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 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 or call Judith Rebholz at 839-7222 or email her at Tables and sponsorships are available.

List of references:

1. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Health Care.
2. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Medical Research.
3. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Education.
4. Senator Harry Reid Website. Issues. Technology.
5. Senator Harry Reid Website. Clark County.
6. Senator Harry Reid Website. News Releases.

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.

8. “Delegation Pursuing Federal Land Transfer for Nevada Cancer Institute Las Vegas Facility.” Press Release. Senator Harry Reid. December 7, 2006.

9. “Reid Introduces Two Bills to Improve Health Care in Nevada.” Press Release Senator Harry Reid. February 14, 2007.

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.

11. “Reid Hails Passage of Appropriations Bill.” Appropriations in Energy, Education and Research, Health, etc. Press Release Senator Harry Reid Office. December 19, 2007.

12. “Harry Reid UNLV Research and Technology Park to Open Near I-215.” Lora Griffin. The Rebel Yell. August 29, 2005.

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.

14. "Senator Harry Reid was also Instrumental in Bringing the Supercomputer to Nevada and to UNLV." Supercomputing in Nevada. SCENE. October 29, 1992.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

UNLV's College of Sciences Chosen for Nevada Biotechnology Award

Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium (NevBio) has chosen UNLV's College of Sciences to receive its first annual Nevada Biotechnology Award for an organization in recognition of the achievements they have made in contributing to the advancement of biotechnology and life sciences in Nevada. The award will be given at the NevBio and Regenerative Medicine Organization joint luncheon on February 18, 2008 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Senator Harry Reid is the honoree for the individual award. See for registration information.

John Laub, President of NevBio, said “Most of the advancements in biotechnology have occurred at universities which become the basis of new treatments for disease, economic diversification and improvements in the quality of life. The Board of NevBio is pleased to honor UNLV's College of Sciences in recognition of their impressive accomplishments they have made in the last few years.”

Some of UNLV Colleges of Sciences’ notable achievements:

1. Increase in research grants
UNLV’s College of Sciences brought in over $20 million in research grants in 2007 with the vast majority being in peer–reviewed grants. It is an increase in funding of over 267% since 2001. The amount is more than their state-supported funding. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, 2007 has proven to be the UNLV College of Sciences' most successful year for receiving competitive federal grants.

In addition, the College has recently been awarded a National Institute of Health postdoctoral fellowship for Dr. Jason Williams, a very prestigious and difficult award to obtain. Also, the College has received a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellowship for Dr. Jennifer Utz, another prestigious fellowship.

2. Increase in published papers
The College of Sciences has increased its published articles by nearly 60%. In 2000 the College had Peer-Reviewed Publications of 200. In 2006 the number of articles increased to 317. In the August 3, 2007 issue of Science magazine, UNLV was listed as the 4th largest growing research university in the quantity of scientific and engineering publications since the 1990's.

3. Increase in programs – new and improved
In 2004 the Forensics and Biotechnology Center was opened, the School of Public Health was established and the School of Nursing began a Doctorate program to train badly needed nursing professors.

In 2007 the College of Sciences has began graduating students with a Doctorate of Chemistry.

Two of the units of The School of Life Sciences –Integrative Physiology and Microbiology have obtained national recognition for their recent success in obtaining National Science Foundation (NSF) grant support.

Students participating in the pre-medical program designed by Dr. Joseph Nika are now being admitted into Medical Schools at a rate of 84% of the time (almost double the national average) and into Dental School at 90% of the time.

In 2007 the College of Sciences started offering an MCAT preparatory course (Medical College Admissions Test). The course provides a significant tuition reduction over the commercial products that are available to UNLV students and UNLV is the only school in Nevada, and one of the few in the West that offers such a course.

The College of Sciences in conjunction with the School of Dental Medicine offers a course to prospective dental students to prepare them for the application process as well as inform them on what is expected from dental students and practicing dentists. UNLV is the only school in the West offering such a course.

Many of the departments and programs at the college are offering Tutoring Clinics (first pioneered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences) and Learning Centers (Physics and Astronomy) to help their students succeed. These programs are unique to UNLV’s College of Sciences.

4. Reaching out to the Community
The College of Sciences has set up educational/research centers in all of its departments that are available to the community that can support the growth of diversity in Nevada’s economic base.

The college has actively partnered with the Nevada Development Authority (NDA) and similar organizations to help attract new businesses to Nevada. The College is working to provide the trained work force necessary for these new businesses to prosper.

The Center for Math and Science Education is working in partnership with the Clark County School District (CCSD) to enhance math and science education as well as to provide support for the teachers. The College is working with CCSD in offering college-level courses in the high schools.

The college and its students participate in various community activities:

The Beal Savings Bank Southern Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair is open to students in the Clark County School District.

Southern Nevada Regional Science Bowl is a competition for high schools and gives students a chance to meet UNLV professors and graduate students and attend scientific presentations.

Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the pre-health honor society for undergrads, has initiated at UNLV an organ donor program, a bone marrow donor program and blood drives that take place each semester. The bone marrow donor registration drives are a coordinated effort with the College of Sciences’ Undergraduate Council. AED participated in several projects with Habitat for Humanity, the Community Food Bank and the Candle Lighters Organization.

5. Building for the Future

In 2005 construction was started on the Science and Engineering and Technology Building which will have 207,000 square feet of teaching space, laboratories and hi-tech conference rooms scheduled for completion in December 2008.

The College has built a genomics laboratory and is partnering with the University of Nevada in Reno to conduct Biomedical Research. In addition UNLV and University of Nevada are working together on Bioinfomatics.

In 2006 the College of Science reached closed to 1,700 undergraduate students, a growth of nearly double from 900 in 2000. UNLV has its first student accepted as a Harvard Postdoctoral fellow.

The College continues to retain and attract professors and researchers to UNLV.
Some of the new additions:

• Enesto V. Abel-Santos, – Ph.D., Washington School of Medicine
• Dentaro Nagamine – Ph.D., Princeton & Tokyo Universities
• Dennis Bazylinski – Ph.D., Univ. of New Hampshire
• Monika Neda – Ph.D., Univ. Pittsburgh
• Anton Westveld – Ph.D., Univ. Washington
• Kaushik Ghosh – Ph.D., Univ. Calif. Santa Barbara
• Amei Amei – Ph.D., Washington Univ., St. Louis
• Pamela Burnley, Ph.D., University of California, Davis
• David Vincent Lee, Ph.D., University of Utah
• Pengtao Sun, Ph.D., Institute of Mathematics (Academia Sinica, Beijing, China)
• Hongtao Yang, Ph.D., University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada)

Two Life Sciences Professors received CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation of $840,000 and $745,000.

In addition the college continues to strengthen its research infrastructure by improving its research laboratories, information technology and core equipment laboratories.

UNLV’s College of Sciences has been building its programs on the dedicated work of many committed individuals. They have laid the groundwork for the future in which Nevada can become a center of biotechnology, research and top medical care.

NevBio's annual Nevada Biotechnology Awards Luncheon will be Monday, February 18th at the Wynn Hotel in conjunction with the Regenerative Medicine Conference. 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 or call Judith Rebholz at 839-7222 or email her at Tables and sponsorships are available.

UNLV’s College of Sciences plans to have a number of poster presentations on their current research projects at the luncheon.

List of references:

1. College of Sciences: UNLV Gets National Attention. Lawrence Mower. The Las Vegas Review Journal. August 13, 2007.

2. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. August 2006.
3. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. January 2006.
4. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. March 2007.
5. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. April 2007.
6. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. May 2007.
7. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. June 2007.
8. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. September 2007.
9. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. November 2007.
10. College of Sciences E-Newsletter. January 2008.

11. "High Pressure Research at UNLV. Melissa L. Denzler. The Rebel Yell.
September 5, 2002.

12.“Star Trek Science Meets UNLV. Work in Tiny Nanotechnology Can Pay Huge Dividends." Christina Littlefield. The Las Vegas Sun. May 28, 2006.

13. "Henderson Woman is First in Her Class. Chemistry Student Earns Doctorate From New UNLV Program." Amanda Llewellyn. Anthem View. July 31, 2007

14. “UNLV Seeks To Wield Economic Clout: New Direction Seen for Valley University.” Jennifer Robison. The Las Vegas Review Journal. July 13, 2007.

15. "UNLV College of Sciences: Research and Teaching for Nevada." 2007 PowerPoint.

16. “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.

17. Nevada IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (Nevada INBRE).

Friday, January 4, 2008

Viktoriya Montano to Give Presentation on Epigenetics at Las Vegas Future Salon

Viktoriya Montano, Board Member of the Nevada Biotechnology & Bioscience Consortium is giving a talk on "Epigenetics" to the Las Vegas Future Salon on Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:30 at UNLV’s Continuing Education –Paradise Campus, Room 100.

DNA Is Not Destiny: The new science of epigenetics rewrites the rules of disease, heredity, and identity.

Epigenetics is the study of reversible heritable changes in gene expression that are not actually encoded in the DNA of the genome. These effects are mediated by the covalent attachment of chemical groups to DNA and its associated proteins, histones and chromatin. A major current focus in epigenetic research has been the significant role of DNA methylation and multiple histone modifications in biological processes and their effect on gene expression.

Ms. Montano earned her Master Degree in Architecture from the State University of Kiev, Ukraine in 1996. She speaks five languages Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, English, French and some Greek. In 1996 she started her business career as an Architect for the city of Kiev government.

In 1998, because of her knowledge in foreign languages, she joined Phage Biotech in Kiev to assist in the technology transfer to the biological manufacturing processes to Phage Biotechnology in USA.

Ms Montano has continued as an Adviser to the Phage Biotechnology Corporation in their development of biological drugs, such as Human Growth Hormone, Interferon Alpha, Interferon Beta, Fiberblast Growth Factor, and more.

Ms. Montano has been an advisor to biotechnology investments of over $100 Million dollars.

From her in-depth exposure to biological research, she has developed an avant-garde understanding of the new Era of Epigenetics. Many leading experts in biotechnology area consult her on the dynamic area of biological mechanisms and potential medicines possibilities due to Epigenetics.

In 2004 she joined Regenerative Medicine Organization and 2007 to Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience Consortium as Member of the Board. She is 35 years old, married and has two kids

For more information, email Gilda Cabral at

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Varian Medical Systems is Expanding in Las Vegas

Varian Medical Systems, Inc. of Palo Alto, California, the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices for treating cancer with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy is expanding its Las Vegas operations. The company is building the LV-5 Test Cell. The 85,754 square-foot project consists of four concrete test cell vaults, a production area and administrative offices. The project is slated for completion in the second quarter of 2008. The estimated construction costs for the project are approximately $12 million. Rob Silecchia of SR Construction announced that their company had been awarded the contract. The Las Vegas-based SR Construction has built numerous healthcare facilities in Las Vegas such as Valley Hospital’s two story expansion, Summerlin Hospital‘s 3 story addition, Spring Valley Hospital’s Remodel and the facilities for Nevada Oral & Facial Surgery, among others. Palo Alto-based Hoover Associates will serve as the architect for the project.

Varian has located logistics, training, technical support and certain manufacturing in Las Vegas. In June 2004 Varian moved all classroom training from Milpitas, CA to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas facility offers classroom and hands-on training using the latest hardware and software available. Over 500 clinical and technical courses are offered annually, training 200+ students per month.

Varian manufactures SIP linear accelerators and certain radiographic products at its Las Vegas facilities which cover 147,071 square feet of floor space and 8 acres of land. Varian is another example of the medical and life businesses that are coming to Las Vegas.

1. NAIOP Southern Nevada Chapter website. NAIOP Newsbites. Company: SR Construction. December 2007.

2. Varian Medical Systems Inc. Form 10-K. Filing November 26, 2007.