Bioadhesive hydrogels: making stem cell patches possible?

By Martina Torcè Stem cell treatments have witnessed a surge in development during the last two decades. What makes these treatments so desirable is the opportunity to use the patient’s own cells, which removes the need for immunosuppressants, which greatly improves the patients’ quality of life post-treatment. Stem cells can be reprogrammed into a varietyContinue reading “Bioadhesive hydrogels: making stem cell patches possible?”

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”

Trained immunity: is there an innate immunological memory?

By Iulia Kis For the longest time, the immune system has been divided into its innate and adaptive arms. One of the major distinguishing factors between the two is that the adaptive immune system very clearly develops immunological memory. This means that upon re-challenge with the same pathogen, the host’s immune response will be muchContinue reading “Trained immunity: is there an innate immunological memory?”

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”

Epigenetics in cancer stem cells: mechanism, characteristics, and therapies

By Chuyue Zhang Since their discovery as a key tumour-initiating subset of cancer cells, cancer stem cells (CSCs) have attracted considerable interest. They are a population that contributes to intratumor heterogeneity with self-renewal ability, intrinsic therapy resistance, and the capability to give rise to differentiated progeny (O’Flaherty et al., 2012). Along with genetic determinants andContinue reading “Epigenetics in cancer stem cells: mechanism, characteristics, and therapies”

CIITA – The Master Regulator Gene

By Daniella Gimbosh The Class II Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC-II) Transactivator gene, or CIITA gene, has earned the name of the “master regulator gene” – and rightfully so. CIITA, and its gene product, the CIITA protein, is known as the ‘master regulator’ of MHC-II gene transcription, which, in turn, codes for the MHC-II molecules presentContinue reading “CIITA – The Master Regulator Gene”

The Genetic basis to ‘superhuman’ traits.

By Easha Vigneswaran The human genome is massive but as humans we still share almost 98% of our genetic material. The interesting part about our DNA is how just 2% in genomic differences is the reason for the vast genetic diversity we observe in human populations. Understanding these differences has governed years of research and scientificContinue reading “The Genetic basis to ‘superhuman’ traits.”

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”