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01-20-2012

Congressman Bill Owens Congratulates Clarkson University on $440K in Science Funding from NIH

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/andreescu.jpg .]

Today, Congressman Bill Owens announced $440,000 worth of funding from the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for a Clarkson University team, led by Chemical & Biomolecular Science Professor Silvana Andreescu. The team will develop a novel sensing technology for real-time monitoring of neurotransmitters.  The technology will be used to study neurophysiological events in collaboration with neurophysiologists and medical doctors at Dartmouth Medical School. The project is a collaborative effort between Andreescu at Clarkson and James C. Leiter at Dartmouth.

Chemical & Biomolecular Science Professor Silvana Andreescu“This is great news for Clarkson as well as the Village of Potsdam,” Owens said. “This funding will allow Clarkson to continue the tremendous work for which the facility is known, and give us a greater understanding of diseases and the cures that prevent them.  I would like to thank Dr. Silvana Andreescu and the rest of her department for their hard work in this field, as well as President Collins for the leadership and guidance he provides our community.”

The funding will allow Silvana Andreescu and her team to develop a novel sensing technology for real-time monitoring of the chemical substances (like lactate and glutamate) associated with neural signaling and function during oxygen deprivation in the brain. This technology will provide real-time assessment of the changes in these neurological factors and provide answers to fundamental questions related to the biochemical and cellular events involved in conditions of oxygen deprivation.

Clarkson President Tony Collins said, “Congressman Owens is supportive of the vital innovations that university laboratories across New York State make toward advances in healthcare solutions for our nation. The NIH funding for Dr. Andreescu’s research emphasizes Clarkson’s leading role in research that can bring new disease prevention and management solutions to the market.”

Andreescu said, “These studies have relevance for human health because tissue oxygen levels vary in many diseases, and the role of the mediators of injuries (like lactate and glutamate) in oxygen-deprived conditions is not well understood.”

Studies of the mechanisms of injury during hypoxia (deprivation of oxygen) and ischemia (lack of blood) faced major technical limitations in the past. It has been difficult to measure the mediators of brain injury because either the sensors for these mediators do not exist or they do not function well in low-oxygen environments in live tissue. For these reasons, it has also been difficult to analyze in real-time the evolution of ischemic and hypoxic brain injuries and the evolution of repair to the brain.

The Clarkson researchers are developing novel electrochemical biosensors for the neurotransmitters glutamate and lactate that will remain effective even in a low-oxygen environment.  The new sensor design will expand the arsenal of accessible probes for real-time measurement of glutamate and lactate and provide new methods for studying the neurobiology of these neurotransmitters in hypoxic conditions.

This research will facilitate study and further fundamental understanding of glutamate and lactate neurotransmission in a variety of other neurological disorders in which oxygen is restricted.

Andreescu received a joint Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Perpignan, France, and University of Bucharest, Romania. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in analytical chemistry at SUNY Binghamton. Her research interests include microencapsulation techniques, bioremediation and biosensors.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Chemical & Biomolecular Science Professor Silvana Andreescu.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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