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Fertility and Germline Stem Cell Transplants in Mice

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Fertility and Germline Stem Cell Transplants in Mice

For many couples, conceiving a child can be a long and difficult process. The CDC estimates that 6.7% of married women aged 15-44 are infertile, meaning that they have not been able to get pregnant in over 12 months of attempting.  Further, 12.1% of women aged 15-44 have impaired fecundity, meaning that they have physical difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to live birth. Causes of these fertility issues can include serious medical issues such as early menopause or chemo-induced infertility. One of the dream treatments for...

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Living Antibiotics: The New Last Line of Defense?

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Living Antibiotics: The New Last Line of Defense?

When Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, it started a new era in medicine: the era of antibiotics. Once penicillin could be efficiently purified in bulk in the 1940’s, it gave doctors access to an incredibly powerful tool to cure previously deadly diseases such as pneumonia and gonorrhea. However, antibiotics did not quite turn out to be a class of miracle drugs. Over time, many bacteria have been able to able to adapt to antibiotic treatment and develop resistance to the drugs. This has created an arms race between...

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Serotonin, Nerve Cell Wiring, and Depression

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Serotonin, Nerve Cell Wiring, and Depression

Depression, or major depressive disorder (MDD) as it is known clinically, is one of the most common debilitative disorders on the planet. In 2015, it’s estimated that 216 million people (about 3% of the world population) suffered from depression. In the United States, depression is the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, MDD affects more than 15 million Americans annually – 6.7% of the adult population. Depression is believed to be caused by...

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Modifying Mosquitoes for Genetic Sterility

Posted by on Jun 2, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Modifying Mosquitoes for Genetic Sterility

Dengue fever is one of the most pressing threats to global health. The World Health Organization considers it the most critical mosquito-borne virus. The symptoms include sudden-onset fever, headache (usually located behind the eyes), muscle and joint pains (thus the moniker “breakbone fever”), and a rash. The virus is spreading rapidly, with infection rates increasing by a factor of thirty over the last fifty years. More than 2.5 billion people in over 100 countries are at risk. While a vaccine for dengue fever was introduced in 2016, it...

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The Need for Climate-Friendly Refrigerants & Technologies

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on The Need for Climate-Friendly Refrigerants & Technologies

Ever since the development of vapor-compression refrigeration in the early 20th century, chemists have constantly been tinkering to find more efficient and cost-effective refrigerants. Until the late 1980’s, the most common refrigerants were chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. CFCs are organic compounds made up of carbon, chlorine, and fluorine (derived from methane, ethane, and propane), and are best known by their DuPont brand name: Freon. However, CFCs were found to be contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer, and in 1987 the...

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Minimizing Water Loss in Plants Through Genetics

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Minimizing Water Loss in Plants Through Genetics

Photosynthesis, the driver for all plant life on earth, requires three things: water, carbon dioxide and sunlight. Carbon dioxide and sunlight are in plentiful supply across the earth, but water can be much more difficult to come by in certain areas. Of course, a scarce water supply does not mean that plants can’t survive – many plant species can do just fine in very dry climates. One of the key principles for plants to grow in these areas is to conserve as much water as possible. Most plants bring carbon dioxide into their system by...

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Trying to Turn Back the Aging Clock

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Trying to Turn Back the Aging Clock

DNA is fundamental for carrying genetic instructions for the growth and development of all known living organisms. However, DNA is not the sole tool for implementing genetic instructions. Epigenetic marks are cellular features that are made up of various amino acid and protein groups that can modify proteins within a cell. These epigenetic marks are not governed by the genetic code, but are nevertheless capable of influencing the way genes are expressed. The buildup of these epigenetic marks in our cells has been suspected as a driving factor...

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Engineering Plants to Survive Salt

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Engineering Plants to Survive Salt

According to the United Nations, over 12 million hectares of arable land are lost to drought and desertification every year. 12 million hectares is approximately the land area of Louisiana, and represents the potential loss of up to 20 million tons of grain that could have been grown in these areas. Salinity is also a huge problem for agriculture: nearly 25% of the irrigated land in the world now is now plagued by overly salty soil. These salt-filled soils are caused by factors like poor irrigation practices and saltwater intrusion from rising...

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Possible Dangers of Cool White LED Lights in Animal Research

Posted by on Dec 22, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Possible Dangers of Cool White LED Lights in Animal Research

The light of the sun fuels all life on Earth. Of course, with the massive amount of electromagnetic energy the sun delivers to the planet, there are going to be some dangerous side effects. For example, the toxic effects of ultraviolet (UV) light are well established. Short-wave (i.e., UVB and UVC) radiation in particular is known to cause damage to DNA, which leads to skin cancer in humans as well as having lethal effects on other animals and microorganisms. However, the potentially harmful effects of visible spectrum light on organisms are...

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Stability Testing Standards

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Stability Testing Standards

The development of pharmaceuticals is a lengthy ordeal. Large amounts of time and money are devoted to the process of testing the efficacy of a new drug in patients. However, it is also important to test that the drug will remain effective after it has spent several months sitting on the shelf in a pharmacy. Standards and practices are necessary to make sure that medications are comprehensively tested for potency under long-term and potentially stressful environmental conditions. The International Council for Harmonisation (ICH) is the...

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