Go back to the enewsletter Go back to the enewsletterVirgin Voyages has revealed renderings of its new two-storey cruise facility and “future home” on Dodge Island in Miami, from where its maiden ship, Scarlet Lady, will homeport once constructed.“Seeing how we will be setting up shop in the heart of Biscayne Bay, we wanted to be sure we worked with a firm that understood how to highlight and honour the Magic City,” Virgin Voyages said.The structure will have a plaza-like feel, and offer a VIP drop-off and ride-sharing section for its “sailors”.The new cruise company has enlisted Miami-based talent Arquitectonica to design the PortMiami terminal in the heart of Biscayne Bay. Arquitectonica are the visionaries behind projects including American Airlines Arena in Downtown Miami and the Miami City Ballet in South Beach.Render of terminal’s VIP entrance at ground-level with Scarlet Lady in the background | Virgin Voyages ©“Not only are they experts in building structures equipped for tropical elements like sizzling sun, splashing salt and dizzying winds; more importantly, they understand what it means to create something truly, unequivocally and wholeheartedly, ‘Miami’.”A Memorandum of Understanding for the facility’s construction requires approval from the local county commission, and is slated to begin work next year and delivered in 2021.“Miami is an incredible city and one of my favourite places to work and play,” said Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson. “From our headquarters for Virgin Hotels, Virgin Voyages and now Virgin Trains USA, South Florida has quickly become another home for Virgin brands in the leisure travel sector.”Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin said “South Florida is our home, and with our fleet now growing to four ships, we’re humbled and thankful to soon have a gorgeous new terminal overlooking the Miami skyline, an incredible view that will set the stage for the alluring journey that we will take our sailors on”.At the core of the 100,000-square-foot terminal are Miami’s iconic palm trees.“For years visitors have been attracted by the city’s sun-soaked beaches, invigorating atmosphere and gorgeous, iconic sights. No sight is more recognised than the Royal Palm Tree lounging carefree amidst a backdrop of captivating Art Deco design. These palm trees, tall and regal, relaxed yet unwavering, were the inspiration for the structure that will become our sanctuary in the bustling bay,” Virgin Voyages said.Render of terminal’s West facing side in the nighttime with dozens of lights shooting into the sky | Virgin Voyages ©“The terminal’s rooftop is designed to resemble a palm tree grove with pockets that allow natural light to flow into the building by day, and gorgeous beams to light up our iconic Virgin Voyages logo (as well as the Miami sky) by night, allowing our future home to shine brightly.”Normally cruise terminals are dull, lifeless places where people are herded onto even more boring boats; our palm grove-inspired design will be filled with colour and fun – a place where people can really begin their voyage of a lifetime.Virgin Group Founder, Richard BransonBranson confirmed Scarlett Lady would continue to operate to the Caribbean, including Cuba, from its Miami hub throughout 2021. Virgin Voyages’ second yet-to-be-named ship will also sail from Miami during the Fall/Winter cruise season of 2021/22.Additionally, Branson also revealed that bookings on Scarlet Lady will commence on 14 February 2019 for the general public, while guests holding pre-sale deposits will have the first opportunity to book, starting 5 February.
Jun 20 2018Long-term therapy with estrogen and bazedoxifene alters the microbial composition and activity in the gut, affecting how estrogen is metabolized, a new study in mice found.According to the study, led by University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, the enzyme B-glucuronidase (GUS) plays a pivotal role in metabolizing synthetic estrogens in the intestinal tract.The findings of the study, published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, suggest that changing the chemistry in the gut could be a way to improve the efficacy and long-term safety of estrogen supplements for postmenopausal women and breast cancer patients, Madak-Erdogan said.”Our findings indicate that clinicians might be able to manipulate the gut biome through probiotics to change the half-life and properties of estrogens so that long-term users obtain the therapeutic benefits of estrogen-replacement therapy without increasing their risks of reproductive cancers,” said Madak-Erdogan, also the director of the Women’s Health, Hormones and Nutrition Lab at the U. of I.While the findings need to be replicated in humans, the research offers insight into estrogen-replacement therapy’s impact on the expression of microbial genes and may explain why individual patients’ responses to hormone therapy can vary, the researchers wrote.The scientists at the U. of I. divided 40 female mice into five treatment groups, which were treated with various estrogens, administered alone or in combination with the estrogen-receptor drug bazedoxifene. The mice were fed a high-fat diet and their ovaries were removed at 10 weeks of age to replicate the estrogen-deficient environment associated with menopause.After six weeks of treatment, the researchers extracted DNA samples from the mice to examine gene transcription. They also examined the microbiota in the mice’s cecums – the pouch at the beginning of the large intestine – and in their fecal samples to assess the microbial diversity and activity in their digestive tracts.Related StoriesGenetic contribution to distractibility helps explain procrastinationMetabolic enzyme tied to obesity and fatty liver diseaseNew class of cancer-killing agents shows promise in destroying cancer stem cells”We observed that both levels of fecal GUS activity and glucuronic acid – a byproduct of estrogen metabolism – decreased after the mice were treated with conjugated estrogens and bazedoxifene,” Madak-Erdogan said. “This supported our hypothesis that estrogen supplementation affects the gut microbiome composition and estrogen metabolism.”While the overall diversity of microbiota was not changed significantly, we found that the activities of several bacteria taxa were altered by the estrogen therapy,” Madak-Erdogan said. “The levels of several bacteria associated with GUS activity in the gut decreased, including levels of akkermansia,” a family of bacteria believed to have anti-inflammatory properties in humans.Fecal levels of akkermansia were significantly lower in mice treated with the estrogen-bazedoxifene combination compared with their peers in the control group.However, mice with higher levels of akkermansia in their fecal biome gained more weight, had larger livers and more estrogen metabolites in their systems, the researchers found.In examining the abundance of common bacterial families in the fecal microbiota, the researchers found higher levels of several microbes, including lactobacillus and streptococcus. Lactobacillus was shown to be associated with GUS activity in previous studies by other researchers while GUS was identified in a subspecies of streptococcus.The GUS bacteria also interacted with two metabolites of the cancer-inhibiting drug tamoxifen – an important finding because lower serum concentrations of the drug have been linked with poorer outcomes in breast cancer patients, according to the study.Source: https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/663288