first Thursday of every month on each campus through televideo. These presentations will be from Noon to 1pm, and will have topics about how to get into graduate school, bioscience careers after college, and the experiences of medical school from current students. Each K-INBRE campus will provide access to the presentations.
For more information please contact your K-INBRE campus mentor or coordinator (found here). Additionally, presentations will be archived on our website under the Resources tab. Check our Important Dates for the next seminar date.
KansasBio Sponsors K-INBRE Symposium Scientific Poster Session
KansasBio will again sponsor the poster session at the annual K-INBRE Symposium on January 14th, 2012. The top ten student posters will be awarded $100 each, made possible by the support of KansasBio.
“We are very grateful for the generosity of KansasBio,” said Doug Wright, Ph.D., Director of K-INBRE. “With their continued support, the K-INBRE is able to recognize and reward talented young scientists that are being trained in the state of Kansas.”
The poster session is one component of the 2-day Symposium, which provides an opportunity for students to present their original research to their peers. The Symposium exposes students to critical components for academic success; including the preparation of research findings for public presentation, improving public speaking skills, and the ability explain their research to their peers. Additionally, they are encouraged to explore the research of other students and learn about their research experiences. KansasBio will provide three poster session judges to score posters with three K-INBRE judges. The judges will review the abstracts of each poster and then listen to a 2-minute summary from each student presenter. The top ten posters will be identified for the monetary awards.
“KansasBio is proud to support the K-INBRE poster competition again this year. This event encourages promising new investigators who strengthen Kansas' ability to compete for NIH and other federal research funds,” said Angela Kreps, President of KansasBio.
KansasBio is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2004 by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation and the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute with the mission of representing the biosciences in Kansas. They are the Kansas affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and their focus is to attract and retain leaders, companies, and funding for bioscience.
Drs. Hiroshi Nishimune, Paige Geiger and John Stanford
Researchers share equipment, space and ideas to fight ALS
Three scientists at the University of Kansas Medical Center are combining their expertise to better understand the mechanism of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Hiroshi Nishimune, PhD, Paige Geiger, PhD, and John Stanford, PhD, collaborate on efforts to provide earlier diagnosis of and better treatment for the now fatal motor neuron disease.
Nishimune, Geiger and Stanford are seeking a $250,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund an initial two years of research on ALS. Additional project funding has come from the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, a Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Faculty Scholar Award to Stanford and K-INBRE starter funding for Nishimune’s and Geiger’s labs.
Stanford, an associate professor, wanted to study ALS because he had a way to measure bulbar symptoms, which affect face and tongue muscles, in animal models.
“Bulbar symptoms are a common presentation for ALS, and they interfere with eating, speech and respiration,” Stanford says. “My work is mostly behavioral, and I needed collaborators who work on muscles, which is Paige’s specialty, and the neuromuscular interface, which is what Hiroshi does.”
Loss of muscle strength is a component of ALS, so the researchers want to track when that starts in the progression of the disease.
“The slurring of speech might be the first thing you notice,” says Geiger, an assistant professor, “but there could be molecular changes in the muscle that occur earlier that are not detectable in human tests at this point.”
Although ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, it “seems to start at the muscle and work its way back to the spinal cord or brain,” Stanford says.
If the researchers can figure out which proteins in certain muscle fibers are affected first by the disease, then KU’s expertise in drug development could be tapped to come up with effective treatments.