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Metab Eng Commun ; 14: e00196, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1751152


Interest in the potential therapeutic efficacy of psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds has escalated significantly in recent years. To date, little is known regarding the biological activity of the psilocybin pathway intermediate, norbaeocystin, due to limitations around sourcing the phosphorylated tryptamine metabolite for in vivo testing. To address this limitation, we first developed a novel E. coli platform for the rapid and scalable production of gram-scale amounts of norbaeocystin. Through this process we compare the genetic and fermentation optimization strategies to that of a similarly constructed and previously reported psilocybin producing strain, uncovering the need for reoptimization and balancing upon even minor genetic modifications to the production host. We then perform in vivo measurements of head twitch response to both biosynthesized psilocybin and norbaeocystin using both a cell broth and water vehicle in Long-Evans rats. The data show a dose response to psilocybin while norbaeocystin does not elicit any pharmacological response, suggesting that norbaeocystin and its metabolites may not have a strong affinity for the serotonin 2A receptor. The findings presented here provide a mechanism to source norbaeocystin for future studies to evaluate its disease efficacy in animal models, both individually and in combination with psilocybin, and support the safety of cell broth as a drug delivery vehicle.

J Surg Res ; 275: 43-47, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1729957


INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has profoundly impacted surgical education. We assessed resident perceptions of our virtual academic program, which consists of daily lectures or case conferences held via a videoconferencing platform. METHODS: A survey evaluating attitudes and practices for virtual academics was administered to general surgery residents. A focus group was conducted to identify benefits, barriers to engagement, and opportunities for improvement for virtual education. A total of 19 residents completed the education survey, and seven residents participated in the focus group. RESULTS: While expressing preference toward in-person academics (84.2%), residents felt the virtual academics were of good quality (median rating 4/5) and preferred virtual academics to no academic sessions (94.7%). Of respondents, 57.9% believe that the coronavirus pandemic negatively impacted their surgical education. They believe their American Board of Surgery In-Training Examination preparation was not impacted. Residents preferred using a computer over a phone for academics (79% versus 16%). The focus group identified the benefits of virtual academics, including the ability to participate while away and having recordings available. Areas for improvement included reinforcement of protected time for academics, requiring cameras be on, increasing in-lecture polls, and creation of an online repository of recordings for review. Residents hoped a virtual component of academics and recordings would continue past the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Although virtual academics are not the preferred mode of learning in our residency, there are multiple unintended benefits. We recommend a hybrid academic model with in-person didactics and recorded video for later review.

COVID-19 , Education, Distance , Internship and Residency , Curriculum , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control