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lunes, 30 de marzo de 2015

Curso nuevo: "Introducción a la biología sintética"

Realizamos algunas modificaciones al programa.
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Curso nuevo de 8 horas: "Introducción a la biología sintética" 
Ponentes: David Gillum,  Juan Maldonado Ortíz,  Irene Mendoza, de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona.
Miércoles 3 de Junio, 2015.
Registro en los próximos días

Descripción del curso
La biología sintética es una disciplina emergente en la interfaz entre la biología de sistemas, la ingeniería, la computación y la biología molecular clásica. El objetivo de esta disciplina es la construcción de sistemas biológicos nuevos y el establecimiento de principios para su diseño racional. Con esta nueva disciplina se han desarrollado diversas herramientas biotecnológicas, así como estrategias para corroborar principios de diseño de sistemas biológicos. También se han generado potentes aplicaciones biotecnológicas y biomédicas. El propósito de este curso es introducir a los participantes a esta nueva disciplina ya que el campo de la biología sintética desarollará un papel cada vez mayor en la investigación y la industria farmacéutica.

Objectivos del Curso
  • Tendrán conocimiento de los principios de la biología sintética y estarán familiarizados con el vocabulario común de la biología sintética.
  • Entenderán los conceptos fundamentales y las herramientas que se usan en la biología sintética.
  • Entenderán las tecnologías fundamentales de la biología sintética e identificarán los aspectos de la biotecnología que permiten la reprogramacción de sistemas naturales.
  • Entenderán las técnicas de laboratorio que se usan para las aplicaciones de biología sintética.
  • Entenderán las precauciones de bioseguridad y biocustodia que se deben tomar para trabajar con biología sintética.
  • Discutirán cuestiones éticas, ecológicas y del medio ambiente que se deben tomar en cuenta cuando se trabaja con biología sintética. También se discutiran las leyes que gobiernan a la biología sintética.
  • Entenderán y discutirán las aplicaciones de la biología sintética en el futuro.

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Annual European Biosafety Association (EBSA) Meeting 2015

18th Annual Meeting of the European Biosafety Association:

"Orchestrating a (bio)safe world"

21 - 22 April 2015: Pre-conference Courses
23 - 24 April 2015: Annual Conference 

at the Austria Vienna Center



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jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

European do-it-yourself (DIY) biology: Beyond the hope, hype and horror

Fig. Kitchen-style equipment for
amateur biology experiments
The encounter of amateur science with synthetic biology has led to the formation of several amateur/do-it-yourself biology (DIYBio) groups worldwide. Although media outlets covered DIYBio events, most seemed only to highlight the hope, hype, and horror of what DIYBio would do in the future. Here, we analyze the European amateur biology movement to find out who they are, what they aim for and how they differ from US groups. We found that all groups are driven by a core leadership of (semi-)professional people who struggle with finding lab space and equipment. Regulations on genetic modification limit what groups can do. Differences between Europe and the US are found in the distinct regulatory environments and the European emphasis on bio-art. We conclude that DIYBio Europe has so far been a responsible and transparent citizen science movement with a solid user base that will continue to grow irrespective of media attention.

Seyfried G, Pei L, Schmidt M. European do-it-yourself (DIY) biology: Beyond the hope, hype and horror. Bioessays. 2014;36(6):548-551. doi:10.1002/bies.201300149.
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lunes, 23 de marzo de 2015

Intrinsic biocontainment: Multiplex genome safeguards combine transcriptional and recombinational control of essential yeast genes

The advance of biotechnology opens up greater possibilities of bioterror and bioerror. Here, we propose multiplexed safeguard switches rooted in the development of foundational genomic, regulatory, and metabolic technologies. Safeguard switches can be regulated by submicromolar small molecule(s) and combined in a modular fashion. The resulting safeguard strains show high fitness and low reversion rates. Moreover, two distinct classes of safeguard switches are orthogonal, providing a potential fail-safe mechanism. The safeguard technologies provide a practical and generic approach to containing engineered microbes within defined laboratory and/or industrial environments, and can in principle be used in the field as well.

Cai Y, Agmon N, Choi WJ, et al. Intrinsic biocontainment: Multiplex genome safeguards combine transcriptional and recombinational control of essential yeast genes. PNAS 2015;112(6):1803-1808.
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viernes, 20 de marzo de 2015

Negotiating the dynamics of uncomfortable knowledge: The case of dual use and synthetic biology

Institutions need to ignore some knowledge in order to function. This is “uncomfortable knowledge” because it undermines the ability of those institutions to pursue their goals (Rayner, 2012). We identify three bodies of knowledge that are relevant to understandings of the dual use threat posed by synthetic biology but are excluded from related policy discussions. We demonstrate how these “unknown knowns” constitute uncomfortable knowledge because they disrupt the simplified worldview that underpins contemporary discourse on the potential misuse of synthetic biology by malign actors. We describe how these inconvenient truths have been systematically ignored and argue that this is because they are perceived as a threat by organisations involved in the promotion of synthetic biology as well as by those involved in managing biosecurity risks. This has led to a situation where concerns about the biosecurity threat posed by synthetic biology are not only exaggerated, but are, more importantly, misplaced. This, in turn, means that related policies are misdirected and unlikely to have much impact. We focus on the dynamics of discussions about synthetic biology and dual use to demonstrate how the same “knowns” that are denied or dismissed as “unknown knowns” in certain circumstances are sometimes mobilised as “known knowns” by the same category of actors in a different context, when this serves to sustain the goals of the individuals and institutions involved. Based on our own experience, we argue that negotiating the dynamics of uncomfortable knowledge is a difficult, but necessary, component of meaningful transdisciplinary collaborations.
Marris C, Jefferson C, Lentzos F. Negotiating the dynamics of uncomfortable knowledge: The case of dual use and synthetic biology. Biosocieties. 2014;9(4):393-420. doi:10.1057/biosoc.2014.32.
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miércoles, 18 de marzo de 2015

Evolution of #Ebola Virus Disease, Liberia, Mid-2014

Figure 1. Counties in Liberia reporting Ebola virus
disease cases as of August 15, 2014.
Star indicates the capital city, Monrovia.
Over the span of a few weeks during July and August 2014, events in West Africa changed perceptions of Ebola virus disease (EVD) from an exotic tropical disease to a priority for global health security. We describe observations during that time of a field team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and personnel of the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. We outline the early epidemiology of EVD within Liberia, including the practical limitations on surveillance and the effect on the country’s health care system, such as infections among health care workers. During this time, priorities included strengthening EVD surveillance; establishing safe settings for EVD patient care (and considering alternative isolation and care models when Ebola Treatment Units were overwhelmed); improving infection control practices; establishing an incident management system; and working with Liberian airport authorities to implement EVD screening of departing passengers.
Arwady MA, et al. Evolution of Ebola virus disease from exotic infection to global health priority, Liberia, mid-2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Apr
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lunes, 16 de marzo de 2015

Prions - Not Your Immunologist’s Pathogen.

A colleague and fellow immunologist, we will call her “Anne,” lifts her index and middle fingers on each hand and bows them in “air quotes” as she says prion “immunology” during my student’s thesis committee meeting. Anne says she works on “malaria, a real pathogen that elicits a real immune response.” Now, I am pretty sure Anne believes prions exist, but does she have a point about the immune response they elicit? The answer may surprise you.
Prions are remarkable, enigmatic pathogens that are quite different than most disease-causing entities. According to the prion hypothesis, prions are infectious agents devoid of instructional nucleic acid [1]. They propagate themselves without a genetic code, instead enciphering their infectious nature structurally, within the protein conformation itself. Mounting evidence supports the prion hypothesis, including the generation of infectious prions from purified recombinant protein [2]. Soon after Prusiner coined the term “prion,” his and Charles Weissmann’s labs discovered that a cellular gene encodes the prion agent [3]. Strangely, though, Prusiner had already demonstrated that infectious prions did not include nucleic acid, suggesting that prions infect without transmitting the gene encoding them. So attention turned to the host, in which this gene also encodes a normal form of the agent, called cellular prion protein (PrPC), that was later shown to be absolutely required to generate both genetic and acquired prion diseases [4]. And so, all the armchair immunologists reading this article right now pause and say, “Wait a minute…” while Anne chimes in with “prion immunology.” Here we go.

Zabel MD, Avery AC (2015) Prions—Not Your Immunologist’s Pathogen. PLoS Pathog 11(2): e1004624. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004624
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jueves, 12 de marzo de 2015

Guidance for Safe Handling of Human Remains of Ebola Patients in U.S.

NIOSH Releases New Ebola Guidance

Given the systems currently in place to identify people with Ebola virus disease (EVD), any Ebola-related deaths in the United States would likely occur within a hospital setting. The Ebola virus can be detected throughout the bodies of patients who die of the disease. Ebola can be transmitted in postmortem care settings by laceration and puncture with contaminated instruments used during postmortem care, through direct handling of human remains without recommended PPE, and through splashes of blood or other body fluids such as urine, saliva, feces, or vomit to unprotected mucosa such as eyes, nose, or mouth during postmortem care.

Page Summary 

  • Who this is for: Personnel who perform postmortem care in U.S. hospitals and mortuaries. 
  • What this is for: To protect against the postmortem spread of Ebola infection at the site of death, prior to transport, during transport, at the mortuary, and during final disposition of remains 
  • How to use: To guide staff in the safe handling of human remains that may contain Ebola virus by properly using personal protective equipment (PPE) and following decontamination measures at every step of the process. 
See CDC's Mortuary Guidance Job Aid [1 page] for more information on postmortem preparation in a hospital room. More information.

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miércoles, 11 de marzo de 2015

Ya se abrieron las inscripciones al 7º Simposio de #Bioseguridad #AMexBio

Ya se abrieron las inscripciones para 7º Simposio de Bioseguridad y Biocustodia 2015, organizado por la Asociación Mexicana de Bioseguridad A.C. Las inscripciones con descuentos son hasta el día 9 de Abril de 2015. Consulta el programa, y da click en cada uno de los cursos para inscribirte. Recuerda que la inscripción al Simposio es independiente de la inscripción a cada uno de los cursos.

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lunes, 9 de marzo de 2015

Non-Manual Techniques for Room Disinfection in Healthcare Facilities: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines

Contaminated surfaces in healthcare facilities may contribute to the transmission of pathogens implicated in nosocomial infections, such as Clostridium difficile, methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin resistant Enterococci (VRE), gram-negative rods (Acinetobacter spp. and Enterobacteriaceae) and Norovirus. While patient rooms are regularly cleaned and disinfected using manual techniques, evidence suggests that the adequacy of cleaning is often suboptimal, particularly when the focus is only on those surfaces perceived to be high-risk or frequently contacted (high-touch). As well, when cleaning, sufficient wet contact time between the surface and disinfectant is needed to ensure adequate disinfection, but is not always achieved. Wiping of all surfaces where there is hand contact, not just those that are considered to be high risk or high-touch areas, and ensuring adequate wet contact time is required for adequate disinfection of the patient environment. Inadequate cleaning using manual techniques prompted the development of no-touch systems that can decontaminate objects and surfaces in the patient environment. These technologies employ the use of ultraviolet (UV) light or hydrogen peroxide. There are two systems that use vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) in a dry or wet aerosol and one that uses a hydrogen peroxide mist (HPM), which has a larger particle size. VHP or HPM is produced using a portable generator that quickly increases the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the room during a decontamination phase which is repeated several times. The process takes approximately two to six hours per room. The UV light systems emit UV light from portable automated units at a wave-length that is germicidal. The unit is placed in a vacant patient room in the centre and can be piloted with a remote to ensure all surfaces are reached as they must be in the line of site to be decontaminated. The units have sensors which stop the irradiation should the door be opened. The process of decontamination takes approximately 45 minutes. One application of these cleaning systems is in terminal or discharge decontamination of vacated patient rooms. They supplement, but do not replace manual cleaning of patient rooms, as surfaces must first be free of dirt and debris prior to their use. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide and UV light systems provide a higher level disinfection or decontamination of all exposed surfaces and equipment in patient rooms, and are not a standalone means of cleaning. Vaporized hydrogen peroxide has also been used for decontamination of rooms and ward spaces in an attempt to terminate outbreaks. This report will review the evidence of clinical effectiveness of non-manual systems that use UV light or vaporized hydrogen peroxide for hospital room disinfection and identify guidelines that address the use of these techniques in healthcare facilities.
Non-Manual Techniques for Room Disinfection in Healthcare Facilities: A Review of Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines. Ottawa (ON): Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health; 2014 Apr 30.
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viernes, 6 de marzo de 2015

Invitación para presentar trabajos libres en el Simposio de #Bioseguridad #AMexBio #SIBB15

La AMexBio invita a todas las personas interesadas a presentar trabajos libres, que podrán ser presentados en poster durante el 7º Simposio Internacional de Bioseguridad y Biocustodia en la Cd. de México.
Informes para la presentación de trabajos visite:
Descargue la convocatoria y registre su trabajo en línea.

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jueves, 5 de marzo de 2015

Evaluation of disinfectants to prevent mechanical transmission of viruses and a viroid in greenhouse tomato production

In recent years, a number of serious disease outbreaks caused by viruses and viroids on greenhouse tomatoes in North America have resulted in significant economic losses to growers. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of commercial disinfectants against mechanical transmission of these pathogens, and to select disinfectants with broad spectrum reactivity to control general virus and viroid diseases in greenhouse tomato production. A total of 16 disinfectants were evaluated against Pepino mosaic virus (PepMV), Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd), Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), and Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The efficacy of each disinfectant to deactivate the pathogen¿s infectivity was evaluated in replicate experiments from at least three independent experiments. Any infectivity that remained in the treated solutions was assessed through bioassays on susceptible tomato plants through mechanical inoculation using inocula that had been exposed with the individual disinfectant for three short time periods (0¿10 sec, 30 sec and 60 sec). A positive infection on the inoculated plant was determined through symptom observation and confirmed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PepMV, ToMV, and TMV) and real-time reverse transcription-PCR (PSTVd). Experimental data were analyzed using Logistic regression and the Bayesian methodology. Statistical analyses using logistic regression and the Bayesian methodology indicated that two disinfectants (2% Virkon S and 10% Clorox regular bleach) were the most effective to prevent transmission of PepMV, PSTVd, ToMV, and TMV from mechanical inoculation. Lysol all-purpose cleaner (50%) and nonfat dry milk (20%) were also effective against ToMV and TMV, but with only partial effects for PepMV and PSTVd. With the broad spectrum efficacy against three common viruses and a viroid, several disinfectants, including 2% Virkon S, 10% Clorox regular bleach and nonfat dry milk, are recommend to greenhouse facilities for consideration to prevent general virus and viroid infection on tomato plants.
Li R, et al. Evaluation of disinfectants to prevent mechanical transmission of viruses and a viroid in greenhouse tomato production. Virol J. 2015 Jan 27;12(1):5.
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lunes, 2 de marzo de 2015

Pathogen Security-Help or Hindrance?

Events over the past 15 years have resulted in the promulgation of regulations in the United States to enhance biosecurity by restricting the access to pathogens and toxins (i.e., biological select agents and toxins [BSATs]), which pose a severe threat to human being, animal, or plant health or to animal or plant products, to qualified institutions, laboratories, and scientists. These regulations also reduce biosafety concerns by imposing specific requirements on laboratories working with BSATs. Furthermore, they provide a legal framework for prosecuting someone who possesses a BSAT illegally. With the implementation of these regulations has come discussion in the scientific community about the potential of these regulations to affect the cost of doing BSAT research, hamper research and international collaborations, or whether it would stop someone with a microbiological background from isolating many of the select agents from nature.
Morse SA. Pathogen security-help or hindrance? Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2015 Jan 6;2:83.
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