Making medicine from ocean waste | Universities seek to make fentanyl less dangerous

Researchers recycle waste from the ocean to make medicine

LAWRENCE, KS–Researchers at the University of Kansas are working to transform plastic waste from the ocean into components to be used in making pharmaceuticals. The team uses a genetically altered soil fungus to convert polyethylene. The results were reported recently in the paper “Conversion of Polyethylenes into Fungal Secondary Metabolites” published in Angewandte Chemie, a journal of the German Chemical Society.

Universities seek to make fentanyl less dangerous

ST. LOUIS, MO–The synthetic opioid Fentanyl, developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, is 100 times stronger than morphine. Unfortunately, the drug has also been diverted for drug abuse, with more than 80,000 people in the U.S. dying from overdose in the U.S. in 2021. Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are partnering with a couple of other universities to alter the drug so that it maintains its painkilling effects while reducing harmful side effects.

A dating app just for students

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, IL–Sathwik Reddy, a University of Illinois alum, and Josh Jay James, a business school senior, have launched a dating app for students at the school. The founders met through the iVenture Accelerator, which is funded by the Gies College of Business to support student startups. Though details haven’t been released yet, Reddy says that the app, called Sylly, will include a shift toward authentic interaction.

App lets patients track their biologic samples

PITTSBURGH, PA–An app created by heny, Inc., a startup spun out of the University of Pittsburgh, will allow patients to track research being done with their biologic samples. When a person donates a biosample for research, information that can trace the sample back to its owner is removed—a process known as de-identification. But sometimes researchers discover abnormalities and are unable to inform the patient or the patient’s doctor. The company’s app, De-Bi, hopes to close that gap through NFTs and blockchain technology.

Fund helps IU real estate students

BLOOMINGTON, IN–The new Real Estate Private Equity Program (IUREPE), established at Indiana University Kelley School of Business, will fund an opportunity for some of the most experienced and exceptional students in the IU real estate program to learn how to manage all aspects of a private real estate investment fund. The program will give students an opportunity to manage the $4.2 million fund year-round, including raising capital and making investments in consultation with the advisory committee of alumni and fund investors. All of the money in the fund, named Sample Gates Management LLC, came from investments.

Student help for caregiving needs

RALEIGH-DURHAM, NC–The latest survey from the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP revealed an increase in the number of family caregivers in the United States of 9.5 million from 2015 to 2020. Family caregivers now encompass more than one in five Americans. CareYaya, a startup that piloted in 2022 at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, is a care marketplace that matches students with families needing care, such as fall prevention, light meal prep, or light housekeeping)

KSU to give local business owners better access to research

MANHATTAN, KS–Kansas State University was the first university in the U.S. created under the Morrill Act, which gave land-grant universities a mission to teach and research practical agriculture, science, military science, and engineering. Now the university is partnering with NetWork Kansas, a statewide network of nonprofit, business-building organizations and resources, to give business owners better access to advanced business support, research, and expertise.