News: Livsvetenskaper och teknikhttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyFri, 06 Jul 2018 08:59:54 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/big-investment-to-make-Chalmers-equal.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/big-investment-to-make-Chalmers-equal.aspxA big investment to make Chalmers equal<p><b>​Through an investment of several hundred million kronor, Chalmers is considerably stepping up its gender equality work. Through concrete, ground-breaking changes of the system, and direct recruitment of top female researchers, Chalmers will achieve a significantly more equal gender balance within the faculty over ten years.</b></p>​Like other technical universities, Chalmers has a very low share of women at faculty levels. At Chalmers, the share is currently 22 percent. However, research shows that a more equal gender balance leads to greater scientific success, and also to a better work environment, both for men and women.<br /><br />Therefore, Chalmers is now making a great effort to deal with the skewed gender distribution. The investment is funded by the Chalmers Foundation and has a budget of 300 million SEK over ten years.<br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20180101-20180630/StefanBengtsson_170907_150x200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:145px;height:193px" /><br />“Different studies clearly show that the academy is not equal today – men and women are judged and treated differently. With this powerful investment, in addition to what we already do, we want to correct the imbalance and in addition become a stronger and more successful university. It's about making better use of the competence of the entire population,&quot; says Stefan Bengtsson, president and CEO of Chalmers.<br /><br />Chalmers has been working on gender equality for a long time. But the new investment, named Genie as an abbreviation of Gender Initiative for Excellence, represents a huge move to speed up the changes.<br /><br />Genie consists mainly of two parts. One is concrete work at each department in order to identify and eliminate structural and cultural barriers that impede women's careers. Departments that meet Chalmers’ gender equality requirements will receive a bonus in the internal funding distribution.<br /><br />The second p<span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span>art is direct recruitment of top female scientists, and to ensure that other recruitments, for example due to retirements, result in at least 50 percent women.<br /><span><span><span><span><span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20180101-20180630/PernillaWittungStafshede_150x200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:140px;height:186px" /></span></span></span></span></span><br /><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&quot;It is abou<span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>t bui<span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span>lding a critical mass of women. A small minority has difficulty gaining proper support. But that does not mean that we are lowering our competence requirements –<span><span><span></span></span></span> there are many female researchers who are extremely competent,” says professor<span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, one of the initiators of Genie.<span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span><br /><span><span><br /><br /><br /></span></span><br />Text: Ingela Roos<br />Photo: Johan BodellFri, 29 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/Pages/Ulf-.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/Pages/Ulf-.aspxUlf controls his robotic arm with his mind<p><b>​Ulf Karlsson was far out at sea when a fan tore his arm off and he had to instruct his coworkers on how to stop the bleeding. While some said he could never work again, Ulf wanted to strive on. And through a collaboration between Chalmers, Sahlgrenska and Integrum, Ulf now has a robotic arm attached to his skeletal and nervous system, and he is one out of four in the world who can control and feel with his prosthetic hand as with his real hand.</b></p><p>​The neuroprosthetic tehnology is developed by <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/max-jair-ortiz-catalan.aspx">Max Ortiz Catalan</a>, <span style="background-color:initial">an Associate Professor </span><span style="background-color:initial">at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers.</span></p> <span></span><p></p>Mon, 28 May 2018 15:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Eating-fish-could-prevent-Parkinsons-disease.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Eating-fish-could-prevent-Parkinsons-disease.aspxEating fish could prevent Parkinson’s disease<p><b>​A new study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, shines more light on the link between consumption of fish and better long-term neurological health. Parvalbumin, a protein found in great quantities in several different fish species, has been shown to help prevent the formation of certain protein structures closely associated with Parkinson’s disease.</b></p>​Fish has long been considered a healthy food, linked to improved long-term cognitive health, but the reasons for this have been unclear. Omega-3 and -6, fatty acids commonly found in fish, are often assumed to be responsible, and are commonly marketed in this fashion. However, the scientific research regarding this topic has drawn mixed conclusions. Now, new research from Chalmers has shown that the protein parvalbumin, which is very common in many fish species, may be contributing to this effect.<br /><br />One of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease is amyloid formation of a particular human protein, called alpha-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein is even sometimes referred to as the ‘Parkinson’s protein’. <br />What the Chalmers researchers have now discovered, is that parvalbumin can form amyloid structures that bind together with the alpha-synuclein protein. Parvalbumin effectively ‘scavenges’ the alpha-synuclein proteins, using them for its own purposes, thus preventing them from forming their own potentially harmful amyloids later on. <br /><br />“Parvalbumin collects up the ‘Parkinson’s protein’ and actually prevents it from aggregating, simply by aggregating itself first,” explains Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor and Head of the Chemical Biology division at Chalmers, and lead author on the study. <br /><br />With the parvalbumin protein so highly abundant in certain fish species, increasing the amount of fish in our diet might be a simple way to fight off Parkinson’s disease. Herring, cod, carp, and redfish, including sockeye salmon and red snapper, have particularly high levels of parvalbumin, but it is common in many other fish species too. The levels of parvalbumin can also vary greatly throughout the year.<br /><br />“Fish is normally a lot more nutritious at the end of the summer, because of increased metabolic activity. Levels of parvalbumin are much higher in fish after they have had a lot of sun, so it could be worthwhile increasing consumption during autumn,” says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and researcher on the study. It was Nathalie who first had the inspiration to investigate parvalbumin more closely, after a previous study she did looking at biomarkers for fish consumption. <br /><br />Other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease, are also caused by certain amyloid structures interfering in the brain. The team is therefore keen to research this topic further, to see if the discovery relating to Parkinson’s disease could have implications for other neurodegenerative disorders as well. Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede stresses the importance of finding ways to combat these neurological conditions in the future: <br /><br />“These diseases come with age, and people are living longer and longer. There’s going to be an explosion of these diseases in the future – and the scary part is that we currently have no cures. So we need to follow up on anything that looks promising.” <br /><br />A follow up study, looking at parvalbumin from another angle, is indeed planned for this autumn. Nathalie Scheers, together with Professor Ingrid Undeland, also of Chalmers, will investigate parvalbumin from herring, and its transport in human tissues. <br /><br />“It will be very interesting to study how parvalbumin distributes within human tissues in more depth. There could be some really exciting results.” <br /><br /><strong>More About: Fish and Better Neurological Health</strong><br />The link between higher consumption of fish and better long-term health for the brain has been long established. There is correlation between certain diets and decreased rates of Parkinson’s disease – as well as other neurodegenerative conditions. “Among those who follow a Mediterranean diet, with more fish, one sees lower rates of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” says Tony Werner, a PhD student in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and lead researcher on the study. This has also been observed in Japan, where seafood forms a central part of the diet. The team is careful to note that no definite links can be established at this point, however. <br /><br /><strong>More About: Amyloids and Aggregation</strong><br />Proteins are long chains of amino acids that fold into specific structures to carry out their function. But sometimes, proteins can fold incorrectly, and get tangled up with other proteins, a process known as aggregation.As these misfolded proteins aggregate together, they create long fibrous structures known as amyloids. Amyloids are not necessarily a bad thing, but can be responsible for various diseases. Some of them can interfere with neurons in the brain, killing those cells, and causing a variety of neurodegenerative conditions.<br /><br /><strong>More About: The Study</strong><br />The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.<br /><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-23850-0">Abundant fish protein inhibits α-synuclein amyloid formation</a><br /><br />Text: Joshua Worth<br />Photo: Johan BodellMon, 23 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Spikes-of-graphene-can-kill-bacteria-on-implants.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Spikes-of-graphene-can-kill-bacteria-on-implants.aspxSpikes of graphene can kill bacteria on implants<p><b>​A tiny layer of graphene flakes becomes a deadly weapon and kills bacteria, stopping infections during procedures such as implant surgery. This is the findings of new research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.</b></p><p>​Operations for surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements or dental implants, have increased in recent years. However, in such procedures, there is always a risk of bacterial infection. In the worst case scenario, this can cause the implant to not attach to the skeleton, meaning it must be removed.<br /><br />Bacteria travel around in fluids, such as blood, looking for a surface to cling on to. Once in place, they start to grow and propagate, forming a protective layer, known as a biofilm.<br /><br />A research team at Chalmers has now shown that a layer of vertical graphene flakes forms a protective surface that makes it impossible for bacteria to attach. Instead, bacteria are sliced apart by the sharp graphene flakes and killed. Coating implants with a layer of graphene flakes can therefore help protect the patient against infection, eliminate the need for antibiotic treatment, and reduce the risk of implant rejection. The osseointegration – the process by which the bone structure grow to attach the implant – is not disturbed. In fact, the graphene has been shown to benefit the bone cells.<br /><br />Chalmers is a leader in the area of graphene research, but the biological applications did not begin to materialise until a few years ago. The researchers saw conflicting results in earlier studies. Some showed that graphene damaged the bacteria, others that they were not affected.<br /><br />“We discovered that the key parameter is to orient the graphene vertically. If it is horizontal, the bacteria are not harmed,” says Ivan Mijakovic, Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering.<br /><br />The sharp flakes do not damage human cells. The reason is simple: one bacterium is one micrometer – one thousandth of a millimeter – in diameter, while a human cell is 25 micrometers. So, what constitutes a deadly knife attack for a bacterium, is therefore only a tiny scratch for a human cell.<br /><br />&quot;Graphene has high potential for health applications. But more research is needed before we can claim it is entirely safe. Among other things, we know that graphene does not degrade easily,” says Jie Sun, Associate Professor at the Department of Micro Technology and Nanoscience.<br /><br />Good bacteria are also killed by the graphene. But that’s not a problem, as the effect is localised and the balance of microflora in the body remains undisturbed.<br /><br />&quot;We want to prevent bacteria from creating an infection. Otherwise, you may need antibiotics, which could disrupt the balance of normal bacteria and also enhance the risk of antimicrobial resistance by pathogens,” says Santosh Pandit, postdoc at Biology and Biological Engineering.<br /><br />Vertical flakes of graphene are not a new invention, having existed for a few years. But the Chalmers research teams are the first to use the vertical graphene in this way. The next step for the research team will be to test the graphene flakes further, by coating implant surfaces and studying the effect on animal cells.<br /><br />Chalmers cooperated with <a href="http://www.wellspect.co.uk/">Wellspect Healthcare</a>, a company which makes catheters and other medical instruments, in this research. They will now continue with a second study. <br /><br />The projects are a part of the national strategic innovation programme SIO Grafen, supported by the Swedish government agencies Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency), the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Research Council Formas. The research results are published in Advanced Materials Interfaces: &quot;<a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/admi.201701331">Vertically Aligned Graphene Coating is Bactericidal and Prevents the Formation of Bacterial Biofilms</a>&quot;<br /><br /><strong>The making of vertical graphene</strong><br />Graphene is made of carbon atoms. It is only a single atomic layer thick, and therefore the world's thinnest material. Graphene is made in flakes or films. It is 200 times stronger than steel and has very good conductivity thanks to its rapid electron mobility. Graphene is also extremely sensitive to molecules, which allows it to be used in sensors.<br /><br />Graphene can be made by CVD, or Chemical Vapor Deposition. The method is used to create a thin surface coating on a sample. The sample is placed in a vacuum chamber and heated to a high temperature at the same time as three gases – usually hydrogen, methane and argon – are released into the chamber. The high heat causes gas molecules to react with each other, and a thin layer of carbon atoms is created.<br />To produce vertical graphene forms, a process known as Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition, or PECVD, is used. Then, an electric field – a plasma – is applied over the sample, which causes the gas to be ionized near the surface. With the plasma, the layer of carbon grows vertically from the surface, instead of horizontally as with CVD.<br /></p> <div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" id="div_21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" unselectable="on"></div> <div id="vid_21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" unselectable="on" style="display:none"></div></div> <p><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo and video: Johan Bodell<br />Illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Bridge-builder-awarded-new-prize-in-medical-technology.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Bridge-builder-awarded-new-prize-in-medical-technology.aspxBridge builder awarded new prize in medical technology<p><b>​The newly established prize in medical technology, in the spirit of Henry Wallman, is awarded to Sabine Reinfeldt, Associate Professor and leader of the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems at Chalmers. She receives the prize for her research on bone conduction hearing aids, and for her ability to build bridges between disciplines.</b></p>​The newly established prize in medical technology, in the spirit of Henry Wallman, is awarded to Sabine Reinfeldt, Associate Professor and leader of the research group in biomedical signals and systems at Chalmers. She receives the prize for her research on bone conduction hearing aids, and for her ability to build bridges between disciplines.<br /><br />&quot;I was very happy and surprised when I learned that I got the prize,&quot; says Sabine Reinfeldt. “It is great that my work, and the work of the whole group, has received recognition through the first Henry Wallman prize.”<br /><br />Sabine Reinfeldt's research focuses on improved hearing aids based on bone conduction. Her work includes everything from basic bone conduction physiology and transmission to the development of implantable hearing aids ready for market introduction.<br /><br />In the justification of the prize, it is emphasized that Sabine Reinfeldt's research and working methods are characterized by multidisciplinary collaboration with representatives from clinical science, and she is therefore an excellent representative of the ideals that Henry Wallman wished to see in medical technology and its clinical utilisation. In addition to building bridges between disciplines, Sabine Reinfeldt has successfully created well-functioning multidisciplinary teams.<br /><br />“The collaboration across disciplines has always been a success factor in the field of bone conduction hearing,” says Sabine Reinfeldt. “My predecessor, Bosse Håkansson at Chalmers, started already in 1977 a successful collaboration with Anders Tjellström at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the Brånemark Osseointegration Center. I´m trying to carry on in the same spirit. We are a whole team of engineers, <br />medical doctors and audiologists who work together contributing with our respective skills to find the best solutions, for the benefit of the patients. Nowadays, Måns Eeg-Olofsson at Sahlgrenska is a very important partner.<br /><br />Sabine Reinfeldt will receive the prize at a ceremony early autumn 2018.<br /><br /><em></em><em></em><strong>About the prize</strong><br />The Henry Wallman prize is an innovation prize in medical technology, which from 2018 will be awarded annually, to young researchers or graduate students who, in close collaboration between expertise in technology and health care, successfully have transferred new knowledge from academia to practical medical care. The Foundation for Biomedical Engineering (Stiftelsen Medicin &amp; Teknik) at Chalmers is hosting the prize. The scholarship amounts to SEK 50,000.<br />Henry Wallman came to Chalmers in 1948 and was a pioneer in biomedical engineering research and development.<br /><br /><span><em>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</em><br /><em>Photo: Oscar Mattsson<span style="display:inline-block"></span></em></span><br /><br /><strong>Contact</strong><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/sabine-reinfeldt.aspx">Sabine </a><span>Reinfeld</span>t, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers<br /><a href="mailto:%20sabine.reinfeldt@chalmers.se">sabine.reinfeldt@chalmers.se</a><br /><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-signals-and-systems.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems</a>Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Certain-iron-supplements-may-influence-the-development-of-colon-cancer.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Certain-iron-supplements-may-influence-the-development-of-colon-cancer.aspxCertain iron supplements may influence the development of colon cancer<p><b>​Two common iron compounds increase the formation of a known biomarker for cancer, according to a new study of cancer cells from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The two compounds, ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, are often used in dietary supplements and as a food additive respectively, in worldwide markets including the USA and the EU.</b></p>​The researchers studied ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, which have both previously been shown to worsen tumour formation in mice with colon cancer. The science behind this has been little understood until now, and possible effects on human cells were not previously investigated. <br /><br />The new study, which was in collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council and Cambridge University, looked at the effect of normal supplemental doses of these compounds on two types of cultured human colon cancer cells. As a comparison, they also measured the effects of ferrous sulphate, another very commonly available iron compound.<br /><br />While ferrous sulphate had no effect, both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA caused an increase in cellular levels of amphiregulin, a biomarker for cancer. This was the case even at low doses.<br /><br />&quot;We can conclude that ferric citrate and ferric EDTA might be carcinogenic, as they both increase the formation of amphiregulin, a known cancer marker most often associated with long-term cancer with poor prognosis,&quot; says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, and lead writer on the study.<br /><br />Today there are many different types of iron supplements on the market. These can be based on at least 20 different iron compounds, and sold under a wide range of brands. Ferric sulphate is one of the most common, but ferric citrate, which is said to be gentler for the stomach, is also widely available in stores and online. It is also more easily absorbed by the body through foods such as granary bread, beans and nuts.<br /><br />But for consumers looking to make an informed choice, it can often be difficult to know what exactly they are buying. <br /><br />“Many stores and suppliers don’t actually state what kind of iron compound is present – even in pharmacies. Usually it just says ‘iron’ or ‘iron mineral’, which is problematic for consumers,” says Nathalie Scheers. <br /><br />Iron is also added to some foods, to combat iron deficiency. Ferric EDTA is approved as a fortifying agent in both the USA and the EU. It is also used in countries such as China, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico and The Philippines, where it is added to flour and powdered drinks. Additionally, it is present in certain medicines for children with low iron levels in countries such as the UK and France. <br /><br />With both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA in widespread use, how should consumers or patients relate to these new findings?<br /><br />“First, we must bear in mind that the study was done on human cancer cells cultured in the laboratory, since it would be unethical to do it in humans. But, the possible mechanisms and effects observed still call for caution. They must be further investigated,&quot; says Nathalie Scheers. &quot;At the moment, people should still follow recommended medical advice. As a researcher, I cannot recommend anything – that advice needs to come from the authorities. But speaking personally, if I needed an iron supplement, I would try to avoid ferric citrate,” she continues. <br /><br />Beyond this, she is not willing to comment. Research in the field has so far been limited, even concerning the more common ferrous sulphate. The key thing for her is that we begin to differentiate between different forms of iron. <br /><br />&quot;Most importantly, researchers and authorities need to start to distinguish between this form of iron and that form of iron. We need to consider that different forms can have different biological effects,” she concludes.<br /><br /><strong>Women at greater risk</strong><br />Most of the iron that the body needs is obtained through food such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But sometimes this is not enough. Pregnant women may need additional iron, as well as people who have lost blood or have low haemoglobin levels for other reasons. In patients with kidney disease, high doses of iron may be needed to bind phosphates into the bloodstream.<br /><br /><strong>More about the study</strong><br />The research was funded by Formas, (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) and was in collaboration with a research team at Elsie Widdowson laboratory, Medical Research Council, Cambridge/University of Cambridge. The study was recently published in the journal Oncotarget: <a href="http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&amp;page=article&amp;op=view&amp;path%5b%5d=24899">‘Ferric citrate and ferric EDTA but not ferrous sulfate drive amphiregulin-mediated activation of the MAP kinase ERK in gut epithelial cancer cells’</a><br /><p><br />Text: Christian Borg<br />Photo/illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0200https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/Pages/The-packaging-reminds-you-of-the-medicine.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/Pages/The-packaging-reminds-you-of-the-medicine.aspxNew packaging helps you remember your medicine<p><b>​It all started at Chalmers’ school of entrepreneurship. Mevia is now in the process of developing and selling its technology; the medicine packaging that won´t let you forget your pill.</b></p>​A lot of people take some kind of drug every day. Blood pressure medicines, birth control pills, vitamins, anti-inflammatory... They all have one thing in common; they are very easy to forget.<div>The small company Mevia has developed a pharmaceutical packaging solution that alerts when the medicine seems to be forgotten. A small device connects to the graphite strips printed on the blister pack, and each time the patient takes a pill, a signal is sent in real time to Mevia. If there is no signal, a reminder is sent out to the patient, a relative or healthcare provider, via SMS or an automated phone call.</div> <div><br /><strong>Started at the school of entrepreneurship</strong></div> <div>The idea originated from Stora Enso. Jesper Hassel, CEO of Mevia, started working on the idea at Chalmers’ school of entrepreneurship, where he ended up after finishing his studies in industrial engineering and management.</div> <div>– The first year at the school of entrepreneurship was similar to a regular year of a Chalmers master’s program. Then, at the end of the first year, we had to choose three or four ideas that we wanted to work with, and try to develop into companies. We really had to think about our interests, what we wanted to do, and who in the group we thought we could work with, Jesper Hassel says.<br />– Then we were assigned one of the projects. I got my first choice! Much of what we did in school after that point was connected to the company. It was a great way to get started.</div> <div>What are the needs? Where should we start? How do you write a business plan? And where can we find knowledge? They went through the questions, one by one. For Jesper Hassel, it became important to quickly find persons with great knowledge and skills in this field. Boo Edgar and Karin Wingstrand, both with many years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, were approached early and are now members of Mevia's Board.<br /><br /><strong>Developing the company as well as the technique</strong></div> <div>Four years have passed since they left Chalmers and the company is progressing.</div> <div>– I think it’s developing quite slowly, but if you ask those who have done this earlier, they will tell you we’re doing just fine. It’s a slow industry. And the fact that we are a company is sort of a victory in itself. This means we’ve solved the problems we met so far, Jesper Hassel says.</div> <div>One of the major problems turned out to be that the technology initially was not good enough. Today, it has been updated and tested by home care providers and at retirement homes. And improvements are made all the time – continuous feedback makes it possible to develop the technique in the right way.</div> <div>– We have linked our technology to dose packaging; bags with the right dose of your daily medicines – one bag for every occasion of the day. This works well. Our technology can be linked to any type of packaging, bags or blister packs.</div> <div><br /><strong>What does it mean to miss a pill?</strong></div> <div>Why is it important to check if the medicine is taken? The question has several answers. There are some pharmaceuticals where a single missed dose can cause health problems. And some medications will not have an effect until after several weeks – and then the patient may lose faith and stop using it. A third scenario is a patient who forgets every other pill causing the doctor to raise the dosage, thinking that this is necessary. Suddenly, there is a risk of the patient being exposed to a much too high dosage.</div> <div>– We would like to primarily support those who are happy to take their medicines themselves, but would like some support. For example, elderly individuals who manage fine by themselves but see the reminder as an extra safety measure.</div> <div><br /><strong>Individual solutions</strong></div> <div>Somewhat unexpected, the idea has encountered some hesitation from home care staff.</div> <div>– They may think that their jobs will disappear, or that our system will cause them stress. Sometimes they are running late, and then the reminders can be annoying. But maybe you need to adjust the time on the dose package? We want to support the care givers and make it possible for them to spend time doing the right things, Jesper Hassel says.<br />– Everyone wants different kinds of solutions. Some want a reminder five minutes before the medication is to be taken, which would make others go insane. But it’s easy to adapt our system! You can also control who will receive the reminder. First, maybe the elderly patient will receive an SMS, and at a later stage, you may want a notification to go also to your relatives. It is easy to add and remove this.</div> <div><br /><strong>Hot company of 2017</strong></div> <div>For health economic reasons, it is of course important for the society as a whole to find systems that make it possible for elderly people to manage their health care issues themselves for a longer period of time, before home care providers step in. Or, for example, finding ways to remember vital pharmaceuticals as blood-thinning medicines and other preventive medicines, thus saving the individual from illness while at the same time reducing strain on hospitals.</div> <div>– Our vision and aim are right on track, and the fact that we’ve been appointed one of Sweden’s 33 hottest young technology companies in 2017 is a clear sign, says Jesper Hassel.</div> <div> </div> <div>Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Private<br /></div>Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Can-computers-learn-how-to-diagnose-brain-diseases.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Can-computers-learn-how-to-diagnose-brain-diseases.aspxCan computers learn how to diagnose brain diseases?<p><b>​Imaging technology has revolutionized healthcare and is widely used for diagnosis before treatment or surgery. Despite these advances, routine clinical MRI data interpretation is mostly performed by medical experts. Is it possible to use deep learning to teach computers to diagnose brain diseases as well as or in some aspect even better than medical doctors?</b></p>​<span><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Kan%20datorer%20lära%20sig%20att%20diagnosticera%20hjärnsjukdomar/Inrene_Gu_200px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span>Deep learning is about using powerful computers with embedded artificial intelligence to resemble the human brain's way of interpreting new information and draw conclusions in relation to what is already known. The difference is that computers, amongst other things, are able to analyse much larger amounts of data, which can be used to find better methods for solving difficult mathematical and technical problems.<br /><br />“Using a large amount of brain image data, deep learning methods can be used to find characteristic features related to some diseases, and provide powerful diagnostic tools to medical doctors”, says Irene Gu, Professor in the signal processing group at Chalmers. <br /><br />So far, only preliminary research work on deep learning is reported in the medical area. In computer vision, deep learning has reached or even surpassed human performance when it comes to face recognition. <br />Recently, Irene Gu has started a research initiative on brain image analytics using deep learning methods in close collaboration with medical doctors at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and several students. The question is: Would it be possible for artificial intelligence technology to diagnose Alzheimers’ disease, or to find brain tumors’ grading, by only using a large amount of brain image data?<br /><br />“We have obtained some initial promising results. Our ambition is to reach the performance of medical experts and yet in much simpler ways”, says Irene Gu.<br /><br /><strong>Detection of Alzheimer’s disease</strong><br />Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neuro-degenerative disease currently incurable, its cause is not yet completely understood. According to WHO’s statistics in 2015, roughly 30 million people in the world suffer from Alzheimer’s. The symptoms consist of disorientation, language difficulties, memory loss, mood swings and many more. Early diagnosis and treatment can potentially slow down the development of the disease.<br /><br />Brain scans by magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, is a commonly used diagnostic method for detecting Alzheimer’s disease. This is often used in combination with other diagnostic methods involving a set of clinical exams, by observing the progression of dementia symptoms.<br /><br />“In this project, two dedicated deep learning methods, simple yet effective, have been developed for detection of Alzheimer’s disease. One method is based on 3D convolutional networks, another on 3D multiscale residual networks. We use a large amount of brain MRI scans to learn our computers the features of Alzheimer’s disease, and subsequently to detect Alzheimer’s patients from unseen scans”, Irene Gu explains. <br /><br />The study involved 340 subjects and about 1200 MR images, obtained from a public available dataset, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).<br /><br />“The proposed schemes have yielded high accuracies. For example, one method has reached an accuracy of 98,74 % on previously unseen MRI scans, and 90,11 % from MRI scans of unseen patients in the study. This almost reaches the highest state-of-the-art research results”, Irene Gu says. “This indicates that the method that we have developed is useful in this type of studies.”<br /><br />One of the projects was conducted by <a href="http://studentarbeten.chalmers.se/publication/252184-deep-learning-methods-for-mri-brain-image-analysis-3d-convolutional-neural-networks-for-alzheimers-d">Mahmood Nazari and Karl Bäckström as a master's thesis project</a>.<br />A paper submitted on this work has recently been accepted by IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical imaging (ISBI) 2018. Another MSc project is still ongoing.<br /><br /><strong>Brain tumor grading</strong><br />Encouraged by the good deep learning results using MR images, Irene Gu has started another project based on similar technology, performed by Karl Bäckström in 2017. <br /><br />“Thanks to the interest in computer-assisted brain tumor diagnostics shown by medical doctors at Sahlgrenska, and seed funding from the department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers, we could perform a study on brain tumor (glioma) grading using deep learning”, says Irene Gu.<br /><br />A glioma is a type of tumor that starts in the glial cells of the brain or the spine. Gliomas comprise about 30 percent of all brain tumors and central nervous system tumors. About 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors are gliomas.<br /><br />The broad international collaboration networks, which the medical doctors are engaged in, have provided the researchers with brain tumor datasets from USA, France and Austria.<br />We have already obtained some promising results, though on relatively small datasets”, says Irene Gu. “Now we are conducting further in-depth research, where more students and researchers from Chalmers participate in close collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital.”<br /><br />Text: Yvonne Jonsson<br /><br /><strong>More information</strong><br /><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Irene-Yu-Hua-Gu.aspx">Irene Gu</a>, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers<br /><a href="mailto:irenegu@chalmers.se">irenegu@chalmers.se</a><br /><a href="mailto:irenegu@chalmers.se"></a><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Image-and-video-analysis.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about computer vision and medical image analysis</a><br />Thu, 08 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/tme/news/Pages/Social-innovation-project-gives-people-affected-by-cancer-strength-to-live.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/tme/news/Pages/Social-innovation-project-gives-people-affected-by-cancer-strength-to-live.aspxSweden&#39;s first support centre for people affected by cancer<p><b>​Strength to live and better psychosocial support. This is the goal for Kraftens Hus, Sweden’s first support centre for cancer patients and their families. Centre For Healthcare Improvement at Chalmers is an important part of this unique collaborative project.</b></p><div>​“You have cancer.”</div> <div>These three words change a person’s life, but also the lives of many around them. On receiving such a diagnosis, the patient, their family, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues and managers all have questions. The healthcare system takes care of the medical treatment, but who looks after everything else?</div> <div> </div> <div>“Cancer changes many aspects of life for everyone affected by the disease – at home with the family, at work and in other social contexts. We have therefore taken a new approach to how various resources and responsible authorities can join forces and develop the psychosocial support together,” says project manager Carina Mannefred from Regionalt Cancercentrum Väst (RCC Väst), the regional cancer centre in west Sweden.</div> <div> </div> <div>The pilot project is the result of unique collaboration involving patients, their families, RCC Väst, researchers from Chalmers, politicians and civil servants from Region Västra Götaland and representatives from a range of social welfare institutions and the business community in Borås.</div> <div> </div> <div>The initiative comes from people affected by cancer via RCC Väst’s Patient- och Närståenderåd, a regional council of cancer patients and their families who share their experiences and opinions of healthcare. Over 18 months the collaboration partners have met in design workshops and dialogue sessions to bring needs, requests and solutions to light. Study visits to support centres in the UK and Denmark have also been made.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The project is unique thanks to its co-creative approach: it is the result of collaboration between all relevant players in society together with the business community and the patients,” says Senior Lecturer Andreas Hellström at Centre For Healthcare Improvement at Chalmers University of Technology, who is leading the scientific part of the project regarding Kraftens Hus Sjuhärad. </div> <div> </div> <div>The non-profit organisation Kraftens Hus Sjuhärad was founded after the series of workshops. The premises are in Borås, but the support centre is for people affected by cancer throughout the whole of Sjuhärad: patients who are undergoing or have completed treatment and their families.</div> <div> </div> <div>Kraftens Hus is being partly funded through an annual grant from the Healthcare Board in Region Västra Götaland for three years and partly through sponsorship. This is a user-driven activity, which will be designed and developed on the basis of the visitors’ needs and requests.</div> <div> </div> <div>The opportunity to meet others in the same situation is key, but the centre also aims to a hub for information and activities by important welfare entities such as healthcare providers, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Swedish Employment Service.</div> <div> <br /><br /><img src="/sv/institutioner/tme/nyheter/PublishingImages/KraftensHusPiaoLeni2_750x300.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><strong><sub>Project that gives strength.</sub></strong><sub> Pia Bredegård has been declared free of her breast cancer and will work half-time at Kraftens Hus. Leine Persson Johansson lives with chronic lung cancer and is a patient representative on the board. “Ever since the day I entered the hospital I have felt extremely alone with my diagnosis and have asked about possible contact with others affected, perhaps a mentor system. Wow, it feels great to be part of launching such an activity now!” Leine says.</sub><br /><br /></div> <div>The goal is to supplement healthcare and provide emotional, social and practical support. Examples of other activities may include painting groups, discussion groups for children, yoga and walking groups, presentations on various themes and advice to managers on how they can support an employee who has cancer. The hope is that over time the model will reach the entire region and the rest of Sweden. </div> <div> </div> <div>“It’s not our intention to take over the healthcare system’s responsibility for cancer rehabilitation, but instead to be a supplement and offer activities that the system doesn’t have. Kraftens Hus will be a meeting place, where both patients and their families can meet other people in similar situations and chat in an informal context,” Carina Mannefred says.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">ABOUT KRAFTENS HUS</h4> <div><a href="http://www.chalmers.se/sv/centrum/chi/forskning/Sidor/Kraftens-Hus-%e2%80%93-fr%c3%a5n-kraft-att-%c3%b6verleva-till-kraft-att-leva-.aspx">More information (in Swedish) about Chalmer’s part of Kraftens hus &gt;&gt; </a><br /><br />Read more (in Swedish) at<a href="http://www.kraftenshus.se/"> www.kraftenshus.se.</a><br /><a href="http://www.kraftenshus.se/"></a><br />Kraftens Hus will be officially opened on <strong>Wednesday 7 February, 2018</strong>. <br />Address: Träffpunkt Simonsland, floor 6, at Viskastrandsgatan 5 in Borås.<br /><br />Contact: Andreas Hellström, Chalmers, phone: +46 76 119 1423, <br />email: <a href="mailto:andreas.hellstrom@chalmers.se">andreas.hellstrom@chalmers.se</a><br /></div>Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Future-fuels-are-based-on-bakers-yeast.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Future-fuels-are-based-on-bakers-yeast.aspxFuture fuels are based on baker’s yeast<p><b>​Perfumes, flavours and biofuels from regular baker’s yeast. Now Chalmers makes further breakthrough in the search for more sustainable industrial chemicals.</b></p>Fatty acids form the basis of many industrial chemicals and are included in most plastics, flavours and perfumes, solvents and fuels. While fossil oils, animal fats or plant oils are traditionally used in the chemical production of those types of products, we have, since a few years back, experienced the transition towards more sustainable alternative such as using cell factories, e.g. the regular baker’s yeast, to obtain the necessary fatty acids. However, a common bottleneck arising from these alternatives remains the insufficient production of fatty acids to meet levels of the petrochemical industry. <br /><br />A problem to which Chalmers researchers Paulo Teixeira and Raphael Ferreira in Jens Nielsen’s team at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology are now one step closer to solve. <br /><br />– We have found a way to remove and modify the genes in the yeast cells to start producing large amounts of fatty acids, says Paulo Teixeira. <br />– It was amazing when I saw the first graphs about the amount of fatty acids that we now can bring out. I barely thought it was true! says Raphael Ferreira. <br /><br />While other researchers often invest in adding genes to increase fatty acid production, Paulo Teixeira and Raphael Ferreira have instead chosen to remove certain genes, thus reprogramming the lipid metabolism of the yeast. Paulo Teixeira describes how it works. <br />– Imagine that lipid metabolism is like roads and crossroads and the fatty acids are cars. A car can drive along different roads and come to different places. But by closing certain roads, as we do when we remove certain genes, we force the cars to only drive along the roads we leave open and thus all the cars – the fatty acids – end up in the same place, he says. <br /><br />Now as a confirmation on their pioneering research, their paper is published in the prestigious scientific journal “Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” – PNAS. <br /><br />– I was super happy when our paper was accepted! says Paulo Teixeira. <br />– Our research proves that you do not necessarily need to add genes. But by modifying and deleting certain genes you can achieve amazing results. <br /><br />– The great thing about this is that these new yeast cells that we created can now be used by other people together with other successful strategies to build even better yeast cells to produce fatty acids and one day reach those industrial levels we all want, says Raphael Ferreira. <br /><br />Read more in the scientific article in PNAS: <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/01/18/1715282115">Redirection of lipid flux toward phospholipids in yeast increases fatty acid turnover and secretion</a><br /><br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg <br />Photo: Martina Butorac Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/New-methods-to-analyze-molecular-dynamics-in-biology-and-chemistry.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/New-methods-to-analyze-molecular-dynamics-in-biology-and-chemistry.aspxNew methods to analyze molecular dynamics in biology, chemistry and physics<p><b>​A recent paper in Nature Chemistry, involving Chalmers guest researcher Jakob Andreasson, explains a key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Materials%20Science/News/Jakob-Andreasson.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />In biology, chemistry, and physics, molecular function is strongly dependent on the interaction between structure and dynamics. In processes such as photosynthesis and many types of catalysis, charge transfer reactions between metal ions and their surroundings, and the time scale on which they occur, play a major role. Jakob Andreasson, guest researcher at the Condensed Matter Physics division at Chalmers University of Technology, has together with an International and interdisciplinary team of researchers performed a study where a combination of ultrashort X-ray and laser pulses were used to show how the local binding of copper ions depends on the speed of charge transfer in photochemical reactions. The results of this demanding series of experiments were published earlier this week in Nature Chemistry.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The research project is led by Sonja Herres-Pawlis from the RWTH Aachen University (RWTH),  Michael Rübhausen from the University of Hamburg and Wolfgang Zinth from Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><a href="http://photon-science.desy.de/news__events/news__highlights/scientists_decipher_key_principle_behind_reaction_of_metalloenzymes/index_eng.html">Read the press release from DESY</a><br /></p> <div> </div> <div><a href="http://www.nature.com/articles/nchem.2916">Read the article in Nature Chemistry<br /></a></div> <div>doi:10.1038/nchem.2916</div> <div><br /> </div> <div><p class="chalmersElement-P"><em>Photo: Jakob Andreasson during preparations for an experiment at the AMO instrument at the X-ray Free Electron Laser LCLS at SLAC, Stanford, California. </em>(Jakob Andreasson, private)</p> <div><a href="http://www.nature.com/articles/nchem.2916"></a> </div></div>Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Paul-Meaney-elected-Fellow-of-IEEE.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Paul-Meaney-elected-Fellow-of-IEEE.aspxPaul Meaney elected Fellow of IEEE<p><b>​From January 2018 Paul Meaney, Professor in microwave imaging for biomedical applications, is elected IEEE Fellow for his contributions to microwave tomography and its translation to clinical use.</b></p>​IEEE Fellow is the highest grade of membership in the world’s largest technical professional organization, given to persons with an outstanding record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest.<br /><br />Professor Paul Meaney was recruited to Chalmers and the research group Biomedical electromagnetics in 2015. He also holds a position as Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. <br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Paul%20Meaney%20elected%20Fellow%20of%20IEEE/Paul_Meaney.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:280px" />“To be appointed Fellow of IEEE is for me a nice validation that microwave tomography is for real and can be applied in real world situations”, says Paul Meaney.<br /><br />While the field is generally dominated by numerical modelers, translation to a working system has been a huge stumbling block.<br /><br />“Our work draws from a variety of imaging fields outside of the microwave domain. We previously collaborated with groups working in near infrared imaging, electrical impedance imaging and MR elastography. In depth discussions with these groups formed many of our design choices. From a classical microwave antenna standpoint, many of our design concepts often appear counterintuitive. However, when taking into account a broader array of ideas, it becomes clear that our synergism of various techniques is well grounded in classical mathematics and physics. These methods have been crucial in translating the technology to the clinic”, Paul Meaney comments.<br /><br />Developing a microwave imaging system has required inputs from multiple disciplines.<br /><br />“We have become experts in designing and building custom microwave electronics systems that achieve higher dynamic range, along with excellent cross channel isolation, than what is available in most commercial measurement systems. The monopole antenna concept is remarkably simple and counterintuitive yet most closely meets all of our system requirements. We have also delved heavily into numerical modeling and parameter estimation theory to devise algorithms which interact optimally with our physical illumination chamber concept. Being able to draw conclusions from these different cross-disciplinary areas of expertise has been crucial in our success”, Paul Meaney concludes.<br /><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Chalmers-recruits-leading-Microwave-Imaging-Professor.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about Paul Meaney and his research</a><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-electromagnetics.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />The research group Biomedical electromagnetics</a><br /><a href="https://www.ieee.org/membership_services/membership/fellows/index.html" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Information about the IEEE program</a><br /><a href="https://www.ieee.org/membership_services/membership/fellows/index.html" target="_blank"></a><br />Mon, 08 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Swedish-Cancer-Society-funds-researchers.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Swedish-Cancer-Society-funds-researchers.aspxSwedish Cancer Society funds researchers<p><b>​Unique biomarkers for cancer and individualized medication can become reality with Chalmers research. Now, the Swedish Cancer Society supports Chalmers for the first time in more than a decade.</b></p>​The Professors Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede and Jens Nielsen, as well as Associate Professor Fredrik Westerlund at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology, have received SEK 2.4 million each. And they are pleased that the Swedish Cancer Society is supportive of their research.<br />– Funding from the Swedish Cancer Society emphasizes that Chalmers is working with cancer research and it has a strong symbolic value, says Jens Nielsen.<br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Livsvetenskaper/Cancerfonden_200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br />The three researchers have different approaches to the fight against cancer. Jens Nielsen's project focuses on the new biomarker that he has identified and now wants to verify, both on a larger group of patients and on different types of cancer. Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede studies copper transport proteins and their role in the emergence of tumors, which in the long term can lead to a whole new way of attacking cancer. Fredrik Westerlund’s project is already ongoing and he is working on a method to predetermine a patient-adapted medicine dose before starting the cancer treatment.<br /><br />And all three researchers see the Swedish Cancer Society participation as a token that Chalmers biological research is important for curing more forms of cancer in the future.<br />– This is great for Chalmers! says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede.<br />– We have spent a long time investing in Life science, and this proves that Chalmers is conducting high-quality cancer research today. To me, it is also proof that the Swedish Cancer Society, as a cancer expert, believes in me and my research group, even though we come from the mechanistic biophysical angle, she says.<br /><br />In addition to the grants making him able to develop his own project, Fredrik Westerlund also hopes that the funding from the Swedish Cancer Society can give the outside world a broader and more diversified view on Chalmers different specialties.<br />– It's great if it makes more people aware that Chalmers doesn’t only just focus on technology but is also conducting outstanding biological research, he says.<br />– And I also hope that more researchers at Chalmers will see that you can apply for this type of grants.<br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg<br />Photo: Cancerfonden/Scandinav/Leif Johansson<br />Wed, 20 Dec 2017 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Yeast-can-be-engineered-to-create-protein-pharmaceuticals.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/bio/news/Pages/Yeast-can-be-engineered-to-create-protein-pharmaceuticals.aspxYeast can be engineered to create protein pharmaceuticals<p><b>​It took several years, but a research team headed by Professor Jens Nielsen at Chalmers University of Technology has finally succeeded in mapping out the complex metabolism of yeast cells. The breakthrough, recently published in an article in Nature Communications, means a huge step forward in the potential to more efficiently produce protein therapies for diseases such as cancer.</b></p>​The market for pharmaceuticals that mimic the body’s own proteins – protein-based therapeutics – is exploding. Some of them are relatively simple to manufacture in yeast-based cell factories. Insulin and HPV vaccine are two examples that are already under production, but other therapies, such as antibodies to various forms of cancer, are significantly more difficult to manufacture.<br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/news201712_JN.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" width="130" height="159" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“They are currently produced using a cell factory based on a single cell from a Chinese hamster. It’s an extremely expensive process. If we can get yeast cells to do the same thing, it will be significantly cheaper – perhaps 10% of what it costs today. Our vision is to eventually be able to mass-produce and supply the entire world with therapies that are too expensive for many countries today,” says Jens Nielsen, professor of systems biology.<br /><br /><span><span><span><span><span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/SysBio/news201712_DP.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" width="130" height="160" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></span></span></span></span></span>In collaboration with Associate Professor Dina Petranovic and Mathias Uhlén’s<span><span></span></span> research<span><span><span></span></span></span> team at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Jens Nielsen has been mapping <span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span>out th<span></span>e complex metabolism of yeast cells for four years.<br /><br />“We’ve been studying the metabolism of a yeast that we already know is a good protein producer. And we found the mechanisms that can be used to make the process even more efficient. The next step is to prove that we can actually produce antibodies in such quantities that costs are reduced.”<br /><br />The discussion has mainly been about cancer, but there are many other diseases, for example Alzheimer’s, diabetes and MS, that could potentially be treated by yeast-based protein therapies. How distant a future are we talking about?<br /><br />“Our part of the process is fast, but pharmaceuticals always take a long time to develop. It could be a possibility in five years, but should absolutely be on the market in ten,” Nielsen says.<br /><br />Jens Nielsen has been making headlines the past few months. In addition to his publication in Nature Communications, he has recently received three prestigious awards.<br /><br />On 31 October he received the world’s biggest award for innovation in alternative fuels for transportation – <a href="http://www.fuelchoicessummit.com/Award.aspx" target="_blank">the Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize</a>, in Israel. Alternative fuels? Yes, plain old yeast can be used for a lot, and Nielsen’s award was for his contribution to processes for producing hydrocarbons from yeast, which will advance new biofuels. Earlier in October he received the prestigious <a href="/en/news/Pages/Energy-award-to-Jens-Nielsen-for-biofuels-from-yeast.aspx" target="_blank">Energy Frontiers Award from the Italian oil company Eni</a> for the same type of research. And just a week before he left for Israel, he was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)’s gold medal for innovative and creative research in systems biology.<br /><br />“Yeast is a superb modelling system. Almost everything in yeast is also found in humans. We have complete computer models of the metabolism of yeast, and we use the same type of models to study human metabolism,” Nielsen explained when he received the IVA award. <br /><br /><strong>More about making the metabolism in yeast more effective</strong><br />The protein production of yeast cells comprises more than 100 different processes in which proteins are modified and transported out of the cell. Around 200 enzymes are involved, which makes it a very complex system to engineer. In order to optimize protein production, it is necessary to chart how these 200 enzymes function and work. In the study, this has been done by altering the genetic set of certain key genes, using advanced screening methods in combination with modern genome sequencing techniques.<br /><br />Read more about how in the scientific article in Nature Communications: <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00999-2" target="_blank">Efficient protein production by yeast requires global tuning of metabolism</a><br /><br />Text: Christian BorgMon, 11 Dec 2017 11:00:00 +0100https://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Hasselblad-prized-young-prominent-female-researchers.aspxhttps://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Hasselblad-prized-young-prominent-female-researchers.aspxHasselblad prized young prominent female researchers<p><b>​Hana Dobšíček Trefna has received a grant of 1 million SEK from the Hasselblad Foundation for her research on a more effective technology to treat cancer. The award is given to female researchers in the field of natural sciences who are in the beginning of their academic careers.</b></p>​“This prize will mean a lot to my research,” says Hana Dobšíček Trefna, Assistant Professor in the research group Biomedical electromagnetics at Chalmers. “Thanks to this I will be able to employ a PhD student in my research area, thereby hoping that it will be possible to faster implement effective technology for treating and curing cancer.”<br /><br /><strong>Microwave technology used for cancer treatment</strong><br />Hana's research focuses on using microwave technology as a complement to traditional cancer treatments. By transmitting microwaves through the body of the patient, the cancer tumor is heated to 40-44 degrees, so called hyperthermia. This treatment is toxic to the tumor, and the warming also makes the tumor more susceptible to other treatments. Clinical studies have shown that traditional radiation therapy and chemotherapy combined with hyperthermia significantly enhances the possibility of a long-term cure for a number of different cancer types.<br /><br />“In about a year, by the end of 2018, we are planning to start clinical studies on patients at Sahlgrenska University Hospital,” Hana says. “Through a new hyperthermia system, which can reach deep-seated tumors in the head and neck with high precision, it is possible to raise the temperature in the tumor without damaging the surrounding tissue. This study is an important step on the way to finally make the treatment available in cancer care.”<br /><br /><strong>Unique research on brain tumors in children</strong><br />Hana also conducts research on brain tumors in children, where the research group today is the only one in the world developing microwave technology for that kind of treatment. The primary goal is that fewer children should suffer from serious side effects in the brain's development that traditional therapies induce.<br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Hasselblad%20prisar%20framstående%20unga%20kvinnliga%20forskare/Hana_200px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />”It really would be great if we succeed in this,” says Hana Dobšíček Trefna. “Just consider what it would mean to contribute to higher survival rates and to a better life for children and adults with a cancer diagnosis, as well as for their families.”<br /><br />For the seventh consecutive year, the Hasselblad Foundation allocates funds to support female postdoctoral researchers in the field of natural sciences. The other recipient of 2017 is Anna Reymer from University of Gothenburg. <br /><br />Text: Yvonne Jonsson<br />Photo: Yvonne Jonsson, and Cecilia Sandblom © Hasselbladstiftelsen<br /><br /><a href="http://www.hasselbladfoundation.org/wp/" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more about the Hasselblad Foundation</a><br /><br />For more information, contact <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/hana-dobsicek-trefna.aspx">Hana Dobšíček Trefna</a>, Department of Electrical Engineering.<br />Thu, 30 Nov 2017 08:00:00 +0100