In laboratories throughout the Old Dominion, researchers are working to solve some of the most vexing medical problems. We draw them from their labs to the microphone for an explanation of their work. Joel Linden (University of Virginia) is developing an anti-inflammatory compound that could avert paralysis in some people who experience spinal cord injuries. The compound could also reduce tissue damage that sometimes occurs during heart surgery and organ transplants. Electrical engineer Jim Squire (Virginia Military Institute) holds the patent on a “smart” catheter. The device should allow physicians to properly inflate the stents often used to keep open blocked arteries. Bruno Sobral (Virginia Tech), director of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, explains the science of “bioinformatics,” which relies on math and information technology to give form to complex biological processes. Sobral is one of the leading forces behind the development of the “pathogen portal,” a tool that could aid in a fast response to bioterrorism.

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