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Business digest: Sunday, Sept. 15

Sept. 14, 2013 at 11 p.m.


<strong>UT Health scientists awarded grants</strong>

Three biomedical researchers at UT Health Northeast recently received separate grants of more than $300,000 each to fund studies in the areas of lung disease and blood clotting.

The grant recipients and the amounts of their three-year grants are:

<ul> <li>Dr. Amir Shams, $325,500 from the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (FAMRI);</li> <li>Dr. Sreerama Shetty, $325,500 from FAMRI;</li> <li>Dr .Hema Kothari, $308,000 from the American Heart Association.</li> </ul>

Shams, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology, is investigating if a naturally occurring substance that stimulates the lungs' immune system can protect against deadly pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD, which is primarily caused by years of cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, the American Lung Association reports. For people with COPD, preventing bacterial and viral respiratory infections helps them avoid serious flare-ups of the disease.

Shams and his team want to see if this substance will protect people with COPD from developing life-threatening infections of S. aureus bacteria.

He believes his research will show that, when a large amount of this substance is delivered to the lungs, it stimulates the immune system, thus protecting people from different strains of S. aureus.

In his research, Shetty and his team are exploring how secondhand cigarette smoke injures cells lining the lungs' airways and air sacs, thus making the lungs more susceptible to infection by influenza viruses.

Shetty, a professor of medicine, is examining how a protein that causes cells lining the lungs to die regulates another protein involved in the blood-clotting process.

His goal is to understand how the interactions of these two proteins affect the health of the cells lining the lungs and their ability to fight off influenza.

Finally, Kothari is studying why blood clots often occur in concert with diseases such as hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), diabetes, and cancer.

For the past seven years, Kothari has been involved in understanding how tissue factor (TF) is regulated. TF is the substance that starts blood clotting in the event of injury or infection.

Normal healthy cells lining the inside of blood vessels don't activate the TF on their surfaces, so blood doesn't clot and block blood flow. However, in diseases like diabetes and cancer, the TF in these cells becomes active, producing blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

Kothari, an instructor of biochemistry, and her team are searching for what activates TF and how it regulates clot formation in a range of serious diseases.

<strong>Local ranching event planned in Carthage</strong>

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will have a ranch gathering Tuesday at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, 310 W. Panola, Carthage. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a complimentary beef dinner. The event is free and open to the public.

Association Special Ranger Larry Hand will update ranchers on cattle thefts in the area and how they can better protect themselves from thieves. A legislative update will be given to update ranchers and landowners on important issues.

To reserve a spot call (800) 242-7820, ext. 192, or rsvp@tscra.org.

<strong>ChemDry of Longview adds staff members</strong>

ChemDry of Longview, offering residential and commercial upholstery, area rug cleaning, pet odor treatment, tile and stone, and air duct cleaning services, has added new employees.

Amanda Jones has been hired as the office manager. She has years of management and operational experience most recently with DEI Properties. Jones will oversee all internal office staff, including the customer service department.

Kevin McGuire was named lead cleaning technician and is over the training department and quality control.

Isaiah Topp was also named as a floor and upholstery technician, and Josiah Topp was named a technician's assistant.

Visit ChemDry of Longview at www.chemdryoflongview.com or call (903) 759-4717 to schedule an appointment.

<strong>Mid South Engine & Machine ranked</strong>

Inc. magazine has ranked Mid South Engine & Machine as 2010 on its seventh annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies.

Fuhu tops this year's list. Mid South joins LivingSocial, Edible Arrangements, CDW and Lifelock among other prominent brands featured on this year's list.

"A large portion of this incredible growth is attributed to our manufacturing arm, Mid South Fabrication & Coating" according to Mid South CEO Gregory Hulett, "Jerry Newman, senior vice president, and his team have done an outstanding job of securing and retaining high profile customers and driving revenue."

In a stagnant economic environment, median growth rate of 2013 Inc. 500|5000 companies is 142 percent. The companies on this year's list report having created more than 520,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $241 billion.

Complete results of the list, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/5000.

Mid South Engine & Machine, founded in 1986, provides industrial engine & generator sales/ service, steel fabrication, parts manufacturing, and industrial coatings to the energy, power generation, transportation, and construction industries. It operates offices in White Oak and Fort Worth.

<strong>Hayes Miller Roofing hits safety record</strong>

Hayes Miller Roofing in Longview has reached a safety record of 751 days of operation with no lost-time injuries.

The company has been in business for 60 years.

<strong>Gilmer taxidermist wins multiple awards</strong>

Shane Davenport recently returned with awards from a national taxidermy competition in Baton Rouge, La.

Davenport took a piece called "The Journey," a sculpture of a bobcat jumping off a goat horn with a base of four granite tiles etched with different bobcat scenes.

He won the Ivan Harvey Award, given to the most unique and creative piece, and the Brian Harness Memorial Award, for the most artistic small mammal.

Davenport's shop, Shooters Taxidermy, is a full-service taxidermy shop in Gilmer. Visit online at www.shooterstaxidermy.net.

<strong>Soil testing deadline set for Sept. 20</strong>

Free soil testing will be offered by Upshur-Gregg Soil and Water Conservation District for residents in Upshur and Gregg counties.

Soil samples must be received by Sept. 20 and will be submitted to Texas A&M University's soil lab for fertilizer and liming recommendations.

Sample testing is limited to one per person and to the first 70 requests per county. Sampling supplies and instructions can be picked up and submitted in Upshur County at the USDA Service Center in Gilmer, 1259 U.S. 271 S. and in Gregg County at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension located at 405 E. Marshall, Suite 101 in Longview.

For information contact John Wade in Gilmer at (903) 734-8732, ext. 3, or Hugh Soape in Longview at (903) 236-8428.

<strong>U.S. oil, gas rig count up 1 to 1,768</strong>

HOUSTON - Oilfield services company Baker Hughes says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased one this past week to 1,768.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,361 rigs were exploring for oil and 401 for gas. Six were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,864 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained 12 rigs, Pennsylvania gained three and Louisiana gained two.

<em><strong>Share your news:</strong> Send news of new hires, job changes, promotions, awards, training completed and other news to the Sunday Business Digest by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Submissions may be faxed to (903) 757-3742; emailed to newstip@news-journal.com; or mailed to: Business Section, Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606. For more information, call (903) 237-7744.</em>

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