The phylogenetic importance of Xenacoelomorpha

By Simran Patel This is the story of animals who can regenerate body parts1 and house photosynthetic symbionts2. It’s the story of animals you’d mistake for unpaired socks3 living in unexplored places1. If that is not fascinating enough, they could be the closest extant animals to the last bilaterian common ancestor, Ürbilateria. This is the story ofContinue reading The phylogenetic importance of Xenacoelomorpha

Myelin function and its implication in neurodegeneration

By Alice de Bernardy Myelin insulates neurons and enable a faster nerve conduction across the nervous system. This quite simplistic and straight forward definition presents myelin as an accessory helping us “think fast”. But Myelin’s fundamental role in health and implication in diseases presents it as a major regulator of nervous system integrity and fundamentalContinue reading Myelin function and its implication in neurodegeneration

Scorpion venom – A tale of efficient evolution and empty wallets 

By Shreyas Kuchibhotla For most living beings, risk is inevitable. Far antedating our arrival on the planet, efforts to alleviate this risk engendered in various animals a lethal cocktail of chemicals known as venom. In our perennial bid to widen the chasm between ourselves and risk, we have harnessed the power of this potent brewContinue reading Scorpion venom – A tale of efficient evolution and empty wallets 

Metastasis to the brain and how to model it in vitro

By Alice de Bernardy Brain metastases are among the most critical diagnosis in the field of cancer therapies1. But the brain being a well-protected organ, we’ll try here to understand how cancer cells can metastase to the brain and how we can try to study this process in the lab.  But firstly, what is metastasis? It’sContinue reading Metastasis to the brain and how to model it in vitro

Biological control – how nature is our friend and our foe

By Simran Patel Pests threaten lives and livelihoods when they damage crops1. While it’s easy for people to directly blame pests, outbreaks are the result of poor ecological decisions by humans. We grow monocultures in which every crop is susceptible to the same pest, and pests can hitchhike ships and planes to invade places theyContinue reading Biological control – how nature is our friend and our foe

Is monkeypox the new COVID?

By Jasper Kan Recently, the rise of monkeypox cases worldwide alarmed the COVID-19- recovering world. The lessons learnt from the coronavirus pandemic resulted in increased caution to prevent another outbreak. However, the question arose as to whether it is as big a threat as COVID was.  Humans can be infected with monkeypox by either directContinue reading “Is monkeypox the new COVID?”

Can we exit the need for Fetal Bovine Serum?

By Alice de Bernardy In biomedical research, cell cultures are widely used to model in vitro the response of different cell lines to different treatments or manipulations, in order to further understand how humans work. To grow cells in a dish, researchers need to mimic the right environment for the cells to proliferate and keepContinue reading Can we exit the need for Fetal Bovine Serum?

A brain in a dish, the future of brain organoids

By Alice de Bernardy Currently, lumbar punction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) represents the main source of information we have about a brain’s health in vivo. While animal models have allowed for a vast amount of research to be conducted, they can be limiting in reflecting the level of complexity of the Human brain and can’t alwaysContinue reading A brain in a dish, the future of brain organoids

Toxins from amphibian skin have potential therapeutic applications

By Wang Guo Pathogenic microbes and cancer cells evolve due to natural selection caused by interactions with the immune system. Therefore, researchers and pharmaceutical companies must be constantly innovating and developing new drugs to fight existing diseases, but also newly emerging ones. However, creating a new drug from scratch is an extremely arduous, time-consuming andContinue reading Toxins from amphibian skin have potential therapeutic applications

The Impact of Military Conflicts on Healthcare

By Jasper Kan It was not until Florence Nightingale’s work did the world attribute the lack of healthcare as a major cause of casualties at war. Exposed wounds serve as an optimal breeding ground of pathogens, while healthcare personnel treating them were sabotaged. Also, the impact of direct injuries were dwarfed by its indirect accelerationContinue reading “The Impact of Military Conflicts on Healthcare”