J. K. Wickiser Lab

Archive for the ‘Science in the Lay Press’ Category

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Giant amoebas under the ocean

Monday, November 7, 2011

Brought up from deep sea studies, these amoeba are absolutely huge!

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/10/giant-amoeba-found-mariana-trench-beneath-the-sea.html

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Patenting Genes and naturally occuring small molecules

Friday, November 4, 2011

Interesting piece by NPR on the patenting of natural products:

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/24/141429392/deadly-monopolies-patenting-the-human-body?sc=fb&cc=fp

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Identifying the Microbial Culprit of The Black Plague

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A microbial treasure box was just dug up and some insight was provided (via sequencing technologies) into The Black Plague

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Network Science – making even Slime Molds sexy

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Slime molds don’t sound very exciting but researchers are using them to optimize networks ranging from highway systems to disasters emergency response procedures. In this recent NYT Science Times piece, the research of several prominent labs is showcased.

In short, these organisms live as individual soil-dwelling cells and are content to survive on their basic food source: bacteria. But when food becomes scarce, these individuals send a chemical signal out to each other and a major change in physiology and strategy takes place. Some cells will sacrifice themselves for the great good of the group by filling themselves up with a carbohydrate that stiffens them (causing death). These cells serve as a scaffold support so that other cells can use this stalk as a structure to form spores, or cellular life rafts, that are capable of weathering the starvation conditions. Only when food becomes plentiful do the spores change back into individual cells to form a new colony.

The Bionetworks group in the Network Science Center is currently studying the modes of communication between cells as they respond not only to starvation conditions, but chemical contaminants of military interest as well.

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Nobel in Medicine

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Scientists pioneering the study of Immunity and Dendritic Cells were awarded the Nobel on Monday. One of the three awardees, Ralph Steinman, happened to pass away the Friday before the announcement, which caused a stir among the lay press because it’s usually not awarded posthumously.

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Great book to add to the “to read” pile

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

RNA Worlds

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Conspiracy messages in my DNA – oh noes !!!1111111!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Here’s a fun little pop sci article dealing with encoding messages in DNA. Unfortunately this article takes away from the real news: that aliens hacked up their genomes, inserted them into bacteria, and sent them forward on meteors eons ago to populate different worlds. I’m sure there’s a PhD thesis in there someplace.

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Krebs Cycle Funnery

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Here’s an interesting take on the Krebs Cycle, and more importantly, learning the Krebs Cycle.

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Distributed Computing and Structural Biology

Monday, September 19, 2011

X-box science in action.

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Single Molecule Motor: Can the Coolness Outpace the Overhype?

Monday, September 12, 2011

In another example of awesome science being drug by the nose by university PR machines, the authors are quoted as gunning for a Guiness World Record. How about just a Guiness?

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