Oligodendrocyte precursor cells: beyond myelination

By Isabella Savin The canonical role of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in the brain is to mature into oligodendrocytes (OLs), the cells that produce the fatty myelin sheath enwrapping neurons. Upon recognition of damaged myelin, OPCs migrate to the site of damage and undergo a strict differentiation programme into OLs. OPCs persist throughout all 6Continue reading “Oligodendrocyte precursor cells: beyond myelination”

Emerging techniques in characterising AAV vectors for gene therapy

By Charlotte Cheung Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have emerged as vectors for gene therapy. However, sensitive and high-throughput analytical techniques are needed to efficiently characterise AAV products to ensure their safety and quality. Alongside traditional techniques such as ELISAs and qPCRs, modern techniques including mass photometry and SEC-MALS have shown to generate comparable and even superiorContinue reading “Emerging techniques in characterising AAV vectors for gene therapy”

How epigenetic biomarkers are being used for medical diagnoses

By Andres Hernandez Maduro While it is now proving to be effective for diagnosing human cancers, autoimmune diseases, and soon even neurodegeneration, the medical significance of epigenetics has only recently been acknowledged by the scientific community. By definition, the term ‘epigenetics’ refers to heritable changes in gene expression that occur without sequence alterations. Such mechanismsContinue reading “How epigenetic biomarkers are being used for medical diagnoses”

Gene Editing and Applications in Humans

By Shun Kit Leung Ever since gene editing techniques were first applied to human cells in 20141, great advances in the world of genome manipulation have been made, with more accurate, more efficient techniques having been developed. The invention of these techniques has opened the door to many new applications for gene editing in humans,Continue reading “Gene Editing and Applications in Humans”

Black widows: does their reputation precede fact?

By Shreyas Kuchibhotla There are few things that man abhors more than the spider. For millennia, our perception of these creatures has been one driven by disgust, hate and unbridled horror. They possess all too many unblinking eyes, eight hairy legs that scale walls with ease, and a tendency to appear out of nowhere. About 3-15%Continue reading “Black widows: does their reputation precede fact?”

The gamification of health and fitness

By Asia Lie Gamification is the addition of game-like features to certain tasks or processes.1,2 Due to the positive reinforcement system of games that works by rewarding certain behaviors, we tend to maintain or enjoy those behaviors more. This is especially important when it comes to health because the results are not immediate and can beContinue reading “The gamification of health and fitness”

Insights into the germline cycle

By Alice de Bernardy Following the fertilisation of an egg by a spermatozoon, from a single totipotent cell develops an entire organism and extraembryonic cells that support its development. Some of these cells later differentiate into gametes, with fertilisation causing yet another round of embryonic development to take place. This is called the germline cycle.1Due toContinue reading “Insights into the germline cycle”

Programmed cell death in plants

By Jessica Lu Programmed cell death (PCD) is a genetically regulated form of cell death that occurs in response to intracellular events. 1 PCD is employed to remove damaged or redundant cells, and is an essential process for development and survival in both animals and plants. 2 The mechanisms underlying PCD differ between animals and plants. Whilst apoptosis isContinue reading “Programmed cell death in plants”

Reviewing Modern Trends in Healthcare Spending and Life Expectancy

By Xinyue Guo Due to their ability to spend more on healthcare, it is commonly thought that wealthier people tend to have longer life expectancies than the rest of the population. However, regional data has recently shown that more spending does not necessarily produce more positive health outcomes.1 This expands on a 2016 study by Chetty etContinue reading “Reviewing Modern Trends in Healthcare Spending and Life Expectancy”

The Blurred Line Between Drugs and Cosmetics

By Kiki Ngernanek Drugs as cosmetics or cosmetics as drugs or both? Consumers like you and I are blinded by the marketing claims and sugar-coated truths about the origin of products we use daily. According to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, cosmetics are defined as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled,Continue reading “The Blurred Line Between Drugs and Cosmetics”