Experimenting with living cells

A team of Missouri S&T students recently created a breathalyzer using cultured yeast cells and an E. coli-infested bacterium that changes colors in response to the presence of sugar. But they weren’t trying to gross each other out with creepy inventions. They were participating in a competition at MIT last November.


The International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, or iGEM, pits 37 teams of university students against one another in the quest to develop genetically engineered machines designed to make living cells perform specific tasks not typically found in nature.
In the case of the breathalyzer, the students used their knowledge of biochemical reactions to make the yeast cells produce a visual response to the presence of ethanol. Then they engineered a device that could display an individual’s blood alcohol level.
“The iGEM students are learning skills that will have applications in the development of biosensors,” says David
J. Westenberg, associate professor of biological sciences at Missouri S&T and one of the team’s advisors.

Around the Puck

Seeking TBI therapies

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu Complications from TBI can be life altering. They include post-traumatic seizures and hydrocephalus, as well as serious cognitive and psychological impairments, and the search for treatments to mitigate these neurodegenerative processes is on.

[Read More...]

Understanding the invisible injury

Students advance traumatic brain injury research By Sarah Potter, sarah.potter@mst.edu “Research is creating new knowledge.”–Neil Armstrong  Research keeps professors on the vanguard of knowledge in their fields and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their area of study. For students and recent graduates researching traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Missouri S&T, the work […]

[Read More...]

Analyzing small molecules for big results

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu At only 28 years old, Casey Burton, Chem’13, PhD Chem’17, director of medical research at Phelps Health in Rolla and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, is poised to become a prodigious bioanalytical researcher.

[Read More...]

To prevent and protect

By Peter Ehrhard, ehrhardp@mst.edu Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunate but all too common occurrence during military training and deployment. Because mild TBIs often present no obvious signs of head trauma or facial lacerations, they are the most difficult to diagnose at the time of the injury, and patients often perceive the impact as […]

[Read More...]

Q&A

Toughest class … ever Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked […]

[Read More...]