Archive for June, 2011

How do some monkeys resist SIV infection?

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine have identified a way Sooty mangabeys, an African monkey, resist SIV (a relative of HIV) infection.  According a a recently published article in Nature Medicine, the monkeys close the gates that SIV and HIV use to get into a cell.  “This protection from infection comes from reducing the levels on the cell surface of a molecule that SIV uses to enter the cell,” said the article’s first author, Mirko Paiardini, of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory.  The hope is that the findings will lead to ways to help  HIV-infected individuals cope better with the infection. GRA Eminent Scholar Guido Silvestri is senior author of the study.  Read more>

June 30, 2011 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment

Research!America Poll shows Georgia residents believe investment in Global Health research is vital to state’s economy

News Release from Research!America

WASHINGTON—June 29, 2011—Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Georgia residents think spending money on research to improve health globally is important for economic development in Georgia, according to a new statewide poll commissioned by Research!America.

Eighty-one percent say global health is an issue about which Georgia residents should be concerned, and Georgians place a very high value on their state’s leadership in research to improve health here and around the world: 96% say it is important for Georgia to be a leader in health research and development, and 81% say their state already is a leader in this area. Bioscience is one of the state’s fastest-growing industries; from 2001 to 2005, the number of Georgia bioscience firms grew by 38%, versus 13% in other industries.

Georgians also recognize the importance of advancing global health R&D through public-private collaboration, such as product development partnerships: 92% think the different types of institutions conducting global health research in the U.S. should work together to develop new treatments and cures. The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) is an important asset to the state in this regard, bringing together Georgia’s research universities, business community and state government to create opportunities to grow Georgia’s economy through scientific discovery.

Research!America’s chair, former Congressman John Edward Porter, said: “Global health research is one of Georgia’s greatest investments. It creates growth and partnership opportunities among Georgia’s universities, businesses and public sector stakeholders—including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—that fuel the state’s economy, all the while helping to improve health for Georgians and people everywhere.”

Porter added, “While Georgia ranks ninth in population, it ranks just 15th in federal R&D funding. There is tremendous potential to grow the R&D enterprise in Georgia for the sake of jobs, economic activity and public health here and abroad.”

Georgians recognize that global health is America’s health: three-fourths say that Americans will be better off if the U.S. government invests in research designed to improve health around the world, and nearly as many (72%) believe Americans should worry about global diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera that mostly affect poorer countries.

Georgia residents’ strong support for global health research extends to public health and prevention. Nearly nine in 10 say it is important that the federal government play a role in research for prevention and wellness. Almost two-thirds recognize the CDC as the government agency whose primary responsibility is disease prevention and health promotion, and 91% say the CDC is important to Georgia’s economy.

“It is clear from the poll findings that Georgia residents strongly support investment in public and global health research. The presence of the CDC in the state, along with leading academic and private sector research-based institutions and businesses, is rightly a point of pride for the residents of Georgia. This should send a strong message to local and national policy makers about the need to further strengthen their commitment to R&D,” said Mary Woolley, Research!America president and CEO.

Further findings from the Georgia poll include:

• 77% think it is important for Georgia to offer incentives for companies to invest in research to improve health globally.

• 93% say it is important that global health research is conducted to help prevent drug resistance around the world.

• 87% say they are concerned that American troops overseas are exposed to global diseases, and 88% think American civilians benefit from health research conducted by the U.S. military.

About the poll: Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct an online a survey of 800 adults in Georgia in May 2011. The sample is proportionate to the state’s demographics, including gender, age and ethnicity, with a sampling error of ±3.5%. The poll is available online here.

About us: Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. Visit

June 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

GRA Eminent Scholar Mike Kuhar honored for drug dependence research

The College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) has selected GRA Eminent Scholar Michael J. Kuhar, PhD, for its Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award.  Presented at CPDD’s 73rd annual meeting, the award recognizes achievements in research that have advanced the understanding of drug dependence.

Recruited to Emory in 1995 as the GRA Eminent Scholar in Neuropharmacology, Kuhar is well-known as the developer of widely-used techniques that allow researchers to see where drugs are acting within the brain.  He currently serves as chief of neuroscience at the Yerkes National Primate Research Centers and is a Candler Professor of Neuropharmacology at the Emory University School of Medicine.  Read more>

June 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

“Walking” pneumonia diagnosis possible in minutes

Scientists at the University of Georgia have developed a nanotechnology-based technique for diagnosing Mycoplasma pneumoniae — commonly called “walking” pneumonia — in minutes rather than the days now normally needed to get test results.  According to the researchers, this rapid diagnosis allows treatment to begin more quickly, reducing the consequences to the patient and limiting the likelihood the condition will spread to others.

The diagnostic test is built on surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy using silver nanorod arrays, developed in the UGA Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.  Both the research and the Center are supported by investments from the Georgia Research Alliance.  Read more here>

June 21, 2011 at 10:42 am 1 comment

Construction begins on $90 million Emory/CHOA research center

With official groundbreaking ceremonies June 15, Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta launched construction of a $90 million Health Sciences research Building.  The project, with more than half of its focus on pediatric research, is scheduled to open in April 2013.  Collaborating with Emory are Georgia Tech and the Morehouse School of Medicine.  The Georgia Research Alliance has joined an array of foundations in supporting the project.  Read more here > and here >

June 15, 2011 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

GRA Eminent Scholar B.C. Wang named ACA Fellow

B.C. Wang, Ramsey-Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Structural Biology at the University of Georgia, is one of 16 named in the American Crystallographic Association’s inaugural class of Fellows.

Recruited to Georgia in 1995 from the University of Pittsburgh, Wang founded the GRA-supported Southeast Regional Collaborative Access Team (SER-CAT), a consortium of 25 institutions for the use of synchrotron X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source of the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.  He also initiated and directed the Southeast Collaboratory for Structural Genomics from 2000-2006, a recipient of some $24 million in NIH funding.  Read more>

June 14, 2011 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Investments in research and innovation have huge payoff

Experts agree:  Research and innovation have been the pathway to economic vitality.  In a guest column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GRA President Mike Cassidy explores this connection.  Find it here.

June 7, 2011 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

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