Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dr. Mitchell Forman, Dean of Touro University Nevada, Part of Trio to Talk at Thurs, Dec 11th NevBio Mtg

Dr.Mitchell Forman, Dr. Mahboob Qureshi, and Dr. Fred Schaller are speaking about the Touro Medical School in Henderson, Nev. The trio will be speak at the Dec 11th NevBio meeting at McCormick & Schmicks at 12 Noon. Dr. Mitchell Forman is the Dean of the University and will talk about the history of Touro, why they chose Nevada, and the need to train more doctors in Nevada. He, is an Osteopathic physician and the Founding Dean and Professor of Medicine at Touro University - Nevada. He completed his D.O. degree at the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1973. In 1979 he completed a rheumatology fellowship at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center and Kings County Hospital and remained on the teaching faculty of Downstate Medical Center. In 1992 he moved to the University of North Texas Health Science Center Fort Worth in 1992.

In Texas, Dr. Forman was the Director of Rheumatology at the Tarrant County Hospital District and a Consultant in Rheumatology for the Federal Corrections Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology Dr. Forman has a part - time clinical practice in Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases at Touro University Nevada. He and his wife, Pearl, live in Henderson, Nevada and are founders of the Allegro Guitar Society and the Classical Guitar series in collaboration with UNLV.

Touro University’s Medical School Graduating Class Largest in Nevada

On May 18, 2008 Touro University in Henderson, Nevada held its first graduation and made history with the largest medical school graduating class in Nevada. The 76 students graduating with Doctor of Osteopathy degrees from the College of Osteopathic Medicine began their studies when Touro University Nevada was established in 2004.
Unfortunately, Nevada does not have enough residency programs for the graduates and only eighteen members of the class will stay in Nevada, twelve at Valley Hospital, in a program developed in conjunction with Touro; and six at University Medical Center (UMC) and Sunrise Hospital as part of the University of Nevada School of Medicine’s residency programs.

The graduating class also included 58 students who have earned a master’s degree in education, nursing, occupational therapy or physician assistant studies. The majority of these graduates are expected to practice in Nevada.

Touro University Nevada is part of Touro College, a private, non-profit, Jewish-sponsored institution, which currently educates approximately 17,5000 students at locations in New York, California, Florida and Nevada, and outside of the United States, in the cities of Jerusalem, Moscow, Berlin and Paris.

Touro’s mission is to provide quality educational programs in the fields of health care and education in concert with the Judaic commitment to social justice, intellectual pursuit, and service to humanity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Pre-empted: Will The Supreme Court Gut Product Defect Claims Against Drugs Approved By The FDA?" Joint Mtg w/ NevBio & Boyd School of Law IP Society

Kelly Evans, Partner at Snell & Wilmer, will be discussing the case of Wyeth v. Levine that was argued at the Supreme Court on November 3, 2008 at the November 24th NevBio meeting. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Wyeth in the Levine case then it may result in the preemption of a broad category of mass tort pharma cases that have recently resulted in huge verdicts against pharma companies (i.e. Vioxx). This is a closely watched case for both the pharmaceutical and legal industries.

The meeting will be Monday-November 24th at UNLV's Boyd School Law Bldg Room 102
12:30 P.M.Lunch & Lecture ($20) UNLV at 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas, NV 89154
Please RSVP at 702-839-7222 or e-mail jlaub@regenmd.org

The following is from the Supreme Court of the United States Wiki as of November 6, 2008. Authorship: Michael Blaisdell. (1)

Diana Levine, a bass player and author of children's music in Vermont, visited a clinic to receive treatment for headache-related nausea but wound up developing tissue deterioration and gangrene in her arm, ultimately leading to its amputation. Clinic staff attending to Ms. Levine had administered the antihistamine Phenergen using a delivery technique known as an "IV push," inadvertently injecting the drug into one of Ms. Levine's arteries in the process. Although both Wyeth (the drug's manufacturer) and the FDA were aware that the "IV push" created a risk of inadvertent arterial injection and gangrene, the FDA had nevertheless approved labeling for Phenergen that warned against - but did not prohibit - IV push administration.

Ms. Levine brought a common-law negligence claim in Washington Superior Court against Wyeth, claiming that Phenergen's labeling was inadequate because it did not prohibit IV push delivery. Wyeth countered that because use of the warning label was mandated by the FDA pursuant to its authority under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), Ms. Levine's state tort suit was impliedly preempted by federal law in two ways: (1) it was impossible for Wyeth to satisfy both the labeling requirement of the FDA and the demands of Vermont's common law; and (2) state liability for use of an FDA-approved label would present an obstacle to the federal objectives of the FDCA.

The superior court instructed jurors that they could consider the FDA's approval of the label in making their negligence determination, but that the label's compliance with FDA rules did not establish the adequacy of the warnings therein. At the conclusion of the trial in 2005, the jury found in Ms. Levine's favor, awarding her more than $6 million in damages.

Wyeth appealed, and in October 2006, a divided Vermont Supreme Court upheld the ruling.
This case, Wyeth v. Levine, gives the Supreme Court another chance to mediate the relationship between organic, common-law jury verdicts and the cold machinery of the Supremacy Clause. After its February 2008 decision in Riegel v. Medtronic, in which it held that federal law expressedly preempted common-law suits against manufacturers of FDA-approved medical devices, the Court now considers the scope of federal preemption in the pharmaceutical industry, whose applicable federal regulations contain no express preemption clause.

1. "Wyeth v. Levine." Authorship: Michael Blaisdell. Scotus Wiki. November 2008.

Kelly Evans is a partner at Snell & Wilmer where his practice is focused on product liability defense, employment, and intellectual property litigation. His product liability litigation focuses on defending automotive and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Kelly's employment litigation practice includes representing employers in discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, and contractual matters. His intellectual property litigation concentrates on unfair competition, trade secrets, restrictive covenants, and trademark and patent infringement. Kelly has extensive experience in state and federal court, and before administrative agencies.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Hour Tour of Town Square-Fundraiser for UNLV Science Labs

"BIO ON THE VINE & ROCKS" Happy Hour Tour of Town Square

Join NevBio & Friends for a Happy Hour Tour of Town Square as we raise money for UNLV's Science Labs.
Tuesday, October 14th at Town Square- 5 PM to 7 PM
The Happy Hour Tour starts at TOMMY BAHAMA's CAFE for their famous Island drinks and appetizers.
Next, we walk across the square and down to the BRIO TUSCAN GRILL for Italian specialities and drinks on their open air patio.
Finally, we stroll over to the wine bar, THE GRAPE where we finish our tour with wine & cheese.

Please RSVP with Judy Rebholz at 839-7222 or jrebholz@cvbt.com

The Cost is $50. See you Tuesday, October 14th for fun, drinks & food.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oct 29th NevBio Meeting at Nevada Cancer Institute

"How to Manage Early Stage Drug Development" Dr. Peter Sausen of Covance Labs at the Nevada Cancer Institute
One Breakthrough Way, Las Vegas, NV 89135
Wednesday Oct 29th 11:30 AM Check-in, Speaker & Lunch 12 PM Cost: $35
Please RSVP-Judy at 839-7222 or jrebholz@cvbt.com

Sausen on "Managing Early Drug Development"

Dr. Peter Sausen of Covance Laboratories is focused on early stage drug development. He leads a team of scientists and project managers to help drug companies with their drug development needs from preclinical safety assessment through clinical proof of concept (Phase II) clinical trials. Dr. Sausen received his Doctorate in Toxicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology and has worked at G.D. Searle and Eli Lilly, before moving to Covance in 2005. In his article, "Effective Project Management for Multi-Sourced Early Drug Development," he noted the components associated with Investigational New Drugs (IND) and Clinical Trial Application (CTA):

· Genetic and molecular toxicology · Mammalian toxicology
· Safety pharmacology · Bioanalytical
· Drug metabolism · Dose formulations
· Program management · Regulatory strategy
· Pre-IND meetings · Investigator's brochure
· IND/CTA preparation · GMP analytical support
· Pharmacokinetics

He also noted the some of the causes for delays in development nonclinical stages such as:
· Interruption of drug supplies
· Unavailable validated analytical methods
· Lack of process for timely problem resolution
· Lack of process to assess data and interpret for inclusion in summary documents
· Failure to match nonclinical program with clinical goals

In Phases I & II, some of the causes for delays were as follows:
· Failure to prepare suitable formulation for clinical use
· Insufficient stability data to support clinical trials
· Lack of compliance with cGMPs
· Failure to prepare acceptable container label
· Inadequate information for ethics committee
· Inadequate insurance for trial participants
· Inadequate informed consent forms
· Lack of clearly focused clinical endpoints

Sausen summarized the article saying, "A well-designed development strategy is crucial to the success of a drug candidate which also requires developing a team with scientific and regulatory expertise to ensure that a streamlined and comprehensive development pathway is attained. The ability to funnel all phases of a study through a common pathway of data management, analysis, and reporting generates more efficient, consistent, and accurate results. Throughout the process the cumulative applied technical and scientific expertise of the study team is required to meet project requirements. In some cases, no amount of preplanning can predict all of the situations that may arise. The team must respond rapidly to scientific issues and regulatory requirements thereby ensuring the continued progress of the project towards critical milestones."

Sausen will be talking at the October 29, 2008 NevBio luncheon to be held at the Nevada Cancer Institute. The program will be two hours; although those who need to leave early, will be able.

Covance is a drug development services company that provides early-stage and late-stage product development services primarily to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries worldwide. The company has over 8,000 employees and revenues over a billion. Covance believes in supporting growing biotech organizations and has graciously flown Dr. Peter Sausen to Las Vegas for this meeting. NevBio appreciates their support. COVANCE-HELPING TO BRING MIRACLES TO MARKET SOONER.

We also want to thank Nevada Cancer Institute for hosting this meeting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dr. Robert Webber of DSX Therapeutics to Present - Friday, September 12th

Dr. Robert J. Webber is the founder and CEO of DSX Therapeutics, Inc. Dr. Webber was trained at the UCLA School of Medicine in the Department of Biological Chemistry. He was the founder, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Research & Diagnostic Antibodies®, the parent company of DSX Therapeutics, Inc. He is a pioneer in producing monoclonal antibodies, their use in diagnostic tests, and their utility as highly targeted treatments of disease. Dr. Robert Webber is the inventor or co-inventor of four issued patents and 13 pending US and foreign patent applications.

DSX Therapeutics, Inc. -Going After $19 Billion Sepsis Market


North Las Vegas-Based DSX Therapeutics has developed the first new diagnostic test to identify Sepsis 24 to 48 hours before the symptoms become apparent. In addition, DSX Therapeutics has also discovered a breakthrough therapy to treat this life-threatening problem.

Over 7 million people annually become susceptible to Sepsis and 250,000 Americans die from Sepsis each year. DSX Therapeutics is going after the $864 million diagnostic market and later the $19 billion treatment market for Sepsis. The scientists at DSX Therapeutics Inc. were conducting clinical trials for a new sepsis in vitro diagnostic (IVD) test, when they discovered that iNOS was an early biochemical marker for the onset of sepsis. They also realized that iNOS appeared to be centrally involved in the pathology of sepsis. The initial discovery culminated in the filing of patent applications to protect three novel therapeutic treatment modalities for sepsis and severe sepsis.

Sepsis Kills 250,000 Americans: Tenth Leading Cause of Death

Sepsis is the number one cause of death in Intensive Care Units. Most people believe that Sepsis is an infection. It is not. Sepsis results from an individual's hyperinflammatory response to cell wall components from dead micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. Unfortunately, Sepsis has very low Standard of Care in hospitals and hospital-acquired infections (nosocomial infections) are preventable events that affect approximately 2 million people in the USA every year and result in approximately 250,000 deaths per year. Currently, no early diagnostic test nor effective treatment exists for sepsis and severe sepsis. DSX Therapeutics has identified a biomarker and a treatment.

Chem Society Meeting in Las Vegas Researchers from UNLV & NevCancer

A number of Researchers from UNLV and Nevada Cancer Institute will be presenting at the American Chemical Society - 42nd Western Regional Meeting at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas from September 23rd to the 27th. Some of the topics are as follows:

"Proteomics in Cancer Research" by Dr. Ron Gary, UNLV

"Medicinal Chemistry in Cancer Drug Development" by Dr. Ron Fiscus, NevCancer

"New Developments in Biofuels Research" by Dr.Oliver Hemmers, UNLV

"Biodefense and Emerging Pathogen" by Dr. Ernesto Abel-Santos, UNLV

"Materials for Renewable Energy Applications" by Dr. Clemens Heske

"Lab-on-a-Chip Technology: Microfluidics/nanofluidics, for Chemical and Biochemical Applications" by Dr. Shizhi Qian, UNLV

"Radiochemistry in the Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle" by Dr.Ken Czerwinski, UNLV

More information can be found at http://membership.acs.org/W/wrm2008/index.htm
The Southern Nevada Section of the American Chemical Society and the Two Year College Chemistry Consortium (2YC3) are hosting the conference.

Pre-Med Advising Program at UNLV is Outstanding! 87% Acceptance into Med Schools

UNLV College of Science implemented a comprehensive Pre-Health Science Professional Program in January of 2005. As a result of this program, 87.5% of the students, gained acceptance to medical school. UNLV now exceeds the national acceptance percentage for medical school applicants of 48% for the last five years. Pre Med Program

UNLV Genomics Lab is Productive-51 Research Papers So Far


The Genomics Laboratory has enabled UNLV to publish 51 scientific peer reviewed science journals form 2005 to 2007 in the areas of BioMedical, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics, and Physiology.

UNLV's College of Science's Fascinating Research

Ken Czerwinski leads a radiation chemistry program to improve medical treatment for cancer and to improve disposal of nuclear materials.

Frank van Breukelen studies hibernating ground squirrels to improve human organ transplant techniques.

Michelle Elekonich investigates aging and muscle use in honey bees to address human illness.

Ron Gary examines cellular responses to DNA damage with cancer treatment applications.

David Lee applies biomechanics to create robotic equipment with applications for human prosthetics and the repair of knee and ankle joints.

Carl Reiber looks at the physiology of shrimp to improve our knowledge of human cardiovascular functions.

Jeffrey Shen focuses on bioinformatics tools for genome analyses and gene annotations.

Anton Westveild creates mathematical models to spur cancer research investigations.

Helen Wing explores the biology and pathogeneses that causes dysentery in humans.

Clemens Heske studies hydrogen fuel applications and is in charge of a large DOE- funded hydrogen fuel project.

Dong-Chan Lee researches new electron-deficient semiconductors, organic field effect transistors, photovoltaic cells and nanostructured materials.

Brian Hedlund conducts research on unique thermophilic life forms in Nevada's hot springs which has resulted in promising industrial enzymes for use in biomass applications.

Ernesto Abel-Santos explores biotoxins and anthrax remedies.

Steve Roberts studies the biomechanics and aerodynamics of insects to create miniature robotic flying machines.

Adam Simon explores volcanoes to better utilize thermal energy resources in Nevada and around the globe.

Chulsung Bae experiments with energy storage and fuel cell membranes for hydrogen cars.

Balakrishman Naduvalath applies theoretical and computational algorithms to study chemical reaction and processes of interest in the earth's atmosphere with issues for atomic and molecular physics.

UNLV Energy Symposium: BioFuel, Solar, Hydrogen, Algae & More

August 20th at UNLV -Public Welcome

This year's Renewable Energy Symposium will have a number of timely talks:

"Solar Thermal Power" by John O'Donnell, VP of Ausra. Ausra has built a 130,000-square-foot facility in Las Vegas that opened in July 2008 that will eventually employ 50 people, who will be able to manufacture about four square miles of solar-thermal collectors a year, enough to generate 700 megawatts of electricity. (A megawatt can fuel anywhere from 400 to 1,000 homes depending on their energy consumption)

"New Bio-Energy Technologies" by Jay Johnson of Noresco. NORESCO is one of the largest U.S. energy services companies specializing in the development, design and operations of energy efficiency projects. Over the past two decades, NORESCO has implemented more than $2 billion in energy projects at more than 2,000 sites throughout the United States and abroad.

"Micro-Algae Could Play a Significant Role in Achieving Energy Independence" by Thomas Nartker of UNLV. UNLV could become the center of research and development of this promising, bio-fuel. Algae-biofuels could easily replace oil in the United States.

"Solar-Thermochemical Hydrogen Production Project - Progress Toward Industrial Scale Water Splitting" by Dr. Roger Rennels of UNLV. Hydrogen production by thermo-chemical water-splitting is a chemical process that accomplishes the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen using only heat or a combination of heat and electrolysis instead of pure electrolysis. It is a goal of clean, renewable energy to create hydrogen production using only water and clean renewable solar energy.

"FCAST - The Fuel Cell and Storage Technology Project at UNLV" by Dr. Clemens Heske of UNLV. Dr Clemens is running this million dollar, DOE-funded research to establish develop hydrogen fuel cells and storage. The project includes 12 researchers at UNLV studying fuel cell membranes, nanomaterial fabrication, nanospectroscopy, carbon nanotubes, hydrogen absorption and other areas.

"New Functional Polymers for Alternative Energy Applications" by Dr. Chulsung Bae of UNLV. Dr. Bae is also working Dr. Heske Fuel Storage project. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry at USC in 2002 . In 2002, he moved to Yale University to carry out postdoctoral studies with Professor John F. Hartwig investigating functionalization of C-H bonds in alkanes and polyolefins.

"Saving 35% Electricity by By Improving Efficiency" by Brian Taylor of Power Efficiency Corporation (PEC). Las Vegas-based PEC has a patent pending device that saves up to 35% of the energy of electric motors. PEC has sold three of its units to Las Vegas hotels for their elevators and escalators. Brian Taylor is a Senior VP with PEC

Dr. Hemmers Makes The Case Algae-Based Biofuels -5,000 Gallons an Acre

"One acre of algae can produce 5,000 gallons of biodiesel as compared to corn which produces 420 gallons per acre," said Dr. Oliver Hemmers, the Director of Strategic Energy Programs at UNLV. Dr. Hemmers gave a presentation to the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium at their June 2008 meeting on biofuels.

Asked how long it would take to produce 5,000 gallons, Dr Hemmers went on to say, "One season. The longer and colder a winter is the shorter the period, similar to other crops. In warmer areas the production could be as high as 15,000 gallons per acre just because of the longer warm period." Some of the proposed algae-based fuel projects have suggested building the systems next to coal burning power plants.

The CO2 emissions could be used to feed the algae along with sun. Algae can capture up to 80% of the CO2 output of a plant which on average, produces over 5 million metric tons of CO2. A coal burning plant combined with an algae-pond system could produce 156 million gallons of biodiesel a year, at $2.25 a gallon that would be $351,000,000 in revenue a year.

A number of the researchers at UNLV believe that an algae pond system should be set up next to the Reid-Garnerville plant outside of Moapa, Nevada (90 miles north of Las Vegas) and it could be used to clean up one of the dirtiest per capita coal burning plants in the country and produce millions of gallons of biodiesel.

Dr. Hemmers said that Dr. Thomas Nartker, a Chemical Engineer at UNLV approached him about the potential of algae-based biofuels. A project like this would require scientists and engineers to work together. Because the algae grows exponentially, the challenge would be how to effectively deal with the volume that is produced. These are good challenges especially during these times of rising fuel prices.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

2008 Big Events in Science

Las Vegas will host a handful of special events this summer and fall that will be unique and offer a great opportunity for Las Vegans to attend some incredible meetings.



August 6, 2008
Biotechnology Day at UNLV

A full day of displays of undergraduate research, speakers, a joint luncheon with Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience, a special presentation from the National Science Foundation and tours of UNLV’s Genomics laboratory.

See more information at http://www.nevbio.org/

August 19, 2008
National Clean Energy Summit at UNLV

Senator Harry Reid, UNLV and the Center for American Progress Action Fund are putting a day-long clean energy summit at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion. Reid said that he believes Nevada can be a world leader in the renewable energy industry because of its rich solar, wind and geothermal resources. As the Majority Leader, clean energy and Nevada’s central role in this revolution will be a top legislative priority of his for the next Congress. Some of the speakers include luminaries such as former President Bill Clinton, energy developer T. Boone Pickens, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Colorado Governor Bill Ritter.

Go to http://www.cleanenergysummit.org/ for more information.

August 20, 2008

UNLV’s 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Symposium

The 2008 UNLV Renewable Energy Symposium will be presented by UNLV’s Office of Strategic Energy Programs and co-sponsored by the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. UNLV faculty will give presentations on hydrogen fuel storage, solar-thermochemical production of hydrogen, catalyst production for the biodiesel industry, micro-algae as a possible solution to capture CO2 from coal burning power plants and turning algae into biodiesel. The US and Nevada Forest Services and a private company will present on Bio-Energy. Nevada Power will talk about meeting the renewable energy requirements of Nevada. The event is open to researchers, educators, students, policy makers, the private-sector and the public. This symposium is one of several events that will take place at UNLV during the week of August 18 to 22.

More details can be found at http://osep.unlv.edu/Esy2008.

September 23-27, 2008

American Chemical Society - 42nd Western Regional Meeting

The Southern Nevada Section of the American Chemical Society and the Two Year College Chemistry Consortium (2YC3) are hosting the American Chemical Society - 42nd Western Regional Meeting. Researchers from around the country, including a large number from UNLV will be presenting on a number of subjects such as Radiochemistry and Radiation Detection, Future Energy Sources and Material Science, Biomedical and Cancer Research, Organic Chemistry/Natural Products, Environment/water research and Chemistry Education to be held at the Riviera Hotel & Casino.

More information can be found at http://membership.acs.org/W/wrm2008/index.htm

October 8-10, 2008

1st Annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference


The Southern Nevada Water Authority, the EPA's WaterSense program and other international organizations are hosting the largest conference of its kind in the world.
The WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition will be the premier venue for showcasing new water-efficiency technology to industry and business from around the globe. The seminars and exhibit hall are open to the public. It will be held Oct. 8-10, 2008, at the South Point Hotel & Casino.See more information at http://www.watersmartinnovations.com/

Monday, June 30, 2008

New Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure in Las Vegas-July 10th Meeting

Dr. Richard M. Sweet, M.D. is the Medical Director of HemoTherapeutics which is opening an outpatient Aquapheresis treatment center. Aquapheresis is a method to safely remove excess fluid and salt from hear failure patients. Once filtered, the clean blood is returned to the body through a second catheter.By using the system, up to four liters of fluid can be removed in an eight-hour period with no significant impact on blood pressure, kidney function or electrolyte balance.He is speaking at the July 10, 2008 NevBio Meeting.

Dr. Edward Philbin, Medical director of the Heart Failure Program at Albany Medical Center told the Daily Gazette of Schenectady, New York that Aquapheresis is an innovative therapy that removes dangerous levels of excess fluid in patients suffering from congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure is the most expensive diagnosis in the medicare Program-over $30 Billion. The therapy has proven to be more effective in removing excess fluid than standard treatment and reduces the likelihood of repeated hospitalizations for congestive heart failure, said Philbin.

"The new research coming out and studies we are participating in would suggest that aquapheresis is more effective and safer than diuretics," he added. Aquapheresis is the first major advancement for acute fluid removal in the setting of acute heart failure since the introduction of diuretics more than 50 years ago.

Philbin explained that aquapheresis uses the process of ultrafiltration to remove excess sodium and water from the body. Blood is withdrawn through a catheter and circulated through the filter system that separates the fluids from the blood.
The Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience meeting is Thursday, July 10, 2008 at Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe in Town Square at 6635 Las Vegas Blvd. The cost is $35.
RSVP with Judith at 702-839-7222 or jrebholz@cvbt.org.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Are Bio-Fuels A True Alternative? Yes -5,000 Gallons an Acre


Yes and were not talking corn! It is algae. “One acre of algae can produce 5,000 gallons of biodiesel as compared to corn which produces 420 gallons per acre,” said Dr. Oliver Hemmers, the Director of Strategic Energy Programs at UNLV. Dr. Hemmers gave a presentation to the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium at their June meeting on biofuels. Asked how long it would take to produce 5,000 gallons, he went on to say, “One season. The longer and colder a winter is the shorter the period, similar to other crops. In warmer areas the production could be as high as 15,000 gallons per acre just because of the longer warm period.” Some of the proposed algae-based fuel projects have suggested building the systems next to coal burning power plants. The CO2 emissions could be used to feed the algae along with sun. Algae can capture up to 80% of the CO2 output of a plant which on average, produces over 5 million metric tons of CO2. A coal burning plant combined with an algae pond system could produce 156 million gallons of biodiesel a year, at $2.25 a gallon that would be $351,000,000 in revenue a year.

A number of the researchers at UNLV believe that an algae pond system should be set up next to the Reid-Garnerville plant outside of Moapa, Nevada (90 miles north of Las Vegas) and it could clean up one of the dirtiest per capita coal burning plants in the country and produce millions of gallons of biodiesel.

Dr. Hemmers said that Dr. Thomas Nartker, a chemical engineer at UNLV approached him about the potential of algae-based biofuels. A project like this would require scientists and engineers to work together. Because the algae grows exponentially, the challenge would be to effectively deal with the volume that is produced. These are good challenges.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hemmers to Speak at NevBio on Biofuels and the Renewable Energy Symposium

Dr. Oliver Hemmers is the Director of the Office of Strategic Energy Programs, UNLV and an Associate Research Professor, Department of Chemistry. Dr. Hemmers will discuss Biofuels and UNLV's 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Symposium at the June 10th meeting of NevBio.

Dr. Hemmers is currently the Project Manager of a DOE-funded biodiesel project that is focusing on new ways to produce sodium methoxide. The project involves eleven graduate students, one technician, eight post-docs, one research professor, five faculty members and one commercial partner.

Dr. Hemmers received his Ph.D. in Atomic and Molecular X-Ray Spectroscopy from the Technical University in Berlin, Germany in 1993. His research includes hydrogen fuel storage with a focus on carbon nano-structures and new materials for renewable energy.

He has published approximately 90 articles, given about 200 presentations at national and international meetings and has secured research grants in excess of six million dollars.

Algae-Based Biofuels to be Discussed at UNLV Energy Symposium

Algae as biofuel can be 20 times as productive as corn or soy, growing year round and harvested daily. Large algae ponds can be grown in Nevada because they need land and a lot of sun but not agricultural land or clean water. In a number of areas in the country they are using coal fired smoke stacks to feed the algae and clean the smoke. It has been estimated that by 2020, algae could be producing as much pollution-free transportation fuel as Saudi Arabia delivers in fossil fuel. Honeywell and several airlines are researching the use of biofuels for commercial aircraft. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is also funding research in to biofuels. UNR has several projects on algae as a biofuel. A large-scale algae-based biofuels project would be a good for the state.

Over 70 Attended May's NevBio Meeting on the Brain Institute

Dr. Zaven Khachaturian gave an exceptional presentation on the goals and mission of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. Dr. Kachaturian is looking for new ways to fight brain diseases. He is bringing the best minds in the field to discuss and share their ideas on a regular basis to Las Vegas. He is looking for new ways to treat brain disorders that are not yet part of the orthodox thinking on treatment. He is looking for ways to prevent and delay the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia. He wants to see clinical trials in Las Vegas. He was an inspiring speaker.

UNLV's 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Symposium Receives Support from Senator Reid

US Senator Harry Reid and his staff are strongly supporting UNLV's Renewable Energy Symposium. Senator Reid has a keen interest in renewable energy and his office sees this event as an pivotal opportunity to help shape America's alternative energy policy.

The Symposium will be held on August 20, 2008 at the UNLV's Stan Fulton Building. The program will cover Solar, Wind, Hydrogen and Biofuels. The event is open to researchers, educators, students, policy makers, the private-sector and the public. This symposium is one of several events that will take place at UNLV during the week of August 18 to 22. More details can be found at http://osep.unlv.edu/Esy2008

Hiba Risheg-UNLV College of Sciences’ Alumna of the Year Made Important Gene Discovery

Dr. Hiba Risheg graduated from UNLV's College of Science in 1997 and later earned her PhD in Genetics. Hiba has been credited with discovering the gene that causes a form of mental retardation. Researchers have been searching 40 years for this gene.

It was the birth of Hiba Risheg's cousin, Zied which led to a breakthrough career in genetics. Zied was born with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a genetic disorder characterized by developmental delay or mental retardation, seizures, and lesions of the skin and nervous system. Hiba wanted to understand the genetics behind the disorder. Years later, she had her answer. TSC can be inherited, but most often results from a spontaneous genetic mutation. "It's something that just happens. Just by chance," Risheg says. With the causative gene isolated, the syndrome can be better defined and diagnostic testing can be offered. UNLV's College of Sciences has awarded Hiba Risheg its 2008 Alumna of the Year Award.

University of Nevada, Reno Holds Their 4th Annual Biotech Symposium

University of Nevada, Reno College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources held its 4th annual Biotech Symposium on May 14, 2008. The event is set up to allow students to showcase their research. UNR's five year BS/MS program for Biotechnology is being run by Dr. David Shintani.

This year seven students competed with posters and presentation. The students were also judged on the Best Research Presentation. In addition, the symposium also had speakers from Sierra Sciences, Charles River Laboratories and AFG Biosolutions. John Laub and Judith Rebholz from NevBio attended this year's event. "It's an impressive event. The students are the stars of the program and they have done some incredible, cutting edge research. Dr. Shintani is to be commended for putting on this program," said John Laub.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Father of Alzheimer’s Research to Speak at NevBio May Mtg

Dr. Zaven Khachaturian is widely recognized around the world as the father of Alzheimer’s research in the United States. Dr. Khachaturian is speaking at the May 8, 2008 lunch meeting of the Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium (NevBio) at the Panevino Restaurant on Sunset and Via Antonio Rd (246 Via Antonio).

Dr. Khachaturian is also President and CEO of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and Keep Memory Alive, Inc., a Nevada based not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for memory, mood and movement disorders associated with diseases related to dementia, including such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and other neurodegenerative conditions.

He is responsible for planning, staffing and developing the medical and scientific programs of the Institute, which will be housed in the Frank Gehry-designed building in Las Vegas.

Dr. Khachaturian is best known as the architect of most scientific programs of research on brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease supported by the U.S. Government.

Dr. Khachaturian maintains a full schedule as an author and public speaker on such topics as: Aging, Alzheimer’s disease, Politics of Science, Prospects of Preventing Disabilities of Aging, Barriers to the Development of Effective Treatments, and Revolutions in Models of Care and Future trends in Research.

He is also the ‘Senior Science Advisor’ to the Alzheimer’s Association and serves as the Editor-in-chief of Alzheimer’s Dementia: Journal of the Alzheimer’s
Association

He serves on the editorial boards of several publications and the advisory committees of many organizations. He provides guidance to universities, foundations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and nursing homes in formulating strategies for: program evaluation, planning, legislative initiatives, development/fund raising and media relations.

Formerly, he was Director of the Ronald & Nancy Reagan Research Institute of the Alzheimer’s Association. He was also the former Director of the Office of Alzheimer’s Disease Research, which coordinated all Alzheimer’s disease-related activities at the National Institutes of Heal in Bethesda, Maryland. During the same period he also served as the Associate Director of the Neuroscience and Neuropsychology of Aging Program at the National Institution on Aging at NIH. During nearly twenty years of government service, he occupied progressively more responsible positions dealing with a broad range of national scientific and technical issues concerning the development and funding of national research programs/initiatives on: brain aging, neurological disorders, diagnostic criteria and standards, research infrastructure for clinical trials, drug discovery programs, intellectual property rights, regulatory issues and cultivation of human resources.

The Thursday, May 8th NevBio meeting will be at the Panevino Italian Restaurant at 246 Via Antonio. Check-in and networking start at 11:30 AM and the meeting will start at 12 PM. The cost is $30. Pay at the door or online at nevbio.org. Credit cards, cash, checks accepted. Please RSVP to Judith Rebholz 839-7201 or jrebholz@cvbt.com

UNLV has new Technology Transfer Director

Dr. Robert Sweitzer is the new Director of the Office of Technology Transfer at UNLV and will be focusing on increasing UNLV’s patents and licensing opportunities. This is an area that can generate big revenue for UNLV. Dr. Sweitzer will help faculty and students with patent and copyright procedures, licensing, venture capital, business incubation and starting companies.

Dr.Swietzer told Linda Rubinson, Director of Development for NevBio, that he is especially exited about UNLV’s Genome Center. He believes that it has great promise for new research and patenting opportunities.

Dr. Stan Smith, Associate Vice President for Research said that UNLV is firmly behind technology transfer at UNLV. He said in press release, “President Ashley’s desire [is] to advance UNLV’s research agenda, we are committed to taking technology transfer to a new level of activity.” UNLV College of Sciences has been doing their part by pushing new research and hiring new talented researchers.

Sweitzer had worked with Technology Ventures Corporation in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where from 2005 to 2007 he was Director of Project Development and Business Assistance and concurrently served on the marketing faculty at New Mexico State University. From 1993 to 2005 he was founder and president of The Matrix Group in Redlands, Calif., where he developed marketing strategies and business development programs for southern California companies. He also served on the faculty of Pepperdine University in 2004-2005 and Claremont Graduate University from 1989 to 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue University and an MBA and Ph.D. from Michigan State University.


1. “UNLV Appoints Technology Transfer Director.” Press Release. UNLV’s Division of Research and Graduate Studies. January 30, 2008.

NevBio Goes to Washington DC

Seven members of Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium traveled to Washington DC to promote Biotechnology in the State of Nevada. See more at NevBio in DC

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) sponsored seven members of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium to be in Washington DC on April 15th and 16th to attend several briefings on issues concerning the industry and to provide an opportunity to discuss biotechnology with the Nevada Congressional Delegation

The industry is concerned about proposed changes in patenting, the need to increase funding to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), opening up the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) programs to companies that have taken venture capital funding and to provide broader support of Biofuels initiatives.

The Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium group included: John Laub, Nev Bio Executive Director; Linda Rubinson, Nev Bio Development Director; Ron Yasbin, Dean of the College of Sciences at UNLV; Carl Reiber, Associate Dean of the College of Sciences at UNLV; Oliver Hemmers, Director of Strategic Energy Programs at UNLV; Jennifer Von Tobel, Executive Director of the Von Tobel Bio-Medical Institute and Trish Williamson, Marketing Director of the Von Tobel Bio-Medical Institute.

The delegation met with the following:

Senator Reid’s office included Jason Unger, Brittany Blanchard, Neil Kornze, Carolyn Gluck, Michael Castellano and Mark Wetjen.

Senator John Ensign’s office included Jason D. Mulvihill, Andrew Shaw, Brooke Allmon and John Lopez

Congresswoman’s Shelley Berkeley’s office included Congresswoman Shelly Berkeley, Matthew R. Coffron and Jeremy Kadden.

Congressman’s Jon Porter office included Congressman Jon Porter, Stan Olsen and John Minn.

Congressman Dean Heller office included Congressman Dean Heller, Leeann Walker and Stewart "Mac" Bybee.

NevBio President is Health Care Headliner

By Danielle Birkin, Contributing writer In-Business

John Laub believes the transition from the information age to the biotech age is afoot, and as executive director of the Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium (NevBio) — a volunteer, nonprofit organization comprised of companies, institutes, academia, researchers, scientists and individuals interested in biotech and life sciences — Laub is poised to disseminate information, encourage business development and promote scientific investigation and education. Laub is a native Nevadan who has a background in accounting finance and is also executive director of the Regenerative Medicine Organization. He said NevBio was founded a year ago when he and a group of colleagues attended the Regenerative Medicine Conference. Impressed with new research and opportunities, they decided to create an organization to bring a focus and create a synergy to the advancements made in life sciences. “The mission of the group is awareness,
education and partnership,” said Laub, one of the four co-founders. “We need to make Nevadans aware that we are entering the biotech century,” he said, adding that our kids need to learn and understand biology because it will be as important to the younger generation as knowing computers and the Internet was to the previous generation. “And
it takes education and business to work together. … This will help Nevada by providing
economic development, new treatments and an increased number of clinical trials for Nevadans and better health care as doctors in Nevada are exposed to new treatments and more resources.” “In one short year, we’ve had a tremendous impact because Las Vegas and Nevada are ready for this,” Laub said.

“The advances that are occurring in science and medicine are exciting and I feel like I have a front-row seat to some of the greatest discoveries that are going to change mankind. Craig Venter, who helped bring about the making of the first synthetic bacterial genome, said that the science is important, but getting the word out about the science is just as important, so we all have a role.”

Laub said science and math education are strongly emphasized in Southern Nevada
— thanks, in part, to a push from parents, teachers and the Clark County School District — which will help prepare young people for the biotechnology revolution.

“But we need to make people aware of what’s going on in biotechnology so we can start attracting developing companies and encouraging research,” he said. “Right now, we have students graduating from the college of sciences at UNLV who can’t find jobs here and we want to change that. We’d like to keep them here … because this is our best and our brightest. We can become more than a tourist destination. We can become a center for biotechnology and I think we will because people in Las Vegas think out of the box and they are risk-takers, and that’s what’s going to make a difference in becoming a biotech center.”

Health Care Headliners
SUPPLEMENT TO IN BUSINESS LAS VEGAS April 11, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

BioProspecting Nevada’s Geothermal Ecosystems: Dr. Hedlund's Talk at March Mtg

Brian Hedlund, Ph.D, a microbiologist and Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, spoke at the March 12, 2008 Nev Bio Meeting.

Five years ago, UNLV had a vision to build a world class Microbiology Department. According to Carl Reiber, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the College of Sciences this department’s second hire was Brian Hedlund, Ph.D. Brian is a remarkable teacher and researcher, who according to Dr Reiber produced leading edge microbial studies coupled with extraordinary discoveries of new species. Brian’s innovation and accomplishment contributed to his wining the First NSF Career Award. This 5 year, $800,000 award has supported the development and continued studies of microbes found in the hot springs peppered across the state of Nevada. Since many of these hot springs are found on sacred American Indian sites, a natural extension of the projects became the collaboration with tribal schools to study the integration of cultures, ecological development, geochemistry and environmental impact.

The State of Nevada has hundreds of hot springs, each with diversified chemical composition. These hot springs are the result of a very active tectonically active zone where rifting plates cause the hot springs closer to the surface. In the northwest corner of our state there are three areas that are especially active: Surprise Valley, Great Boiling Springs and Long Valley Caldera. Long Valley is the second largest caldera in the country, with Yellowstone being the first.

The microbes that live in these hot springs are sustained through a number of processes that assimilate carbon for nutrition in temperatures up to 73 degrees Celsius. At this excessively high temperature, no life can exist. It is not completely clear how these organisms work, survive or feed. The variety and diversity of organisms found in these sites is enormous and seasonal changes impact this diversity. There is suspicion that the many hot spring sites are fully independent, contributing to the distinct difference in species in each location. The largest challenge to identifying the many species of microbes found in the hot springs is the hundreds of contaminants from air, water, precipitation and soil.

PCR (Polymerase Chain Reactions) techniques provide fundamental tool in identifying the DNA fingerprint of the hot spring microbes. Thermophilic enzymes, produced by these organisms, are very desirable. These enzymes are stable, especially at high temperatures and high pH, and work quickly to produce the desired effects.

Thermophilic enzymes are used in oil wells to make the oil easier to pump out. They are also used in feed pellets to allow cows to grow faster, building more muscle and milk. They enhance ethanol production and build biomass in plants. A significant usage is the production of alternative fuel. A five way collaboration to break down carbon in sugar is being studied. In Brazil 95% of their fuel comes from sugarcane.

In summary, “There is Gold to be found in Nevada’s Hot Springs”. Geothermal bacteria and viruses are contributing to the development of biofuels, enhanced growth of food and food products, support for ecosystems and possible biomedical usage in the treatment of disease. The opportunities are endless, the collaborations and partnerships are vital and the impact on enhanced quality of life is significant.

Linda Rubinson, Director of Market Development & Strategic Alliances for Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium

NevBio Joins BIO

The Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium announced on March 31, 2008 that it has accepted an invitation to join the Council of State Bioscience Associations (CSBA), an autonomous council of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). John Laub, Executive Director of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium, said, “Our affiliation with BIO is very important to help us meet our goals of enhancing biotechnology education and development in Nevada. The BIO partnership will allow us to access resources for Nevada universities, organizations and companies that we would not have had before. BIO has invited the Board of Directors to attend the national conference in San Diego and waived the fee.”

BIO is the largest organization in the world in biotechnology. More than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations are part of BIO. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO’s annual convention is the world’s largest. BIO expects 25,000 to attend the San Diego Convention from June 17th through the 20th, 2008.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

UNLV Co-Sponsors Science Bowls for High School & Middle School Students


UNLV’s Office of Strategic Energy Programs (OSEP) will be a co-organizer and co-sponsor for this year’s National Science Bowl Event for Middle Schools in Las Vegas, on April 4 and 5, 2008. OSEP is involved in the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge. Nate Tannenbaum and Jeff Gordon will be hosting the event and the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Race.

The following schools will participate (some schools have more than 1 team taking part): Faith Lutheran, Las Vegas Day School, Hyde Park Middle School, Bob Miller Middle School, Cortney Middle School, Garrett Middle School, Keller Middle School,Grant Sawyer Middle School, Coral Academy of Science. For more information: Middle School Science Bowl

High school students competed in the Nevada Regional Science Bowl on February 8-9, 2008. Thirty-two teams from high schools in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah competed in the seventeenth Annual Nevada Regional Science Bowl, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Las Vegas schools that competed are: Advanced Technologies Academy, Bonanza High School (2 teams), Centennial High School, Cheyenne High School (2 teams), Clark High School (2 teams), Faith Lutheran High School (2 teams), Legacy High School, Palo Verde High School, Shadow Ridge High School, The Meadows High School, Valley High School (2 teams). Boulder City High School will also have a team in the tournament. And a team from Henderson's, Coronado High School will compete as well.

A team from The Meadows School in Las Vegas came in first, Palo Verde High School of Las Vegas placed second, followed by Coronado High School of Henderson. More than 30 schools in four states competed in the 17th Annual Nevada Regional Science Bowl.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

David Lee, PhD to Discuss Biomechanics in Robotic Locomotion

David Lee, PhD, College of Sciences at UNLV will be discussing biomechanics in robotic locomotion in a talk titled, “Bio-Robotics” on April 9th, 2008 at the UNLV Foundation Room at 12 PM at the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium luncheon. The public is welcomed. Dr. Lee has been studying the mechanical principles of legs and joints in animals. His work has contributed to the mechanical design and control of BigDog, the world's most advanced, four legged robot built by Boston Dynamics. The video of the four legged mechanical robot has become one of the most-watch videos on the internet.

It was his research in comparative biomechanics of running, jumping, and climbing in legged animals, primarily in quadrupeds but also in bipedal birds and humans that helped the designers of BigDog. Comparative biomechanics can show the complex dynamics that underlay animal movement in terrestrial environments.

The musculoskeletal mechanics that make animal movement possible are described by high-speed motion capture or high-speed x-ray imaging during locomotion. These force (kinetic) and movement (kinematic) data are combined to describe the dynamics of locomotion.

Dr. Lee reports, “As legged walkers and runners ourselves, the underlying dynamics are often taken for granted - yet the achievement of dynamic stability in legged robots on a smooth floor, let alone in real-world environments, has proven a formidable engineering challenge. We model the action of muscle-tendon system(s) about a given joint as a serial actuator and spring. By this technique, the experimental joint moment is imposed while the combined angular deflection of the actuator and spring are constrained to match the experimental joint angle throughout the stance duration. The same technique is applied to the radial leg (i.e., shoulder/hip-to-foot). The spring constant that minimizes total actuator work is considered optimal…” Watching the video of BigDog, one can see the complexity of a walking robot.

Dr. Lee is also interested in relating leg and joint mechanics to muscle function as a promising approach to understanding joint dysfunction in osteoarthritis. He will be speaking April 9,2008 at the next meeting of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium at UNLV campus. For more information or to RSVP, you can eamil Jrebholz@cvbt.com or call Judy Rebholz at 702-839-7222.

UNLV Researcher’s Work Part of World’s Most Advanced Quadruped Robot

UNLV Assistant Professor, Dr. David Lee's research on comparative biomechanics of animal movements has contributed to the mechanical design and control of BigDog, the world's most advanced, four legged robot.

Boston Dynamics was the leader of a team of companies that won the bid for a $10 million grant to build a biologically inspired, multifunctional, dynamic robot which became BigDog.

In 2006 Boston Dynamics first released video of BigDog which shows a four-legged mechanical monster that can negotiate icy terrain, leap like a deer and keep its balance when kicked.

The video has become one of the most-watched on the internet; the headless BigDog picks its way across a pile of bricks, runs through snow and executes a series of nimble jumps

In 2008 Boston Dynamics has released new footage of a newer version of the BigDog which shows even more improvements. It has been viewed over 1 million times.

Dr Sam Cubero, a lecturer in robotics at the University of Southern Queensland, said that BigDog was "pretty hi-tech." Cubero went on to say, "The robot knows how to stay upright or stable because of its plethora of onboard sensors like tilt sensors, rate sensors, position sensors for each joint and foot sensors."

It is an impressive video to watch. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

1. “BigDog Delivers on Robotic Promise.” National Nines News. (ninemsn). Tuesday Shaun Davies. March 18, 2008

2. http://www.bostondynamics.com//

3. “Compliance, Actuation, and Work Characteristics of the Goat Foreleg and Hindleg During Level, Uphill, and Downhill Running. “ David V. Lee, M. Polly McGuigan, Edwin H. Yoo and Andrew A. Biewener. Journal of Applied Physiology. October 18, 2007.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nevada Cancer Institute Researcher has Drug Accepted for Human Trials

Dr. Nam Hoang Dang, the Chief of Hematological Malignancies at Nevada Cancer Institute, learned that his drug, which is an antibody to CD26, was accepted by the FDA for Phase1 Human trials. The drug is a humanized monoclonal antibody which targets solid tumors and hematological cancers. During Dang’s 20 years of research, he discovered a molecule called CD26 that plays a crucial role in the development of certain cancers. He then worked on developing its antibody. He told the Las Vegas Sun that the drug has been effective in the lab and in animal tests for a variety of cancers, including kidney cancer; mesophelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs most commonly caused by asbestos; and T-cell lymphoma, a rare blood cancer.

Dang pioneered the study of CD26 over twenty years ago when he was pursuing his Ph.D. and M.D. at Harvard University. Dang was the first researcher to target CD26 to fight cancer. Dang continued his work at MD Anderson Cancer Center where he filed his patent in May 2002, “Anti-CD26 monoclonal antibodies as therapy for diseases associated with cells expressing CD26.” The patent was issued on April 3, 2007.

In 2003 he partnered with Dr. Chikao Morimoto, a researcher in Tokyo, to start a Japan-based pharmaceutical company, Y’s Therapeutics, which has raised the investment capital to help bring the drug to market.

Dang hopes that the Phase I trials will take place at Nevada Cancer Institute. The Phase I clinical trials should start in April 2008 and the results of the trial are expected to be completed in March 2010.

Sandra Murdoch, President of the Nevada Cancer Institute, told the Las Vegas Sun that Dang’s work is a “major breakthrough” which she hopes will help attract more world-class researchers. The institute has 27 researchers on its faculty, but hopes to have 80 within five years.

Dang immigrated to the United States from Vietnam with his family as a 12-year boy in 1975 and learned to speak English while listening to sports talk radio. After spending time in refugee camps off the coast of California, he and his family moved to Dallas, Texas with the support of a church located in Highland Park. He graduated as Valedictorian from Highland Park High School and went to Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, where he graduated with top honors, earning his B.A. (magna cum laude), M.D. (magna cum laude), and Ph.D. degrees. He continued his medical education in the Harvard system with residency training at Massachusetts General Hospital, and fellowship training at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, becoming board-certified in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. In 2005 he became the Chief of the Department of Hematologic Malignancies at the Nevada Cancer Institute and also in
2008, he became a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.


1. “Las Vegas Doctor’s Cancer Drug Accepted for Human Testing.” Marshall Allen. The Las Vegas Sun. February 22, 2008.

2. “Y's Therapeutics Announces FDA Acceptance of IND to Conduct Phase I Clinical Trial for YSCMA in the USA.” Company Press Release. February 13, 2008.

3. “Anti-CD26 Monoclonal Antibodies as Therapy for Diseases Associated With Cells Expressing CD26.” United States Patent # 7198788.

4. http://www.nevadacancerinstitue.org/

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

NevBio Meeting-Dr.Brian Hedlund-March 13th-Thursday

“How Research on Thermophillic Microbes in the Great Basin Hot Springs has Biomedical Applications.”

SPEAKER: Brian Hedlund, Ph.D.; UNLV College of Sciences
DATE: March 13, Thursday
TIME: 11:30 am Check-in/Networking 12 PM Lunch & Program
PLACE: UNLV Foundation 4505 S. Maryland Parkway
COST: $20 (Pay at the door, credit cards, cash, checks accepted)
R.S.V.P. Judith Lynn Rebholz 839-7201 or jrebholz@cvbt.com

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

Photosynthesis does not occur in geothermal systems above ~73ºC, so energy for primary production within these systems must come from chemolithotrophy. Although it has been asserted that H2 is the most important reductant for these ecosystems, this has yet to be experimentally determined. Furthermore, 16S rRNA gene libraries from many hot springs in the Great Basin are dominated by unknown groups of Archaea and Bacteria. Therefore, the important energy conserving metabolisms in these ecosystems are unknown.







2008 Nevada Biotech Awards Luncheon at the Wynn Hotel. February 18th, 2008.
From Left to Right: Senator Reid, John Laub & Glenn Christenson.
Next picture: Daniel Montano, Amy Gordon, Senator Reid, John Laub & Dr. William Li.
John Laub, Senator Harry Reid & Steven Zak, Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium










2008 Nevada Biotech Awards Luncheon at the Wynn Hotel, February 18th, 2008. From left to right, Judith Rebholz, John Laub, Senator Harry Reid, UNLV President David Ashley, Linda Rubinson and Dean of the College of Sciences, Dr. Ron Yasbin.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

2008 Nevada Biotech Awards-February 18th

Over 250 people attended the inaugural Nevada Biotech Awards Luncheon on February 18, 2008 honoring Senator Harry Reid and UNLV’s College of Sciences at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Eight researchers from the College of Sciences had displays demonstrating some of the research that is taking place at UNLV. In addition, a number of biotech and life science companies had material at the luncheon. The luncheon was a sign that Las Vegas is becoming a center of biotechnology.

Senator Harry Reid arrived at noon and promptly introduced himself to the volunteers checking in the attendees. Later, John Laub, President of Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium (NevBio) escorted Senator Reid around the room and introduced him to each table. Reid had enough time to meet roughly half of the attendees before he had to sit down for his lunch.

The luncheon honored Senator Harry Reid and UNLV’s College of Sciences for their contributions to biotechnology in Nevada. Senator Harry Reid has secured more than $100 million for Nevada Universities. He is arguably the State’s leading supporter of higher education. UNLV's College of Sciences was selected because they have become on par with any school in the country in biotechnology and life sciences. They have increased the number of research grants, published papers, programs, awards, laboratories and students in just a few short years.

John Laub, President of NevBio opened and chaired the meeting. He brought up Daniel Montano, Chairman of the Board of the Regenerative Medicine Organization, the joint sponsor of the luncheon. Glenn Christenson of Velstand Investments, LLC spoke on behalf of the Nevada Development Authority. Linda Rubinson, Board Member of NevBio, gave the reasons that the NevBio Board selected UNLV's College of Sciences for the award. Jennifer Von Tobel of the Von Tobel BioMedical Institute presented the award. Dr.David Ashley and Dr. Ron Yasbin of UNLV accepted the award. NevBio Board Member, Judith Rebholz gave the reasons the board selected Senator Harry Reid. Dr. Maurizio Trevisan presented the award to Senator Reid. Senator Reid thanked the organization for the award and promised to continue to work hard for Nevada and to fund medical research.

In attendance from education were Michael Wixom, Chairman of the University Board of Regents, Dr. Maurizio Trevisan, CEO of University of Nevada Health Sciences System, UNLV President Dr. David Ashley, UNLV Dean of the College of Sciences Dr. Ron Yasbin, Dr. Michael Richards, President of the College of Southern Nevada, Judi Steel, Public Education Foundation and Ms. Jhone M. Ebert, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Clark County School District.

In attendance from industry and institutes, Dr. Thomas Stegmann, Co-Founder of CardioVascular BioTherapeutics, Inc., Daniel Montano, Co-founder & President of CardioVascular BioTherapeuetics, Inc., Sandra Murdock, President and COO of the Nevada Cancer Institute, Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang, Executive Director of the Nevada Cancer Institute, Dr. David Ward, Deputy Director of the Nevada Cancer Institute and
Dr. Wilson Xu and Dr. Hui Zhang.

In attendance were several politicians, Jim Gibson, Mayor of Henderson, State Controller Kim Wallin and assemblyperson Valerie Weber.

In attendance from the community were Jennifer Von Tobel, Von Tobel Bio-Medical Institute; Dave Archer, Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and Claudine Williams of the UNLV Foundation.

Also, in attendance were ten UNLV students.

The event was a tremendous success and a sign that Las Vegas has become a center for biotechnology and life sciences.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Senator Harry Reid’s Support for Higher Education to be Recognized at the Nevada Biotech Awards Luncheon


“Having secured more than $100 million for Nevada universities, Senator Reid has arguably been the State’s leading supporter of higher education in Nevada,” said John Laub, President of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium.

Laub said, “Biotechnology and bioscience are very research dependent. They require highly trained employees and obviously, higher education is crucial to the growth and expansion of biotechnology. Senator Reid’s strong belief in finding cures has been invaluable to the biotechnology discipline in Nevada and we are pleased to honor one of our State’s and one of the nation’s great leaders who has done so much to advance the biotechnology sector. It is for that reason that we have chosen to name this honor “The Harry Reid Biotechnology Award” and to present the Senator with the first award. U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) is the recipient of the 2008 inaugural Harry Reid Award for Biotechnology in Nevada.

Additionally, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’s College of Sciences will receive the organization award for Biotechnology in Nevada.

Thomas A. Thomas to Present Nevada Biotech Award


Thomas A. Thomas, son of E. Parry Thomas, an early supporter of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, has agreed to help present the 2008 Nevada Biotech Awards. Mr. Thomas will be presenting the award to UNLV’s College of Sciences which is receiving the award for the Organization that has Advanced Biotechnology in Nevada. Mr. Thomas’s father, E. Parry Thomas and Jerry Mack helped secure a portion of the land that UNLV now occupies. The Thomas and Mack Center is named after E. Parry Thomas and Jerry Mack. The Thomas and Mack families continue to be strong supporters of the university.

Senator Harry Reid is receiving the Nevada Biotech award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Biotechnology in Nevada. The award is being presented by Dr. Maurizio Trevisan, CEO of the University of Nevada Health Sciences System.

Eight UNLV Scientists Displaying Latest Research at Nev Biotech Awards Luncheon


Eight scientists from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) will be displaying their research at the Nevada Biotech Awards luncheon on February 18th. UNLV Research Projects on Display:

“Identification of an In Vivo Inhibitor of Bacillus anthracis Stern Spore Germination”Ernesto Abel-Santos, Associate Professor, Chemistry Department

Spore germination is the first step in anthrax pathogenesis. Inhibition of germination implies no development of vegetative bacteria, no toxins and no death. There are seven putative germination receptors encoded by tricistronic operons and five germination pathways.

“A Mathematical Model for Polymorphism Within and Between Two Related Species”
Amei Amei, Assistant Professor, Mathematics Department

Characterizing the various forces that shape patterns of genetic polymorphism within and between species is a goal of population genetics (Hartl and Clark 2007). Statistical inference using Poisson random field models can provide powerful likelihood and Bayesian methods for quantifying some of the forces, such as mutation and directional selection.

“Life is Hard Then You Die: Age, Flight Behavior and Senescence in the Honey Bee”Michelle Elekonich, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences

Foraging bees produce the highest mass-specific metabolic rate ever measured while flying. Conservative estimates suggest these hard working flight muscles contract over 4 million times per day. Thus foragers’ flight muscles may experience high levels of oxidative stress during normal daily activities. An average lifespan of bees is 3 -4 weeks.

“Effects of GSK-3B Inhibitors on Stabilization of p53 and B-Catenin”
Ron Gary, Associate Professor, Chemistry Department

B-catenin is a bifunctional protein. It associates with cadherins as part of a membrane-cytoskeletal linkage in cell-cell adhesions, and it acts as a transcription factor for cell proliferation in the Wnt signaling pathway. Levels of B-catenin are controlled mainly by glycogen synthase kinase 3B (GSK-3B), a constitutively active kinase that suppresses B-catenin. There appears to be a regulatory feedback mechanism that connects GSK-3B activity and B-catenin to changes in the p53 tumor suppressor protein.

“Thermodynamic Modeling as a Predictive Tool for Determining Energy Availability in Great Basin Hot Springs” Brian Hedlund, Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences

Photosynthesis does not occur in geothermal systems above ~73ºC, so energy for primary production within these systems must come from chemolithotrophy.. Furthermore, 16S rRNA gene libraries from many hot springs in the Great Basin are dominated by unknown groups of Archaea and Bacteria.

“Transferring Biomechanics Research to New Technologies in Robotic Locomotion”David Lee, Associate Professor, School of Life sciences

Comparative biomechanics can elucidate the complex dynamics that underly animal movement in terrestrial environments. Solutions have led to the locomotor principles which have informed the mechanical design and control of BigDog (Boston Dynamics, Inc.), the world’s most advanced legged robot, and continue to promote our understanding of mechanical design in animals.

“Insect Flapping Aerofoil Propulsion in Variable Density Atmospheres: A Model for the Design and Function of Micro Aerial Vehicles”
Stephen Roberts, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences

The success of current efforts to develop micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) will depend on the ability of MAVs to vary aerodynamic forces during operation in variable-density atmospheres and exploration of novel, irregular landscapes. Flapping aerofoil propulsion (vs. fixed-wing design) is amenable to MAVs due to enhanced lift generation, drag reduction, and maneuverability.

“Roles and Regulation of the Shigella Outer Membrane Protease, IcsP”Helen Wing, Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences

Omptins are a family of proteases that are found associated with outer membranes of a number of gram negative bacteria. In Salmonella, the omptin PgtE has been shown to provide resistance against cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) [1]. The overall aim of this study is to determine whether PgtE and IcsP can functionally substitute for each other.

John Laub, President of the Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium said, “It’s exciting to see a portion of the research that is going on at UNLV and it's a great opportunity mort importantly, attendees will have a chance to talk to the scientists.”

The Nevada Biotechnology Awards luncheon will be held Monday, February 18, 2008 at the Wynn Hotel. Tickets for the luncheon are $75 and $125. The luncheon starts at 11:30.

Friday, January 11, 2008

NevBio to Honor Reid & UNLV College of Sciences at Awards Luncheon- Harry Reid

The Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium’s (NevBio) annual Nevada Biotechnology Awards Luncheon will be honoring Senator Harry Reid for his contributions to the advancement of biotechnology and bioscience in Nevada. The award will be presented at the NevBio and Regenerative Medicine Organization joint luncheon on Monday, February 18th, 2008 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. The UNLV College of Sciences is the honoree for the organization award. See http://www.nevbio.org/meetings.htm for registration information.

Senator Reid “has secured more than one hundred million dollars for the Nevada Universities and Colleges for curriculum development, research activities, technology advances, outreach and cultural programs.”

During the 109th Congress he played an instrumental role in the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, and in the 110th congress he continues his efforts to see this enacted. Senator Reid believes that this “will open new doors in the scientific world and generate hope for thousands of Nevadans and millions of Americans suffering from debilitating diseases.”

Throughout his career Senator Reid has supported increased funding for life-saving medical research in a belief that “we need to continue to invest in medical research that will lead to immeasurable contributions in the fight against a number of serious illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” Senator Reid believes that “at a time when we are on the verge of major new breakthroughs and the burden of chronic disease continues to grow, we should not shortchange a priority as important as promising medical research.” Senator Reid has made it clear that he is “committed to making the investments necessary to accelerate the pace of current progress and to spur on new discoveries.”

And to that end, he has worked hard to garner federal support for initiatives to further expand Nevada’s biotechnology sector.” He had secured $300,000 for the Biotechnology Center at UNLV to develop new biotechnology initiatives that will add to the diversity of Nevada’s economy with high-paying, science based careers.”

He has “supported legislation to provide tax breaks for businesses that train workers here in American and provide scholarships for technical training. Such initiatives will not only strengthen the American workforce but also cement America’s global leadership in high technology.”

Senator Reid has secured millions of dollars in federal funding for the Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas. This leading edge cancer center is designed to provide Nevadans close access to certain clinical trials that would otherwise be unavailable in the state. Senator Reid and the Nevada Delegation introduced legislation that provided federal land for an additional facility for the Nevada Cancer Institute “to ensure that all Nevadans have access to the latest in cancer prevention, education, detection, and treatment options.”

In 2007 he introduced two bills that helped to improve the health care for Nevadans. The Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act of 2007 will enable Nevada to be eligible for an additional 93 physicians in training positions. The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act of 2007 which will fund critical research to study the links between the environment and breast cancer.

The UNLV School of Public Health’s Environmental and Occupational Health Lab, “was able to fund the construction of the new lab with help from a $500,000 federal appropriation secured by Senator Reid." Senator Reid stated that “Universities stand at the forefront of confronting illnesses and fostering our knowledge of public health.”

Senators Reid and Harkin secured funding of $900,000 in fiscal year '06 and $900,000 in fiscal year ’07 so the Center for Disease Control may begin pilot programs that will aid in the development of a National ALS registry.

For these and other countless contributions throughout his career the NevBio Organization is pleased and proud to announce the first ever recipient of The Harry Reid Award for Biotechnology and Bioscience Achievements to its namesake - Senator Harry Reid.

Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium’s annual Nevada Biotechnology Awards Luncheon will be Monday, February 18th at the Wynn Hotel. Check-in/Networking is at 11:30, 12 PM lunch. The tickets are $75 for general seating and $125 for VIP seats. RSVPs must be received by February 14th. Pay online at http://www.nevbio.org/meetings.htm or call Judith Rebholz at 839-7222 or email her at jrebholz@cvbt.com. Tables and sponsorships are available.

List of references:

1. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Health Care.
http://reid.senate.gov/issues/health.cfm
2. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Medical Research.
http://reid.senate.gov/issues/medicalresearch.cfm
3. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Education.
http://reid.senate.gov/issues/education.cfm
4. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Technology.
http://reid.senate.gov/issues/technology.cfm
5. Senator Harry Reid Website. Clark County.
http://reid.senate.gov/nevada/clark.cfm
6. Senator Harry Reid Website. News Releases.
http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/index.cfm

7. “Vying for Research Grants. New Lab Brings High Hopes: UNLV Facility to Widen Testing for Poisons.” Lawrence Mower. The Las Vegas Review Journal. April 5, 2007.
http://www.lvrj.com/news/6881967.html

8. “Delegation Pursuing Federal Land Transfer for Nevada Cancer Institute Las Vegas Facility.” Press Release. Senator Harry Reid. December 7, 2006.
http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=266620

9. “Reid Introduces Two Bills to Improve Health Care in Nevada.” Press Release Senator Harry Reid. February 14, 2007. http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=269286

10. “Reid Reintroduces Legislation to Create ALS Registry: Bill to Help in Fight Against Lou Gehrig's Disease.” Press Release Senator Harry Reid. May 14, 2007.
http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=274199

11. “Reid Hails Passage of Appropriations Bill.” Appropriations in Energy, Education and Research, Health, etc. Press Release Senator Harry Reid Office. December 19, 2007. http://reid.senate.gov/newsroom/records2.cfm?id=289534&

12. “Harry Reid UNLV Research and Technology Park to Open Near I-215.” Lora Griffin. The Rebel Yell. August 29, 2005. http://www.unlvrebelyell.com/article/2005/08/29/rebel-science/

13. “Reid's Leadership Delivers Additional Millions for Nevada As Democratic Leader, Reid Secures Record Funding in Appropriations Bill.” Appropriations for in Nevada in Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Office of Science, Nuclear Energy, etc. Press Release. Senate Democrats. June 16, 2005. http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=239036&

14. "Senator Harry Reid was also Instrumental in Bringing the Supercomputer to Nevada and to UNLV." Supercomputing in Nevada. SCENE. October 29, 1992.
http://www.nscee.edu/Publications/Newsletters/Scene_Oct92/