Could snail venom replace addictive opioid painkillers?
A handful of University of Utah researchers for years have investigated the venom of marine snails and how it might be transformed into a safer alternative to opioid painkillers. Now, they have new backing to expand their research. The U. this week said it has received $10 million from the Department of Defense to further study cone snail venom and search for similar compounds from the venom of other marine organisms. Years from now, they hope, a synthetic version of the venom will become a substitute for drugs like morphine, fentanyl and oxycodone. “We’re going back to natural sources to find the next generation of pain drugs,” said Russell Teichert, a research associate professor in the Department of Biology.
Riding the (Quantum Magnetic) Wave
In 1991, University of Utah chemist Joel Miller developed the first magnet with carbon-based, or organic, components that was stable at room temperature. It was a great advance in magnetics, and he’s been exploring the applications ever since. Twenty-five years later, physicists Christoph Boehme and Valy Vardeny demonstrated a method to convert quantum waves into electrical current. They too, knew they’d discovered something important, but didn’t know its application. Now those technologies have come together and could be the first step towards a new generation of faster, more efficient and more flexible electronics.
Faculty Spotlight: Braxton Osting
Braxton Osting, assistant professor of math, has been interested in mathematics and science since he was a child, and one thing that still amazes him is math's "unreasonable effectiveness in the natural sciences." By that, Osting is referring to a term coined by Eugene Wigner, a Hungarian-American mathematician, theoretical physicist, and engineer, in which Wigner discussed that mathematical concepts can turn up in entirely unexpected places and with unexpected connections that often prove useful in problem solving.
Physics & Astronomy
Faculty Spotlight: Gail Zasowski
For nearly 20 years, scientists and institutions around the world have been part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which has helped map millions of stars and galaxies and created some of the most detailed three-dimensional images of the universe.