The story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells that changed science

By Lisa Ding Since their establishment in 1953, the HeLa cell line has become the most commonly used human cell line in the world. Over 110,000 publications involved the use of these cells, which can divide indefinitely in culture, making them valuable for scientific research.1 The HeLa cell line, the oldest cell line, are derivedContinue reading The story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells that changed science

Females: Genetic Mosaics

By Alice Barocco Have you ever wondered what makes mosaics such a breath-taking piece of art? Perhaps, for some people, the answer lies in their beautiful colours ranging from vibrant shades to more subtle hues, whilst for others it may be the random scattering of small irregular pieces of cobblestone coming together to form aContinue reading Females: Genetic Mosaics

Gene therapy advancements to treat Sickle Cell Disease

By Easha Vigneswaran Since the advent of CRISPR-Cas9 technology for gene editing, the medical world has been met with a new way of targeting many chronic genetic diseases. One of these includes sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder that results in defective haemoglobin. Whilst treatments exist to minimise the effects of the disease onContinue reading “Gene therapy advancements to treat Sickle Cell Disease”

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”

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 enzymology of DHFR and its role in pathogen and tumour prophylaxis

By Andres Hernandez Maduro It is rare for coincidental discoveries to lead to viable prophylactic treatments. This was most probably the case when, in the 1920s, Lucy Wills found that an undiscovered nutrient in yeast extract could be used to treat patients with macrocytic anaemia.1 Soon thereafter, Wills’ results were both corroborated and expanded uponContinue reading The enzymology of DHFR and its role in pathogen and tumour prophylaxis

The first defence for bacterial infection in the lungs

By Yuchen Lin Bacteria is everywhere, and it can be present even inside the human body. Some of the bacteria are beneficial for humans, as they promote cellular activities or immune responses, but others are pathogenic. One of the most common human tissues bacteria reside in is the lung, and Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause ofContinue reading The first defence for bacterial infection in the lungs

The memory of mitochondria: Is stress genetic?

By Martina Torcè Living creatures have developed a plethora of defensive mechanisms to increase their chances of survival, some of which are able to be passed down, generation to generation, through an organism’s genetic makeup. The survival advantage conferred to offspring is that upcoming challenges may be easier to handle. Can this concept be appliedContinue reading The memory of mitochondria: Is stress genetic?

Mum vs Dad – a battle in epigenetics.

By George Young The formation of organisms and their continued development can be attributed partly to DNA, but significant credit also lies with epigenetics. Individuals inherit epigenetic marks from their parents, and also accumulate their own epigenetic modifications in their lifetime. Study of these epigenetic marks and modifications can explore nuanced differences in traits betweenContinue reading Mum vs Dad – a battle in epigenetics.

What can a cell use vesicles for?

By Pia Skok A special feature of all eukaryotic cells is that they are compartmentalized. In other words, they are divided into many smaller, membrane enclosed organelles that contain specific molecules and thus perform a specific function.1 An example of such compartment are vesicles, sacs enclosed by a lipid bilayer. Although they have a veryContinue reading “What can a cell use vesicles for?”