Better and worse ways to fiddle around with T-cells using CRISPR

By Monika Berezowska  “Because the first person to put it on paper wins!” – that’s how the committee of the 2018 International Summit on Genome Editing in Hong Kong justified their sharp criticism of a presentation He Jiankui made during the conference.  As a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, He learned the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editingContinue reading “Better and worse ways to fiddle around with T-cells using CRISPR”

Chimeras: The ethics behind human ‘hybrids’.

By Easha Vigneswaran Chimeras are organisms that are composed of two distinct interspecific cell types and since their initial discovery they have forever changed the medical world. Providing a solution for the time-old issue of organ availability for transplantation, chimeras allow scientists to synthesise organs in an animal model that can then be inserted intoContinue reading “Chimeras: The ethics behind human ‘hybrids’.”

Bowel Cancer and the Microbiome

By Daniella Gimbosh Cancer is an extremely broad category of diseases caused by the uncontrollable growth of dividing cells, and novel treatment therapies are constantly being investigated by scientists around the world. One of these novel areas of research focuses on the microbiome – a field that is rapidly gaining momentum for its complexity andContinue reading “Bowel Cancer and the Microbiome”

The Dark Reality Behind Cheap Sunglasses

By Elisa Botting Our increasingly interconnected world has led to an explosion in fashion trends and online shopping. These fashion trends have boosted the market for low-priced sunglasses – the small accessory that can cause great damage to your vision when made of poor quality materials. At first glance, ‘affordable’ and easily disposable sunglasses seemContinue reading “The Dark Reality Behind Cheap Sunglasses”

Is music therapy the key to treat dementia?

By Luciano Marinelli Dementia affects more than 50 million people, and this number is expected to triple by 2050 (World Health Organization, 2017), thus constituting a big challenge in healthcare and research. It involves significant cognitive deficits in memory and language as well as behavioural impairments such as depression. While most of the current treatmentsContinue reading “Is music therapy the key to treat dementia?”

A Poorer Practice: The Consequences of Unethical Research

By Ethan Sim Ethics are ubiquitous normative statements which delimit societally acceptable behaviour, and thereby advise individual and collective action (Vanclay, Baines & Taylor, 2013). As scientific research primarily aims to benefit society (Rull, 2014), ethical standards, which permit discrimination between beneficial (“right”) and detrimental (“wrong”) research practices are necessary. Although, unethical research which floutsContinue reading “A Poorer Practice: The Consequences of Unethical Research”

Are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease caused by prion-like mechanisms?

By Helen Luojia Zhang Neuronal dysfunction and brain damage due to accumulation and aggregation of misfolding proteins is a hallmark event in neurodegenerative diseases (Soto & Pritzkow, 2018). Although many different proteins are involved in different neurodegenerative disorders, the process of protein misfolding and aggregation remains similar. It has been suggested that misfolded protein aggregatesContinue reading “Are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease caused by prion-like mechanisms?”

Endometriosis and its link to fertility

By Katherine Bethell  Endometriosis is a condition that affects up to 15% of all women and is the most common cause of chronic pelvic pain (Parasar P et al., 2017). It is a condition characterised by oestrogen-dependent inflammation which affects pelvic tissue, commonly occurring in teenagers and young adults as they begin menstruating (Vercellini PContinue reading “Endometriosis and its link to fertility”

The cracks in our skulls and what they can tell us about vertebrate evolution

By Heiloi Yip Out of all the anatomical features unique to vertebrate animals, the skull is arguably one of the most significant traits. As a skeletal structure that not only protects the brain, it also comprises the structure of the jaw and contains the sensory organs, making the skull a very valuable trait for anyContinue reading “The cracks in our skulls and what they can tell us about vertebrate evolution”

Conducting Clinical Trials for Rare Diseases

By Yuki Agarwala Clinical trials are designed to understand the clinical outcome of particular drugs by observing human subjects in controlled experimental conditions. Clinical trials are conducted with a variety of subjects whose treatments are randomized to limit the inherent confirmation bias of receiving treatment. This allows scientists to determine causality in randomized controlled trialsContinue reading “Conducting Clinical Trials for Rare Diseases”