Rice team’s mobile container can sterilize surgical instruments in low-resource settings Rice University students and their mentors have created a sterilization station for surgical instruments that can help minimize risk of infections to patients anywhere in the world.
The station built into a standard 20-foot steel shipping container houses all the equipment necessary to prepare surgical instruments for safe reuse, including a water system for decontamination and a solar-powered autoclave for steam sterilization.
They reported the system’s performance was nearly perfect over 61 trials in 2015 to sterilize and prepare a set of instruments for return to the operating room.
Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas, US, is a health sciences university.
It includes a medical school, Baylor College of Medicine; the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; the School of Allied Health Sciences; and the National School of Tropical Medicine. The school, located in the middle of the world’s largest medical center, is part owner of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, part of the CHI St. Luke’s Health system, and has hospital affiliations with: Harris Health System, Texas Children’s Hospital, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann – The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, Menninger Clinic, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
The medical school has been consistently considered in the top-tier of programs in the country, and is particularly noted for having the lowest tuition among all private medical schools in the US. Its Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is among the top 30 graduate schools in the United States. Within the School of Allied Health Sciences, the nurse anesthesia ranks 5th (U.S. News & World Report) and the physician assistant program ranks 6th. A program in Orthotics and Prosthetics began in 2013, with 18 students in the first class. The National School of Tropical Medicine is the only school in the nation dedicated exclusively to patient care, research, education and policy related to neglected tropical diseases.
On June 21, 2010, Dr. Paul Klotman was named as the new President and CEO of the Baylor College of Medicine. In January 2014, the College and CHI St. Luke’s became joint owners of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
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Farmers can use fewer resources to grow food
With the world’s population exploding to well over 7 billion, feeding the human race is getting even more challenging. Increasing the yield from crops such as wheat, maize, rice and barley, is paramount to growing enough food.
In addition, crop production is now affected by stressors such as drought, climate change and the salinization of fields — presenting obstacles to our future food supply.
Researchers with Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, University of Arizona, University of North Texas and with the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, have discovered a way to enhance a plant’s tolerance to stress, which in turn improves how it uses water and nutrients from the soil. These improvements increase plant biomass and yield.
The study’s findings are published in the scientific journal Trends in Biotechnology.
Associate professor Roberto Gaxiola with ASU School of Life Sciences said this discovery could be instrumental in agriculture and food security by improving crop sustainability and performance.
“‘We have learned how to modify the expression of a gene that codes for a plant proton pump,” said Gaxiola, lead author of the study. “This gene helps to move photosynthates — or molecules made by photosynthesis in the leaves — to the places plants need them in order to grow better roots, fruits, young leaves and seeds. This gene is called type 1 H+-PPase and is found naturally in all plants.”
Current agricultural methods often overuse fertilizer, causing environmental problems by polluting water with phosphates and creating dead zones in oceans downstream. Over-fertilization can also cause plants to have small roots — something that was not anticipated when fertilizers were developed in the early 1900s.
By changing how effectively a plant uses water and nutrients, famers would be able to use fewer resources to grow their crops.
“Larger roots allow plants to more efficiently acquire both nutrients and water. We can optimize inputs while minimizing environmental impacts. This is advantageous for our environment and for all consumers,” said Gaxiola.
Altering the expression of this gene in rice, corn, barley, wheat, tomato, lettuce, cotton and finger millet caused better growth in roots and shoots, and also improve how the plants absorbed nutrients. These crops also saw improved water use and tolerance to salt. In finger millet, researchers also discovered an increase in antioxidants, but further studies would be needed to know whether this is the case with other crops as well.