With a large research university right in our backyard, a strong military presence, and innovative businesses across the metropolitan area, southern Arizona often has a variety of interesting scientific and technological news. Here is a breakdown of the most interesting recent developments in the region:
Advanced cancer detection. On Thursday March 18, Roche Tissue Diagnostics announced the launch of its DISCOVERY Green HRP kit, a cancer detection tool that enables researchers to identify multiple biomarkers from a single tissue sample. Biomarkers are organic features, such as chemical compounds or cells, that indicate the presence of a disease or infection. When looking for biomarkers that indicate cancer, the researchers use colored “chromogens” for tissue analysis. Jill German, Roche Pathology customer segment leader, stated that as tissue research expands to include more biomarkers, researchers need chromogens that can provide greater color contrast for image analysis. In response, this new horseradish peroxidase (HRP) kit was developed for researchers, allowing them to identify multiple biomarkers instantly, with the aim of advancing care for cancer patients worldwide. Roche Tissue Diagnostics, Roche’s Oro Valley laboratory, announced that researchers can now examine up to seven cancer biomarkers on a single tissue slide using Roche’s multiple color kits in conjunction.
Laser relocation. Tucson-based technology company Applied Energetics has announced that it will relocate its headquarters to the University of Arizona Technology Park on Rita Road, southeast of Tucson. The move is intended to help support the company’s expected future growth and “provide greater capacity for research, product development and production”. Applied Energetics, formerly known as Ionatron, was founded in 2002 to provide high-tech lasers, laser weapons, optical systems, and a “death ray” (as the company described it) for the defense, aerospace, industrial and commercial sectors To develop science industry. Since inception, the company has filed 26 patents and 11 additional government sensitive patent applications. Applied Energetics develops technologies for laser-guided energy and laser-induced plasma channels that “precisely transfer high voltage electrical charges using a laser to create a conductive path in the atmosphere” for military purposes and countermeasures. Applied Energetics’ move to the UA Tech Park is expected to take place over the next two months. The company will join more than 60 technology companies and organizations already housed in the Tech Park. UA Tech Park on Rita Road serves as a hub for local tech and science companies connected to both the university and the wider Tucson business community.
SARSEF winner. The Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation recently announced the winners of their 66th Annual Science and Engineering Fair, which featured science projects carried out by nearly 3,000 Arizona students from elementary to high school. More than 100 local students received cash prizes for their projects ranging from robotics to environmental science and animal behavior to chemistry. First place projects included:
• “Will homemade biodiesel be just as effective a fuel as rapeseed oil?”
• “How do petroglyphs of the Hohokam tribes prove the interaction over great distances?”
• “Implications for the tissue engineering of an implantable organ”
• “The Smart Toilet – An Automated Urine Screening Device for Kidney Failure, Bladder Cancer, and Enlarged Prostate.”
As of the past year, more than a dozen student projects have covered COVID-19 research, both the disease and its impact on society. Four local schools also won the $ 500 SARSEF Research Supplies Award: Cibola High School, Emily Gray Junior High School, J. Robert Hendricks Elementary School, and University High School. In addition to winning student projects, local educators also won awards including the Educator Advocate of Science and Engineering award and the SARSEF Champion Educator award. These awards gave local educators between $ 50 and $ 200, and others included annual membership to Treasures 4 Teachers of Tucson.
A full list of awards can be found at sarsef.org/10557-2021-sarsef-winners