Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Potential Medical Treatment Surfaces in Squid Research

27.08.2010
Ted Uyeno has been filled with curiosity for how things work since he was a child. At five years old while visiting a tide pool on Vancouver Island, he touched a sea anemone for the first time and wanted to know how it worked. That simple act set Uyeno on a path of scientific research and discovery—a path that eventually led him to Northern Arizona University.

A postdoctoral research associate and adjunct professor in the biology department at NAU, Uyeno’s curiosity is currently rapt in the study of circulatory systems of cephalopods, mainly squid. He is intent on discovering how its evolved systems may lead to new treatments for human ailments.

Referring to himself as a “reverse mechanic”, Uyeno examines the structure of an existing biological system and deconstructs it to understand how it functions. He then takes that understanding and relates it to other species.

“It’s called comparative biomechanics,” Uyeno says. “We look at homologous structures of species and compare them to determine why differences occur.”

Uyeno believes squid can teach us how to treat peripheral arterial disease, which can be caused by diabetes and atherosclerosis. The possible applications of a squid’s circulatory system struck him one day when his friend asked him for a ride.

“He needed a lift because his diabetes had led to having one of his feet amputated,” Uyeno says. “Diabetes leads to amputation when blood vessels lose elasticity, and blood begins pooling in the extremities. There’s not enough pressure to get the blood back to the heart.”

Uyeno thought of the evolutionary twists and turns which led to squid and other cephalopods shedding the slow, slimy trail of their ancestors and developing advanced, efficient systems that cinched them higher up on the food chain.

As squid evolved from their distant snail-like relatives, their blood circulation changed from an open, low-pressure system to a closed system that supports a more vigorous level of activity. Their circulatory system includes a central, larger heart which pumps blood to the tissues while two smaller accessory hearts force blood through the gills and back to the central heart.

High-energy animals driven by jet propulsion, squid can out-swim tuna over short distances. Their unique circulatory system and accessory hearts boost efficiency. Uyeno admits that relating circulatory systems of squid to a possible solution for peripheral arterial disease in humans could seem a stretch. But he sees potential answers in the evolution of squid, which has made them strong, large, fast and plentiful.

After studying Humboldt squid for three summers in the Sea of Cortez, Uyeno, his colleague Kiisa Nishikawa, and undergraduate student Duane Barbano have found practical applications in addressing peripheral arterial disease. Through NAU Ventures and a partnership with the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies, Uyeno hopes his research will make a difference in the lives of many people.

“A design for a biomedical device has been developed based on cephalopod circulatory morphology and the intellectual property is now being managed by NAU Ventures,” he says.

In the meantime, Uyeno’s research continues with squid, specifically examining how muscle articulation and flexibility can serve as biological inspiration for robotics devices. His curiosity surrounding marine creatures shows no sign of waning.

“Still, some 30-odd years later, I’m asking the same question. How do these work?”

Research gets sea legs from grant, National Geographic

Humboldt squid seem to be thriving around the world, making it the perfect species for Ted Uyeno’s research. Ten years ago, the species was predominantly found in the coastal waters off of Chile and in the past year or so it’s shown up with regularity in the waters off Alaska. Uyeno conducted his field work in the Sea of Cortez, where the squid are abundant.

The Arizona Board of Regents’ Technology and Research Initiative Fund provided the grant support needed to keep Uyeno’s study afloat for 2008-9.

When he determined earlier this year that he needed additional specimens for his research, Uyeno approached National Geographic to support his third summer expedition. In exchange for providing resources necessary for the trip, National Geographic asked Uyeno to act as a scientific consultant on Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr. The Dangerous Encounters episode, titled “Cannibal Squid,” aired on the National Geographic Channel on July 30.

“National Geographic provided everything I needed,” Uyeno says. “It was fun because we were able to mount cameras on the squid and document what they do when they don’t think we’re watching.”

Cindy Brown | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.nau.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>