CRISPR – the original „vaccine” and what it can teach us about fighting viral infections

By Monika Berezowska Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats – six words that rapidly gained popularity in 2015 and according to Google Trends overtook even Drake’s hit single – “Hotline Bling”. This phrase however dates back to 2004 and initially had little to do with its current applications. First used in the context of yoghurt production,Continue reading “CRISPR – the original „vaccine” and what it can teach us about fighting viral infections”

Understanding autoinflammation

By Kai Yee Eng Our immune system detects, identifies, and removes pathogens or any potential threats. One of the characteristics of the immune system which allows its function is the ability to differentiate between  foreign molecules and healthy cells. However, when the immune system fails to distinguish between the two and is erroneously activated, theContinue reading “Understanding autoinflammation”

Sleep Deprivation on a Genetic Level

By Ng Chi Wai, Jessie We all know night owls – people who would stay up until 3 a.m. to cram in all their coursework, or perhaps for no reason at all. Some of us are night owls by choice, some are not. Around 15-20% of workers in Europe and the USA are required toContinue reading “Sleep Deprivation on a Genetic Level”

The Impact of Tuberculosis on our Human Genome

By Chloe Teng Infectious diseases have long been a threat to the health of global populations, but no single infectious agent has rivalled the deadliness of tuberculosis (TB). Caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it reached epidemic proportions in European and North American regions in the 18th century, resulting in a mortality rate as highContinue reading “The Impact of Tuberculosis on our Human Genome”

The Science Behind “Asian Flush”

By Jackie Man About 540 million people around the world – 8% of the world population and approximately 36% of East Asians (Japanese, Chinese and Koreans) – have a common characteristic physiological reaction to drinking alcohol in the form of turning red. Though this flushing response may seem like a mere social inconvenience, a farContinue reading “The Science Behind “Asian Flush””

The Clinical Relevance of Fusion Genes

By Shivani Rajhansa Deletions, duplications, inversions, and translocations in chromosome structure all represent chromosomal rearrangements in the genome. The genomic instability and mutagenic tendencies observed in many cancers may be a result such chromosomal rearrangements. These genomic changes are often associated with the altered expression of oncogenes or tumour suppressor genes, and the dysregulation andContinue reading “The Clinical Relevance of Fusion Genes”

A Journey into the Cell’s Oxygen Sensing Machinery

By Sashini Ranawana Over the years, the topics of oxygen metabolism and respiration have been noticeably associated with the names of Nobel Laureates. In 1931, Otto Warburg received the prize for his work on the mechanism of action of cytochrome C oxidase, a crucial enzyme in the mitochondrial electron transport chain. He observed a decreasedContinue reading “A Journey into the Cell’s Oxygen Sensing Machinery”

Pre-metastatic niches – How cancer takes over the body prior to metastasising

By Hannah Scheucher Metastases are the main cause of cancer-related death, responsible for roughly 90% of fatalities (Seyfried and Huysentruyt, 2013). In a nutshell, they are formed by cells that detach from the primary tumour and intravasate into the blood or lymph vessels to travel around the body before undergoing extravasation back into distant organsContinue reading “Pre-metastatic niches – How cancer takes over the body prior to metastasising”

The Aurora kinase family

By Mark Comer Aurora kinases are serine/threonine kinases canonically involved in regulation of mitosis and cell division. Their key functions involve regulation of spindle assembly, segregation of chromosomes, and cytokinesis. Additional non-canonical functions are the subject of ongoing research and potentially include interactions with prominent tumour suppressors such as p53 (Sasai et al, 2016) AsContinue reading “The Aurora kinase family”

Why are there tortoiseshell cats?

By Yuchen Lin Cats are lovely pets, and usually, they have simple fur colours. However, there is a class of cats named tortoiseshell cats with a mixture of two colours: red, orange, yellow, or cream combined with black, tabby, chocolate, grey, or blue. The colours are mixed closely in large patches or small brindles allContinue reading “Why are there tortoiseshell cats?”