Reverse engineering: turning Jurassic Park into reality

By Clarie Lo In 1990, the science fiction novel Jurassic Park was published. People were fascinated by the idea of constructing a theme park with dinosaurs freely roaming on the island. As a writer with a background in anthropology, Michael Crichton’s attempt in describing how these extinct creatures were cloned from DNA found in mosquitoesContinue reading Reverse engineering: turning Jurassic Park into reality

Doublecortin and the Death of a Dogma

By Isabella Savin Doublecortin (DCX) is a microtubule-associated protein (MAP) that stabilises microtubules, dynamic protein polymers within cells that are critical to cell motility and migration. DCX contains two separate domains, namely CDC and NDC, which cryo-electron microscopy studies have shown to contribute to the nucleation of the tubulin subunits and its long-term stability, respectivelyContinue reading “Doublecortin and the Death of a Dogma”

Cucurbitacin – a poison or a medicine?

By Fiona Zhang Ever wondered why cucumbers and zucchinis can have a bitter taste? Try slicing off both ends of a cucumber and rubbing the flesh-exposed face of one sliced end with that of the cucumber. Soon you will extract a white foamy substance. Eat the cucumber after this, and the cucumber will no longerContinue reading “Cucurbitacin – a poison or a medicine?”

Influence of bacteria on the quality of drinking water

By Yuchen Lin Water is an important source of life, and high-quality drinking water is critical for the health of human beings. Poor quality sources of water or poorly treated transport systems for water may result in high potential of microorganisms accumulating on the surfaces of water pipes. Such collections of bacteria patches on theContinue reading “Influence of bacteria on the quality of drinking water”

Impact of food on health

By Runtian Wu Introduction As the ageing of populations occurs in many nations worldwide, people are increasingly looking for health-oriented diets to avoid diseases and increase the life span.1 Various health claims are circulating in the daily communications, such as the benefit of vegetarian, tea, restricted food intake, and organic food. Although many of theseContinue reading Impact of food on health

AMPK: Its implication in polycystic kidney disease and cystogenesis

By Daniella Gimbosh Scientists have been elucidating the role of thousands of enzymes, genes and molecules present in the body since the dawn of time. One of these substances is an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK is an enzyme that plays a vital role in metabolism regulation and has been referred to asContinue reading AMPK: Its implication in polycystic kidney disease and cystogenesis

The interdisciplinary issue of mangrove conservation: ecology, economics, and ethics

By Evangeline Wilby Mangroves are one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically productive ecosystems on earth. They are found in salt water coastal regions and provide a range of critical ecoservices that must be protected. Mangrove systems are very important carbon sinks, since they have the ability to sequester vast amounts of carbon, evenContinue reading The interdisciplinary issue of mangrove conservation: ecology, economics, and ethics

How DMT Mimics the Near-Death Experience

By Isabelle Hall N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a component of the psychoactive drink ayahuasca (meaning ‘vine of the dead’ or ‘vine of the soul’ in Quechua) , made by boiling or steeping Banisteriopsis caapi vineand Pyschotria viridis leaves.1 The latter contains DMT, with the Banisteriopsis included as a source of β-carbolines such as harmine, which reversibly inhibitContinue reading “How DMT Mimics the Near-Death Experience”

The microbial colonisation of the human body

By Andrea Flores Esparza Planet Earth is probably the wrong place to be if you do not like microorganisms as they are everywhere. In everything that surrounds you, on you and even inside of you. The fact that we are living in a bacterial world—rather than a ‘Material World’ as suggested by Madonna—has been knownContinue reading The microbial colonisation of the human body

Repurposing an old tuberculosis vaccine against diabetes

By Madeline Eaton Type 1 diabetes is a serious autoimmune condition in which patient’s own immune system destroys insulin production beta cells in their pancreas, meaning the patient is unable to control blood sugar levels, over time leading to nerve and blood vessel damage vision problems, and more.1 In the UK, 400,000 people are diagnosedContinue reading Repurposing an old tuberculosis vaccine against diabetes