Texas A&M scientists “one step closer” to finding cure for Zika

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife

After millions of sequence scans, a group of scientists led by a Texas A&M AgriLife researcher say they are “one step closer” to finding a cure for the Zika virus.

Dr. Sandun Fernando and three other scientists,have been modeling and testing a series of ligands, or molecules, that attach themselves to the Zika virus protein. Identifying these molecules will help scientists match potential drug compounds that could be developed to help inhibit Zika virus once contracted. Continue reading

Position open for assistant professor in arbovirology

Virginia Tech’s Department of Entomology invites applications for a tenure-track position at the level of Assistant Professor in the area of arthropod-borne viruses starting in Spring 2017. This position is the first in a cluster of six new faculty positions in infectious disease research at Virginia Tech. The nine-month, 70% research and 30% teaching appointment will be based on the campus at Virginia Tech, a land-grant university in the scenic New River Valley of Virginia.

Responsibilities: The successful candidate will be expected to develop an extramurally funded research program focused on arthropod-borne viruses and serve as a member of the established Vector-Borne Disease Research Group in the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech. This world-class research facility includes a dedicated insectary and BL3 containment facility. Continue reading

Harvard scientists build tiny robots to pollinate plants

by Dina Spector, Business Insider

Honeybees, which pollinate nearly  one-third of the food we eat , have been dying at unprecedented rates because of a mysterious phenomenon known as  colony collapse disorder (CCD). The situation is so dire that in late June the White House gave a  new task force  just 180 days to devise a coping strategy to protect bees and other pollinators. The crisis is generally attributed to a mixture of disease, parasites, and pesticides.

Other scientists are pursuing a different tack: replacing bees. While there’s no perfect solution, modern technology offers hope. Continue reading