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Obesity and Taste Buds

Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Obesity and Taste Buds

According to the CDC, more than one-third (36.5%) of adults in the United States are clinically obese. The obesity epidemic costs the country billions of dollars annually in treating diseases arising from the condition, such as hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and others. Obesity is a national health issue with multiple causes, so efforts to fight it are occurring on multiple fronts. One of the approaches being taken to understand a cause of obesity comes in the form of studying how the sense of taste differs between people who...

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Protecting Transplant Organs from Ice Crystals

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Protecting Transplant Organs from Ice Crystals

According to the Unified Network for Organ Sharing, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list every 10 minutes. Over 34,000 organ transplants were performed in 2017, but it’s estimated that 20 people in the US die every day waiting for a transplant. One of the major difficulties with organ transplants is how time-sensitive the process is. The organs need to be chilled during transit from donor to recipient. However, when living tissue is exposed to freezing temperatures, microscopic ice crystals can form, shredding the tissue...

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Creating Embryos from Skin Cells

Posted by on Apr 11, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Creating Embryos from Skin Cells

More than 10% of American men and women struggle with some level of infertility. While in vitro fertilization (IVF) is an option, it is by no means a guaranteed method of getting a viable pregnancy. About 65% of IVF cycles fail, which is often due to poor egg quality. Additionally, IVF cannot help if there are no healthy eggs or sperm available to harvest for the procedure. A solution to the issue of a lack of healthy cells might be in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). IVG is an experimental procedure where eggs and sperm are generated from adult...

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Kin Recognition in Arabidopsis

Posted by on Mar 14, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Kin Recognition in Arabidopsis

Plants are smarter than most people give them credit for. Darwin hypothesized that plants had cells dedicated to controlling root growth, like a brain. Darwin’s initial thoughts were published in 1880, but it took until the 1990’s for scientists to actually make headway in confirming that theory. Scientists first discovered that plants’ roots can determine whether roots are their own or not in a 1996 study using the desert shrub Ambrosia dumosa. They found that the roots would stop growing when they encountered the roots of other plants...

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Searching for a Vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Searching for a Vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas becomes unable to regulate the amount of the hormone insulin in the bloodstream. Without insulin, the body is unable to control the amount of glucose in the body (i.e. blood sugar). High levels of blood sugar, referred to as hyperglycemia, can damage the body’s tissues and be fatal if untreated. In fact, diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the US, responsible for 2.9% of the total deaths in the county. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is much more...

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Prions and Memory in Drosophila

Posted by on Jan 9, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Prions and Memory in Drosophila

Prions are proteins that can fold in multiple, structurally distinct ways. These folds can be transferred to other prions, and this propagation results in diseases that act like bacterial infections. In addition to scrapie and CJD (a human disease that causes brain tissue to rapidly decay, leaving the brain with a sponge-like texture), prions are also suspected as the cause of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, a.k.a. “mad cow disease”). However, more and more research has been turning up other possible effects and uses of...

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Using Protein Purifiers in Chromatography Refigerators

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Using Protein Purifiers in Chromatography Refigerators

Since the 1960’s, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) has been used to separate, identify, and quantify components in mixtures. The mixture to be analyzed is pushed through a column containing a packing material (the stationary phase, usually silica or alumina) by a solution (the mobile phase) under pressure. Typical solutions can include water, alcohol, acetonitrile, or hexane. As the mixture moves through the column, different compounds within the sample are attracted to the stationary phase or mobile phase to varying degrees....

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Selfish DNA in C. elegans

Posted by on Dec 8, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Selfish DNA in C. elegans

Genes are the driver for all developmental functions. These strips of DNA code for everything required for biological life to function. The human genome totals over 20,000 protein-coding genes, and there are estimated to be over 5 million protein-coding genes across all life on earth. The first gene was sequenced in the early 1970’s, and since then researchers have been continuously marching onward to study genes in many different plants and animals. Recently, biologists at UCLA were studying the development of C. elegans, cross-breeding the...

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Can Plants “Hear” Dangerous Vibrations?

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Can Plants “Hear” Dangerous Vibrations?

Studying the effects that the vibrations from sound waves have on plants is not a new area of science. For decades, scientists have been studying the effects of music on the growth and germination of various plants. Some studies show a correlation with plant growth and exposure to music, while some studies show that there is no correlation. Whether or not music influences the development of plants, music has such a wide range of vibration frequencies and amplitudes that it is not a useful stimulus for designing detailed experiments. For a...

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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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