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Yeast and the Biosynthesis of Cannabinoids

By Allan Mai ‘20 Scientists have recently been exploring routes to biosynthesize cannabinoids by introducing a series of genes into yeast cells. Using the simple sugar galactose, Dr. Xiaozhou Luo and his team at the University of California at Berkeley successfully devised a pathway to produce major cannabinoids such as cannabigerolic acid and cannabidiolic acid among others. The biosynthesis of such compounds would allow for … Continue reading Yeast and the Biosynthesis of Cannabinoids

Cancer Cells Hijack Immune Cells

By Allan Mai ‘20 A sure sign of the progression of cancer occurs when tumor cells from the initial site of development breaks off and enters the bloodstream, invading other healthy tissue. A recently published study conducted by Barbara Szczerba and her team from the Cancer Metastasis Lab at the University of Basel found that circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are associated with white blood cells, … Continue reading Cancer Cells Hijack Immune Cells

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Global Disease Outbreaks Linked to El Niño

By Allan Mai ‘20 El Niño is a complex series of weather patterns that occurs off the coast of South America. While the last El Niño occurred three years ago, the unusually warm weather and nutrient-poor water caused a series of events that continues to affect plant and animal and life, especially those that are responsible for transmitting a disease from one organism to another. … Continue reading Global Disease Outbreaks Linked to El Niño

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The Unlikely Relation Between Gut and Brain

By Allan Mai ‘20 With the high selectivity of the blood-brain barrier, it appears unlikely that microorganisms in the stomach could ever be able to reach the brain. However, past studies that have suggested major correlation between depression and specific gut bacteria and even correlation between social behavior and the activities of certain gut bacteria have sparked intense research regarding the “gut-brain” axis. Among these … Continue reading The Unlikely Relation Between Gut and Brain

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Targeted Neurotechnology Can Restore Walking in Humans With Spinal Cord Injuries

By Allan Mai ‘20 Spinal cord injury continues to be a leading cause of paralysis in humans. Depending on the location of the injury, complete or partial paralysis can occur. Fortunately, we live in an age in which advanced neurotechnology such as epidural stimulation is being developed to reverse this condition. In this study, the University of Lausanne’s Dr. Fabien B. Wagner and his team … Continue reading Targeted Neurotechnology Can Restore Walking in Humans With Spinal Cord Injuries

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BH4’s Role in T- Cell Proliferation in Autoimmunity and Cancer

By Allan Mai ‘20 BH4 is an important regulator of many bodily functions. Among its most important functions are its involvement in the production of monoamine neurotransmitters, its generation of nitric oxide, and its role in pain. However, Shane Cronin and his team recently uncovered another important function of this cofactor: proliferation of T cells, which are an integral part of the immune response. Inhibitions … Continue reading BH4’s Role in T- Cell Proliferation in Autoimmunity and Cancer

Elimination of Pathogens by Signaling Interference

By Allan Mai ‘20 Ever see that probiotic label on the side of a container of yogurt or another dairy product and wonder what it means? Probiotic nutrition helps reduce pathogenic colonization of the intestines; however, until recently, researchers’ knowledge of the mechanism behind this process was ambiguous. Pipat Piewngam of Mahidol University in Thailand and his colleagues have discovered that the probiotic Bacillus works … Continue reading Elimination of Pathogens by Signaling Interference

The Preservation of Respiratory Function After a Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

By Allan Mai ‘20 After a traumatic spinal cord injury, a primary cause for concern is the threat of a dysfunctional respiratory system; a means by which to preserve respiratory functions is needed to decrease mortality rates in patients with spinal cord injuries. In a recent study, Dr. Kajana Satkunendrarajah of the Kembril Research Institute in Toronto discovered a potential solution to this problem which … Continue reading The Preservation of Respiratory Function After a Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury

Using the Genome to Forecast Health

By Allan Mai ‘20 Wouldn’t it be convenient if researchers could tell how likely an individual is to have a certain disease just by looking at his or her genome? Researchers are doing exactly that by looking at over 6.6 million points of the human genome; according to Sekar Kathiresan, a geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General), scientists now have the ability to calculate … Continue reading Using the Genome to Forecast Health

Elimination of Senescent-Expressing Genes Prevents Neurodegeneration

By Allan Mai ‘20 Much medical research is dedicated to the challenge of preventing the buildup of the proteins that cause diseases or accelerate their progression. Many researchers have devoted their careers to finding ways to prevent these diseases at the molecular level. One researcher and his colleagues are currently looking into senescent cells in hopes of finding answers on neurodegeneration which is the loss … Continue reading Elimination of Senescent-Expressing Genes Prevents Neurodegeneration