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”

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”

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”

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”

Why do mammals yawn?

By  Jemima Frame Warning: Reading this may cause excessive yawning Yawning is a behavioural trait that is common between all vertebrate mammals and is seen as one of our most primitive behaviours, with Charles Darwin (1838) noting that “seeing a dog & horse & man yawn, makes me feel how much all animals are builtContinue reading “Why do mammals yawn?”

Understanding cultured meat and its future

By Clemence Blanchard Cultured meat goes by many names – ‘cell-based meat’, ‘in vitro meat’, ‘clean meat’ – but the concept remains the same. While not entirely new, the application of tissue engineering and cell culturing techniques to replicate conventional meat from animal cells has gained traction in recent years, with the first in vitroContinue reading “Understanding cultured meat and its future”

A Fiery Death: Diving into the Mechanisms of Pyroptosis

By Sarah Choi Cell death is required in growth. While cell survival and proliferation are undoubtedly important for development, cell death and its regulation also play a fundamental role in monitoring and controlling cell populations. Research efforts have therefore endeavoured to elucidate the specific mechanisms involved in cell death.   Cell death occurs in an ever-increasingContinue reading “A Fiery Death: Diving into the Mechanisms of Pyroptosis”

Malaria Vaccination: The road ahead

By Hannah Scheucher With the whole world intently watching the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines, another development in the field of vaccines is striking headlines. The WHO set a target for production of a vaccine against malaria with 75% efficacy (the % reduction of disease in vaccinated groups compared to those who are unvaccinated) –Continue reading “Malaria Vaccination: The road ahead”