New Vaccine Uses Bacteria to Trigger an Immune Response

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas are investigating the use of whole-cell vaccines to fight urinary tract infection (UTI), part of an effort to tackle the increasingly serious issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Dr. Nicole De Nisco, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, recently demonstrated the use of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to encapsulate and inactivate whole bacterial cells to create a “depot” that allows the vaccines to last longer in the body.

Dr. Nicole De Nisco conducts research aimed at understanding the basis for recurring urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women. In her lab, students monitor the growth of various bacteria.

When patients accumulate antibiotic resistances, they’re eventually going to run out of options,” says Dr. Nicole De Nisco, assistant professor of biological sciences in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The resulting study, published online in the American Chemical Society’s journal ACS Nano, showed that in mice this method produced substantially enhanced antibody production and significantly higher survival rates compared to standard whole-cell vaccine preparation methods.

Vaccination as a therapeutic route for recurrent UTIs is being explored because antibiotics aren’t working anymore,” De Nisco said. “Patients are losing their bladders to save their lives because the bacteria cannot be killed by antibiotics or because of an extreme allergy to antibiotics, which is more common in the older population than people may realize.”

Source: https://news.utdallas.edu/

Nano-Transistor From DNA-like Material

Computer chips use billions of tiny switches, called transistors, to process information. The more transistors on a chip, the faster the computer. A material shaped like a one-dimensional DNA helix might further push the limits on a transistor’s size. The material comes from a rare earth element called tellurium.

Researchers found that the material, encapsulated in a nanotube made of boron nitride, helps build a field-effect transistor with a diameter of two nanometers. Transistors on the market are made of bulkier silicon and range between 10 and 20 nanometers in scale.  Engineers at Purdue University performed the work in collaboration with Michigan Technological University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Texas at Dallas.

Over the past few years, transistors have been built as small as a few nanometers in lab settings. The goal is to build transistors the size of atomsPeide Ye’s lab at Purdue is one of many research groups seeking to exploit materials much thinner than silicon to achieve both smaller and higher-performing transistors.

These silver, wiggling lines are strings of atoms in tellurium behaving like DNA. Researchers have not seen this behavior in any other material.

This tellurium material is really unique. It builds a functional transistor with the potential to be the smallest in the world,” said Ye, Purdue’s Richard J. and Mary Jo Schwartz Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The research is published in the journal Nature Electronics.

Source: https://www.purdue.edu/