The Genetic Role of Left-Handedness

Ellie Teng ’21 90% of the population are right- handed, so what is different about individuals who are left- handed? Handedness was previously known to be partially affected by the genome; twin studies showed that genes account for about 25% of the variation in handedness. Researchers at the University of Oxford sought to connect the genetic difference to areas of the brain that control language. … Continue reading The Genetic Role of Left-Handedness

The Use of Focused Ultrasound for Enhanced Delivery of Gene Therapy Across the Blood-Brain-Barrier

Jorge Pincay ‘20 Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease that results in the degradation of nerve cells in the brain over time. This disease is the result of a DNA mutation — a cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) trinucleotide repeat expansion– that occurs in the gene that encodes for the huntingtin (Htt) protein. This repeat expansion causes a highly toxic form of the Htt protein … Continue reading The Use of Focused Ultrasound for Enhanced Delivery of Gene Therapy Across the Blood-Brain-Barrier

Enhanced mRNA Gene Therapy for Critical Limb Ischemia

Jorge Pincay ‘20 Critical limb ischemia (CLI) is a cardiovascular condition characterized by severely narrowed arteries resulting from the buildup of plaque. This narrowing of the arteries  significantly reduces blood flow to the hands, feet, and legs and may lead to amputation of the affected limbs. Most patients suffering from CLI need to undergo some form of a revascularization procedure in order to combat this … Continue reading Enhanced mRNA Gene Therapy for Critical Limb Ischemia

Glutamate Receptor GLR-3 Encodes for Evolutionary Cold-Sensing Receptor

Simran Kaur ’20 The capacity to detect cold temperatures is essential for many living organisms because cold temperatures can cause detrimental effects like severe soft-tissue damage and hypothermia. Some organisms have evolved the presence of thermoreceptors, which are specific nerve endings that are sensitive to changes in temperature and exist in the skin, skeletal muscle, and the hypothalamus. Thermoreceptors relay electrical signals to the central … Continue reading Glutamate Receptor GLR-3 Encodes for Evolutionary Cold-Sensing Receptor

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

Glucose Transportation

      By: Richard Liang 18’  Insulin is an important signaling factor in glucose uptake, acting in concert with glucose transporter GLUT4 to transport glucose into skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. In the presence of insulin, GLUT4 is translocated to the plasma membrane where an exocyst complex tethers the GLUT4 to the membrane, a process that requires G protein RalA to bind to the … Continue reading Glucose Transportation

Using SIRT1 Activators to Treat Tuberculosis

    By: Richard Liang 18’ Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly infectious disease that can remain dormant for many years. Currently, treatment options are limited by Mycobacterium tuberculosis’s ability evade the immune system and mutate into drug-resistant strains. Outbreaks are a more pressing concern in developing countries, where health care is less accessible. In a recent study led by Catherine Y. Cheng from the Singapore … Continue reading Using SIRT1 Activators to Treat Tuberculosis

The Importance of Synthetic Core Promoters in Yeast Fine-Tuning Expression

    By Caleb Sooknanan ‘20 In genetic engineering, metabolic pathways and genetic circuits can be manipulated in microbes to produce chemicals or activate certain functions. To do this, gene expression must be fine-tuned to balance and optimize protein levels of metabolic enzymes or regulators.  Manipulating these in unicellular eukaryotes often involves core promoter sequences, the minimal portion of the promoter required to initiate DNA … Continue reading The Importance of Synthetic Core Promoters in Yeast Fine-Tuning Expression

Relearn Faster and Retain Longer

    By Ericka Berman As established, repetitive practice is necessary for knowledge retention. Sleep is also a contributing factor to new learning and memory consolidation. In this study, Dr. Mazza and the team of researchers recruited 40 participants ages 18-29 from University of Lyon, who were randomly assigned to one of two groups. For this study, participants were asked to remember 16 Swahili-French words pairs. … Continue reading Relearn Faster and Retain Longer

Figure 1. Mammalian brains can be influenced by non-genetic and Allele-Specific expression

Sending Your Grandparents to University Increases Cognitive Reserve: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project

By Ericka Berman   One way to decrease the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease is by increasing cognitive reserves (CR). Research supports the idea that education, intelligence, and cognitively stimulating activities modify the risk for dementia. CR is a theoretical construct, so it is measured indirectly. Dr. Megan Lenehan and her team of researchers used data from 459 participants ages 50-79 from the Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project … Continue reading Sending Your Grandparents to University Increases Cognitive Reserve: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project