Professors study bacteria fighting method

first_imgThree USC professors have found a way to combat deadly bacteria through a computer-simulated study.The study was conducted using computer simulations. Photo from Viterbi School of Engineering.USC professors Priya Vashishta from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering; Rajiv Kalia from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences; and Aiichiro Nakano from Viterbi, were hired in 2002 by President C. L. Max Nikias to conduct the study.“We were hired jointly in three separate departments,” Vashishta said. “The idea was to establish a group who would do simulations using computers. You need all three of those departments for this kind of study.”Simulations have become an increasingly common research method. Conducting research on a computer lessens the cost of materials and shortens a lengthy, repetitive trial process, Vashishta said.The professors, along with Aravind Krishnamoorthy, a Viterbi postdoctoral fellow, used simulations to find the optimal conditions for killing the bacteria, even with the presence of spores, which are a protective mechanism developed by bacteria to allow bacteria to withstand most harm.“Once they go to the dormant state, nothing [can] kill them,” Nakano said. “No radiation, no chemicals — they survive. it’s extremely hard to kill in this dormant state of the spore. Basically the simulation found how much heat and how much water content is needed to make it easy to kill the bacteria.”The study is rooted in the concept that a certain amount of water and heat cause bacteria to germinate before detecting conditions are harmful and entering spore mode, which makes bacteria impossible to kill.“You allow it to germinate but not to go into full spore mode,” Vashista said. “So if you just barely germinate, you’ll be able to kill it. At that point of wet heat, we will kill [them], and that is the simulation.”The computer simulation revealed that the bacteria can be killed at the optimal temperature of 90 to 95 degrees Celsius with a water concentration above 30 percent, according to Vashista.Once the bacteria is in the right environment, they are killed with black silicon nanopillars, which Nakano described as similar to a “bed of nails.”The research project was funded by a grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who’s looking for ways to combat bacteria as a biological weapon.“The funding comes from the DTRA, as they are primarily interested in find out how and when these bacterial spores die,” Krishnamoorthy said. “It’s important because if you’re trying to disinfect something with the presence of this bacteria, you have to be sure that these bacterial spores die. They want to know what are the conditions in which these things die, because if you don’t kill them completely, they can come back.”Krishnamoorthy said the study will have real-life applications. It can be used to counter biological weapons, lessen the spread of bacterial diseases and provide breakthroughs in food preservation.last_img read more

HOW TWEET FROM DONEGAL HELPED WOMAN FIND HER MISSING MUM

first_imgThe pic posted on TwitterA TOURIST unable to get a good mobile phone signal in Donegal took to Twitter instead to help find her missing mother.Joanne Mehaffey, from south Belfast, tried desperately to ring friends after her mum Diane went missing earlier this week. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.But because she couldn’t get a good enough signal to make lengthy calls, she posted as SOS on Twitter instead – and her mum was found nine hours later wandering a suburb with her dog. She urged her followers to retweet and share the picture message.She tweeted: “This is my mum & she’s gone #missing. Help try & bring her home safe #missing #belfast #plsRT #alzheimers”.Joanne said: “I love Twitter and I love Facebook and I needed as many people as possible to see mum’s picture to speed up her being found. I knew I needed to do it sooner rather than later.“While she would not have necessarily wanted everyone to know that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, I needed her brought home, and if that meant I needed to share it, I was going to share it. One of the family’s other dogs which was with Diane.“I knew that Twitter was a powerful tool. I just needed one person to see her and that’s what happened.”The message was retweeted hundreds of times – but crucially Lisburn woman Christina McStravick saw it.“I was sitting about six o’clock in the living room, watching TV, and I noticed a woman walking past the window with two dogs,” she told the BBC.“She seemed a wee bit dazed and kind of caught my attention but I didn’t think anything of it. “Literally, 30 seconds later I was on Twitter. I saw that Oscar (Knox) had retweeted Joanne’s poster.“I jumped in the car, drove round and drove slowly past Diane. I didn’t want to scare her but I realised it was her.”She gently coaxed Diane into coming into the house for a cup of tea while her husband rang Joanne and the police.“My husband gives me a hard time for going on Twitter too much, so he can’t do that anymore,” Christina said. But Joanne has been overwhelmed by the response on social media.“My mother had walked about eight miles. We would never have thought she was there.“My husband says he’s a Twitter widow, but Twitter and the kindness of strangers brought my mum home,” she said.HOW TWEET FROM DONEGAL HELPED WOMAN FIND HER MISSING MUM was last modified: April 5th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:HOW TWEET FROM DONEGAL HELPED WOMAN FIND HER MISSING MUMlast_img read more