How vultures thrive on the carrion that poisons humans

By Isabelle Hall  Rotten meat forms a significant part of the diet of numerous scavengers, including vultures and hyenas. Vultures are obligate scavengers, surviving almost solely on carrion. Instances of human consumption of rotten meat have been recorded – some reportedly practise this as a method of achieving a euphoric high, possibly through contraction ofContinue reading “How vultures thrive on the carrion that poisons humans”

The Gut Microbiome in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Implications for Treatment

By Malini Williams Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic autoinflammatory disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract. The two most common forms of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by continuous inflammation in the colon which is mostly confined to the mucosa and sub-mucosa. In contrast, Crohn’s disease can affect anyContinue reading “The Gut Microbiome in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Implications for Treatment”

Engineering Bacteria to Mitigate Climate Change

By Ellie Fung When considering climate change mitigation, images of a forest of wind turbines overlooking expansive fields of solar panels and sleek electric cars whirring past towering green buildings often come to mind. After all, grand challenges necessitate grand solutions. However, interest has been growing recently in the manipulation of microbial metabolic systems forContinue reading “Engineering Bacteria to Mitigate Climate Change”

Differences between paediatric and adult cancers: more than an age gap

By Anastasia Alenova Childhood cancers are less common than adult cancers. Although it might sound as reassuring news, this difference can lead to worse management of disease in children. While causes for adult cancers are better defined, especially the impact of lifestyle choices such as smoking, causes for paediatric cancers are less well-defined. A hypothesisContinue reading “Differences between paediatric and adult cancers: more than an age gap”

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’.”

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”

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”

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”

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”