“If you are curious, you'll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them.” — Erno Rubik
- UofL identifies key COVID-19 biomarker
- Clues to COVID-19 in our wastewater?
- TALK offering virtual STEM classes for girls
- LEAP Group supports local markets
- Churchill Downs takes advantage of gaming tech
- Know Your City!
June 23, 2020
UofL immunologist finds COVID-19 biomarker
Photo courtesy, UofL.
One of the more puzzling aspects of COVID-19 is why it affects some people more severely than others. Researchers at UofL have discovered an important biomarker that may provide some answers.
Jun Yan, M.D., Ph.D., professor of surgery and microbiology and immunology at the University of Louisville and a researcher at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, led the research team.
Approximately 20 percent of COVID-19 patients experience severe disease such as pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In some of these patients, when their immune cells go to the lungs to fight the infections, they experience complications in the lung and in their blood that can result in heart attack, pulmonary embolism, stroke, or deep vein thrombosis.
The team compared immune cells in COVID-19 patients with those from healthy individuals. They found that one type of immune cells--low-density inflammatory neutrophils--were elevated in patients for whom the condition became severe. The elevation increases the likelihood of death within a few days.
If clinicians can detect a rise in these cells, they may be able to provide therapy to prevent the potential life-threatening conditions associated with them. Yan is now working with other researchers at UofL to test potential therapies.
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MSD and UofL testing Louisville wastewater
Researchers at UofL are working with MSD to determine if areas of COVID-19 infection can be tracked by testing wastewater.
As part of Phase II of the Co-Immunity Project, MSD is providing samples from eight sites in its vast network of pipes and five treatment facilities which will be sent weekly to UofL and research collaborators at Arizona State University (ASU) for virus analysis.
To support this work and other aspects of the Co-Immunity Project, a groundbreaking collaboration to track and curb COVID-19, UofL has received a new $1 million gift from the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation.
“The challenges of this pandemic have made the need to learn how to make decisions through all forms of health all too clear, and I'm so proud the team here is at the national forefront of the response. The Co-Immunity Project, especially now with this singular partnership with MSD, puts Louisville and Kentucky at the cutting edge nationally in terms of virus monitoring,” said Christina Lee Brown of the UofL Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute.
Virtual tech classes for girls in STEM topics
Board members of TALK, the Metro Louisville’s Area Tech Council, will be teaching virtual summer camps to middle school-aged girls on their home computer or laptop. Topics covered come from the nationally known TechGirlz curricula. The summer camp sessions are free.
In order to compete in a global economy, the nation has to make STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education a priority for young students.
For girls, the trick is to introduce girls to those subjects and nurture their interest. Repeated studies about girls and STEM, such as this recent research from Microsoft, have demonstrated that although young girls may receive, and be enthusiastic about, STEM education, they lose interest by age 15. The virtual classes are TALK’s way of stemming that tide.
An added bonus to the program is that moms and dads can buddy up with their daughter or an older sibling or let a neighborhood middle school friend come hang out for the hourly sessions.
Registration is on Eventbrite and signups are open. You can see all the classes on the TALK website. Classes are first offered to those in the Metro Louisville area, in partnership with Louisville Central Community Centers. Then they will open to registrants nationally.
LEAP Group offers free services to its home cities with its 20-In-'20 Program
LEAP Group—which serves Austin, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Louisville—is offering free website and app management to businesses for the rest of the year. It’s limiting the offer to the first 20 businesses that sign up in each of those home cities.
Among the services being offered are content updates, implementation of functionality to help the business, and “Ongoing updates of hours, capacity and protocols related to COVID-19.”
Alan Gilleo, LEAP Group’s CMO, said, “We are in this together, and this offer is for our home cities. Places where our staff and our children live, eat, shop, and play. Every business we know and each of our own clients are working on ways to pitch in and help. Our 20-in-'20 Program is a small piece of the puzzle, but we hope it makes a difference for those businesses that participate.”
Historic racing machines come to Churchill Downs
Casino gaming is illegal in the home of the world’s most famous gambling event, the Kentucky Derby. In the era of video slots and online gaming, what’s a horse track to do?
In Kentucky, the answer is “historical horse racing.” In 2018, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate ruled that wagering on historical racing machines – slot-like video machines that feature actual historical races – counts as pari-mutuel wagering as defined by Kentucky law. Churchill Downs, home of the Derby, quickly created Derby City Gaming, a facility that looks, sounds and feels a lot like a casino except all the machines feature historical horse racing.
Now Churchill Downs is buying 1,250 historical racing machines from International Game Technology, a gaming technology company that does business in 100 countries around the world.
Churchill Downs will use the games at their facilities in Louisville, Oak Grove, and Newport, Kentucky. Oh, and if you’re wondering if you can just Google the results of those historical races before betting, the answer is no. While the games provide some handicapping info, the identities of the horses, trainers, jockeys, and tracks are hidden.
Have you checked your Louis-Q lately?
- Humana was co-founded by David A. Jones Sr. and what other Louisville native? (Bonus points if you can tell us what occupation the two men had prior to founding the company.)
- The first KingFish restaurant opened on Derby Day 1948 at the location of Fourth Street and River Road. Where did the name come from?
- What Louisville park was referred to as “Jacob’s Folly” in its beginnings?
Click here for answers.
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