It’s Friday night and you are at a concert, wishing you hadn’t woken up at 4:45am to go to spin class. As the night wears on you get more tired and fall asleep on the train ride home. Why do you get tired the longer you stay awake? It’s not your muscles-- they could keep … Continue reading Too much phosphorylation, time to go to sleep!
Cellways, it's been awhile! Here are a couple of videos I made in the last years:A Ted-Ed video about X-chromosome inactivation and some interesting consequences of that. A Science Sketches video about the basics of stem cell biology.
Microbiome accelerates neurodegeneration
Parkinson disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor deficits and aggregates of a protein called α-synuclein (α-syn) in the brain (pronounced sin-NU-clee-in). Genetics plays a role in PD, because there are some early-onset forms of PD that are caused by mutations in α-syn that cause it to more readily clump together and form … Continue reading Microbiome accelerates neurodegeneration
Human language in dog brains
Spoken language conveys meaning in two ways: the meaning of the words (semantics or lexical knowledge) and the intonation that the speaker uses. We can sense questions by the rising pitch at the end of the sentence. Likewise, we can tell if someone is upset or being sarcastic based on how they say the words. … Continue reading Human language in dog brains
No Y genes? No problem.
The Y-chromosome is one of the smallest chromosomes in the human genome and contains genes involved in male development and production of sperm. Previous research has shown that just two genes on the Y chromosome are necessary to make male mice who can sort of produce sperm. By “sort of” I mean that the mice … Continue reading No Y genes? No problem.
Pandas are lazy!
Pandas are closely related to carnivorous mammals (like all the other bears), but they consume mostly bamboo. Their digestive tracts are short and adapted for digesting meat, not cellulose that is found in plants. In fact, they only digest about 20% of all the bamboo they eat, and they eat a lot of bamboo (30-60 … Continue reading Pandas are lazy!
Bigger brains with Frizzled HARE
We have all heard that the sequence of human DNA differs from chimpanzee DNA by only about 1%. Yet humans are capable of building complex civilizations while the chimps are still eating bugs in the forest. If you compare the human brain to the brain of any other primate, it’s easy to see where our … Continue reading Bigger brains with Frizzled HARE
Smart phone use changes the brain
One of the most remarkable things about our brains is how organized they are. Sensory information from our eyes, mouth, skin, nose and ears goes to different locations in the brain. For example, visual signals are processed first in the very back of the brain, whereas sensations of touch and pain activate the middle region … Continue reading Smart phone use changes the brain
What big nuclei you have!
Eggs get ready for fertilization by producing and storing all the proteins necessary for early embryo development. After fertilization, there are a series of rapid cell divisions without growth, producing a lot of small cells (here's a video). At some point during this process, the embryo switches over from using the proteins from mom, to … Continue reading What big nuclei you have!
Improving reproductive cloning
Remember when Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996? That was the first cloned mammal and everyone freaked out thinking we would be cloning all our pets and even humans within a few years. Well, nearly 20 years have passed since then and reproductive cloning is still a very difficult and inefficient procedure. Most cloning … Continue reading Improving reproductive cloning