Category: James Collins

Free the Labs! The Biopunk Revolution Is Here

February 27th, 2014 in 2014, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers 0 comments

jcollins7Ozy
James Collins, College of Engineering

Molecular biologist Ellen Jorgensen was working in a struggling department at a biotech company in 2009 when she opened her local newspaper’s “News of the Weird” section to a story about people who were trying to use fluorescent proteins to make yogurt glow green — all from the comfort of a makeshift lab in their closet. Typically, lab access is restricted to biotech employees, university students and faculty members. But these renegades had beaten the system…

Expert quote:

“At best, [DIY biologists] will make a mess; at worse, they will get sick or make someone sick.”

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Why the Promise of Cheap Fuel from Super Bugs Fell Short

February 5th, 2014 in 2014, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, Technology Review 0 comments

jcollins7Technology Review
James Collins, College of Engineering

The sell-off of synthetic biology pioneer LS9 goes to show that making biofuels from genetically engineered microbes is harder than though has yet to deliver economically…

Expert quote:

“In most cases, they were university lab demonstrations that weren’t ready for industrialization.”

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Antibiotics of the Future

December 16th, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, Wall Street Journal 0 comments

jcollins7Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
James Collins, College of Engineering

Scientists are working to develop new strategies to combat the growing threat of germs that current antibiotics can’t fight…

Expert quote:

“The silver appears to make the outer walls of the bacteria more permeable, allowing the antibiotic to get in and do its job.”

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Can Craig Venter put an alien in your inbox?

October 20th, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, USA Today 0 comments

jcollins7USA Today
James Collins, College of Engineering

Craig Venter wants to e-mail a Martian to Earth…

Expert quote:

“I like the project very much, particularly from the standpoint of responding quickly and effectively to a newly emerged antibiotic-resistant strain” of bacteria.”

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Bioengineer builds molecular ‘switch’ to reprogram control pathways in cells

August 16th, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers 0 comments

jcollins7PhysOrg
James Collins, College of Engineering

A Stanford University bioengineer has helped develop a technology that can tweak the control systems that regulate the inner workings of cells, pointing the way toward future medical interventions that could switch off diseased states or turn on healthy processes…

Expert quote:

“It shows that we don’t need to start from scratch. We can achieve advances by harnessing components that we already have.”

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Study finds antibiotics may also harm patients’ cells

July 3rd, 2013 in 2013, Boston Globe, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, RESEARCH @ BU 0 comments

jcollins7Boston Globe
James Collins, College of Engineering

For years, public health officials have been sounding an alarm about the overuse of antibiotics, noting that the powerful drugs that can quash an infection with few side effects can also spur the rise of drug-resistant “superbugs.”…

Expert quote:

“That’s not killing the cell or causing a lot of damage, but it’s causing some damage. Our paper points to the need to investigate it further; I guess the public health comment would be given there is a potential for harm, one needs to be sure to ask for and only take [these drugs] when needed.”

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The Downside of Antibiotics?

July 3rd, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, RESEARCH @ BU, The Scientist 0 comments

jcollins7The Scientist
James Collins, College of Engineering

In addition to the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bugs, there may be another reason doctors should refrain from freely prescribing antibiotics…

Expert quote:

“We found that at clinical levels each of the antibiotics generated ROS and we showed that they do this in part by disrupting mitochondrial function.”

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Silver Makes Antibiotics Thousands of Times More Effective

June 20th, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, RESEARCH @ BU, Scientific American 0 comments

jcollins7Scientific American
James Collins, College of Engineering

Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver…

Expert quote:

“Resistance is growing, while the number of new antibiotics in development is dropping. We wanted to find a way to make what we have work better.”

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Silver found to increase effectiveness of antibiotics

June 20th, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Los Angeles Times, Newsmakers 0 comments

jcollins7Los Angeles Times
James Collins, College of Engineering

Thousands of years before the discovery of microbes or the invention of antibiotics, silver was used to protect wounds from infection and to preserve food and water…

Expert quote:

“We went from basically no killing to substantial killing.”

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Silver Boosts Antibiotic Efficacy

June 20th, 2013 in 2013, College of Engineering, James Collins, Newsmakers, RESEARCH @ BU, The Scientist 0 comments

jcollins7The Scientist
James Collins, College of Engineering

The antimicrobial properties of silver have been known for thousands of years, but it was not clear how the metal wreaked havoc on pathogenic invaders…

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