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With a major research university right in our backyard, a strong military presence and innovative companies spread throughout the metro region, there’s often a plethora of interesting science and technology news to be found in Southern Arizona. Here’s a breakdown of the most interesting recent developments from the region:

Advanced Cancer Detection. On Thursday, March 18, Roche Tissue Diagnostics announced the launch of their DISCOVERY Green HRP kit, a cancer-detection tool that can help researchers detect multiple biomarkers from a single tissue sample. Biomarkers are organic characteristics, such as chemical compounds or cells, that indicate the presence of a disease or infection. When searching for biomarkers that indicate cancer, researchers use colored “chromogens” for tissue analysis. Jill German, the head of Roche Pathology Customer Segment, explained that as tissue research expands to more biomarkers, researchers need chromogens that can provide greater color contrast for image analysis. In response, this new HRP (horseradish peroxidase) kit was designed and developed with researchers in mind and will enable them to see multiple biomarkers instantly, with the ultimate goal of advancing cancer patient care globally. Roche Tissue Diagnostics, which is Roche’s Oro Valley lab, announced researchers can now investigate up to seven cancer biomarkers on a single tissue slide, using Roche’s multiple color kits in conjunction.

Laser Relocation. Tucson-based technology company Applied Energetics has announced it is relocating its headquarters to the University of Arizona tech park at Rita Road southeast of Tucson. The move is to help support the company's anticipated future growth and "provide greater capacity for research, product development and production activities." Applied Energetics, formerly known as Ionatron, was founded in 2002 to develop high-tech lasers, laser weapons, optical systems and a “death ray” for the defense, aerospace, industrial and science industries. Since founding, the company has established 26 patents and 11 additional Government Sensitive Patent Applications. Applied Energetics develops Laser Guided Energy and Laser Induced Plasma Channel technologies, which can "precisely transmit high voltage electrical charges by using a laser to create a conductive path in the atmosphere" for military and countermeasure uses. Applied Energetics's move to the UA Tech Park is expected to take place over the next two months. The company will be joining more than 60 technology companies and organizations already housed at the Tech Park. The UA Tech Park at Rita Road serves as a hub for local technology and science companies, both associated with the university and the broader Tucson business community.

SARSEF Winners. The Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation recently announced the winners of their 66th annual Science and Engineering Fair, which saw science projects from nearly 3,000 Arizona students from elementary through high school. More than 100 local students won cash awards for their projects which ranged from robotics to environmental science to animal behavior to chemistry. First-place projects included:

• "Will Homemade Biodiesel Be an As Effective Fuel As Canola Oil?"

• "How Do Petroglyphs of the Hohokam Tribes Prove Interaction Across Long Distances?"

• "Implications for Tissue Engineering of an Implantable Organ"

• "The Smart Toilet – An Automated Urine Screening Device for Kidney Failure, Bladder Cancer, and Prostate Enlargement."

Because of the last year, more than a dozen student projects involved COVID-19 research, both the disease and its effects on society. Four local schools also won SARSEF's $500 Award for Research Supplies: Cibola High School, Emily Gray Junior High, J. Robert Hendricks Elementary School, and University High School. In addition to student projects winning, local educators also won awards, including the "Educator Advocate of Science and Engineering" award and the SARSEF Champion Educator award. These awards gave local educators between $50 and $200, and others included a yearly membership to Treasures 4 Teachers of Tucson. For a full list of awards, visit sarsef.org/10557-2021-sarsef-winners

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