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Pioneering the Future: Inspired by Nature



Author: Universit of Utah Health

Inspiration can come from many places—and that’s certainly true for U of U Health scientists following nature’s lead as they create new ways to treat and prevent disease. By uncovering secrets that lie in the world’s oceans, viruses, and our own immune system, they are uncovering prospective therapies for cancer and infectious disease. Just as important, they are expanding the ways scientists think about discovering and developing new drugs.

These stories are Inspired by Nature, part of the Pioneering the Future campaign celebrating high-impact discoveries made by today's scientists.

Learning from Nature’s Diversity – By poring through the chemical repertoires that lie in the mysterious ocean world, medicinal chemists from the College of Pharmacy are finding new ways to generate and modify potential therapeutics.

Behold the Giant, Mud-dwelling Worm – In a discovery that grasps the imagination, microbiologist and explorer Margo Haygood, Ph.D., and colleagues unearthed a five-foot long slippery, sulfur-eating mollusk – the giant shipworm – a reminder of the unexpected diversity that lies hidden in plain sight.

Anti-Cancer Clusters – Chemists have drawn inspiration from our own immune system to design a new generation of antibody-based therapies that are even more effective at binding cancer cells and triggering their destruction.

Virus-inspired Delivery – Pulling straight from the virus’ playbook, biochemists genetically engineered a tiny delivery system that may one day be used to deliver drugs to cells deep in the body.