Understanding the Tumultuous Trajectory of a Concept in The Gene

Posted Posted in Book Review, Genetics

By Daniel Erenstein, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ‘19 Author’s Note: In my Writing in Science (UWP 104E) course, Dr. Brenda Rinard assigned us a review of a classic book in science. My interests in social history and the genetics of disease inspired me to read Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Gene: An Intimate History. The following book review of The Gene is intended for undergraduate biology majors at UC Davis and beyond. I wrote this review to persuade my peers of the book’s instructional and thought-provoking value. My hope, too, is that readers of this review are encouraged by the pursuit of knowledge presented in The Gene’s stories to transform their passion for science into future innovations.

A Conversation with Dr. Kate Scow: “I just totally lost my heart to soil”

Posted Posted in Biology, Environment, Special Report

By Sara Ludwick, Environmental Science and Management, 2019 Author’s note: I read about Dr. Scow’s research while looking for a faculty member to interview for a class assignment. She is a professor of Soil Science and Microbial Ecology at UC Davis, and her research emphasizes microorganisms’ roles in providing ecosystems services. Dr. Scow was featured in an article on a UC Davis website about carbon sequestration as a tactic to address climate change, and from there I discovered Russell Ranch, where she serves as Director (1). I immediately became interested in the variety of experiments conducted on the experimental farm, and began to learn more about Dr. Scow’s work. Her work is extensive; in addition to directing Russell Ranch, she […]

Shouldering the Pain

Posted Posted in Case Report

By: Cathy Guo, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ‘18   Author’s Note: “This is a reflective case study I wrote for UWP104F (Writing in the Health Profession) about a patient’s illness experience with chronic pain. After conducting an interview with the patient, I became intrigued by the controversial aspects of her ailment, and drew on research to better understand the scientific context of chronic pain. I hope that my reflection at the end raises questions that readers are also thinking, and that these questions could spur readers to learn more about the subject.”

The Effect of Aging On Our Immune System: A Review

Posted Posted in Health and Medicine: Literature Reviews

by Bukre Coskun, Cell Biology ‘18 Author’s Note: I became interested in the immune system and the role of the thymus after taking an immunology class where I learned about how T-cells are distributed throughout our body. I wanted to explore this subject more after learning that the thymus, an organ that is integral to the production of T-cells, atrophies after puberty and eventually becomes inactive.  Here, I review a publication that describes how the concentration of T-cells in our body changes as we age.

Cofactor Effects in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Metabolism

Posted Posted in News

  By Madison Dougherty, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ‘18   Author’s Note: After taking FST 3, Introduction to Brewing, I was intrigued by the brewing process and how yeast are such an important factor to the quality of beer that is produced. I have since looked deeper into yeast and the fermentation process, gaining a special interest in yeast-related research. I wrote this paper in order to discover more about the unique qualities of yeast and fermentation while informing others about this microorganism’s relevance to humans and other scientific processes.

Cell-free DNA Testing as the Next Generation of Cancer Screening

Posted Posted in Genetics

By: Anna Kirillova, Cell Biology, ‘19   Author’s Note: “This article was brought to my attention in my Human Genetics class (MCB 162) when we were discussing novel methodologies for diagnosis of fetal trisomies (Down Syndrome). The purpose of this review is to highlight how basic biology can translate into significant advancements in disease diagnosis. I hope that the reader will be intrigued by the new genetic technologies and will proceed onto reading the original research article using this review as a guide.”

The Genetic Basis of Nicotine Addiction

Posted Posted in Health and Medicine: Literature Reviews

By: Anh Nguyen, Microbiology, ’17 Author’s Note This article is a synthesis of research that I have found about the genetic basis of nicotine addiction. The purpose of this piece is to thoroughly inform the reader. In this article I will discuss how genetic variation affects nicotine dependence, review studies which examine the effects of this genetic variation, and discuss how genetic variation can influence the likelihood of other diseases. This article aims to follow an individual’s encounter with nicotine, starting with the first encounter of a cigarette to an examination of other diseases related to smoking. The sections below provide an explanation of the specific experiments which examined how nicotinic receptor genes  affect an individual’s response to nicotine.

We’re All Going to Die, but Will It be via Mass Extinction?

Posted Posted in Narrative and Personal Writing, News

By N.J. Griffen, English, ’17 Author’s Note: “Stephen Hawking at the end of last year wrote an article for The Guardian saying: ‘…we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.’ In spirit of Hawking’s eerie warning to humanity, I chose to write this article to consider the variable possibility of a self-imposed extinction of humanity.”

Ants Who Farm: The Evolution of Fungal Obligate Symbiosis

Posted Posted in Narrative and Personal Writing

By Wren Greaney, History major, Biological Sciences & Community Development minor, ’17 Author’s note: “I started to look into entomological research as a result of learning about insect diversity in ENT100. I came across a study regarding ants’ fascinating advanced ability to cultivate fungi. I thought it was incredible that we have agriculture in common with those tiny insects, and became interested in how ants are similar to and perhaps more advanced than humans in some ways.”

So, Where are we With Abortion?  

Posted Posted in Health and Medicine: Literature Reviews

Reproductive Health Care Access in the United States: A Review of Literature By Madison Dufek, Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, Minor in Communications, ’17 Author’s Note:   “Reproductive health care/family planning refers to services that provide birth control, prenatal care, and pregnancy termination procedures. This is a subset of health care that is in my opinion talked about too much but not enough – especially when it comes to abortion. I initially wrote this piece for an upper division writing class focusing on women’s health; but reproductive health care access soon transformed into a cause that is now a great passion of mine. The results from the literature had me fiercely enraged yet profoundly inspired. […]