Current SPROUT Projects
An Efficient and Low-cost Method for Annotation and Quantification of circRNAs
Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are recently re-discovered type of highly abundant RNAs which are produced by circularization of exons present in protein coding genes.
SciLinkR is an online public engagement platform that will 1) connect scientists and engineers with educators and 2) document STEM outreach. The platform matches educators who need a scientist or engineer to come to their classrooms with STEM professionals looking to do outreach to schools and the community. It also provides STEM faculty with citable documenation of their outreach activities.
Adhesives, from those on bandages, tape, and BBQ grill sealants, to epoxy used in the assembly of appliances and electronics, are an essential part of modern life. Removing them when no longer needed is a challenge. This new solution offers a way to remove adhesives more effectively.
Functional Heat Storage Materials for Heating Engine Oil
In areas where temperatures often drop below -20 °C (-4 °F), such as the northern US and Canada, cars have trouble starting up. At temperatures below 0 °C, the oil is thicker and denser than usual and increases friction wearing down the engine parts. Researchers in Grace Han's lab plan to replace the energy-inefficient block heaters with novel materials that store and release heat in response to changing environment.
Harvesting solar energy for conversion into other forms of energy has been a focus of research efforts as an efficient utilization of a renewable source of energy. Various types of solar cells and photocatalytic systems that convert solar energy to electricity and chemical fuels have been the most widely explored.
In areas where temperatures often drop below -20 °C (-4 °F), such as the northern US and Canada, cars have trouble starting up. At temperatures below 0 °C, the oil is thicker and denser than usual and increases friction wearing down the engine parts. This created the market for oil heating devices that warm up the oil pan in an engine using electricity. A standard oil pan heater is usually left on overnight and consumes several kWh of electricity, also overheating the engine oil. We plan to replace the energy-inefficient block heaters with novel materials that store and release heat in response to changing environment. Our composites of phase-change materials and light- responsive molecules absorb the waste heat generated from a running engine, store the heat overnight, and release the heat instantly to warm up the engine once triggered by LED light. We plan to develop an optimized and custom-designed oil heater, which provides an instant source of heat at almost zero cost by recycling the heat generated from a running engine.
Identification of Inhibitors Against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis IMPDH
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is a human pathogen and the main causative agent of tuberculosis (TB). Each year there are more than 10 million new cases of TB which have lead to more than 1 million deaths. Our laboratory has discovered two novel compounds,Q112 and Q200, with potent antibacterial activity versus Mtb and no cytotoxicity against mammalian cells in culture.
Tuberculosis Drug Design
Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Each year there are more than 10 million new cases of TB and more than 1 million deaths. The current therapy for TB typically requires 4 drugs and takes 6 months. The Hedstrom lab has identified a promising new target, IMPDH, for next-generation TB drugs that could reduce the number of drugs needed to treat TB and the amount of time patients require treatment.
Sulfur-stabilized HIV Vaccine Antigens
Many protective antibodies to HIV bind to carbohydrates on the HIV protein. Thus, Brandeis vaccine researchers are interested in using these carbohydrates as HIV vaccines. Isaac Krauss and Leiming Tian are working on a novel HIV vaccine that may also have applications to other infectious diseases plus certain cancers.