Winter Seminar 2016: “Science Journalism and Editing: The Aggie Transcript”

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The Aggie Transcript is offering its first-ever seminar on science journalism and editing in Winter Quarter 2016! Please see the flyer below for more information. To read more about the course description, the goals of the seminar, course assignments and grading criteria, please visit the link and click “Seminar Schedule: Winter 2016” Link: http://fys.ucdavis.edu/student/#frs-schedule

What is LASIK?

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By David Ivanov, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2015 LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure commonly used to correct for visual defects or lack of visual clarity. Commonly referred to as laser eye surgery, LASIK is a type of surgery that is used to alleviate visual loss associated with common defects of the eye, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hypermetropia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Astigmatism, like near and far-sightedness, can be caused by the irregularity in shape of the cornea that leads to blurred vision. For all three cases, corneal remodeling via LASIK can be performed (Thomson, 2015). The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye, the transparent part that one can touch, and upon which contact lenses are placed. It is responsible for most of the focusing power, and thus is a common culprit in visual defects of the eye. The cornea focuses the light reflected into […]

A Work In Progress

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By Shadeh Ghaffari-Rafi, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior, ’16 At first, Jerry’s expected springtime pollen allergies didn’t bother him or seem unusual. His allergies caused mild nosebleeds, which he would stop by pinching his nose for five minutes. This past year, however, the bleeding didn’t stop. Five years ago, Jerry relocated to Iowa for work, as the company he worked for in California closed. For the past five years, everyday, Jerry has been taking two pills, one to alleviate his heart rate, blood pressure, and heart strain and another to lower his blood cholesterol. His doctor recommended that Jerry occasionally take low dose aspirin so his blood would flow more easily, he would feel less chest pain, and avoid blood clots and severe headaches. Although he hiked and went to the gym regularly, for a 5’5’’ 56 year old man, he was slightly overweight at 165 lbs. A nosebleed, or epistaxis, […]

Can Polio Cure Cancer?

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By Briga Mullin, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’15 The human body’s immune system has been developed to successfully battle foreign invaders including bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Immunotherapy is the idea that the power of the immune system can be utilized against diseases such as cancer. Typically, the immune system does not harm the body’s own cells, preventing it from being extremely effective against cancer. However with different medical interventions to strengthen the body’s immune response, it is possible to get an effective treatment (Cancer Immunotherapy 2015). A unique and exciting branch of immunotherapy involves oncolytic viruses, genetically modified viruses that are used to infect tumor cells and fight cancer (Vile, Ando, and Kirn 2002). One example of an oncolytic virus is Oncolytic Polio/Rhinovirus Recombinant (PVS-RIPO), a genetic combination of poliovirus and a strain of the common cold.

Bhutan Rice Fields

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By Elizabeth Ridolfi This is a photograph of the rice fields in Bhutan, where I did a 6- week field research program through the School for Field Studies in Summer 2014. Bhutan is a small, Himalayan country located near India and Nepal.The spread of rice cultivation in Bhutan is an illustration the effect of global climate change. Rice typically grows in low lying, relatively warm areas with high precipitation certain times of the year. The vast majority of the country’s land area is above 6000 feet, which is considered too high of an elevation for rice cultivation under normal circumstances.

AGGIE TRANSCRIPT IS RECRUITING FOR SPRING 2015!

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Interested in both science and writing? Want some practical experience managing a student-run life sciences journal? Consider applying to the editorial board of the Aggie Transcript, an undergraduate life sciences journal run by UC Davis students! Editors are expected to solicit and review submission articles, as well as to submit their own pieces of original writing. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone hoping to gain valuable experience in critical analysis, strengthen their written communication, and share their work with others at UC Davis and beyond! The editorial board meets weekly and editors are offered 1 unit of credit. To apply, please submit a writing sample and a cover letter to: aggietranscript@gmail.com. The letter should discuss why you are interested in being part of The Aggie Transcript, what you can bring to the journal, and what you hope to gain from this experience. The writing sample should demonstrate strong written […]

Vector and Disease Management Research to Reduce the Effects of Pierce’s Disease in California’s Vineyards

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By Natalie Swinhoe, Anthropology and Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity, 2015 Pierce’s Disease in grapevines is a major threat to California’s viticultural economy. Caused by the bacterial strain Xylella fastidiosa, the disease blocks water transfer in the xylem of stems, leading to water stress and eventual death. Until the 1990s, the only carriers for the disease were native Blue-Green Sharpshooters, Graphocephala atropunctata. However, between 1994 and 2000, a devastating outbreak occurred in Southern California, destroying more than 1000 acres of vineyards (Ringenberg et al., 2014). This epidemic was caused by a new nonnative vector- the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (Tumber et al, 2013). Compared to the Blue-Green Sharpshooter, the Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter has a much greater capacity to spread Pierce’s Disease because it can fly further and feed on a larger variety of plant parts (Alston et al., 2013, Baccari and Lindow, 2010).

A Breakthrough in Breast Cancer Treatment

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 Exciting, new gene therapy treatments for breast cancer are on the verge of making a breakthrough. With proper funding, these procedures could reduce the need for the surgical removal of organs. By Rayan Kaakati, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior Being born female automatically enters one in a game of Russian roulette: About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime; for American women, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). Breast cancer is a disease that starts in the tissues of the breast and is statistically fatal for one in thirty-two women (Breast Cancer Facts). Many women, throughout recorded history, have succumbed to this malignant disease. Rapid advancements in research have been very promising for cancer cell-targeting medications and for gene modification techniques. Medicine in the twenty-first century is still resorting to what the ancient Chinese and Arab […]

SV2A is a Galactose Transporter

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By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology ’15 SV2A is a synaptic vesicle protein, which participates in the regulation of neurotransmitter release in humans. SV2A is expressed in neurons and endocrine cells. The exact function of SV2A is still unknown, but it has been identified that SV2A is the binding site for the antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam. Levetiracetam reduces presynaptic glutamate release, especially in neurons with high frequency firing. Abnormally enhanced glutamatergic neurotransmission with high frequency neural firing is found in epilepsy and several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.

Learning from Drought in California: Past and Present

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By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology, ’15 The most current drought in California is considered to be one of the worst droughts in the past century, and many wonder if this severity is due to climate change. However, California has had a long history of unpredictable weather fluctuations, and is familiar with severe droughts. Many droughts can have devastating effects, particularly in the agricultural industry and the hydropower industry. Most Californians have also experienced the effects of a drought first-hand, such as having enforced water rationing. Even though, California’s history has shown that most droughts have devastating effects, droughts can also great learning experiences.