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Farming Crystals in Space

Jul 18, 2017

Farming Crystals in Space

Health, University of Utah | Academics and Research Newsroom

By Stacy W. Kish 

Protein Crystals Grown in Microgravity Could Yield Antidotes for Nerve Agents

"We need to develop antidotes that are effective against multiple kinds of organophosphates and can cross the blood-brain barrier to more easily reactivate multiple AChE proteins,” said Don Blumenthal, PhD, associate professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Utah Health. “This is particularly important for a mass casualty scenario."

Blumenthal was the catalyst that brought a team of experts together from across the country led by the project’s Principle Investigator Zoran Radić, PhD, associate professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego (UCSD), in the quest for antidotes to these terrible toxins.

Don Blumenthal
blue protein
Toward the center of the amoeba-like AChE protein (blue) lies the deep catalytic gorge where the organophosphate (gold) blocks neurotransmitters access to the active site. Credit: Don Blumenthal