> In the beginning, there were biology, chemistry, and physics. The basic sciences helped answer questions about humans and the world around them for centuries.
> Dr. Paul Agris is a biochemist, but he sees himself as a quality control engineer for cellular activity. When mutant cells spur the growth of a tumor, or bacteria or viruses replicate and produce an infection, defective molecular products result.
> Anyone who has played the old labyrinth game knows just how hard it is to tilt the board and move the ball through the maze while avoiding holes to get all the way to the goal. Now, imagine trying to do it without any knobs to control the ball’s direction. That’s the challenge presented by inhalers, according to Drs. Clement Kleinstreuer and Stefan Seelecke, who say getting medicine to a specific site in the maze of airways in the lungs is almost impossible without a way to control its direction.
> The Code Red and Code Orange air-quality advisories that plague urban areas nationwide each summer mean hazy skies, scratchy throats, and wheezing coughs to most people. But to Dr. Montserrat Fuentes, a professor of statistics in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, they also mean an increased risk of death for some people.
> Through millennia of evolution, plants have developed chemical compounds to protect themselves from predators and other threats. When the plants are eaten, these biologically active compounds interact with receptors in the human body to protect against pathogens and physiological stresses.
> The concept sounds like it’s straight out of the science fiction that Dr. Elizabeth Loboa loves to read and watch so much. Take stem cells from discarded fat and create bones from them.
> Even before she heads off to med school, Kat Sauer has a medical device invention to her credit. Then again, so does every other student who has taken the senior design course in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in the last two years.
> It may not look like it, but first-year graduate student Ashley Tucker is advancing cancer research as she drops worms into containers with varying concentrations of five experimental compounds. If Dr. John Cavanagh and Nick Valvano are correct, her work also could be crucial to creating a new generation of cancer researchers.
> Where some see a park bench in the shade of an oak, Drs. Myron Floyd and Karla Henderson of the College of Natural Resources see an invitation to sedentary activity. Where others see an open, grassy field for a weekend picnic or lying in the sun, the researchers see opportunities for physical activity that are underutilized.
> Good health can be as easy as child’s play, according to College of Design professors Robin Moore and Nilda Cosco. Leading the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), they work with Swedish scientists to create play areas that encourage plenty of activity for children while limiting their exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
> As a boy, Dr. Greg Buckner dreamed of becoming a doctor and trying to save people’s lives. “My father was an engineering professor, and he talked me out of a medicine career by convincing me I could do a lot in medicine as an engineer,” he says.
> Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a major contributor to heart disease, blindness, and even leg and foot amputations. Long before the chronic disease attacks various parts of the body, however, the body attacks itself to cause diabetes. Dr. Paul Hess, an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, wants to stage his own attack and destroy the cells believed to be responsible for Type 1 diabetes, which afflicts as many as 3 million children in the U.S.