Bats need to eat a lot to keep flying. So, the more efficiently they can take in food, the better. for the nectar-eating bat Glossophaga soricina, this has meant the evolution of a sophisticated tongue. ... Read more »
Harper CJ, Swartz SM, & Brainerd EL. (2013) Specialized bat tongue is a hemodynamic nectar mop. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 23650382
This week we would like to introduce you to the work of Professor Vera Krymskaya, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Professor Krymskaya’s primary research interest is how signalling pathways cause disease when … Continue reading →... Read more »
Goncharova EA, Goncharov DA, Eszterhas A, Hunter DS, Glassberg MK, Yeung RS, Walker CL, Noonan D, Kwiatkowski DJ, Chou MM.... (2002) Tuberin regulates p70 S6 kinase activation and ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation. A role for the TSC2 tumor suppressor gene in pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). The Journal of biological chemistry, 277(34), 30958-67. PMID: 12045200
Goncharova EA, Goncharov DA, Fehrenbach M, Khavin I, Ducka B, Hino O, Colby TV, Merrilees MJ, Haczku A, Albelda SM.... (2012) Prevention of alveolar destruction and airspace enlargement in a mouse model of pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). Science translational medicine, 4(154). PMID: 23035046
What would be like to teach a class or describe someone about a protein, without visualizing its structure? Boring is one word that pops in my mind. I vividly remember the professor drawing two blobs touching each other, to describe protein-protein interaction, while explaining it either on the blackboard or on the transparencies of a over-head projector. Those were the days! Tracing back nearly 60 years back, when John Kendrew showed everyone a coiled mess, it has fueled every scientist's ........ Read more »
Craig, P., Michel, L., & Bateman, R. (2013) A survey of educational uses of molecular visualization freeware. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 41(3), 193-205. DOI: 10.1002/bmb.20693
This appeared earlier today on the Facebook feed I Fucking Love Science:
I remember seeing a shark documentary as a kid, hosted by Burgess Meredith, if I remember correctly. It made the same basic claim about great white sharks: too big to have predators, nobody had ever seen them die except by accident or by human hands, blah blah blah, therefore “some have suggested” they are immortal.
That I can remember the end of the show all these years later shows you what a terrific close........ Read more »
Klapper Wolfram, Kühne Karen, Singh Kumud K, Heidorn Klaus, Parwaresch Reza, & Krupp Guido. (1998) Longevity of lobsters is linked to ubiquitous telomerase expression. FEBS Letters, 439(1-2), 143-146. DOI: 10.1016/S0014-5793(98)01357-X
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination, combine the phone’s GPS … Read More →... Read more »
Drinking pruno is a risky endeavor, both in terms of its offense to culinary sensibilities and to one's health. However, turned stomachs are not the only hazard here; you may add a desire to avoid botulism to your list of reasons to shy away from you'r mates latest batch of prison hooch. The soil-dwelling bacterium Clostridium botulinum can contaminate fruits and veggies, and, in warm, oxygen-deprived conditions, produces the neuroparalytic toxin botulinum. Even more wholesome DIY ende........ Read more »
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013) Notes from the field: botulism from drinking prison-made illicit alcohol - Arizona, 2012. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 62(5), 88. PMID: 23388552
Gene expression is very complex. My paper, which was published in Cell today, just shows that it is more complicated than previously realized. Traditionally, eukaryotic gene expression is divided into five steps: Transcription (mRNA synthesis): this step is subdivided into … Continue reading →... Read more »
Haimovich, G., Medina, D., Causse, S., Garber, M., Millán-Zambrano, G., Barkai, O., Chávez, S., Pérez-Ortín, J., Darzacq, X., & Choder, M. (2013) Gene Expression Is Circular: Factors for mRNA Degradation Also Foster mRNA Synthesis. Cell, 153(5), 1000-1011. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.012
Haimovich G, Choder M, Singer RH, & Trcek T. (2013) The fate of the messenger is pre-determined: A new model for regulation of gene expression. Biochimica et biophysica acta, 1829(6-7), 643-53. PMID: 23337853
Since my last blog post, where I shared my thoughts on BRCA1, BRCA2, and preventive mastectomies, I've been asked what else can a woman do to reduce her risk of breast cancer. I've heard a big deal about vitamin D, so I did a bit of research on the matter. As a disclaimer, I should tell you up front that, though many correlations between vitamin D deficiency and cancer risk have been found, just as many have been refuted or found inconclusive. You can read more about it on the wikipedia page.Wha........ Read more »
Crew, K. (2013) Vitamin D: Are We Ready to Supplement for Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment?. ISRN Oncology, 1-22. DOI: 10.1155/2013/483687
I recently volunteered to help organise an event run by the Canadian Science Policy Centre that looked at the status of women in science and technology. To be frank, I was mightily fearful about participating in such an event. I … Continue reading →... Read more »
An episode of the BBC program Horizon on 'Big Data' recently caught my attention. The content was a fascinating insight into how we are living in a data-rich age and how trawling/mining/dredging such data has the ability to advance medicine, predict crime and even make someone a few quid/dollars/euros on the stock market.Gone (data) fishing @ Wikipedia I'm a big believer in big data. In particular how, with the right sources, technology, techniques and people, big data might be able t........ Read more »
Mizejewski GJ, Lindau-Shepard B, & Pass KA. (2013) Newborn screening for autism: in search of candidate biomarkers. Biomarkers in medicine, 7(2), 247-60. PMID: 23547820
Offshore drilling is often discussed in terms of its positive effect on the economy and the potential risks it carries for the environment. There’s, however, another side to offshore drilling, one that is less often talked about.... Read more »
Parnell, J., Boyce, A., Hurst, A., Davidheiser-Kroll, B., & Ponicka, J. (2013) Long term geological record of a global deep subsurface microbial habitat in sand injection complexes. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep01828
Teasing out the insulin effect.
On the face of it, the study seems to come out of left field: A group of researchers claimed that marijuana smokers showed 16 per cent lower fasting insulin levels than non-smokers. The study, called “The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults,” is in press for The American Journal of Medicine. The authors are a diverse group of medical researchers from Harvard, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and t........ Read more »
Penner Elizabeth A., Buettner Hannah, & Mittleman Murray A. (2013) The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults. The American Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.03.002
Scientists have found that the complex biochemical changes through RNA may have been occurred in the start of the life on early Earth.
RNA (full form: ribonucleic acid) is a nucleic acid that has the sugar ribose, is found in all living cells, and is essential for the manufacture of proteins according to the instructions carried by genes. RNA also acts instead of DNA as the genetic material in certain viruses.
RNA is tho........ Read more »
Hsiao, C., Chou, I., Okafor, C., Bowman, J., O'Neill, E., Athavale, S., Petrov, A., Hud, N., Wartell, R., Harvey, S.... (2013) RNA with iron(II) as a cofactor catalyses electron transfer. Nature Chemistry, 5(6), 525-528. DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1649
Recently we attended the Medical Library Association conference (#MLAnet13). Librarians are working so hard to wrangle information into usable forms, and to generate new connections among data types to reveal new information and leads for further studies. I ♥ librarians. In one of the sessions I attended on Medical Informatics, I heard several great talks. One [...]... Read more »
Rabinowitz, P., Scotch, M., & Conti, L. (2010) Animals as Sentinels: Using Comparative Medicine To Move Beyond the Laboratory. ILAR Journal, 51(3), 262-267. DOI: 10.1093/ilar.51.3.262
Rabinowitz, P., Gordon, Z., Holmes, R., Taylor, B., Wilcox, M., Chudnov, D., Nadkarni, P., & Dein, F. (2005) Animals as Sentinels of Human Environmental Health Hazards: An Evidence-Based Analysis. EcoHealth, 2(1), 26-37. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-004-0151-1
Rabinowitz, P., Cullen, M., & Lake, H. (1999) Wildlife as sentinels for human health hazards: a review of study designs. Journal of Environmental Medicine, 1(4), 217-223. DOI: 10.1002/jem.33
It’s no secret that carnivorous plants are just way cool. Yet despite all the attention, there is still a lot we don’t know about them. Recent studies have expanded the view we have of these plants so that we now recognize more and more of them – like tomatoes and potatoes. Yes, our vegetables are insectivores!
New research has show that pitcher plants possess anti-microbial peptides in their pitchers, that some sundews can catapult insects into their traps in just a few mil........ Read more »
Poppinga, S., Hartmeyer, S., Seidel, R., Masselter, T., Hartmeyer, I., & Speck, T. (2012) Catapulting Tentacles in a Sticky Carnivorous Plant. PLoS ONE, 7(9). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045735
Buch, F., Rott, M., Rottloff, S., Paetz, C., Hilke, I., Raessler, M., & Mithofer, A. (2012) Secreted pitfall-trap fluid of carnivorous Nepenthes plants is unsuitable for microbial growth. Annals of Botany, 111(3), 375-383. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcs287
Schulze, W., Sanggaard, K., Kreuzer, I., Knudsen, A., Bemm, F., Thogersen, I., Brautigam, A., Thomsen, L., Schliesky, S., Dyrlund, T.... (2012) The Protein Composition of the Digestive Fluid from the Venus Flytrap Sheds Light on Prey Digestion Mechanisms. Molecular , 11(11), 1306-1319. DOI: 10.1074/mcp.M112.021006
When animals live caves full time, their descendents often lose their eyes. It has happened over and over and over and over again, in all different kinds of animals. But how this happens is not obvious. Stephen Jay Gould wrote that some people would use cave fish as an argument that “Lamarck must have been on to something” with his idea that acquired characteristics can be inherited. Well, no, that’s not that case, but it is a good example of how tricky thinking about losses can be.
The l........ Read more »
Carlini David B, Satish Suma, & Fong Daniel W. (2013) Parallel reduction in expression, but no loss of functional constraint, in two opsin paralogs within cave populations of Gammarus minus (Crustacea: Amphipoda). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13(1), 89. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-13-89
If you’ve seen March of the Penguins, you probably understand the question. Many penguins live a shitty life, walking miles and miles without any food and spending months apart from their families. This would be over with if they just flew from one place to the other. So why did they stop doing that?... Read more »
Elliott, K., Ricklefs, R., Gaston, A., Hatch, S., Speakman, J., & Davoren, G. (2013) High flight costs, but low dive costs, in auks support the biomechanical hypothesis for flightlessness in penguins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1304838110
Scientists must ensure that they take the lead in the ethical debate surrounding the therapeutic use of stem cells derived from human clones.... Read more »
It’s something you learn in high school – there are two basic approaches to cellular life – prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) and eukaryotes (the rest of us – aardvarks, amoebae, apricots, etc.). Prokaryotes have an open-plan office, with all biological …... Read more »
Santarella-Mellwig, R., Pruggnaller, S., Roos, N., Mattaj, I., & Devos, D. (2013) Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of Bacteria with a Complex Endomembrane System. PLoS Biology, 11(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001565
“LET THERE BE LIGHT!” said the microscopist. Light plays a crucial role in microscopy and cell biology, and a recent paper describes the use of light to understand protein secretion.Light is used in microscopy in countless ways—to illuminate a sample, excite a fluorophore, and signal the localization or dynamics of a protein. Light can also be used to manipulate cellular events through the use of “caged” compounds that become active after illumination by certain wavelengths........ Read more »
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