NIEHS Fellow Invents a Precision Medicine Approach to COVID-19 Diagnostics

COVID-19 disease which is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 has caused over 28 million cases and 500,000 deaths to date in the U.S. To meet the needs of the U.S. public and the globe, Oswaldo A. Lozoya, Ph.D, of NIEHS has invented the LeaSH-RNA-seq method (Patent Pending) as a new, cost-effective and versatile COVID-19 diagnostic. Lozoya is a fellow in the Envrionmental Epigenomics and Disease Group that is lead by Douglas A. Bell, Ph.D. Lozoya’s LeaSH-RNA-seq can simultaneously diagnose COVID-19 and provide genetic information that could determine the degree of patients’ susceptibility to the disease from the testing of tens of thousands of patient samples at a time. LeaSH-RNA-seq will be a valuable weapon in the fight against COVID-19 and its applicability to other viruses could mitigate case numbers and death rates of future pandemics.

NIEHS Investigator Wins the Nobel Prize

Martin Rodbell, Ph.D., shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Alfred Gilman, Ph.D., in 1994. Rodbell’s discovery of the signaling molecule GTP and identification of G proteins that bind them lead to the elucidation of mechanisms behind hormonal and neurotransmitter induced signal transduction. Since the discovery of GTP and G proteins, their mechanism of action in diseases like cancer have informed therapeutic strategy.

NIEHS Investigators Help Characterize Mutations in the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Susceptibility Gene BRCA1

While at NIEHS in the early 1990’s, Roger Wiseman, Ph.D., and P. Andrew Futreal, Ph.D., conducted collaborative research that characterized the mutations in the gene BRCA1 that predisposes carriers to breast and ovarian cancer. This was a significant finding at a time before the sequencing of the human genome and high-throughput DNA sequencing, and allowed for the elucidation of the molecular role of BRCA1 mutation and cancer. Breast and ovarian cancers had an overall incidence (per 100,000 population) of 195.86 and 17.43 respectively in women (at least 18 years old) in 2018, and breast cancer incidence is expected to increase annually over the next 10 years (GlobalData). Continued study of BRCA mutations have lead to it being a useful genetic diagnostic in breast/ovarian cancer patients, and its detection prophylactically is also informative.


Sharon Soucek, Ph.D.
Sharon Soucek, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Technology Transfer
Tel 984-287-4152
[email protected]

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