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?”

Inflammation and cancer metastasis

By Kai Yee Eng The immune system is undeniably one of the most complex systems in the human body, functioning to defend us against pathogens and any molecules which might harm our body. One of the key mechanisms of the immune system is inflammation. Through this process, white blood cells such as monocytes and lymphocytesContinue reading “Inflammation and cancer metastasis”

The colour of blood

By Isabelle Hall “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). Through mediation of numerous processes including oxygen transport and waste removal, blood sustains us. Much can be learned about a species through examination of this tissue, and one revealing feature is its hue. Across the animal kingdom, wide variation isContinue reading “The colour of blood”