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G-force and C. elegans

Posted by on Jun 14, 2019 in Blog | Comments Off on G-force and C. elegans

C. elegans Could life have existed on other worlds in the distant past? Could that life have somehow managed to survive traveling through space on a meteorite or similar object? If so, could that life have colonized other planets, possibly even earth? This idea, that life could have traveled throughout the early solar system on interplanetary debris, is called ballistic panspermia. The idea of ballistic panspermia can be traced back as far as the 18th century to the French diplomat and historian Benoît de Maillet. The idea gained more...

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Gene Therapy and Usher Syndrome

Posted by on Apr 18, 2019 in Blog | Comments Off on Gene Therapy and Usher Syndrome

Structure of an adeno-associated virus It is almost like science fiction: the ability to manipulate the human genome to cure diseases by correcting genetic errors. Since the late twentieth century, scientists have been working towards making gene therapy a reality. Gene therapy offers a chance to treat genetic diseases at their source. It involves introducing therapeutic sections of DNA into a patient’s cells, with the aim of either having that DNA translate into proteins, interfere with faulty gene expression, or even correct genetic...

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Testing Gene Drives in Mosquitos

Posted by on Dec 19, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Testing Gene Drives in Mosquitos

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over half of the world’s population is at risk for malaria. In 2015 alone, the WHO recorded over 200 million cases of malaria worldwide and more than 400,000 deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa shoulders a large part of the burden of this disease. The main parasite responsible for transmitting malaria in Africa is the Anopheles gambiae mosquito. Scientists are looking into ways to curb the A. gambiae population as a means of preventing the spread of malaria. One of the ways scientists are...

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New Technique to Turn on Mouse Genes

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on New Technique to Turn on Mouse Genes

Over the last several years, the prospect of precision gene editing as a method of treating diseases has greatly increased. A major part of the increase in interest was the development of CRISPR/Cas9. CRISPR/Cas9 is a tool for modifying genes using technology borrowed from bacteria. This system uses a strand of RNA that is designed to only match up to a specific spot in the genome. This “guide” RNA leads the Cas9 enzyme to the target segment, where the enzyme cuts the DNA. Scientists can use the cell’s own repair mechanisms to add or...

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Fungi in Antarctica

Posted by on Sep 27, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Fungi in Antarctica

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 17 expeditions were launched by 10 different countries to explore Antarctica. Ernest Shackleton and other adventurers traveled to the largely unexplored frozen continent to advance cartography, oceanography, and meteorology, as well as to seek the glory of being the first explorers to reach the south pole. In addition to the many scientific advances of these expeditions, they also left another legacy: wood buildings created for shelter, in an otherwise woodless environment. Now, a recent...

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Norovirus and Tuft Cells in Mice

Posted by on Aug 30, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Norovirus and Tuft Cells in Mice

Acute gastroenteritis, commonly known as “stomach flu,” causes diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to complications from dehydration. This can be lethal in certain cases, especially for young children. Researchers have estimated that it is the cause of death for 1.5-2.5 million children less than 5 years old every year, worldwide. This is a widespread disease that affects people in both developed and developing countries. According to the CDC, about one out of every five cases of acute gastroenteritis is caused by norovirus. This makes...

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Cleaning Agents vs Refrigerator Coils

Posted by on Jul 27, 2018 in Blog | Comments Off on Cleaning Agents vs Refrigerator Coils

According to the CDC, approximately 1.7 million hospital-acquired infection (HAIs) are documented each year. These are responsible for 99,000 deaths and an estimated $20 billion in healthcare costs. Therefore, keeping hospitals and pharmacies clean is a crucial to prevent the spread of infection. The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) creates standards for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries to help standardize the quality of medication and healthcare. One of the USP standards, USP 797, sets requirements for sanitation in areas that are...

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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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