October 14, 2010

Grant Funds BioScience Center's New Research Tool

By Gina Jacobs, SDSU NewsCenter

An NT2 neuroblastoma cell infected with Coxsackievirus is illuminated by a fluorescent protein in green
An NT2 neuroblastoma cell infected with Coxsackievirus is illuminated by a fluorescent protein in green

Thanks to $395,000 in federal stimulus funding, San Diego State University's BioScience Center will be able to expand its research.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow the center to purchase a new in-vivo imaging system (the IVIS Spectrum from Caliper Life Sciences) to help visualize disease processes inside the body, such as damage after a heart attack.

"This high-tech tool will enhance research being done at the BioScience Center, bringing us closer to identifying the connections between various infections and heart disease," said Roberta Gottlieb, director of the SDSU BioScience Center.

"It will also enhance our students' educational experience and readiness for careers in academic research and biotechnology."


Fluorescent proteins help detect various processes

The imaging system utilizes bioluminescent and fluorescent proteins to help detect processes going on in mice, looking at everything from Streptococcus and Coxsackieviruses to the processes that occur during a heart attack.

The results will help determine how infections spread throughout the body and will help develop better therapies to treat infections and damage caused by heart attacks.

"Coxsackievirus can infect the pancreas and the heart, causing diabetes or myocarditis," Gottlieb said.

"Virologist Dr. Ralph Feuer will use this instrument to track viruses tagged with a fluorescent protein as they spread from one organ to another. By monitoring the viral movement, he will be able to measure whether a particular treatment is effective."