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Research roundup: Recent grants and publications for Emory faculty and staff
Still image of lab equipment including microscope and test tubes

As an academic research institution, Emory’s faculty and staff conduct studies across every discipline, from the sciences to the humanities. Here’s a sample of recent grant awards and the work they will support, plus highlights from some published research findings. 

To read more about ongoing research at Emory, visit the eScience Commons blog (for natural and social sciences) and the Lab Land blog (for health sciences).  

Grants highlighted: 

Publications highlighted: 


Kwong using NIH Director’s Pioneer Award to develop living biosensors  

Gabe Kwong, associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech and a member of Winship Cancer Institute’s Cancer Immunology Research Program, has received a 2022 Director’s Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health for his project, “Finding Sleeping Beauty: T Cell Biosensors for Dormant Cancer Detection.” The five-year, $5.5 million grant will support the development of a living sensor that could help doctors and patients monitor dormant cancer cells and detect the earliest stages of cancer recurrence. The Pioneer Awards support highly creative researchers with potentially transformative ideas. This is the first time an Emory researcher has received funding through the program. Learn more here

Reducing health disparities in lupus care  

Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects women, particularly from minority groups. A group of researchers led by S. Sam Lim, professor of medicine and epidemiology and clinical director in the division of rheumatology at Emory University School of Medicine, has received a CDC-funded U01 grant of $4.5 million over five years for a study examining racial health disparities related to lupus.  

The project, titled “Georgians Organized Against Lupus: The GOAL of Better Understanding Social Determinants of Health in Lupus,” will follow a population-based lupus cohort in Atlanta and evaluate the burden of lupus in rural Georgia to better understand how to reduce existing disparities and best treat all patients with this condition. The research efforts are based out of Grady Health System, where Lim is chief of rheumatology. 

Expanding rural access to addiction services  

Emily Kiernan, assistant professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicology, has been awarded a $2 million Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) grant to implement tele-addiction services in rural counties in the state of Georgia as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Behavioral Health Care Support. The grant will help expand access to opioid use disorder treatment using medical toxicologists and the Georgia Poison Center to facilitate emergency department and telehealth-based medication initiation and linkage to care with the goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder in high-risk rural communities.  

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, National Academies select Mitchell for Science Diversity Leadership Program   

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has selected Cassie Mitchell for its Science Diversity Leadership Program, which recognizes and supports outstanding early- to mid-career biomedical researchers who have a record of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Mitchell is an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech and a member of Winship Cancer Institute’s Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program. The five-year, $1.15 million award will support Mitchell’s project that will develop novel, large-scale biomedical data integration and machine learning methods to identify diverse features that explain and improve health disparities. Learn more here.   

Markowitz wins Packard Fellowship to follow his ideas wherever they lead  

Coulter Department assistant professor Jeffrey Markowitz has received a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, one of the most prestigious grants for early career faculty members. The five-year, unrestricted grant funding will allow Markowitz flexibility to take risks and explore new frontiers in his research. His lab is working to understand how the brain controls behavior to drive insights into neurodegenerative disease. They use 3D motion capture to relate neural activity to free behavior in mouse models. Learn more here

Examining how reward mechanisms guide future behaviors  

Ali Ochoa Cohen, a new assistant professor of psychology in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, arrives at Emory with an active National Institutes of Health K01 grant of $766,743 over the next four and a half years to support her research.  

Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this project seeks to determine how reward states modulate lasting memories that can carry over to guide future behaviors from childhood to adulthood. The funded work has the potential to define cognitive and neural mechanisms through which rewarding experiences persist in memory across adolescence. This may provide insights into vulnerability to substance use disorders and ultimately inform possible interventions to support healthy development.   

Developing new energy technologies from soft materials  

The Department of Energy awarded $650,000 to Tianquan (Tim) Lian, professor of physical chemistry, as a member of one of the DOE’s new Energy Frontier Research Centers. The award funds the work of Lian’s lab within the $11 million Center for Soft PhotoElectroChemical Systems (SPECS), headed by the University of Arizona, to investigate new technologies for energy applications. 

SPECS will explore basic science questions underlying the potential for the use of plastic electronic materials for energy conversion and storage technologies. These “soft” materials are predicted to fill a critical position in the U.S. energy portfolio by providing next-generation platforms for solar fuels and batteries that cannot currently be achieved with current inorganic “hard” materials. 

Lian specializes in the development of new techniques to selectively probe reactions on the surface of an electrode to gain insights into the fundamental steps involved in energy generation, conversion and storage technologies. In addition to Emory and the University of Arizona, the national SPECS team comprises a diverse range of expertise, including scientists from Georgia Tech, the University of Colorado, the National Renewable Energy Laboratories, Stanford and the University of Kentucky. 

Eva Dyer using NSF CAREER Award to make neuron-behavior connection  

The Coulter Department’s Eva Dyer has won a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. Her five-year project will focus on making sense of the massive datasets collected from advanced neural recording approaches. She aims to use machine learning methods to map what is happening between the neural activity that we never see and the complex behaviors — like drinking a cup of coffee — that we seem to perform with ease. Dyer plans to create dynamic models that can capture the changing nature of the brain over time as a result of aging or disease. Learn more here

Robotics, wearables, speech assistance among new Parkinson’s Blue Sky grant recipients  

Five interdisciplinary teams at Georgia Tech and Emory have received seed grants from the McCamish Parkinson’s Disease Innovation Program for early-stage innovative ideas for Parkinson’s projects. Biomedical engineer Charlie Kemp is developing a therapeutic robotic game system to enhance patient exercise experiences while reducing the demands on therapists. Yue Chen in the Coulter Department is leading a team creating a more accurate approach to deep brain stimulation electrodes. Emory Voice Center Director Amanda Gillespie is working on a wearable device to help patients improve their vocal loudness. And Michael Borich in the Emory Department of Rehabilitation Medicine is beginning preliminary work on deep brain stimulation to improve mobility and reduce falls for Parkinson’s patients. Learn more here

New gift supports Emory Eye Center AMD research  

A $486,000 gift from the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation will enable the Emory Eye Center to investigate new stem cell strategies for combatting geographic atrophy, a condition associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The Dobbs funding will support the purchase of equipment that is critical to the ongoing translational research being conducted by Emory Eye Center's John Nickerson and Sayantan Datta. Their proposal, “Differentiating Induced Pluripotent Cells into Retina Pigment Epithelial Cells as a Treatment for Geographic Atrophy in AMD,” outlines a process by which researchers will investigate the viability of using stem cells to regenerate a portion of the eye that is affected by AMD. 

AMD is a progressive disease that starts with the loss of central vision. Left untreated, it is the leading cause of blindness among the elderly. It is characterized by the decay of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) layer which eventually leads to the decay of the underlying photoreceptors. Patients with dry AMD experience geographic atrophy, a condition which has no treatment. 

In recent years, stem cells have been used to generate functional RPE which has then been used as a novel treatment for dry AMD. The new RPE is injected directly into the eye to replace dysfunctional atrophic RPE. Nickerson and Datta will focus on using induced pluripotent cells (iPSC) to create the new RPE. Their work will focus on improving the process by which iPSC is differentiated to become fully functioning RPE. In a healthy human body, RPE generation is supported by the Bruch's membrane. To facilitate this process with stem cells, creating a scaffold that mimics Bruch's membrane will be an important first step. 

The differentiation protocol for iPSC to RPE is still not perfect, Datta notes, but the team will be seeking to improve it as they work. The team will also investigate the possibility of improving immune response to transplantation by developing stem cells that are stripped of the factors that typically trigger rejection. By using these altered cells for RPE differentiation they hope the transplantation will avoid rejection issues. 

School of Nursing grant evaluates Alzheimer’s caregiver coaching for Asian American midlife women

The National Institute of Aging has awarded its R21 grant to Eun-Ok Im, professor, and Wonshik Chee, a research professor, with the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The grant provides funding for two years of $430,375 to reduce the burden of caregiving on health outcomes of Asian American midlife women serving as family caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer's disease. The purpose of the grant is to evaluate technology-based information and caregiver coaching/support that is culturally tailored for Asian American midlife women in improving their health outcomes.  

Exploring the neural pathways that inform appetite  

Anita Devineni, assistant professor of biology in Emory College of Arts and Sciences, recently obtained research funding from the prestigious Whitehall Foundation. The Whitehall Foundation has the overall goal of supporting research to better understand behavioral output or brain mechanisms of behavior.  

Devineni will receive a total of $300,000, $100,000 each year for the next three years, to support her research, which explores how neural pathways in the brain of the fruit fly process taste information to help make decisions about what to eat. The funded study takes advantage of genetic tools and detailed maps of brain cell connectivity that are available in the fruit fly to dissect the function of these neural pathways. Studying the fly taste system provides a model for understanding how the brain more generally processes and integrates different kinds of information.   

Ivanov receives Mary Kay Ash Foundation Award for new approach to control breast cancer  

Andrey Ivanov, assistant professor in the Emory Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, is one of 10 researchers selected from top cancer centers around the country to receive a Mary Kay Ash Foundation award. The award will support Ivanov’s research to develop a new approach to control breast cancer by targeting molecular interactions that promote tumorigenesis. Ivanov is a member of Winship Cancer Institute’s Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program and is team lead for computational chemical biology and systems pharmacology at the Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center. Learn more here

Chemist joins search for signatures of life on Mars  

Fang Liu, Emory assistant professor of chemistry, received $55,000 from the Scialog: Signatures of Life in the Universe program, to help explore whether liquid brines believed to be on Mars could potentially hold building blocks for life. 

Scialog, short for “science plus dialog,” aims to guide the science underlying major public investments in upcoming space missions. The program is funded by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Kavli Foundation and NASA. 

Liu, a computational theoretical chemist, is collaborating with Aaron Engelhart, a biologist at the University of Minnesota. The biologists will conduct laboratory experiments to see if proteins, DNA and RNA could survive in pools of salty water containing sodium perchlorate — a highly oxidative compound that is used in the preparation of rocket fuel — that could potentially be on Mars. The computational chemists will further extend and test this work through theoretical modeling that can simulate different structures of DNA and RNA in different environments.   

This collaboration will allow the scientists to explore whether a vast array of molecules with targeted properties could persist in the Martian brine pools to potentially become building blocks of life. 

A digital stethoscope for telemedicine visits  

The Georgia Research Alliance has awarded $20,000 in Phase 1A funding to cardiovascular disease fellow Matthew T. Brown and professor Lorenzo Di Francesco to continue voice-of-consumer research, prototype development and pilot data collection for the AusculBand, a patient-friendly, cost-effective digital stethoscope.  

Brown and a team of biomedical engineering undergraduate students originally developed the AusculBand as a project for the Georgia Tech/Emory Biomedical Engineering (BME) Capstone. The handheld plug-and-play device with app accompaniment was developed for less than $30 and integrates seamlessly with a variety of popular telehealth platforms to provide real-time heart sounds for clinician review during telehealth visits. The AusculBand has been highlighted at both Heart Rhythm Society's HRX 2022 and the Heart Failure Society of America's (HFSA) 2022 Scientific Sessions. Participate in a survey from the research team on the state of telemedicine here.

School of Nursing grant to determine how local barriers to care impact health outcomes for head and neck cancer patients  

The Oncology Nursing Foundation has awarded a grant for “Identifying Multi-level Social Determinants for Disparities in Survival and Patient-Reported Outcomes among National Head and Neck Cancer Trials” to a team led by Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing assistant professor Jinbing Bai. The research team includes Deborah Watkins Bruner, Kate Yeager and Ronald Eldridge, all with the School of Nursing, and Stephanie Pugh with the American College of Radiology. The grant provides funding for two years to determine the extent to which area-level social determinants predict survival and patient-reported outcomes via interacting with individual, institutional and biological factors among head and neck cancer patients. 

School of Nursing’s Chicas receives grant on interplay between glucose metabolism, heat in kidney disease  

The National Institute of Nursing Research has awarded its grant for “The Interplay between Glucose Metabolism and Heat in Kidney Disease using a Metabolomics Approach” to Roxana Chicas, assistant professor with the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. The K23 grant provides funding for three years to explore the relationship of glucose metabolism and heat exposure on the development of acute kidney injury and renal function, using high-resolution metabolomics and big data analytics to identify metabolic profiles and underlying mechanistic pathways of farmworkers in both hot and cool working conditions. This grant builds on Chicas’ previous work with farmworkers and their physiological response to heat. 

Post-doctoral fellow receives grant from NASA to improve environmental justice in metro Atlanta 

Yun Hang, a post-doctoral fellow in the Gangarosa Department of Environmental Health, was recently awarded a one-year grant by NASA’s Applied Sciences program to assess the feasibility of using NASA Earth Observations to support science education and decision-making in Metro Atlanta’s environmental justice communities. Hang was the only post-doc to have received the grant as a principal investigator — a rare occurrence for NASA grants. 

Hang studies the intersection of atmospheric science and public health with remote sensing techniques and machine learning algorithms. She plans on using satellite observations to extend ground monitoring networks to produce full-coverage exposure estimates in Atlanta that provide the required information to advance progress in environmental justice. Community partners on the project include Atlanta environmental justice community leaders dedicated to advancing the resilience of under-resourced communities and neighborhoods. Learn more here

Grant to give School of Nursing post-doc funding to design symptom interventions for colorectal cancer patients  

The Oncology Nursing Foundation has awarded a grant for “A web-based dyadic intervention to manage psychoneurological symptoms for patients with colorectal cancer and their caregivers” to Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing post-doctoral fellow Yufen Lin. The grant provides funding for two years to adapt an evidence-based cancer control program to a web-based dyadic intervention for patients with colorectal cancer receiving chemotherapy and their caregivers. The research grant will give Lin and her team the opportunity to advance intervention development and implementation in palliative and psychosocial care. In addition, this project will accelerate the transformation of technology-based programs into clinical practice. 


Study examines impact of ART regimens against COVID-19 in men with HIV  

A new study published in the journal AIDS compared the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes by antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens among men with HIV. The study, co-authored by Emily J. Cartwright, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, included men with HIV on ART who had adequate virological control, CD4 + cell count, and HIV viral load measured in the previous 12 months, and no previous COVID-19 diagnosis or vaccination. The findings indicate that a regimen of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine (FTC) may protect against severe COVID-19 outcomes in men with HIV. 

Early findings from HAPIN trial released  

Early findings from the Household Air Prevention Network Trial — an international multi-center study aimed at assessing the impact of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cooking stove and fuel intervention on health — were published in The New England Journal of Medicine

The aim of the multi-year HAPIN trial is to determine the impacts of a randomized LPG intervention on health in diverse low- and middle-income populations on four primary outcomes: birth weight, child stunting, child pneumonia and adult systolic blood pressure. Three thousand two hundred pregnant women (9 to <20 weeks gestation)—800 from each of India, Rwanda, Guatemala and Peru — were randomized on a 1:1 basis, either to receive a free LPG stove and fuel or to serve as controls that continued to cook on traditional stoves with biomass. The researchers measured stove use and the pregnant woman’s exposure to air pollution throughout the gestation period.

This paper, led by Thomas F. Clasen, Rose Salamone Gangarosa Chair in Sanitation and Safe Water at Rollins and MPI of the study, reports on the first of those outcomes and the one for which data is currently available. Additionally, HAPIN researchers recently received a 4-year $6.8M R01 from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences to continue following HAPIN children for growth and neurocognitive development outcomes until their fifth birthday. Learn more here

Coskun Lab zooming in on the signals of cancer  

In a pair of related studies, Coulter BME’s Ahmet Coskun has detailed the development of tools and techniques to deeply explore the tumor microenvironment and cell communication and interaction. In npj Precision Oncology, Coskun and his team described SpatialVizScore, a new method to visualize the interactions of T cells and additional immune cells like macrophages with tumors. In iScience, the team moved beyond communities and neighborhoods of cells, zooming in on subcellular protein-protein interaction networks, which can affect signaling pathways in cancer. Learn more here.  

Mutations in V-ATPase proton pump implicated in epilepsy syndrome   

Proton pumps are important enzymes, not only for the stomach, where they maintain the acidity needed to digest food, but elsewhere in the body. Genetic mutations perturbing one type of proton pump have been implicated in several diseases, including myopathy, osteopetrosis and hearing loss.  

Emory neurogeneticist Andrew Escayg, professor in the Department of Human Genetics, along with colleagues from Montreal, the UK and around the world, have added an epilepsy syndrome to that list. It doesn’t really have a name yet, besides the gene involved: ATP6V0C. Their findings were recently published in Brain.  

Starting with one patient identified at Emory, Escayg and his collaborators collected examples of 27 patients with heterozygous mutations in ATP6V0C, who tend to have developmental delay, early-onset epilepsy, and intellectual disability. The patients with ATP6V0C mutations also often have cardiac abnormalities or structural alterations in the brain visible on MRI. The findings are expected to aid other clinicians in diagnosing individuals with similar mutations, and could also help guide antiseizure drug choice. 

ATP6V0C is part of an enzyme complex called a “vacuolar ATPase” (V-ATPase), because it uses the energy from ATP to pump protons into cell organelles and keep them acidic. Escayg says ATP6V0C mutations may alter the loading of neurotransmitters into vesicles, or they may affect other aspects of brain development. The first author of the paper was former Emory graduate student Kari Mattison. Learn more here

Study provides new insights on improving the efficacy of immunotherapy  

The combination of an immunotherapy, PD-1 blockade, and biologic therapy, IL-2 therapy, generate higher quality effector CD8+ T cells — cells that play central roles in eliminating infected or malignant cells — which resemble the highly functional effector CD8+ T cells seen after acute viral infection that help the immune system control or clear the virus.  

Reported in Nature, the study was led by researchers at Winship Cancer Institute, the Emory Vaccine Center and Emory University School of Medicine, including first author Masao Hashimoto, associate academic research scientist at the Emory Vaccine Center and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and senior author Rafi Ahmed, professor of microbiology and immunology, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and co-leader of Winship’s Cancer Immunology Research Program. Learn more here

Treating the web of radiotherapy symptoms in head and neck cancer  

A study by Winship postdoctoral fellow Yufen Lin and colleagues used a network analysis to identify relationships between depression, fatigue, sleep trouble, pain and cognitive dysfunction, the five most common and distressing psychoneurological symptoms reported by patients with head and neck cancer undergoing intensity-modulated radiotherapy. The study was published in the journal CANCER

Lösel explores Mozart's theological impact  

Steffen Lösel, associate professor in the practice of systematic theology at Candler School of Theology, has recently published a new book. Theological Anthropology in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito: Sin, Grace, and Conversion (Routledge, 2022) considers the messages that Catholics in late-18th century Prague might have perceived in Mozart’s opera La clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus). Learn more here

Winship members contribute to new clinical guidelines on the use of integrative therapies for cancer pain  

Winship members Viraj Master and Deborah Watkins Bruner are co-authors on a joint practice guideline from the Society for Integrative Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The guidelines, released Sept. 19, include recommendations for providers on how to use integrative medicine approaches to safely and effectively treat common cancer symptoms and side effects. Learn more here

Do Grammy-winning pop artists take more creative risks than their runners-up?  

How do awards impact the creation of music among winners and shortlisted artists? This is the question Giacomo Negro, Goizueta professor of Organization & Management and professor of Sociology, looked to answer in his research along with Balázs Kovács from Yale University and Glenn Carroll from Stanford University. Their findings have shown that Grammy award winners have a greater likelihood of experimenting with new music genres than continuing to make the same kind of music. They also make more unique and distinctive musical products from other artists. This concept has been seen with popular artists such as Taylor Swift, U2 and Fleetwood Mac, with complex data derived from sources such as Spotify, Billboard, AllMusic and the Grammy Awards Academy.  

Nominees who did not win, on the other hand, tend to continue creating music that is more similar to other artists instead. The research shows overall an unintended consequence of music awards; while winners continue to experiment and innovate their styles, non-winners become more conventional and typical. Professor Negro suggests this can be applied to other markets, workplaces and industries, and even within more specialized Grammy award categories. Learn more here

Study finds correlation between parents with obesity and earlier onset obesity in their children  

A recent Rollins-led study published in American Journal of Epidemiology examined patterns of obesity in families and found that children whose parents have obesity are three to six times more likely to also develop obesity compared to children of parents with normal weight. They also develop excess weight much earlier in life than other children. This is important because longer exposure to obesity may elevate risks for obesity-related health conditions. Shared risks of obesity within families may be explained by genetic similarities, shared living environments and similarities in health-related behaviors. Rollins authors on the article are lead author Jannie Nielsen, Solveig A. Cunningham and K.M Venkat Narayan. 

The authors note that despite the strong correlation for increased obesity among children with obese parents, obesity remains a risk for everyone at a higher rate than previous generations and that it should continue to be an area for concern. With generational increases in obesity expected to continue, there are opportunities to adjust public health messaging to prevent comorbidities and better inform future generations. Learn more here.

Microchip can electronically detect COVID antibodies in just a drop of blood  

A single drop of blood from a finger prick. A simple electronic chip. And a smartphone readout of test results that could diagnose a COVID-19 infections or others like HIV or Lyme disease. Postdoctoral fellow Neda Rafat and Coulter BME’s Aniruddh Sarkar created a small chip that harnesses the fundamental chemistry of the gold-standard lab method but uses electrical conductivity instead of optics to detect antibodies and indicate infection. Their approach creates small silver deposits in tiny wells of a microchip when antibodies are detected in a blood sample, completing an electrical circuit that can be measured with a simple multimeter.  

The technique, published in the journal Small, is a new approach to diagnostics like the rapid antigen tests that have become so familiar during the COVID pandemic. The chips also can detect multiple different kinds of antibodies, allowing one chip to potentially screen for multiple infections from just a single drop of blood. Learn more here.    

New research examines effects of race, comorbidities on Alzheimer’s disease  

In the U.S., Black individuals have been shown to have markedly higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) than whites. New research published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia suggests that the reason for higher rates of AD among Black individuals is due to a higher prevalence of comorbidities such as high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of developing AD. 

Emory researchers led by Kyle Steenland, professor of epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health, studied the U.S. Medicare population from 2000 to 2018 and found that, among people with no comorbidities, Black individuals have 30% less risk than whites of developing AD. However, among those with comorbidities, Black individuals have a 20% higher risk of AD than those who are white. Among Black patients, the presence of hypertension increased AD rates by 69%, compared to a 14% increase for white patients. 

High blood pressure is often insufficiently treated in Black individuals, Steenland notes. If hypertension were better treated, the rates of AD would significantly decrease among Black individuals, and the public health burden of AD would not be expected to increase as much as is currently projected in the U.S. 

Rollins researchers Youran Tan, Liuhua Shi and Siyao Xiao co-authored the study, along with Thomas Wingo and Whitney Wharton from the department of neurology.  

New insights into how space affects genetic models  

To tell which genes have recently evolved, biologists look for certain distinctive patterns of genetic diversity that models predict will be left behind by adaptation. The models that these predictions are based on assume that the population is well-mixed. In other words, that everybody lives in the same place. But real populations are spread over space. 

Emory theoretical physicist Daniel Weissmann and colleagues decided to investigate if spatial structure might affect genetic changes. They showed through mathematical modeling and simulations that even a little bit of spatial structure can drastically change the predicted patterns left by adaptation.   

The journal Genetics published their findings, which suggest that the standard methods for finding adaptation need to be changed to incorporate space. 

Weissmann, assistant professor of physics, is corresponding author of the paper. First author is Jiseon Min and additional authors are Misha Gupta and Michael Desai, all of Harvard.  

Emory scientists in India discover a unique antibody that neutralizes most key COVID-19 variants

A recently published article in Science Advances describes a potential breakthrough in ongoing efforts to improve treatment and tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers from the Emory Vaccine Center, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the National Institute of Malaria Research in India discovered a highly potent monoclonal antibody derived from COVID-19 recovered individuals from India. 

Termed as clone 002-S21F2, this antibody was tested against several SARS-CoV-2 variants including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and the recently emerging and highly infectious Omicron sub-lineages like BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12, BA.4 and BA.5. Results from laboratory testing showed that the antibody potently neutralizes most of the key SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Unlike other antibodies that target areas of the virus that are more likely to mutate, this particular antibody targets a highly conserved area on the outer surface of the receptor binding domain of the virus. With its unique characteristics and neutralizing abilities, this antibody has excellent potential as a therapeutic against a broad range of infections and can help inform vaccine development. 

Study shows Hep C infection may increase TB incidence  

Hepatitis C infection may play a role in increased tuberculosis (TB) incidence, according to a recent study led by members of the Emory Tuberculosis Center published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The study took place in the country of Georgia where an unprecedented nationwide program is taking place to eliminate hepatitis C through widescale testing and treatment of the whole population. 

The researchers pooled data — involving more than 1.8 million adults — from the country of Georgia’s national databases tracking Hep C testing, treatment and TB disease cases, and found that having untreated hepatitis C infection was associated with a nearly threefold increased risk of developing TB disease than those who are not infected with hepatitis C. Further, they showed that among those who had hepatitis C and were cured, the increased risk decreased to 1.6-fold, suggesting that the active hepatitis C infection itself is playing a role in the increased TB disease incidence. Learn more here

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