Brawn Before Brains in Early Mammalian Development

Zhifei Zeng ’23 Of all vertebrates, mammals have the largest brains in terms of absolute size and relative to body size. Significant encephalization (an increase in brain size relative to body size) has been observed in the placenta of extant mammals. However, until recently it has not yet been determined when mammalian brains began to increase in size and how they evolved to their current … Continue reading Brawn Before Brains in Early Mammalian Development

Newly Discovered Functions of MAIT Cells Suggests a Possible Target for Immunotherapy and Vaccine Treatments

Sooraj Shah ’24 While much focus has been given to the COVID-19 pandemic, autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, also affect seven percent of the American population. Recent research suggests a potential link between mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells and the two diseases, as both COVID-19 and autoimmune diseases trigger increased MAIT cell response. A study led by Dr. Charles Vorkas, a professor in the Department … Continue reading Newly Discovered Functions of MAIT Cells Suggests a Possible Target for Immunotherapy and Vaccine Treatments

Art and Medicine: The Effects of Technical Drawing Exercises on Spatial Visualization of Humans

Thumyat Noe ’23 Spatial visualization, the ability to visualize shapes and the orientations of objects in space, can help medical students learn human anatomy, which many consider a challenging area of study. Past studies suggest that high spatial visualization positively correlates with increased success in scientific disciplines, leading researchers from Kansas City University to believe that enhancing spatial visualization through technical drawing exercises may help … Continue reading Art and Medicine: The Effects of Technical Drawing Exercises on Spatial Visualization of Humans

Exosomes: A Surprising Key to Spinal Injury Recovery

Alex Moir ’23 Exosomes, which carry biomolecular cargo around the body, are a group of vesicles secreted by almost all human cells. Exosomal delivery is also cell-specific, as the outer membrane surface of exosomes contains molecules that only bind with target recipient cell membranes. Recent research has suggested exosomes may play a role in wound healing and cell repair at sites of tissue damage, positioning … Continue reading Exosomes: A Surprising Key to Spinal Injury Recovery

A New Potential Vaccine Candidate for Staphylococcus aureus

Alex Moir ’23 Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium often found in both skin and the upper respiratory tract. Despite its native status in the human body, S. aureus can also act as an opportunistic pathogen in immunocompromised hosts. Efforts to create an effective S. aureus vaccine have so far proven unsuccessful due to the diverse array of immunoevasive strategies S. aureus employs. Specifically, … Continue reading A New Potential Vaccine Candidate for Staphylococcus aureus

Uncovering the Link Between SARS-CoV-2 and Vascular Dysregulation

Alex Moir ’23 SARS-CoV-2 is the virus currently driving the COVID-19 pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to infect ciliated epithelial cells (EPCs), which line the upper respiratory tract, through a cell surface receptor known as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), resulting in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is characterized by both pulmonary and vascular dysregulation, which presents as shortness of breath, low oxygen, and poor … Continue reading Uncovering the Link Between SARS-CoV-2 and Vascular Dysregulation

Hearing Loss and Cognition: The Role of Hearing Aids, Social Isolation and Depression

Sabah Bari ’24 Individuals with hearing loss have been correlated with low cognitive functioning and incident dementia. Cognitive impairment includes problems with memory, having trouble with learning new tasks, concentrating or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment, in the sense of, loss of memory, language and problem solving. Both conditions can limit an individual’s function and interfere … Continue reading Hearing Loss and Cognition: The Role of Hearing Aids, Social Isolation and Depression

The Tubarial salivary glands: A potential new organ at risk for radiotherapy.

Thumyat Noe ‘ 23 Production of saliva by the salivary gland system is important for speech production, chewing, swallowing, tasting, and maintaining dental hygiene. Previously, physicians and scientists were only aware of the existence of three paired major glands and 1000 minor glands in the salivary gland system. However, researchers from the Netherlands have recently discovered an unknown bilateral structure posterior in the nasopharynx with … Continue reading The Tubarial salivary glands: A potential new organ at risk for radiotherapy.

Spatially Distributed Representation of Taste Quality in the Gustatory Insular Cortex of Behaving Mice

Sabah Bari ’24 The brain’s response to taste is found within the gustatory cortex. The sense of taste can be affected by our other senses such as smell, hearing, and sight. The purpose of this study was to understand the processes of visual, auditory and somatosensory cortices and how they respond to similar sensations. The somatosensory cortex has a role in processing somatic sensations, which … Continue reading Spatially Distributed Representation of Taste Quality in the Gustatory Insular Cortex of Behaving Mice

Cannabis Use and the Course of Schizophrenia: 10-year Follow-Up After First Hospitalization

Thumyat Noe ’23 The relationship between cannabis use and course of schizophrenia have been extensively studied by researchers, as increased consumption of cannabis is often observed in individuals with schizophrenia. For the most part, results of these studies have been inconclusive. Some studies have reported that cannabis use is associated with less severe negative symptoms of schizophrenia, while other studies have suggested that cannabis users … Continue reading Cannabis Use and the Course of Schizophrenia: 10-year Follow-Up After First Hospitalization

Effects of Huntington’s Disease Pathology Observable in Retinal Function

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Huntington’s disease (HD) is a genetic neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive development of involuntary movements and decline of memory and cognitive abilities. The disease is characterized by the aggregation of abnormally long huntingtin protein (mHtt), a product of mutations in the HTT gene that cause excessive ‘CAG’ nucleotide sequence repeats within the protein’s coding DNA sequence. Such mHtt aggregation triggers cell death … Continue reading Effects of Huntington’s Disease Pathology Observable in Retinal Function

Napping appears to have significant beneficial effects on long-term memory-retention over cramming

Priyanshi Patel ’22 Currently, there is extensive research on the cognitive effects of daytime naps, but not whether naps are a practical way to assist learning. Naps can reduce the likelihood of forgetting episodic memory consisting of life events and experiences. Prior research surrounding memory improvements have led to the idea that naps may be used as a pedagogical tool.  However, there is little evidence … Continue reading Napping appears to have significant beneficial effects on long-term memory-retention over cramming