The Extra(cellular) Function of Inflammasomes

By Sashini Ranawana The main research questions in the field of immunology tend to focus on why the immune system sometimes fails to defend against infectious diseases and cancers. It is hard to imagine that the same protective response can have equally disastrous effects when it is overactive. This is the case in the immuneContinue reading “The Extra(cellular) Function of Inflammasomes”

What lives on our skin? – the skin microbiome

By Ashley Lai We all know that skin is an important barrier of the immune system, but do we realise it is actually the largest epithelial interaction site with microbes – at least 30m2 when taking into account all the appendage structures. (Gallo, 2017) The different microenvironments of the skin such as pH and moistureContinue reading “What lives on our skin? – the skin microbiome”

Dissecting Fear and Anxiety: Why Do We Feel Scared?

By MingMing Yang Have you ever wondered how this feeling is generated? Fear is an inevitable experience that everyone will go through at some point in life. As unpleasant as it feels sometimes, it is what keeps us away from danger, an important emotion to have for survival. Imagine an animal who does not runContinue reading “Dissecting Fear and Anxiety: Why Do We Feel Scared?”

Food of the Gods: The use of chocolate in medicine

By Shahnia Surendran Seen nowadays as an indulgence, for years, chocolate has been negatively associated with obesity, dental caries and, generally, an unhealthy lifestyle. However, historically, chocolate is much more than just a guilty pleasure. With its origins traced back to 1750 BC, having been discovered by the Olmec people in Mesoamerica (Lippi, 2015), itContinue reading “Food of the Gods: The use of chocolate in medicine”

Music-Making and its Relationship with Neural Plasticity

By Ayoush Srivastava The structure of the brain is everchanging throughout its lifespan. In response to various stimuli, the neural networks that compose the brain can reorganise their connections with one another to maintain the robustness of the nervous system against similar stimuli (Wan and Schlaug, 2010). This reorganisation of functional structure is termed neuralContinue reading “Music-Making and its Relationship with Neural Plasticity”

The importance of smell: anosmias and other disorders

By Vakare B. Kucinskaite Olfaction is a chemical sense empoyed to detect food sources or noxious substances in the environment or aid the selection of potential mates. Its importance for humans has been overlooked due to a general consensus that in comparison with other animals humans have a poor sense of smell. However, it isContinue reading “The importance of smell: anosmias and other disorders”

Fighting Cancer with Bacteriophages

By Jessica Lu Bacteriophages (phages) are viruses that specifically infect and replicate in bacterial cells. Although they are bacterial viruses, phages may be used in promising new methods to fight cancer because they are easy to genetically modify and are generally regarded as non-pathogenic (Abbaszadeh et al., 2021). These methods to fight cancer generally useContinue reading “Fighting Cancer with Bacteriophages”

Apple cider vinegar and weight loss: does it really work?

By Adriana Ramos Calvo What do you obtain when you crush, distill and ferment apples? One gets apple cider vinegar (ACV), which in the past was used as an antibiotic, to improve strength, and even for “detoxification”. This compound contains high levels of acetic acid, which might be responsible for its supposed benefits (5-6% asContinue reading “Apple cider vinegar and weight loss: does it really work?”

Parkinson’s disease: current and future treatments

By Sabino Méndez Pastor Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. It is a progressive motor disorder characterised by resting tremors, rigidity, difficulty in walking (Parkinsonian gait) and a decrease in movement known as hypokinesia that ranges from bradykinesia (slowness in the initiation of voluntary movements) to akinesia (lossContinue reading “Parkinson’s disease: current and future treatments”

DNA Encoded Data: A Replacement for Hard Drives?

By Nick Bitterlich We all own that one hard drive that stores our fondest memories in an intricate network of chips. It writes and rewrites data multiple times whenever we save or download files. It seems USBs and hard drives can’t have enough storage with the tremendous amounts of data generated on a daily basis.Continue reading “DNA Encoded Data: A Replacement for Hard Drives?”