News: Livsvetenskaper och teknikhttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyFri, 06 Aug 2021 01:41:14 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/Protein-structure-at-atomic-level.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/Protein-structure-at-atomic-level.aspxProtein structure at atomic level<p><b>​During his first period as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Martin Andersson and his research team were the first in the world to analyze tissue using an atom probe. He is now developing a method of determining the exact structure of proteins using the same tool. This may open new doors in drug development.</b></p><a href="https://kaw.wallenberg.org/en/research/protein-structure-atomic-level"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />​Re​ad the interview with Martin Andersson on kaw.wallenberg.org</a>Thu, 22 Jul 2021 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Breakthrough-fortracking-RNA-with-fluorescence-.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Breakthrough-fortracking-RNA-with-fluorescence-.aspxBreakthrough for tracking RNA with fluorescence<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in developing a method to label mRNA molecules, and thereby follow, in real time, their path through cells, using a microscope – without affecting their properties or subsequent activity. The breakthrough could be of great importance in facilitating the development of new RNA-based medicines.</b></p><div>RNA-based therapeutics offer a range of new opportunities to prevent, treat and potentially cure diseases. But currently, the delivery of RNA therapeutics into the cell is inefficient. For new therapeutics to fulfil their potential, the delivery methods need to be optimised. Now, a new method, recently presented in the highly regarded Journal of the American Chemical Society, can provide an important piece of the puzzle of overcoming these challenges and take the development a major step forward.<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Marcus%20Wilhelmsson%20spåra%20RNA%20i%20celler/Marcus%20Wilhelmsson_320x320.jpg" alt="" style="height:189px;width:189px;margin:5px" /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;Since our method can help solve one of the biggest problems for drug discovery and development, we see<br />that this research can facilitate a paradigm shift from traditional drugs to RNA-based therapeutics,&quot; says Marcus Wilhelmsson, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, and one of the main authors of the article. </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Making mRNA fluorescent without affecting its natural activity</h2> <div>The research behind the method has been done in collaboration with chemists and biologists at Chalmers and the biopharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca, through their joint research centre, <a href="/en/centres/FoRmulaEx/Pages/default.aspx">FoRmulaEx</a>, as well as a research group at the Pasteur Institute, Paris.</div> <div> </div> <div>The method involves replacing one of the building blocks of RNA with a fluorescent variant, which, apart from that feature, maintains the natural properties of the original base. The fluorescent units have been developed with the help of a special chemistry, and the researchers have shown that it can then be used to produce messenger RNA (mRNA), without affecting the mRNA’s ability to be translated into a protein at natural speed. This represents a breakthrough which has never before been done successfully. The fluorescence furthermore allows the researchers to follow functional mRNA molecules in real time, seeing how they are taken up into cells with the help of a microscope.</div> <div> </div> <div>A challenge when working with mRNA is that the molecules are very large and charged, but at the same time fragile. They cannot get into cells directly and must therefore be packaged. The method that has proven most successful to date uses very small droplets known as lipid nanoparticles to encapsulate the mRNA. There is still a great need to develop new and more efficient lipid nanoparticles – something which the Chalmers researchers are also working on. To be able to do that, it is necessary to understand how mRNA is taken up into cells. The ability to monitor, in real time, how the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA are distributed through the cell is therefore an important tool.</div> <div> <img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Marcus%20Wilhelmsson%20spåra%20RNA%20i%20celler/Elin%20Esbjorner%20320x320.jpg" width="320" height="194" alt="" style="height:181px;width:181px;margin:5px" /></div> <div>“The great benefit of this method is that we can now easily see where in the cell the delivered mRNA goes, <br /><br />and in which cells the protein is formed, without losing RNA's natural protein-translating ability,” says Elin Esbjörner, Associate Professor at the Department for Biology and Biotechnology and the second lead author of the article.</div> <div><div> </div></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Crucial information for optimising drug discovery</h2> <div>Researchers in this area can use the method to gain greater knowledge of how the uptake process works, thus accelerating and streamlining the new medicines’ discovery process. The new method provides more accurate and detailed knowledge than current methods for studying RNA under a microscope.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Until now, it has not been possible to measure the natural rate and efficiency with which RNA acts in the cell. This means that you get the wrong answers to the questions you ask when trying to develop a new drug. For example, if you want an answer to what rate a process takes place at, and your method gives you an answer that is a fifth of the correct, drug discovery becomes difficult,” explains Marcus Wilhelmsson.</div> <div> </div> <div>On the way to utilisation – directly into IVA’s top 100 list</div> <div> </div> <div>When the researchers realised what a difference their method could make and how important the new knowledge is for the field, they made their results available as quickly as possible. Recently, the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) included the project in its annual 100 list and also highlighted it as particularly important for increasing societal resilience to crises. To ensure useful commercialisation of the method, the researchers have submitted a patent application and are planning for a spin-off company, with the support of the business incubator Chalmers Ventures and the Chalmers Innovation Office.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2021/04/05/watching-mrna-do-its-thing-in-living-cells">The research was also featured in the academic journal Science Translational Medicine's popular &quot;In The Pipeline&quot; blog as a particularly exciting contribution to the field of research</a></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.1c00014">Read the scientific article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS)</a></div> <div> </div> <div>For more information, contact:</div> <div> </div> <div>Marcus Wilhelmsson, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, <span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space:nowrap">+46 31 722 3051<a title="Ring: +46 31 722 3051" href="#" style="overflow:hidden;border-width:medium;border-style:none;border-color:initial;height:16px;width:16px;vertical-align:middle;white-space:nowrap;float:none;margin:0px;display:inline;position:static !important"><img title="Ring: +46 31 722 3051" alt="" style="overflow:hidden;border-width:medium;border-style:none;border-color:initial;height:16px;width:16px;vertical-align:middle;white-space:nowrap;float:none;margin:0px;display:inline;position:static !important" /></a></span>, marcus.wilhelmsson@chalmers.se</div> <div> </div> <div>Elin Esbjörner, Associate Professor, Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Chalmers University of Technology, <span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space:nowrap">+46 21-772 51 20<a title="Ring: +46 21-772 51 20" href="#" style="overflow:hidden;border-width:medium;border-style:none;border-color:initial;height:16px;width:16px;vertical-align:middle;white-space:nowrap;float:none;margin:0px;display:inline;position:static !important"><img title="Ring: +46 21-772 51 20" alt="" style="overflow:hidden;border-width:medium;border-style:none;border-color:initial;height:16px;width:16px;vertical-align:middle;white-space:nowrap;float:none;margin:0px;display:inline;position:static !important" /></a></span>, eline@chalmers.se</div> ​​Wed, 30 Jun 2021 08:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/Moving-healthcare-home.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/Moving-healthcare-home.aspxMoving healthcare home<p><b>​In the future, more health care will be provided at home, instead of in the hospital. Together with several partners, Chalmers is now starting the initiative Hospitals at home, which brings together research and pilot projects under one umbrella.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Healthcare is changing, and increasingly moved to the patient’s home. There are several reasons for this development. An aging population, often with chronic and sometimes complicated diseases, is putting pressure on healthcare and makes it necessary to change the way it is organized. At the same time, new technical solutions enable a more flexible healthcare, wherever and whenever we want. Some examples are digital consultations, mobile healthcare services, self-monitoring in the home, and the development of both medical technology and digital health.<br /><br /></span><div>A shift from hospital care to healthcare at home thus means that resources can be used better, for the benefit of more people – a more sustainable healthcare system is created – while giving the individual greater opportunity to influence their own illness, care and health. But change also requires both technical and organizational development.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Requires a broad collaboration</h2> <div>The initiative Hospitals at home brings together initiators from three of Chalmers’ departments, and thus weaves together expertise in medical technology, architecture, and management. Based on their specialties and research areas, the initiators contribute with different, but all very important, aspects. In collaboration with, among others, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Närhälsan, the City of Gothenburg and relevant parties from the business community, a platform for collaboration and knowledge development is now formed.<br /><br /></div> <div>And a collective grip is required. That is the opinion of Andreas Hellström, Senior lecturer and head of Chalmers’ centre CHI, Center for Healthcare Improvement.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Andreas-Hellström_220.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:273px" /><br /><span style="background-color:initial">“The technology is seldom the problem. But to achieve full benefits, technology must be put in an organizational and societal context – we need to envision the whole system. The transition to future healthcare is exactly this; system innovation covering the whole ecosystem. Everything from digital healthcare services to purely spatial solutions, healthcare service models and technology for new solutions”, he says.</span><br /></div> <div>“The common goal here is to organize healthcare based on the needs of the public and patients. Healthcare must move closer to the individual. Actually, we are all talking about the same thing, but with different starting points and dialects.”<br /><br /></div> <div>The pandemic has accelerated the development of future healthcare, with digital meetings and mobile care services.</div> <div>“This has exploded! We do not want individuals, such as the fragile elderly or others in risk groups, to leave their home unnecessarily. New solutions have then been accelerated.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Making the patient an active participant</h2> <div>With a new way of looking at healthcare, the patient also becomes an active participant in their own care – as Andreas Hellström has long advocated. A person who manages his or her own monitoring, and controls the illness, also learn to understand it in a completely new way.</div> <div>“This knowledge strengthens the patient, and at the same time relieves the healthcare system. The relationship becomes more balanced. A fundamentally important aspect in which there is great transformative power”, he says.<br /><br /></div> <div>A number of projects are included in the new initiative (see below). The initiators view it as absolutely necessary to gather partners from all arenas; hospitals, primary care, municipal health and care, research, industry, and last but not least patients and citizens – to bring about effective collaboration for a coherent healthcare ecosystem.</div> <div>“Within our initiative, we will work to find solutions to concrete problems, and develop knowledge about these. To do this, we want to have all parties at the table. And we are happy that say that the initiative has been met with great interest from all sides”, says Andreas Hellström.<br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Voices about Hospitals at home:</h2> <div><strong>Maria Taranger, Chief physician and Area Manager, Sahlgrenska University Hospital<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Maria-Taranger_220.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:273px" /><br /></strong><span style="background-color:initial">“This is really one of the most important issues, for people to have continued confidence in the public sector and a well-functioning society. People want to, and can, take much greater responsibility for the healthcare they need, but they also need support in this from us. People should only come to a physical hospital when necessary.</span><strong><br /></strong></div> <div>For example, we now have a project with a small portable X-ray machine. By X-raying suspected fractures in the home, those who do not have a fracture avoid entering the hospital. And those who turn out to have a fracture can get pain relief and help with surgical preparations, outside the hospital, and enter only when an operating room is prepared.</div> <div>We need to do research on both technology and how we work. A major mental adjustment is required for hospital care staff to dare to relinquish control of some measures to the sick individuals, or to staff employed in other organizations.”<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Ann Ekberg-Jansson, Medical strategist, Närhälsan<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Ann-Ekberg-Jansson_220.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:273px" /><br /></strong><span style="background-color:initial">“Närhälsan is in an extensive development phase, where the transition to so-called Close healthcare is central. Thus, working to develop the concept Hospitals at home together with other central parties is completely in line with this. Gathering different stakeholders at the same table generates added value, as you reflect on important issues from different perspectives to reach the end goal: the best situation from the perspective of the patient, or resident. We will learn from each other, but also get an opportunity to achieve a collective process with all parties present.”<br /></span><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong>Carin Bringestedt, Head of division at Health and healthcare, City of Gothenburg</strong></div> <div>“The municipal healthcare still has a long way to go before we arrive at a user-friendly e-health and digital services. The initiative Hospitals at home will entail more collaboration, with<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Carin-Bringestedt_220.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:273px" /><br />healthcare even more based on the individual’s needs, participation, and co-determination in managing their health and care.</div> <div>Permanent collaboration forums at the organizational level will play less of a role, and variable forms – close and in collaboration with the individual – must be developed. This applies not only to collaboration between health- and medical care facilities, but also to collaboration with, for example, home care services, care and nursing homes, and other municipal activities.</div> <div>We have a shortage of licensed employees. Demand exceeds the supply of nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists in municipal healthcare. We must therefore work smarter, with maintained or higher quality. Collaboration between inpatient care, primary care, and municipal healthcare, will become increasingly crucial for good care as hospitals move home.”</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Facts about the initiative Hospitals at home:</h2> <div>The initiative Hospitals at home will partly be based on ongoing projects but will also be linked to new initiatives identified by the collaboration group. Examples of projects already in progress are:<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>• ASAP/Autumn Leaves</strong>, a recently started project focusing on healthcare at home, including home monitoring, support from specialist healthcare and caregivers, in collaboration between municipality, region, industry etc. Autumn Leaves is run by the Digital Health group at the Department of Electrical Engineering.</div> <div><strong>• ViSMoT (video support for mobile teams)</strong>: Solutions to facilitate patient assessments in collaboration with higher medical competence, thereby increasing precision, quality and safety of the assessments. The project is led by the Digital Health group at the Department of Electrical Engineering.</div> <div><strong>• Digi physical service offerings to patients with long-term needs</strong>, a project conducted in collaboration between Närhälsan in Region Västra Götaland and the Centre for Healthcare Improvement at the Department of Technology Management and Economics.</div> <div><strong>• Healthcare centers of the future</strong>, a concept program/project led by the Centre for Healthcare Architecture at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering. The project is a mapping of the primary care’s organization, location and use of premises, and will provide a basis for concepts for future solutions.</div> <div><strong>• Out Fit</strong>, a doctoral student project (where doctoral students can receive a double degree from Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers), with focus on health-promoting qualities in a physical outdoor environment in support of health and rehabilitation in special accommodations. Intends to develop evidence-based guidelines and methods for physical outdoor environments. The project is ongoing in collaboration with Sahlgrenska Academy and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.</div> <div><strong>• The Patient Innovators</strong> is a research project based on the fact that patients’ own experience of living with chronic or long-term illnesses can be the basis for innovation and development. The project is led by the Centre for Healthcare Improvement at the Department of Technology Management and Economics.<br /><br /></div> <div>The initiative Hospitals at home have received initiative funding from Chalmers Health Engineering Area of Advance.<br /><strong>Initiators are:</strong></div> <div>Andreas Hellström, Senior lecturer, Technology Management and Economics. Coordinating. Andreas Hellström can be reached on email address <a href="mailto:andreas.hellstrom@chalmers.se">andreas.hellstrom@chalmers.se​</a>.</div> <div>Bengt Arne Sjöqvist, Professor of Practice Emeritus, Digital Health, Electrical Engineering.</div> <div>Göran Lindahl, Professor, Building Design/Architecture and Civil Engineering</div> <div>Johanna Eriksson, Artistic Senior lecturer, Building Design/Architecture and Civil Engineering</div> <div>Sara Riggare, patient representative/patient researcher</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Mia Malmstedt</div> <div>Photo of healthcareprovider and patient: Shutterstock</div> <div>Photo Andreas Hellström: Carolina Pires Bertuol</div> <div>Photo Ann Ekberg-Jansson: Angereds Närsjukhus</div> <div>Photo Carin Bringestedt: Göteborgs Stad, Hanna Björnheden</div> <div>Photo Maria Taranger: Sahlgrenska Universitetssjukhuset, Johanna Ewald St Michaels</div>Thu, 24 Jun 2021 12:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/chair/news/Pages/6-new-PhD-position-to-Chalmers-from-WASP.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/chair/news/Pages/6-new-PhD-position-to-Chalmers-from-WASP.aspx6 new PhD position to Chalmers from WASP<p><b>​​The latest call for PhD proposals from WASP resulted in six new PhD positions at Chalmers </b></p><p><span style="background-color:initial">T</span><span style="background-color:initial">he competition this year was quite tough, there were 74 proposals in total,  and 20 proposals have been accepted. Chalmers submitted 24 proposals (the largest number of the proposals from a single university), 4 of them twining projects.</span><br /></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial">Previously this year, Chalmers got approved four industrial PhD students. That shows that Chalmers researchers show continuously increasing interest in applying for WASP funds and are getting more and more successful. This is a promising trend, and we hope that it will continue, as WASP will continue with new calls this and next year. Chalmers is one of the five WASP founding universities, and WASP is important for Chalmers, not only for the funding reasons, but also for building Swedish communities, and  in participation in the international communities in the selected areas (AI, Autonomous Systems and Software). For example, two of Chalmers PhD students, from the first six WASP PhD students that got a postdoc grant,  are continuing their careers as postdocs at CMU and Berkeley universities, funded from KAW and WASP.</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight:700">​</span><span style="font-weight:700">The following project proposals were accepted:</span></p> <p></p> <ul><li><span lang="EN-US"><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/piterman.aspx">Nir Piterman</a> Combining Path-finding Algorithms in Temporal Reactive Synthesis </span></li> <li><span lang="EN-US"><a href="https://www.kth.se/profile/skantze/">Gabriel Skantze </a>and <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/richard-johansson.aspx">Richard Johansson</a>  Learning for Conversational AI  </span></li> <li><span lang="EN-US"><a href="/en/staff/Pages/per-stenstrom.aspx">Per Stenström </a>and <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/johamik.aspx">Mikael Johansson</a>, AA4ML - Algorithm-architecture co-design for machine learning  </span></li> <li><span lang="EN-US"><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/yiannis.aspx">Yiannis Karayiannidis</a>, Haptic-based Tracking of Objects in parallel robotic grippers </span></li> <li><span lang="EN-US"><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/haghir.aspx">Morteza Haghir </a>Chehreghani, A Generic Active Learning Framework for Deep Models </span></li> <li><span lang="EN-US">​<a href="/en/staff/Pages/ahmh.aspx">Ahmed Ali-Eldin​</a> , Debloating Machine Learning Systems  </span></li></ul> <p></p> <p><span style="font-weight:700"></span><span style="background-color:initial"></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US"> ​</span><span style="background-color:initial">Tw</span><span style="background-color:initial">o of these six projects are “twining” projects with KTH in which each University has one PhD student.</span></p> Wed, 23 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/chair/news/Pages/Industry-4-0-people-and-robots-work-together-on-equal-terms.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/chair/news/Pages/Industry-4-0-people-and-robots-work-together-on-equal-terms.aspxIndustry 4.0 people and robots work together on equal terms<p><b>​A larger variety of future truck models means new challenges for the truck industry. Chalmers automation researchers and Volvo Trucks collaborate in the Industry 4.0 (a.k.a. Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) project ViMCoR to develop technology that will allow a significant higher degree of truck variations on the same assembly line using AI.​</b></p>​N<span lang="EN-US"><span>ew demands on renewable energy in transportation and the development of autonomous vehicles have made vehicle companies predict that their future number of variants will increase. Until now truck manufacturing has needed few assembly lines to produce all the </span><span>companyís</span><span> models. When hybrid, fully electric, fuel cell-based powertrains and different grades of autonomous vehicles get introduced, the lines will become crowded, and the different parts will be hard to fit next to the production. The </span><span>ViMCoR</span><span> project focuses on developing </span><span>ATRs</span><span> (Autonomous Transport Robots), that will support the line with parts from remote places and order new material when the AI system detects that more is needed. It is also building an AI system that will improve collaborative </span><span>robotsí</span><span> abilities to work side by side with humans at the assembly line.  </span></span><span> </span><div><p><span lang="EN-US"><span><br /></span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US"><span>– We</span><span> are dealing with future flexible manufacturing where people and robots work together in a unified environment on equal terms. </span><span>Todayí</span><span> standards have many barriers regarding efficiency and business case when it comes to safety and </span><span>arenít</span><span> following the development of technology and acceptance of these new technologies in </span><span>sociaty</span><span>.  We intend to use the human flexibility as a resource in the safety loop. We have demands on both humans and robots. </span><span>ViMCoR</span><span> is about utilizing this </span><span>flexibility</span><span>, says Per-Lage </span><span>Götwall</span><span>, </span><span>Volvo's</span><span> representative in the project.</span></span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial">By training the collaborative robots in working side by side with human workers the work process will become smoother. When people build trucks, they have a certain movement pattern. The AI system will learn to predict what the human is going to do next and reacts accordingly. If the project manages to develop a safe and useful algorithm this will eventually provide a business case and decrease the need of building new assembly lines for every new model.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial">Als</span><span style="background-color:initial">o, the ATRs are trained to predict human movement and being able to reroute its way when obstacles appear. With multiple cameras equipped with computer vision placed in the factory ceiling an AI system will be able to monitor the whole environment and predict dangers or obstacles for the ATRs to find other ways around.</span></p></div> <div><p><span lang="EN-US" style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US" style="background-color:initial">– We are trying to find a good balance between what people are good in doing and use robots to what they do the best. In our vision we see a need for perhaps a thousand ATRs that deliver material inside a factory and it is important to reduce the cost for every ATR, says Knut Åkesson project leader at Chalmers.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <p><span style="background-color:initial">The project went in 2020 from constructing methods to set the </span><span style="background-color:initial">scene, and</span><span style="background-color:initial"> will continue with eight master students building the AI system.</span></p></div>Tue, 22 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/Chalmers-students'-special-visor-prototype-tested-by-doctors.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/Chalmers-students'-special-visor-prototype-tested-by-doctors.aspxNew visor prototype tested by doctors<p><b>​​When doctors examine patients' ears, throat or nasal cavity, they use a headlight that is placed with a bracket around the head. With covid-19 came a sharp increase in the need for protective visors and these needed to be combined with the headlights. However, the visor, which was developed quickly, has not worked completely satisfactorily. Students in the Industrial Design Engineering programme at Chalmers were therefore contacted to make improvements, and they succeeded so well that the visor is now tested in healthcare.​</b></p><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/IMS/Slutkoncept%20fäste%20vid%20sladd_750px.jpg" alt="Prototype visir" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:0px 10px;width:265px;height:178px" />There have previously been some attempts to improve the protective visor so that they fit with the headlights, but the results have not been completely satisfactory. meet user requirements. The project was done within the framework of the students' bachelor thesis and a the project is part of the education. The theses are done in the third year and are often related to real problems in society and industry.</div> <div>&quot;The project has been based on a current need that has become apparent in healthcare during the pandemic. It became very clear that this a way of working where the needs are in focus is important to reach a good solution. We are very satisfied with the way the students have approached the project and look forward to being able to test the concept further, says Åsa Lenberg doctor at NÄL Hospital in Trollhättan.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">A different solution lead to an unexpectedly good result</h2> <div> </div> <div><strong>How did you develop this protective visor?</strong></div> <div>&quot;First, we did a solid user study to get a clear picture of the problem. Then there are several requirements that the client wants to be met. For example, the visor must provide good splash protection, but also have good comfort and be easy to use. Then we had a process where we presented lots of different ideas and developed prototypes based on this, says Alvina Ståhl.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;The basic idea with our solution, unlike the previous solutions, where the visor is either inside or outside the headlight, is that the visor is attached to the headlight. It eliminates scratches on the visor and creates good space for mouth guards and glasses if needed. It also minimizes the occurrence of fog, says Gustav Brogren.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;The headlights themselves are very expensive and the visor must also be able to be changed in a easy way by the doctors themselves. We have developed laser-cut PET visors with holes that can be threaded on the existing headlight. This is then held together with a ring of flexible polymer. We also have hard moldings on both the upper and lower side for stability and fit, says Maja Kristensson.&quot;  </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/IMS/Slutkoncept%20sned%20vy%20(Storz)_500px.jpg" alt="Prototype visir" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:25px 5px;width:325px;height:325px" /><br /> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/IMS/Slutkoncept%20sned%20vy%20(CUDA)_500px.jpg" alt="Prototype visir" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px;width:325px;height:325px" /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><em>Visors on two different headlight fabricates. </em><br /><em>Photo: Adam Udén</em><br /></p> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong>How did you come up with this solution?</strong></div> <div>&quot;That the headlight would be outside of the visor was not obvious from the beginning. The idea was one of many and was kept at first just because it was different. And it didn’t even receive particularly high scores based on the evaluation matrices we set up, but that was partly due to incorrect assumptions on our part. When we tried to build a simple prototype by drilling a hole in the visor and putting it on the headlight, it worked great, says Marcus Lidman.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;Yes, we probably all felt almost immediately that we had found a good solution then. We also did user tests that confirmed that we were on the right track. All doctors we have been in contact with thought that our visor has felt better, more stable, and safer than all the solutions tested before, says Jens Junkers.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>What was it like working with a real problem?</strong></div> <div>&quot;Great! We have felt that it has been for real because the doctors have been very committed. It is also very fun to contribute something that helps them in their work. Region Västra Götaland, who engaged us in the project, also seems to have been very satisfied with the results and it has been fun to work with them. We believe that protective visors will continue to be used even after the pandemic. It seems that the view of protective equipment has changed a lot during this time. It feels great to be a part of developing a real product that gets so popular that it is adopted in real life in this way, says Adam Udèn.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div>Everyone in the group have felt that it has worked well to work together even though they have not been able to meet each other in the same way as before. They all mean this is largely due to a good class community and that they know each other very well.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More about the project</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The concept the students at <a href="/sv/utbildning/program-pa-grundniva/Sidor/Teknisk-design.aspx" title="Link to programme">Industrial design engineering ​</a>at Chalmers have developed is based on a visor with holes being threaded on the existing lamp. The solution consists of four parts. A visor, a flexible ring and two hard curved strips. The solution does not affect existing equipment and the visor can be mounted in less than 30 seconds. The concept can be easily adapted to different types of headlamps by changing the shape of the flexible ring. The curved strips are universal and work in combination with several models of headlamps.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The primary users of the product have been ear-nose-throat doctors, but the product could also be applied in, for example, surgery using similar equipment. The study was conducted at NÄL Hospital in Trollhättan.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><a href="https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12380/302842%E2%80%8B" target="_blank" title="Link to thesis "><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Link to the thesis (in Swedish only)​</a><a href="https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12380/302842"></a><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><br /></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Contact</h3> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/andreas-dagman.aspx">Andreas Dagman</a>, programme director for Industrial design engineering at Chalmers<br />Elin Ståhl, Innovationsplattformen, Västra Götalandsregionen<br /></div>Tue, 22 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Monitoring-mRNA-to-time-its-great-escape-perfectly.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Monitoring-mRNA-to-time-its-great-escape-perfectly.aspxMonitoring mRNA to time its great escape perfectly<p><b>​​The ease by which mRNA-based drugs are taken up by cells in tissues is crucial to their therapeutic effectiveness. Now, a new detection method developed by researchers at Chalmers and AstraZeneca could lead to faster and better development of the small droplets known as lipid nanoparticles, which are the main method used to package mRNA for delivery to the cells.​</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P"><span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/ChemBio/michael.munson@astrazeneca.com-001350x305.jpg" alt="Photo of Michael Munson" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px;width:250px;height:218px" />“We have developed an automated process to monitor and test large numbers of different lipid nanoparticles simultaneously, which we hope will streamline the development of new medicines,” says <strong>Michael Munson</strong>, Postdoctoral Fellow at AstraZeneca R&amp;D, who is affiliated to the research centre FoRmulaEx, and is the first author of the study that was recently published in the journal Nature Communications Biology.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span>Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is the code used by cells to produce proteins. When it is introduced as a drug or a vaccine, it is interpreted by the cells as a set of instructions, to then use their own systems to produce the desired proteins.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">mRNA-based technologies are</span><span style="background-color:initial"> being explored for their potential to help treat chronic diseases in various ways, such as by encoding therapeutic proteins, and potentially be tailored for specific tissues, for example to replace incorrect proteins or regulate cellular malfunctions that cause disease.</span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>mRNA molecules are packed into lipid nanoparticles ​</span></h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span>But the</span><span>re are several major challenges associated with this new technology. First, the cells must be ‘tricked’ into taking in the mRNA molecules. One of the most advanced ways of doing this is to pack the mRNA into a small droplet, known as a lipid nanoparticle. The nanoparticles enter cells in a large bubble called an endosome, which transports its contents to the cell's ‘lysosomes’, or degradation stations. </span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span>The lipid nanoparticles containing the mRNA must exit the endosome at just the right moment, to reach the cell's cytoplasm, where the proteins are made, before the endosome reaches the degradation station. Otherwise, the mRNA will break down and no longer be able to work. This vital step is called ‘endosomal escape’ and timing it correctly is the most decisive factor for mRNA-based medicines to work. </span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Tracking the escape</span></h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new study describes a method that the researchers developed to screen lipid nanoparticles for optimization of mRNA delivery. The method makes it possible to monitor the cell uptake, endosomal escape and delivery of mRNA in hundreds of samples at a time. To achiev​e this, the researchers combined fluorescence reporters to track the movement of the lipid nanoparticles through the cell, for protein expression and the endosomal escape events. The endosomal escape marker consists of a fluorescent variant of the protein Galectin-9 which accumulates at ruptured endosomes and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15300-1">was adapted from work published by a research group in Lund​</a>.</p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">“Instead of just seeing which lipid nanoparticles work best, we can now also understand what makes them work optimally, and use that knowledge to develop and test new improved nanoparticle formulations,” says Michael Munson.</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>Endosomal escape must be optimally timed​</span><span><br /></span></h2> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Elin Esbjörner</strong>, Associate Professor of Chemical Biology at Chalmers and co-author of<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/ChemBio/Elin%20Esbjorner_1_350x305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Photo of Elin Esbjörner" style="margin:5px;width:250px;height:218px" /> the study, explains the importance of delivering the mRNA to the target cells as precisely as possible: </span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">“To redu</span><span style="background-color:initial">ce the risk of side effects, such as the immune system being triggered by the lipid particles, we want to use the lowest possible dose. This is particularly true for diseases which require long term treatment. In those cases, it is vital that the moment of endosomal escape is optimally timed, to allow the mRNA to get out into the cytoplasm with maximum effect,” she says. </span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">In addition to allowing the researchers to evaluate a large number of lipid particles at the same time, the new method can also help examine how efficiently the lipid particles are delivered and how well they function in different types of cells. This could allow for tailoring the drugs to target specific tissues, such as in the lungs or the liver.</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">“The lipid nanoparticles work differently in different cell types. A formulation that works well for delivery to liver cells, for example, could be significantly different in lung cells. Our new method could help us understand why such differences exist, and to harness this knowledge to design new lipid nanoparticles tailored for different targets in the body,” says Elin Esbjörner.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="font-weight:700">Photo of Michael Munson: </span>AstraZeneca<br /><span style="font-weight:700">Ph</span><span style="font-weight:700">oto of</span><span style="font-weight:700"> Elin Esbjörner: </span>Mikael WInters​<span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Read the scientific article: </strong><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-021-01728-8#Sec9">A high-throughput Galectin-9 imaging assay for quantifying nanoparticle uptake, endosomal escape and functional RNA delivery</a></span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong style="background-color:initial">About FoRmulaEx:</strong><span style="background-color:initial"> <br /></span><a href="/en/centres/FoRmulaEx/Pages/default.aspx"><span>FoRmulaEx ​</span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial">is an industrial research center for functional RNA delivery. The three academic partners are Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Gothenburg and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, carrying out research in close collaboration with AstraZeneca, Vironova, Camarus and Nanolyze. The purpose is to contribute the foundational knowledge required to design safe and effective drug deliveries for the next generation of nucleotide drugs.</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p>Wed, 09 Jun 2021 09:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Chalmers-Robot-Scientist-ready-for-drug-discovery.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Chalmers-Robot-Scientist-ready-for-drug-discovery.aspxChalmers' Robot Scientist ready for drug discovery<p><b>The robot scientist Eve has been assembled and is now operating at Chalmers University of Technology. Eve’s f​irst mission is to identify and test drugs against covid-19.​</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>A robot scientist is a laboratory system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate scientific research. It autonomously forms hypothesis, plans experiments, executes the experiments using laboratory automation equipment, analyses the results, and repeats the cycle. </span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/RossKing_191003_02_350x305px.jpg" alt="Professor Ross King" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="width:250px;height:218px" />AI systems now have superhuman scientific skills that are complementary to human scientists.</p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">​Human scientists free to make creative leaps</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“My vision when developing robot scientists  is not to replace human scientists, but rather to make them orders of magnitude more productive through collaborating with AI systems,” says <strong>Ross King</strong>, Professor of Machine Intelligence at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, continuing: </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“This will free human scientist to make the high-level creative leaps at which they excel, and thus contribute to solving societal challenges.” </p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">The first machine to discover scientific knowledge</h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">His first robot scientist, Adam, was the first machine to autonomously discover scientific knowledge. Eve was developed for automatic early-stage drug development and has previously discovered novel drugs against several tropical diseases including malaria. </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Moving Eve from the University of Manchester to the Division of Systems and Synthetic Biology at Chalmers has enabled Ross King to collaborate with Per Sunnerhagen, Professor at Gothenburg University, to search for drugs against covid-19. </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“It is deeply shocking how little effort large pharmaceutical companies have put into finding drugs against covid-19. If such drugs were available now, they would save many lives in places such as India,” says Ross King.</p> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">New robot scientist under development​</h2> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new robot scientist Genesis, which is under development,  is funded by the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program. It is designed to better understand how human cells work.​<br /><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Text:</strong> Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br /><strong>Photo of Ross King: </strong>Johan Bodell<br /><strong>Photo of Eve and researcher </strong><strong>Ievgeniia Tiukova (below): </strong>Martina Butorac</p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/robotscientist_750.jpg" alt="Chalmers' Robot Scientist ready for drug discovery" style="margin:5px;width:650px;height:379px" /><br /></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong><br /></strong></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>About Eve</strong></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <ul><li>Eve is a laboratory automation work cell with equipment for liquid handling, drug maintenance, yeast growth profiling brough together by robotic arms. </li> <li>Eve has vacuum sealed mechanics of robotic arms which can operate in six axis orientation and were designed for continuous use under heavy loads for months at a time. </li> <li>Eve has an intelligent drug discovery mode using algorithms of active machine learning to untangle quantitative structure/activity relationship. </li> <li>Eve enables ultra-precise, reproducible, and high-throughput experimentation to facilitate early drug discovery and assists researchers with repetitive tasks.</li> <li>Watch <a href="https://youtu.be/zY6enJr0QiM" style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255)">Eve at work</a></li></ul> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Read more:</strong></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"></p> <div> </div> <ul><li><a href="/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/I-want-to-transform-the-way-science-is-done.aspx"><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;I want to transform the way science is done”</span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/news/Pages/43-Chalmers-researchers-receive-funding-for-more-research.aspx">43 Chalmers researchers receive funding for more research​</a><br /></span></li></ul> <div> <strong></strong></div> <p></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">   </p> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> ​</p>Thu, 03 Jun 2021 11:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/Bilberries-and-oats-in-study-with-heart-patients.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/health/news/Pages/Bilberries-and-oats-in-study-with-heart-patients.aspxBilberries and oats in study with heart patients<p><b>​Bilberries and oats are already proven to be healthy for your heart. But do you get an additional positive effect if you combine them? This will now be investigated in a large study, which includes 900 heart attack patients.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Researchers from Chalmers, in collaboration with clinics in Örebro, Karlstad, Lund and Umeå, will after the summer launch a study, where patients with acute myocardial infarction will be recruited for a diet trial. The patients will be given bilberries – the kind of blueberries that grow in Sweden – and oats.</span><div>“They are recruited within five days after undergoing balloon dilation in connection with their infarction. The procedure usually takes place immediately when they arrive at the hospital, or within a couple of days”, says Rikard Landberg, Professor at Chalmers’ division of Food and Nutrition Science, and adds:<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Rikard_Landberg_300.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /></div> <div>“It is important to know that this is not an alternative treatment, but of course an addition to the standard medical treatment they will receive by their care givers”.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Healthy but in different ways</h2> <div>No previous study has been performed on the combination of oats and bilberries. But their separate health effects have been shown, and the effects of bilberries have been investigated in a pilot study by the research group involved in the new trial.</div> <div>“We were able to demonstrate great effects, even though the patients were already on drug treatment. This is what stimulated us to design this study”, says Rikard Landberg.<br /><span style="background-color:initial">Oats and </span>bilberries <span style="background-color:initial">seem to have positive effects on risk factors via different body mechanisms. Dietary fibre in oats has well-known cholesterol-lowering effects, and certain polyphenols in bilberries – substances that give the berry its color, taste and smell – have positive effects on blood pressure, as the polyphenols have bo</span><span style="background-color:initial">th a vasodilating and an anti-inflammatory effect. That is why the researchers believe that the two together can give a synergy effect, or at least an added effect.</span><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Individualized treatment a goal</h2> <div>The cholesterol levels, but also other metabolic risk factors of the 900 patients, will be monitored. Stool tests will show if the intestinal bacterial flora is affected, and if it modifies the effect of bilberries and oats on the risk factors studied. The research team will also follow metabolites, the body’s markers in the blood, to possibly find specific molecules that can be linked to the individual’s response to the dietary supplement. Bilberries​ are compared to oats, the combination of bilberries and oats in a special made beverage (picture), and to a placebo product.</div> <div>“Our study opens up for a more specific, individualized preventive treatment of people who have had a myocardial infarction”, Rikard Landberg says.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Health/Udda%20format/Blåbär-havre-dryck_300.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Food an important factor</h2> <div>He is hoping for preliminary results in 2023. And Rikard Landberg is happy to be able to contribute to future evidence-based additional treatment and prevention for a large group of patients:</div> <div>“Each year, a large number of individuals suffer heart attacks. Eating habits are one of the most important factors, but as of today, we lack evidence to show how we should relate to this. This research is an example where we from Chalmers can contribute with specific competence and experience, while we also must collaborate with medical expertise as the study is performed on patients. Together, I hope we can contribute to future improved healthcare for myocardial infarction patients”, he concludes.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Mia Malmstedt</div> <div>Photo: Shutterstock, Annika Söderpalm (picture of Rikard Landberg), Rikard Fristedt (picture of the beverage used in the study)</div>Tue, 01 Jun 2021 15:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/Mathematics-for-more-efficient-drug-development.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/Mathematics-for-more-efficient-drug-development.aspxMathematics for more efficient drug development<p><b>​Mathematical modelling is about solving real-world problems and to better understand the world around us. In the area of drug development, mathematical modelling can be used to better understand the properties and effects of a drug.</b></p><p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Graphical illustration of a drug model" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/Lakemedelsmodell.jpg" style="margin:5px" />When a drug is to be developed there is a stage when clinical studies are performed to characterise the drug’s properties and effects in humans. To better understand and quantify the drug effects, mathematical models can be used. For example, it can be to understand how drugs behave inside the body – its concentration over time, how they are absorbed, distributed and eliminated, and what effect they have. These models are often referred to by the abbreviation PK-PD, where PK stands for pharmacokinetics and PD for pharmacodynamics.</p> <p>To develop the models and calibrate them to measurement data is a complex and computationally difficult problem. The PhD thesis of Jacob Leander presents new computational methods and applications of these, to make calibration to measurement data faster and more efficient when building models. He has also looked into an extension of the models to so-called stochastic models.</p> <p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/jacobleander200x250.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />– One of the more interesting problems we have investigated has been how to better use the data that the patients collect themselves in their homes. An example is clinical studies in asthma, where patients can measure their lung capacity several times a day for a whole year. This of course provides a lot of data, and we have expanded the modelling framework to incorporate stochastic models. This can help us better understand how the lung functions of the patients vary over time and how the drug affects this.</p> <h2>Growing area for mathematicians</h2> <p>This may be one of the first examples of model-based analysis of home measurements that has been done, and Jacob hopes that in the future it can be a complement to current analysis methods. Among other things, it could be used to design more informative clinical studies, for example by being able to reduce the number of patients in the study. This is positive from both an ethical and a financial perspective. In the thesis, the methods themselves are also developed. A new method for model calibration has been developed, and this method is now available in one of the most widely used software for modelling of PK-PD. The models as such are general and the methods can therefore be used in many areas where you measure several entities over time, for example in single-cell experiments.</p> <p>In recent years, drug development has had a strong focus on including mathematical modelling to be able to take decisions during the course of the development, such as which dose to use in a clinical study and for which patients a drug can be expected to have best effects. The development of computers also enables increasingly complex computations and simulations. The future for mathematicians is bright – many modellers are needed in the field!</p> <h2>Work and studies in parallel</h2> <p>Jacob has always liked mathematics, physics and problem solving. He began studying Engineering Physics in 2007, but when Engineering Mathematics started a year later he changed programme. The main reason was that Engineering mathematics had more focus on mathematics and programming, something he has had great use for in professional life. The first years, Jacob was interested in financial mathematics, but when he was offered to do his degree project for AstraZeneca he changed his mind. Jacob graduated with a master’s degree in 2012 and then studied Advanced Engineeing in Mathematics (AEM), a two-year licentiate programme with close connections to industry.</p> <p>– I would have liked to continue to a PhD already back then, but the programme was not set up that way, so I started to work as a pharmacometrician at AstraZeneca in 2015 with similar things as I did in my licentiate degree. After a few years, an opportunity came up to start a research project and become a part-time industrial PhD student. It was actually AstraZeneca that took the initiative and my project is very close to what I do otherwise in my daily work.</p> <p>So since 2017, Jacob has worked part-time and studied for a PhD in the other part-time, affiliated with FCC (Fraunhofer-Chalmers Research Centre for Industrial Mathematics). It has not always been entirely easy to put it together, but he still thinks it has exceeded his expectations. Not least, interesting results have been obtained that will continue to be developed.</p> <p>– On the plus side, I have been able to decide myself quite a lot which courses to read, there has been a freedom in deciding what is relevant for me, for example I read a course in Uppsala on Monte Carlo methods for dynamic systems. It is exciting to network with PhD students and discover that others are doing similar things. As an industrial PhD student, you unfortunately do not have very strong connections to the department, I think it would be good if you could have more contacts and network better with the academy.<br /><br /><em>Jacob Leander will defend his PhD thesis “<a href="https://research.chalmers.se/en/publication/?id=523650">Mixed Effects Modelling of Deterministic and Stochastic Dynamical Systems – Methods and Applications in Drug Development</a>” on June 4 at 10.00 via Zoom. Supervisor is Mats Jirstrand, assistant supervisor Marija Cvijovic.</em><br /><br /><strong>Text</strong>: Setta Aspström<br /><strong>Picture</strong>: A graphical illustration of a model to describe the concentration and effect of a drug, Jacob Leander<br /><strong>Photo</strong>: private</p>Mon, 31 May 2021 08:40:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/pandemic-models-helped-understanding.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/math/news/Pages/pandemic-models-helped-understanding.aspxUncertain pandemic models still helped understanding<p><b>​Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, several models have been developed to predict the spread of the virus, the number of deaths, and the load on the medical care system in Sweden. Researchers have now summarised and evaluated the models of Covid-19 for the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The report shows that the pandemic models helped us to understand the development of the pandemic, but at the same time it illuminates some deficiencies.​​</b></p>When a new virus with the potential to spread all over the world is discovered, things need to happen quickly. The period from the discovery of the virus to it having spread across large parts of the world and affecting huge numbers of people in a pandemic can be as short as two months. Several epidemiological models were used in Sweden during 2020 to help planning in healthcare regions and decision-making on the national level.<div> <div>Researchers at Linköping University and Lund University have been commissioned by the Public Health Agency of Sweden to draw up the report: “Sammanställning och utvärdering av modeller för pandemiprediktion i Sverige under 2020&quot; (English title: “Summary and evaluation of models for pandemic prediction in Sweden during 2020”). Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg have also participated. </div> <div>In the report, the researchers examine the models used to predict the spread of Covid-19 and the load on the medical care system in Sweden. They have evaluated 22 models developed by Swedish and international researchers, the Public Health Agency of Sweden, and other Swedish bodies.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Models are useful in the planning of measures</h2> <div>“Prediction models attempt to predict how something, in this case a pandemic, will probably develop, based on the information available at a certain point in time. The idea is that the models can be used as a basis on which different actors can decide which measures to take to avoid negative consequences”, says Toomas Timpka, professor at Linköping University and consultant for Region Östergötland. <br />The authors of the report conclude that several of the prediction models helped to understand how the pandemic developed. These models were useful in planning the measures to take, and showed that the spread of infection would probably differ significantly between different parts of the country. Further, models of various scenarios showed that changes in patterns of social contact would affect the rate of the spread of infection.<br /> However, the report found consistent deficiencies in many of the models.<br /> “One deficiency was that in several cases it was not clear which data had been used, and what the true intention had been of the information. It’s important for the recipient that this is unambiguous, such that decisions can be taken based on the model to the extent that this is possible”, says Anna Jöud, docent at Lund University. </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Important to evaluate the models</h2> <div>Only a few of the published models had been evaluated to determine how well the prediction agreed with reality. The report lists recommendations for how work with epidemiological models can be improved.<br /> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MV/Nyheter/philipgerlee200x250.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Philip Gerlee" style="margin:5px" />“Our evaluation shows that it is necessary to standardise documentation and communication of the models and their predictions. It is also important that the assumptions on which the model rests are clearly stated”, says Philip Gerlee, docent at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div>It is important to evaluate the quality and practicality of prediction models, such that they can contribute to preparing society for future pandemics.<br /> “The COVID-19 Forecast Hub in the US is a good example. This allows predictions of the pandemic development to be shared as they are made, such that other analysts and researchers can later evaluate how well the prediction agreed with the outcome. This will help us to find out which methods work well. It would be a good idea to set up a similar programme in Europe”, says Toomas Timpka.</div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> The report (in Swedish)</h2> <div>”Sammanställning och utvärdering av modeller för pandemiprediktion i Sverige under 2020” (English title: “Summary and evaluation of models for pandemic prediction in Sweden during 2020”), by Anna Jöud, Philip Gerlee, Armin Spreco, Toomas Timpka, 2021. <br />Link: <a href="http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:1557080&amp;dswid=-8812">http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1557080&amp;dswid=-8812</a> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"> Contact</h2> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/gerlee.aspx">Philip Gerlee, associate professor,</a> Mathematical Sciences.</div> <div><a href="https://liu.se/en/employee/tooti02">Toomas Timpka, professor​</a>, Linköping University</div> ​</div> ​Wed, 26 May 2021 00:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Unique-enzymes-help-gut-bacteria-compete-for-food.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Unique-enzymes-help-gut-bacteria-compete-for-food.aspxUnique enzymes help gut bacteria compete for food<p><b>​The bacterial composition of the human gut can affect health. To investigate this, researchers need increased knowledge of this diverse bacterial ecosystem. In a recently published study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers at Chalmers investigated the strategy used by one bacterial species in the gut to compete for nutrients in dietary fibre. The study was selected as one of the journal’s top ranked publications, the so-called Editors’ Picks.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">The systems and strategies used by gut bacteria to digest dietary fibre in our food varies between different species. Research has shown connections between bacterial composition to both health and different diseases. Thus, basic understanding of how the “good” gut bacteria work is important, for example how well they compete with other bacteria for nutrients in the gut.</span><br /></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Protective groups complicates degradation of dietary fibre</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">​In</span><span style="background-color:initial"> the gut, bacteria use enzyme</span><span style="background-color:initial">s, proteins that catalyse chemical reactions, to break down the complex polysaccharides, i.e. long carbohydrate chain</span><span style="background-color:initial">s, in dietary fibre into simple sugars. However, some of these polysaccharides are prot</span><span style="background-color:initial">ected by chemical groups, that hinder enzymatic degradation. </span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">“How gut bacteria handle these protective groups has not been studied in detail. In our study, we have explored how the gut bacter</span><span style="background-color:initial">ium </span><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Dysgonomona's mossii</em> </span><span style="background-color:initial">degrades the complex plant polysaccharide xylan. This is an important compone</span><span style="background-color:initial">nt in dietary fibre, but the carbohydrate chains are protected by several chemical groups that make them difficult to degrade,” says Johan Larsbrink, Associate Professor of Industrial Biotechnology at the Department of Biology and Biotechnological Engineering.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"></span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2" style="font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif">Found three enzymes used to remove protective groups </h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Dysgonomonas mossii </em></span><span style="background-color:initial">belongs to in the phylum Bacteroidetes, which is a dominant group in the gut microbiota of humans, and they are considered &quot;good&quot; bacteria. Previous research has shown that in these species, the genes encoding enzymes for degrading carbohydrate chains are often found in large gene clusters in the DNA, so-called polysaccharide utilisation loci (PULs).</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">“We found three interesting enzymes, carbohydrate esterases, with different properties in a PUL in the bacterium, and we have shown how they are used to remove protective groups from xylan,” says Cathleen Kmezik, doctoral student at the Department of Biology and Biotechnological Engineering.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">The PUL with the esterase genes also contains several other enzymes which degrade complex xylan chains. The clustering of the studied esterases with these other enzymes indicates that the ability to remove protective groups from carbohydrate chains is important for the bacteria to obtain nutrients.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"></span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2" style="font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif">Solved one enzyme's 3D structure</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">One of the esterases consists of two fused, catalytic, domains, which is rare. If you compare an enzyme to a pair of scissors that cuts specific chemical bonds, this esterase consists of two pairs of scissors physically connected to each other.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial">“This enables the esterase to cut different chemical bonds that are situated very close to each other. However, one part of this enzyme was not very active on the molecules we tested in our lab experiments, but Scott Mazurkewich, a post-doctoral researcher managed to solve its 3D structure by X-ray crystallography. This means that we can see exactly what the enzyme looks like down to a tenth of a nanometre scale and provides us with a better understanding of what the enzyme is actually doing in the gut,” says Cathleen Kmezik.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial"></span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2" style="font-family:&quot;open sans&quot;, sans-serif">Removal of protective groups may be important for survival</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">The ability to remove protective groups from polysaccharides may be important for survival in the gut, according to the researchers. More research is needed, though, to determine which niches different bacteria have in terms of what they can eat in the gut − and whether it leads to increased survival and persistence under certain conditions.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">Future studies could allow different species of bacteria to grow simultaneously on different carbohydrates with many or few protective groups and compare wh</span><span style="background-color:initial">o &quot;wins&quot; the battle for nutrition. There is also potential for the enzymes to be used industrially to accelerate the enzymatic degradation of plant biomass in the production of biofuels.</span></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Read the article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry</strong>: <a href="https://www.jbc.org/article/S0021-9258%2821%2900276-3/fulltext"><span>A</span><span> polysaccharide utilization locus from the gut bacterium <em>Dysgonomonas mossii </em>encodes functionally distinct carbohydrate esterases</span></a></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/IndBio/Scott%20Cathleen%20Johan_750x340.jpg" alt="Scott Mazurkewich, Cathleen Kmezik and Johan Larsbrink at IndBio" style="margin:5px;width:650px;height:295px" /><br /><br /><span style="background-color:initial">F</span><span style="background-color:initial">rom Chalmers the researchers <span></span><strong>Scott Mazurkewich, </strong></span><span style="background-color:initial;font-weight:700">Cathleen Kmezik </span><span style="background-color:initial">and <strong>Johan Larsbrink</strong> (above)from the Division of Industrial Biotechnology, <strong>Alexander Idström</strong> from Applied Chemistry, and <strong>Marina Armeni</strong> and</span><span style="background-color:initial"> <strong>Otto Savolainen</strong> from CMSI, participated in the study.</span></p></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>More about the esterases:</strong></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong> </strong></p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><ul><li><p class="chalmersElement-P"><em>Dm</em>CE1A: enzyme from carbohydrate esterase family 1 (CE1), active on acetyl esters and cleaving coumaryl-like molecules of unknown structure from plant biomass.</p></li> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <li><p class="chalmersElement-P"><em style="background-color:initial">Dm</em>CE1B: enzyme consisting of two fused CE1 domains – <em>Dm</em>CE1B_nt and <em>Dm</em>CE1_ct, connected through a carbohydrate-binding module. Out of the three enzymes, <em>Dm</em>CE1B_nt is the only one with clear activity on feruloyl esters, which can crosslink xylan polysaccharides, and it was also active on acetyl esters. <em>Dm</em>CE1B_ct was only weakly active on acetyl esters. Its 3D structure was solved together with the carbohydrate-binding module. The structure indicates that the enzyme targets larger molecules than those tested in the lab (see figure).</p></li> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <li><p class="chalmersElement-P"><em style="background-color:initial">Dm</em>CE6A: enzyme from carbohydrate esterase family 6 (CE6), with significant activity on acetyl esters, both in model substrates and in complex biomass. The enzyme was shown to strongly contribute to a faster xylan degradation by enzymes targeting the polysaccharide itself (xylanases).</p></li></ul> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> <strong>Text:</strong> Susanne Nilsson Lindh<br /><strong style="background-color:initial">Illustration:</strong><span style="background-color:initial"> Scott Mazurkewich<br /><strong>Photo: </strong>Martina Butorac</span></p></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> ​</p>Thu, 20 May 2021 09:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/New-material-can-protect-against-resistant-bacteria.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/New-material-can-protect-against-resistant-bacteria.aspxNew material can protect against resistant bacteria<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have developed a new material that prevents infections in wounds – a specially designed hydrogel, that works against all types of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant ones. The new material offers great hope for combating a growing global problem.​</b></p><div>​<span style="background-color:initial">The World Health Organization describes antibiotic-resistant bacteria as one of the greatest threats to global health. To deal with the problem, there needs to be a shift in the way we use antibiotics, and new, sustainable medical technologies must be developed.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><div> </div></span></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/antibakteriellhydrogel_martinandersson/portratt_martinandersson_320x350.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Portrait Martin Andersson " style="margin:5px" />“After testing our new hydrogel on different types of bacteria, we observed a high level of effectiveness, including against those which have become resistant to antibiotics,” says Martin Andersson, research leader for the study and Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology.<br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Research and development of the material has been ongoing for many years at Martin Andersson’s group at Chalmers, growing in scope along the way, with a particular focus on the possibilities for wound care. Now, the important results are published as a scientific article in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science &amp; Engineering.</div> <div> </div> <div>The main purpose of the studies so far has been to explore new medical technology solutions to help reduce the use of systemic antibiotics. Resistant bacteria cause what is referred to as hospital-acquired infection – a life-threatening condition that is increasing in incidence worldwide.<br /></div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Mimicking the natural immune system</h2> <div>The active substance in the new bactericidal material consists of antimicrobial peptides, small proteins which are found naturally in our immune system.<br /><br /></div> <div>“With these types of peptides, there is a very low risk for bacteria to develop resistance against them, since they only affect the outermost membrane of the bacteria. That is perhaps the foremost reason why they are so interesting to work with,” says Martin Andersson.<br /><br /></div> <div>Researchers have long tried to find ways to use these peptides in medical applications, but so far without much success. The problem is that they break down quickly when they come into contact with bodily fluids such as blood. The current study describes how the researchers managed to overcome the problem through the development of a nanostructured hydrogel, into which the peptides are permanently bound, creating a protective environment.<br /><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/antibakteriellhydrogel_martinandersson/portratt_edvinblomstrand_320x350.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Portrait Edvin Blomstrand" style="margin:5px" />“The material is very promising. It is harmless to the body’s own cells and gentle on the skin. In our measurements, the protective effect of the hydrogel on the antimicrobial peptides is clear– the peptides degrade much slower when they are bound to it,” says Edvin Blomstrand, doctoral student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, and one of the main authors of the article.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We expected good results, but we were really positively surprised at quite how effective the material has proven,” adds Martin Andersson.<br /><br /></div> <div>According to the researchers, this new material is the first medical device to make successful use of antimicrobial peptides in a clinically and commercially viable manner. There are many varied and promising opportunities for clinical application. </div> <div><div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Read more </h2></div></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3"> </h3> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Startup company Amferia takes the research from lab to market</h3> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/antibakteriellhydrogel_martinandersson/nyhetsbild_sjukvardsmaterial_320x300.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Image of the new material as a patch " style="margin:5px" /><span style="background-color:initial">In recent years, foundational research into the antimicrobial peptide hydrogel has run in parallel with commercial development of the innovation through the spin-off company Amferia AB. The company was founded in 2018 by Martin Andersson together with Saba Atefyekta and Anand Kumar Rajasekharan, who both defended their dissertations at Chalmers' Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The material and the idea, which is currently developed as an antibacterial wound patch, has generated interest around the world, attracting significant investment and receiving several awards. </span></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The company is working intensively to get the material to market so that it can benefit wider society. Before the new material can benefit hospitals and patients, clinical studies are needed, which are ongoing. A CE marking of the material is expected to be completed in 2022. Furthermore, the wound patch version of the new material is undergoing trials in veterinary care, for treating pets. The company Amferia AB is already collaborating with a number of veterinary clinics around Europe where the hydrogel is now being tested.<br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“Amferia has recently entered into <a href="https://amferia.com/amferia-triolab_press-release_210506_en/" title="Link to external webpage ">a strategic partnership with Sweden’s largest distributor of premium medical &amp; diagnostic devices</a> to jointly launch these wound care products for the Swedish veterinary market during 2021” says Martin Andersson.<br /><br /></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about antimicrobial peptides and the new material</h3> <div>The beneficial properties of antimicrobial peptides have been known for some decades, and thousands of different varieties occurring in the natural immune systems of humans, animals and plants have been discovered. Researchers have long tried to mimic and use their natural function to prevent and treat infections without having to use traditional antibiotics. However, because the peptides are broken down as soon as they come in contact with blood or other body fluids, successful clinical usage has proved elusive. The researchers knew that smart new solutions were needed to protect the peptide from degradation. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The new material in the study has been shown to work very well, allowing the peptides to be applied directly to wounds and injuries on the body, with the effect of both preventing and treating infection. The material is also non-toxic, so it can be used directly on the skin. The potential of this new material can also be seen in the flexibility that it offers for different types of products. </div> <div><br />“So far, we have mainly envisioned the material as a wound care dressing, but we are working on a new study investigating the potential for a wound care spray,” says Edvin Blomstrand.</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">More about the research</h3> <div>The scientific article <a href="https://doi.org/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c00029" title="Link to scietific article ">Antimicrobial Peptide-Functionalized Mesoporous Hydrogels</a> has been published in ACS Biomaterials Science &amp; Engineering and is written by Saba Atefyekta, Edvin Blomstrand, Anand K. Rajasekharan, Sara Svensson, Margarita Trobos, Jaan Hong, Thomas J. Webster, Peter Thomsen and Martin Andersson. The researchers are active at Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska Academy and Uppsala University, Sweden, and Northeastern University in Boston, USA.<br /><br /></div> <div>The research was carried out with funding from the Wallenberg Foundation through the Wallenberg Academy Fellow Program, the CARe-Centre for Antibiotic Resistance Research at University of Gothenburg, the Handlanden Hjalmar Svensson Foundation, the Adlerbertska Foundation, the Doctor Felix Neubergh Foundation, the Swedish Research Council (2018-02891), the Swedish state under the agreement between the Swedish government and the county councils, the ALF agreement (ALFGBG-725641), the IngaBritt and Arne Lundberg Foundation, the Eivind o Elsa K: son Sylvan Foundation, and the Area of Advance Materials of Chalmers and GU Biomaterials within the Strategic Research Area initiative launched by the Swedish Government.</div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">For more information contact:</h3> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Martin-Andersson.aspx" title="Link to personal profile page ">Martin Andersson</a><br />Professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers<br /><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/edvinbl.aspx" title="Lin personal profile page ">Edvin Blomstrand</a><br />Doctoral Student, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers</div></div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Images in the article <br /></h3> <div>Portait: Martin Andersson, <span style="background-color:initial">research leader for the study and Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Portrait Edvin Blomstrand, </span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">d</span><span style="background-color:initial">octoral student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, and one of the main authors of the article</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>Image atbaceterial patach: In recent years, foundational research into the antimicrobial peptide hydrogel has run in parallel with commercial development of the innovation through the spin-off company Amferia AB. The company has developed an antibacterial patch, which is soon approaching commercial usage. <br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist<br />Text: Jenny Holmstrand </div> <div>​<br /></div> <div>​<br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div> ​</div></div> <div> </div> <div>​<br /></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> ​​Tue, 11 May 2021 07:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/global-health-and-sustainable-textile-industry-on-IVA's-100-list.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/global-health-and-sustainable-textile-industry-on-IVA's-100-list.aspxInnovations for global health and sustainable textiles at IVA' s 100 list <p><b>​Three Chalmers research project​ in chemistry and chemical biology​, are highlighted by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences on this year's IVA's 100 list. The innovations can contribute to great progress for the development of RNA drugs and vaccines, reduce the textile industry's negative environmental impact and protect us against one of the world's major health threats – antibiotic resistant bacteria.</b></p>​The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), releases a national list of the 100 research projects that have the greatest potential to translate strong research into actual societal benefits and increased competitiveness for Swedish business, annually. This year's list focuses on research and innovations that contribute to increasing society's resilience to crises, and that’s where the projects from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, is now taking place.<div><div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">New method to overcome obstacles for full development of RNA drugs </h2> <div>What if it was possible to observe RNA-based therapeutics and vaccines as they do their job to enter and reprogram human cells, through a microscope in real-time. Thanks to a new method, developed by a group of researchers led by Marcus Wilhelmsson and Elin Esbjörner at Chalmers it is now possible! They have developed a method that makes RNA visible, using new minimalistic probes that do not alter its natural functions. The new method makes RNA visible without effecting its natural functions in the cell. The researchers’ innovation can contribute to solve the largest remaining challenge for taking also other RNA-based therapeutics to the clinic – their low functional cellular uptake. Similarly, the method facilitates research regarding new RNA-vaccines so that the world can be better prepared the next time it is hit by a pandemic.​​​<br /><br /></div> <div>“First of all, it feels great to be part of IVA's 100 list! It also confirms that others, apart from ourselves, consider this very interesting. It is especially exciting that people with other expertise than a researcher's, for example entrepreneurs in the field of technology, have evaluated our project and see the potential. We are currently in the process of starting a company to enable our research and ideas to be utilized, and we have submitted a patent application. Of course, this also verifies the high quality of what we do &quot;, says Marcus Wilhelmsson Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Elin Esbjörner, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, in a joint comment.<br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Reversible coloring technology to extend the use of textile  </h2> <div>The textile industry is experiencing big changes, as increasing pressure from consumers and policy makers is forcing companies to act more sustainably. Today’s textile coloring processes don’t allow efficient removal of textile color to facilitate reuse and recycling. To tackle these issues, has a reversible coloring technology, a new combined coloring / decoloring process for textiles, been developed by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology to tackle these issues. Through the startup company Vividye the technology has been further developed. This unique solution will help the industry to extend the use of textile, and to pave the way for a green but colorful future.<br /><br /></div></div> <div><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">“Six years ago, when we started the research project behind Vividye, we had no idea that we would end up on the IVA100 list.”, says Romain Bordes, </span><span lang="EN-US">Associate Professor </span><span lang="EN-US">at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and one of Vividye’s co-founders​ </span></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span lang="EN-US">New materials to protect us against antibiotic-resistant bacteria<br /></span></h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span lang="EN-US">​The increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is one of the greatest threats to humanity. To deal with this challenge, we need to develop new technical solutions. That’s why Martin Andersson and his research group develop new antibacterial materials that are suitable for medical devices, which can reduce the use of systemic antibiotics. The material is inspired by the way our immune system defeat infections and has shown good effect on all types of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant ones. Clinical studies on the material have been initiated, and the material is getting closer to the researchers' goal of utilization.  <br /><br /></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-US">“Utilization is an important part of our work, and this is a great example when research create value to the society. In recent years, we have worked in parallel with both research on the antimicrobial material and product development of the innovation in a spin-off company. We are now getting close to introduce the material on the market, so it is perfect timing to be selected on IVA's 100 list. Being part of the list is a great opportunity for us to show how our research can contribute to fight antibiotic resistance” says Martin Andersson, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering​​​</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-US"><br /></span></p> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3"><span lang="EN-US">Read more<br /></span></h3> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-US">On the new method for developing RNA drugs  <br /><a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/jacs.1c00014">Scientific article recently published in ​Journal of Chemical Society (JACS)</a></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><br /></p> <p class="MsoNormal">On the innovation coloring / decoloring process for textiles <br /><a href="https://www.vividye.com/" title="Link to external webiste ">Startup company Vividye websites</a><br /><a href="https://www.chalmersventures.com/news/vividyes-teknologi-kan-forandra-textilindustrin/" title="Link to external webiste ">Press release ”Vividyes teknologi kan förändra textilindustrin” (in Swedish)</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="https://www.chalmersventures.com/news/vividyes-teknologi-kan-forandra-textilindustrin/" title="Link to external webiste "></a></span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span><br /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://www.vividye.com/" title="Link to external webiste ">​</a>​<span style="background-color:initial">On the material that works against all types of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant ones<br /></span><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c00029" title="Link to scientific article">Scientific article recently published in ACS Biomaterials Science &amp; Engineering </a><br /></span><span style="background-color:initial"><font color="#1166aa"><b><a href="https://amferia.com/" title="link to external website ">Startup company Amferia website</a></b></font></span><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c00029" title="Link to scientific article"></a>​</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-US"><br /></span></p></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div></div> ​Mon, 10 May 2021 10:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/Mechanical-engineering-students-develop-products-preventing-dementia.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/Mechanical-engineering-students-develop-products-preventing-dementia.aspxMechanical eng students develop products preventing dementia<p><b>​During the second year in the bachelor program of the Mechanical Engineering program, the course Integrated design and manufacturing is given. The students work in groups to develop concept proposals to develop a real existing product or find a completely new solution based on a need. All products and needs come from business or society to the course as realistic as possible. This year, one of the problem formulations was about something that usually isn’t associated with mechanical engineering, namely, to counteract dementia. </b></p><div>​Erney Mattsson is professor and consultant in vascular surgery. He is a leader within a course called &quot;Experts in Teams&quot;. He covers the subject &quot;Innovation in Healthcare&quot; &quot; in that course, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Innovation in Healthcare is a thematic area where students from different disciplines are mixed with the task of solving a health problem regardless of previous medical knowledge. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /> </div> <div> </div> <div>– This diversity of different knowledge and inputs has meant that we have developed completely unique products. In the same way, I am convinced that the mechanical engineering students at Chalmers are well suited for medical development because they have completely open eyes and knowledge to develop prototypes and potential solutions, says Erney Mattsson.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/Produktutveckling/ErneyMattsson_image.jpg" alt="Erney Mattsson" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px 15px;width:170px;height:215px" />Erney develops various medical problem formulations for the course Integrated design and manufacturing. Previous projects with Erney’s involvement have among other things resulted in sound-insulated folding walls and heating blankets. The product concepts that were developed were solutions to real needs in healthcare where there were privacy problems, and difficulties in keeping the body temperature of the patients. Some of the projects have been so successful that they have resulted in master thesis projects. Erney himself has good practical experience of developing medical technology products together with engineers. For example, a collaboration with the professor in mathematics Torbjörn Lundh, which resulted in a patent for an artificial blood vessel, a so-called vascular prosthesis. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>- To me, diversity is a great strength and it was something I really discovered when working with engineers. I think this approach will become more and more common, says Erney. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Different problems can be solved with the same process </h2></div> <div>The project assignments in the course vary from year to year since they are all based on real world applications. It can be about improving an existing product or having a more open solution to a current need. One of this year's project tasks is to develop a product that counteracts dementia. This may not be something that one think is traditionally linked to the mechanical engineering program. But the students have used the same methodical design process as in any other type of product development. This approach provides valuable experience and insights into how product development and group dynamics work in real life. The project groups have worked to develop concepts for how to meet the need for, in this case, cognitive stimulation.</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/Produktutveckling/funktionellt-diagram.jpg" alt="Functional diagram" style="margin:5px" /><br /><em>Above: A functional diagram that can be applied to all product development.</em><br /><br /></div> <div>Most of the groups that worked to counteract dementia came up with some form of app solution where the cognitive ability can be developed and tested. Some groups also had physical products such as a cognitively challenging card game and a &quot;brain calendar&quot; with prompts and tips on daily physical and cognitive activities.</div> <div><div><p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p></div></div> <div> </div> <div>Elin Skönborg comes from Stockholm and attended an aesthetic program in upper secondary school. Elin felt that she wanted to study something more technical and decided to choose the Mechanical Engineering program at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– I’m happy with the Mechanical Engineering program and I have learned a lot. There is so much work put into products that you do not think about. A course like this is challenging because we do not have much knowledge about dementia from the beginning and the solution is quite open. But we have used the tools we received on the course and become more comfortable the more we have worked with the problem. It has also been fun to work in a group where you don’t know everyone from the beginning, says Elin. </div> <div> </div> <div>Johan Brasch comes from the city of Värnamo and wanted to study something that was broad and concrete and practical, which led to the Mechanical Engineering program at Chalmers. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– We had a hard time in the beginning because this project was a little different compared to a &quot;normal&quot; mechanical problem. But we scaled it down in a way that suited us and used the methods we were taught, and it worked out in the end. I thought it was interesting to see that you can tackle different problems with these methods by working purposefully and systematically. Of course, it was difficult at first since the solution could be so open, but developing an existing product involves other types of difficulties, says Johan. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Complete product solutions require collaboration across subject boundaries<br /></h2></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/Produktutveckling/ErikHultén_400x600px.jpg" alt="Erik Hultén" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:15px;width:245px;height:371px" />Erik Hulthén, coordinator of the Mechanical Engineering program, believes that the program is broader than generally perceived.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– Products consist of so much more than technical details. We must be able to design complete solutions that include identifying the customer and their needs. As a result, the solutions will often also go beyond the subject boundaries. We generally need to become better at bridging between different disciplines in product development, says Erik.</div> <div> </div> <div>The collaboration with Erney Mattsson was established after Erik visited NTNU and saw how interdisciplinary they worked with medical technology solutions, and the good results that followed with it. </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– Erney is an interesting project developer because his background at NTNU provides different inputs for how to think about projects like this. I think we will see more types of such collaborations in the future. Medical technology is an area that there is every reason for mechanical engineers to work more with, says Erik.<br /></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More about the course Integrated design and manufacturing</h2> <div>The aim of the project course is to provide possibilities for the students to participate in industry-related product development projects, to train problem-oriented learning and to act in a project environment. The projects have focus on early product development, i.e concept study phases and test and evaluation of physical prototypes or simulation models, and value-based management. </div> Wed, 28 Apr 2021 00:00:00 +0200