Collegian Briefs 8/24

Aug 242010
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

CSU startup unveils chooses president, unveils prototype

The CSU startup company OptiEnz Sensors LLC recently named former Director of Enterprise Systems at Advanced Energy Industries and CSU alumnus Chris Thompson as its president.

Under Thompson’s leadership, OptiEnz will continue working to develop, manufacture and sell biosensors that detect food and water contaminants.

The biosensors rely on the reaction of enzymes to identify organic chemicals and may one day be used to measure levels of melamine, gasoline, solvents and nerve agents without actually handling a sample.

The biosensors could also be used to monitor the chemicals used in processes such as those used for food, beverage and biofuel production.

Ken Reardon, a CSU professor of chemical and biological engineering who co-founded OptiEnz, said Thompson will be a valuable addition to the team and will help get new technology out of the lab and into actual production.

CSU study identifies possible new antiviral target

By manipulating the amount or availability of a certain protein in cells, CSU researchers believe they may have identified a new way to treat viral infections.

The protein, called HuR, regulates and stabilizes cell messages like those tied to the immune system. In a normal immune system response to a virus, the HuR protein binds to the body’s messaging system, cellular, RNA and prevents that RNA from degrading so that certain genes are activated and launch an immune system response against the attacking virus.

Some viruses, however, steal the HuR proteins, which then bind to the viral RNA, instead of the cellular RNA. They also block or reduce regular cellular immune responses, allowing the virus to multiple quickly.

The CSU study, let by professor Jeff Wilusz of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, found that decreasing the amount of HuR protein in cells caused the RNA carried by certain viruses to become unstable, allowing the virus to be more easily controlled because it was unable to steal and bind with the HuR protein.

Part of Horsetooth Road to Remain Closed

Road construction will continue on West Horsetooth Road this week.

The road will be closed from Dunbar Avenue through Seneca Street, but detour routes will be provided using Taft Hill Road, Drake Road, Shields Street and Harmony Road.

In order to avoid congestion in residential areas, the City of Fort Collins encourages motorists to use the detour routes and to expect delays when traveling through areas affected by the construction.

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