Figure 1. Scientists from UCLA controlled expression of genes Drp1 and Atg1 in fruit flies to promote breakdown and removal of damaged mitochondria.

Controlling Mitochondria to Stop the Clocks

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 The respiratory function of the mitochondrion, the energy producing organelle found in the cell, can decline over time. This is because of how the mitochondrion enlarge and assume a more elongated shape. Typically, that mitochondrion will eventually break down and get removed processes called mitochondrial fission and mitophagy respectively. Accumulation of the ineffective mitochondria and inability to remove them are major … Continue reading Controlling Mitochondria to Stop the Clocks

Figure 1. Cardiac imaging techniques, such as echocardiograms and cardiac MRI, allow us to view the structure of the heart in order to diagnose and monitor heart disease.

New Model Predicts How Genetics Affects Heart Structure

By Gene Yang ’19 Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world. This broad group of genetic conditions affect the heart’s structure and function in different ways, with symptoms ranging from harmless to fatal. However, very little is known about how a human’s genetic makeup affects cardiovascular development. A recent study, which constructed a model that predicts correlations between genetics and … Continue reading New Model Predicts How Genetics Affects Heart Structure

Figure 1. Enzyme that plays a role in memory loss can be inhibited to treat Alzheimer’s disease

Disrupting Enzyme To Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 From histone modifications to DNA alterations, epigenetic processes play a major role in various physiological systems. Histones are proteins in eukaryotic cells that package DNA strands into nucleosomes. Gene regulation processes include histone acetylation, whereby an acetyl group is transferred from one molecule to another. This eventually removes the positive charge on the histones, giving nucleosomes a relaxed structure and allowing … Continue reading Disrupting Enzyme To Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease

Figure 1. Human gut microbe, P. histicola has therapeutic effects against Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Gut microbe as Potential Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 The human gut is colonized by many microorganisms and each of them plays a role in maintaining various physiological functions, such as regulating digestion and fat absorption. It has been found that a vast number of inflammatory diseases around the world are associated with an instability of the gut microbiome. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and University of Iowa suggest that … Continue reading Gut microbe as Potential Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Figure 1. Zika vaccine developed from Nicotiana benthamiana plant extract

Improved Zika Vaccine Produced by Tobacco Plant extract

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a deadly virus transmitted through mosquito bites that at its climax has infected more than 1.5 million people in Brazil in 2015. The virus continues to spread with approximately 200 ZIKV cases reported in the United States this year. In order to combat the epidemic, new ZIKV vaccines have been developed to inactivate the virus. However, … Continue reading Improved Zika Vaccine Produced by Tobacco Plant extract

Figure 1: The auditory cortex of the brain highlighted with mapping of sound frequencies.

Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Being able to form, maintain, and strengthen neural connections within the auditory cortex is an important part of language acquisition. Neural plasticity, or the ability of the brain to establish new connections, is especially high in childhood, but decreases with age. A discovery made by Dr. Jay Blundon and his colleagues at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the potential … Continue reading Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

Figure 3. Slow wave activity and low quality sleep affect levels of amyloid beta and tau levels respectively which are linked to Alzheimer’s.

Sleep and Its Impact on Alzheimer’s Disease

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 A good night’s rest is hard to come by these days, however a study led by Yo-El S. Ju MD from Washington University suggests that it is more important than one may realize. They found that inadequate sleep causes the Alzheimer’s related protein, amyloid beta, to increase. They tested the amyloid beta levels from the cerebral spinal fluid of 22 middle … Continue reading Sleep and Its Impact on Alzheimer’s Disease

Tardigrade and Its Impact on Survivability

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Whether the world ends in asteroids or radiation, the big question is what, if anything, will survive. Researchers lead by Dr. David Sloan from the University of Oxford assessed the resilience of species when against three astrophysical catastrophes (asteroids, supernovas, and gamma-ray bursts) that could sterilize the planet.  These events threaten the survival of species with radiation and by deterioration of … Continue reading Tardigrade and Its Impact on Survivability

The Anti-CRISPR

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19   Since the explosion of CRISPR-Cas 9, a gene editing technology, researchers have been further exploring its mechanisms and ways of improving the system. AcrIIA4 is a known anti-CRISPR protein that inhibits the CRISPR-Cas 9 complex, but the mechanism and residues involved were not as explored. Researchers lead by Jiyung Shin, PhD from The University of California Berkley investigated AcrIIA4 to … Continue reading The Anti-CRISPR

Figure 1 Lipid-coated gold nanorods used to study transfection efficacy of HSP promoters

Cancer Therapy Employing Lipid-coated Gold Nanorod

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 Gene regulation induced by light has potential for noninvasive control over the function of target cells. One such method involves the delivery of photothermal heaters and heat shock protein (HSP) promoter-driven protein expression vectors into the cells and then illuminating them to activate the cells. HSP promoters are controlled by heat shock factor, which is a transcription factor in the cytosol … Continue reading Cancer Therapy Employing Lipid-coated Gold Nanorod