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.