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Mirus Bio Outreach Program Featured Participants

University of Warwick 2014 iGEM team

With the support of our UK distributor Geneflow, Mirus is providing our TransIT® Transfection Reagents to support the University of Warwick's international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team. The iGEM competition is an international synthetic biology competition that takes place annually, where teams from universities around the world work to advance the field and develop a system that tackles a real world problem. The Warwick team has chosen to take on Type 2 Diabetes, a problem becoming ever more prevalent in global healthcare.

Team Warwick is making a self-replicating system that produces siRNA to downregulate DPP-IV; which is correlated with Type 2 Diabetes. By downregulating DPP-IV, they may increase the incretin effect and improve insulin release in the postprandial phase of digestion. The benefit of having a system such as this would be that many side effects experienced by those taking DPP-IV inhibitors would be greatly reduced since only specific cells are targeted. It would also be significantly cheaper to produce than chemical DPP-IV inhibitors on the market. DPP-IV inhibition is not just restricted to Type 2 Diabetes and it has also been shown to be associated with Alzheimer's disease and various types of cancer. DPP-IV has also been linked with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS); a virus only recently discovered in 2012, so treatment is yet to be properly developed.

Iowa Biosciences Advantage Program

The IBA program at the University of Iowa supports the success of students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. degree in the life sciences. Through informational interviews, Mirus representatives share their own career paths and discuss the concerns of students interested in pursuing careers in the biotechnology industry.

BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute

The Emerging Techniques in Protein and Genetic Engineering course at the BTC Institute brings academia and the private sector together to provide students with training in the most current laboratory technologies. In addition to supporting the course through reagent donation, Mirus Bio Scientists provide lecture and laboratory training and engage course participants in discussion regarding the latest advances in nucleic acid delivery.

Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology

Mirus Bio supports the Reproducibility Initiative by providing certain TransIT® Transfection Reagents and Ingenio® Electroporation Solution for selected studies within the Cancer Biology Reproducibility Project. The Cancer Biology Reproducibility Project is independently replicating 50 recent high impact cancer biology studies using the Science Exchange network of expert scientific labs.

Madison College Biotechnology Program

The Biotechnology Program at Madison College offers several tracks focused on preparing students for entry level jobs in the biotechnology industry. Mirus Bio scientists contribute to the program by providing free reagents and guest lectures. A Mirus representative also serves on the Biotechnology Program Advisory Committee to provide guidance on academic programming and curriculum decisions.

Cedar Crest College Biology Olympics

The Cedar Crest College Department of Biological Sciences hosts the Annual Biology Olympics for high school students. This event promotes academic competition and awards academic achievement as participating high schools compete in team and individual events to showcase the scientific knowledge that students attained during the academic school year. Since 2011, Mirus Bio has donated promotional materials as gifts to participants and prizes for the top performers.

Mirus Bio donated transfection reagents and provided a guest lecture on the fundamentals of transfection as part of our Biotechnology Training Program. Students in our Cell Culturing Course used the donated Mirus reagents to deliver a pCMV-CAT plasmid to COS-7 cells for subsequent detection by ELISA. The transfection experiments went very well—the students understood the methods, and the transfected cells showed high levels of CAT expression. We plan to include this teaching laboratory module again next year.
Joseph Lowndes, Ph.D.
Madison College Biotechnology Program