UW-Madison launches Microbiome Initiative
We are not alone. Each of us carries a wide array of microbial species that outnumber our cells by ten-fold. Recent studies have shown that the complement of microorganisms, the microbiome, is an important determinant of human health and disease. The microbiomes of other animals, plants, soil, bodies of water, and the atmosphere play similarly important roles.
Our understanding of the diversity and roles of these microbiomes is limited, a fact that led the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to launch the National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) last year. Stakeholders, including UW-Madison, have responded with new commitments to develop a comprehensive understanding of microbiomes across all ecosystems.
UW-Madison’s Microbiome Initiative comes with $1 million in grant funding administered by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to support interdisciplinary research, infrastructure, and research community enhancements related to the microbiome.
To read the full press release go here.
“We are trying to make the case for exploring Venus and to inspire and inform future missions to collect in situ data with satellites,” says Sanjay Limaye, UW–Madison Space Science and Engineering Center scientist and co-author of a recent collection of papers on Venus that he hopes will do just that.
Small, unique antibody-like proteins known as VNARs — derived from the immune systems of sharks — can prevent the virus that causes COVID-19, its variants, and related coronaviruses from infecting human cells, according to a new study published Dec. 16, 2021. “The big issue is there are a number of coronaviruses that are poised for emergence in humans,” says Aaron LeBeau, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of pathology in the Carbone Cancer Center who helped lead the study. “What we’re doing is preparing an arsenal of shark VNAR therapeutics that could be used down the road for future SARS outbreaks. It’s a kind of insurance against the future.”
The National Science Foundation has released its 2020 fiscal year Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) data and the University of Wisconsin–Madison has again ranked 8th in the national research rankings for public and private universities. UW–Madison ranked 8th in the last survey covering the 2019 fiscal year.
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