Improving Chemical Investigations By Integrating Human Cells

The testing of drugs is a very important procedure. We are, as perhaps we should be, incredibly stringent and highly cautious when it comes to testing medicines which may have potential harmful affects. To begin we prove it’s theoretically safe, then we test it on organ samples. After this we move on to mice and if the chemical still seems safe after thorough rodent testing we’ll test it on some primates. Only once it has passed the primate trial is even suggested that it should be given to fully healthy humans to see what effects it may have there. Now despite improvements in the initial tests we still end up eliminating large swathes of drugs at each step. In an ideal world, our original theoretical predictions would be so accurate that only the occasional outlier pharmaceutical would be found to be harmful and the majority of drugs predicted safe would turn out to be so.

Paper links: Humanizing Miniature Hearts through 4-Flow Cannulation Perfusion Decellularization and Recellularization



Doping Of Carbon Nanotubes To Alter Optical Properties

Carbon nanotubes are often just a few nanometres in diameter and a few micrometres long. This gives them the perfect dimensions to demonstrate unique optical properties. Their ability to absorb photons has been shown to be highly dependent on length and the response of electro-hole pairs with the nanotubes to optical excitation has been well documented. After these absorptions, photoluminescence in the near infrared is observed caused by the carbon nanotubes first bandgap. Emmitting in this wavelength is a very useful property as 900–1400 nm represents the best wavelengths for the imaging of biological materials.

Paper links: Oxygen-doped carbon nanotubes for near-infrared fluorescent labels and imaging probes

Examining Deceased Bodies Bacterial Colonies

A microbiota is an ecological community of bacteria which lives in a symbiotic relationship on and in another organism. The human body is both covered and filled with micro-organisms. It’s estimated that there are about ten times as many bacterial cells than human cells in a person. Bacterial cells are smaller than the regular animal cells that make up our bodies but they still contribute about a third of our measured weight. Many of these bacteria are highly necessary for processes in our body such as their assistance in digestion. The human microbiome is also clearly tied closely with an individual human’s health and as such has been studied as a possible method for diagnosing some illnesses.

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Creating Connection Between Cigarette Smoke And Rodent Auditory Loss

Smoking, or more specifically tobacco, is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be the most preventable kind of death in the World. In the world there are currently 1.1 billion smokers with a great majority of these being from developing countries. Still in the US alone you’ll find about 500,000 deaths attributed to tobacco annually with a considerable 40,000 deaths of people who never smokes but inhaled second hand smoke from others. More general facts about tobacco can be found here. Apart from the obvious pulmonary and cardiovascular effects smoking has on your health, there are also some slightly more bizarre health effects.

Continue reading Creating Connection Between Cigarette Smoke And Rodent Auditory Loss

Analysing Phosphorous Accumulation Methods In Cyanobacteria

Nitrogen (N) is a very useful element and is required by almost every living creature in order to create the proteins essential for life. The most abundant source of nitrogen in nature is in the atmosphere which is about 70% nitrogen. Unfortunately this nitrogen is in the form of N(N≡N) whose strong triple bond is a nightmare for most organisms to break. Instead, fixed nitrogen (the term given to useful nitrogen) is normally gained from ammonia (NH3) as the nitrogen-hydrogen bond is much easier to sever. However there is a group of bacteria, called the diazotrophs, who go about fixing atmospheric nitrogen into its more useful forms. As can be imagined, bacteria of this type grow to dominate oceans areas where and when fixed nitrogen concentrations are low.

Continue reading Analysing Phosphorous Accumulation Methods In Cyanobacteria

Concentration Boost Increases Binding Between Chromosome Material Differently

Cellular environments often come packed full of large macromolecules: proteins, nucleic acids and other biological chemicals need to keep their structure and perform their function attempting to avoid interacting with unwanted molecules along the way. It was therefore believed and later shown that macromolecular crowding, an increasing concentration of these large molecules, could have drastic effects on the biological processes within a cell. In particular it is noticed that the formation process of chromatin is significantly altered resulting in a more compact chromatin structure. Investigations have been attempted focussing on chromatin’s behaviour within cells, but limits on microscopic resolution has hindered these investigations quite severely.

Continue reading Concentration Boost Increases Binding Between Chromosome Material Differently

Examining Extracellular Communication By Electrophysiology

Diatoms are one of the largest groups of microalgae in existence. They’re single cellular and make a large amount of phytoplankton. They’re photosynthesis makes up about 40% of that which occurs in the seas making them the foundation for many marine foodwebs. They also have a distinct ecological role when it comes to removing and reusing carbon and silica from the oceans. Now despite being single celled, the diatoms do have a tendency to stick and work together. Their colonies have been observed to form ribbons, stars, zigzags and splodges depending on situation. It is believed that diatoms ability to be such effective organisms is based on their adaptability. As individuals they have been shown to react to light levels, oxygen concentrations and temperature changes by manipulating their cell defences and as a group they respond and change morphology to improve photosynthesis.

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