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A Microfluidic Device for Detection of Water Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing
Leslie J. Loh, Gayan C. Bandara, Christopher A. Heist and Vincent T. Remcho

A paper-based microfluidic device was designed and optimized for the colorimetric detection of bromide in water. This work was developed in response to the waste management challenges and pollution risks of hydraulic fracturing wastewater. This device is suitable for distribution as a field test as it is portable, easy to use, inexpensive and can be packaged to extend shelf life.

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Specificity of highly potent miRNA inhibitors
Barbara Robertson, Andrew Dalby, Yuriy Fedorov, Jon Karpilow, Anastasia Khvorova1, Devin Leake, Annaleen Vermeulen

miRNA inhibitors are invaluable tools for elucidating the roles of miRNAs. However, potent inhibitors may also affect other miRNAs. To understand the potential cross-reactivity of miRNA inhibitors, various miRNA inhibitor designs were systematically tested. We demonstrate that mismatches both within and outside the seed region of the miRNA interfere with inhibition. Our findings indicate that features important for natural miRNA target recognition are also important for inhibitor specificity.

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Alternative miRNA design for therapeutic RNAi applications
Anja van Brabant Smith, Barb Robertson, Annaleen Vermeulen, Christina Yamada, Angela Reynolds, Anastasia Khvorova, Devin Leake

For in vivo applications, the design of miRNA inhibitors and miRNA mimics must be optimized for stability and potency. However, stabilized miRNA mimic molecules can lose functionality compared to standard miRNA mimic molecules due, in part, to the activity of the stabilized passenger strand acting as a miRNA inhibitor. We discuss how mismatches affect the activity of the stabilized miRNA mimics, perhaps by generating a passenger strand that is less functional as an inhibitor molecule.

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Cas9 driven by an optimal promoter improves gene editing in eukaryotic cell lines when paired with synthetic crRNA and tracrRNA
Amanda Haupt, Emily Anderson, Žaklina Strezoska, Hidevaldo Machado, Shawn McClelland, Maren Mayer, Adam Rocker, Annaleen Vermeulen, Amanda Birmingham, Melissa Kelley, Anja Smith

Presented here are results on the efficiency of using synthetic crRNA and tracrRNA to introduce gene editing events when co-transfected with a plasmid expressing Cas9. We explored the use of antibiotic and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) methods for enrichment of cells that have undergone gene editing, and the use of multiple promoters to increase efficiency of gene editing with Cas9 and synthetic tracrRNA and crRNAs.

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Specificity and functionality of microRNA inhibitors
Barbara Robertson, Andrew Dalby, Jon Karpilow, Anastasia Khvorova, Devin Leake and Annaleen Vermeulen

Our findings indicate that features important for natural miRNA target recognition also appear to be important for inhibitor specificity. Understanding the specificity of inhibitors allows for better interpretation of inhibitor activity in endogenous systems.

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Identification of microRNA targets using microRNA modulation techniques and gene expression arrays
Emily M. Anderson, Maren Mayer, Kevin Sullivan, Barbara Robertson, Žaklina Strezoska, Annaleen Vermeulen, and Devin Leake

By examining the overlap of messages down-regulated by miRNA mimics and up-regulated by miRNA inhibitors, we robustly identify miRNA-regulated messages, many of which have canonical seed matches and some which are not identied by standard target prediction programs.

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siRNA Screening: Development of Hit Stratification Strategies
Žaklina Strezoska, Annaleen Vermeulen, Emily M. Anderson, Anja Smith, Devin Leake

This poster compares different approaches to hit stratification and validation after an initial screen. Standard siRNA reagents deconvoluted from a pooled set of four were compared to a pooled set of four specificity enhanced reagents. High confidence hits were similar. To explore the validity of low confidence hits, a chimeric approach was used whereby a gene-specific seed sequence was introduced into a non-targeting siRNA scaffold. This work resulted in new hit stratification strategies.

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The Chemical Synthesis of Long and Highly Modified RNA using 2'-ACE Chemistry
Xiaoqin Cheng, Kristina Larson, Letitia Kwok, David Mierzejewski, Shawn Begay, Randy Rauen, Kelly Grimsley, Kaizhang He, Michael Delaney, David Kitchen, Amanda Haas, Melissa Kelley, Anja van Brabant Smith

Dharmacon has previously developed a novel RNA synthesis chemistry making RNA synthesis as reliable, accessible and of comparable quality as routinely observed in DNA synthesis.

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Specificity of highly potent miRNA inhibitors
Barbara Robertson, Andrew Dalby, Yuriy Fedorov, Jon Karpilow, Anastasia Khvorova1, Devin Leake, Annaleen Vermeulen

miRNA inhibitors are invaluable tools for elucidating the roles of miRNAs. However, potent inhibitors may also affect other miRNAs. To understand the potential cross-reactivity of miRNA inhibitors, various miRNA inhibitor designs were systematically tested. We demonstrate that mismatches both within and outside the seed region of the miRNA interfere with inhibition. Our findings indicate that features important for natural miRNA target recognition are also important for inhibitor specificity.

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Scientific News
Food Triggers Creation of Regulatory T Cells
IBS researchers document how normal diet establishes immune tolerance conditions in the small intestine.
Light Signals from Living Cells
Fluorescent protein markers delivered under high pressure.
Counting Cancer-busting Oxygen Molecules
Researchers from the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), an Australian Research Centre of Excellence, have shown that nanoparticles used in combination with X-rays, are a viable method for killing cancer cells deep within the living body.
Therapeutic Approach Gives Hope for Multiple Myeloma
A new therapeutic approach tested by a team from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (CIUSSS-EST, Montreal) and the University of Montreal gives promising results for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow currently considered incurable with conventional chemotherapy and for which the average life expectancy is about 6 or 7 years.
Cellular 'Relief Valve'
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved a long-standing mystery in cell biology by showing essentially how a key “relief-valve” in cells does its job.
Genomic Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer
National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer.
Protein Protects Against Flu in Mice
The engineered molecule doesn’t provoke inflammation and may hail a new class of antivirals.
Cat Stem Cell Therapy Gives Humans Hope
By the time Bob the cat came to the UC Davis veterinary hospital, he had used up most of his nine lives.
Crowdfunding the Fight Against Cancer
From budding social causes to groundbreaking businesses to the next big band, crowdfunding has helped connect countless worthy projects with like-minded people willing to support their efforts, even in small ways. But could crowdfunding help fight cancer?
Switch Lets Salmonella Fight, Evade Immune System
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a molecular regulator that allows salmonella bacteria to switch from actively causing disease to lurking in a chronic but asymptomatic state called a biofilm.
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