By Peggy Palsgaard Author’s Note: I wrote this literature review for my UWP 104F class, and I specifically chose this topic because obesity is a very stigmatized disorder or “disease” (as the AAMC recently labeled it). I wanted to explore the link to genetics and to see how thoroughly we understand the underlying causes of obesity, specifically in children. Further, the judgement of both the children and the children’s parents has brought up a conversation about whether or not it is okay to place a child into foster care for treatment of obesity, due to lack of care by the parents. Initially, research into foster care seemed out of place in this paper. However, I think it’s an interesting way […]
By Raida Aldosari, Nutrition Science (Biology option) ’18 Author’s Note: I wrote this literature review as part of my UWP 104F class with Dr. Lisa Sperber. The assignment was to choose a clinically-relevant topic, review the existing body of literature on this topic, and choose a specific area to write on. My topic of interest was about the relationship between gut microbiome and the brain. I became interested in this topic after reading an article about the differences between the microbial composition of individuals with depression. By the end of the quarter, my research question evolved from “how does our diet affect our brain or mood?” to “how does modulation of gut microbiome affect depression pathophysiology?” I enjoyed the flexibility of the […]
By Rachel Hull, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, ’19 Author’s note: I first learned about this news through an article on Big Think that provided few details about the science behind the breakthrough. Reading the original research paper clarified both how this research had been conducted and what was so noteworthy about it. Given the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, this new study may yet prove to be instrumental in the disorder’s treatment.
By Neha Madugala, Cognitive Science, ‘22 Author’s Note While browsing recent scientific achievements and breaking news in the scientific community, I came across an article declaring that the 125-year-old neuroscience mystery surrounding perineuronal nets (PNNs) is finally resolved. PNNs have stumped neuroscientists for decades, yet their importance is undeniable. To understand the extent of this discovery, I read more about PNNs and found that they have a key connection to Angelman syndrome, which causes severe epileptic seizures in children. The new findings from the Philpot Lab identifying the purpose of PNNs draw a connection between PNNs and seizures, and this information can lead to improved medications and therapeutic treatment methods.
By Anna Kirillova, Genetics & Genomics ‘19 Author’s Note: I am currently studying the signaling of Protein Kinase D in cardiomyocytes as a part of my senior thesis research project. Writing this review helped me understand the known mechanisms and the techniques used to perform functional assessments of the molecule. I learned how to review literature to find key information and create a story from different sources. I hope that the reader will become interested in one of the major concepts of my review and will continue exploring it on their own time.
By Timur Katsnelson, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ‘19 Author’s Note This topic was brought up during our discussion on the development of the nervous system in my neurobiology foundations class. I found it to be interesting because of its significance in the earliest stages of our lives. Further research into scientific literature discussing the role of pruning in neurodevelopment led me to learn more about its mechanism, distinctions from other forms of axon degrading, and its use in adult organisms.
By Tannavee Kumar, Genetics and Genomics ‘20 Author’s Note Cultured meat has been a topic of great discussion as we try to understand the extent to which animal agriculture contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental issues. While plant-based imitation meats have been on the market for decades, I was particularly interested in this lab-grown alternative when I heard that stem cells were being used to produce actual meat without having to raise animals themselves. This could potentially reduce the environmental footprint of the agricultural industry while providing a viable solution for consumers. While it is critical to understand how consumption levels of animal-based products have had an effect on health, and particularly how the change in consumption […]
By Rachel Hull, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’19 Author’s Note I first became interested in this topic when I read a news article about a team of scientists that had successfully integrated what the article called “mini human brains” into mice. Although the idea seemed novel to me, after a little digging, I found that the technology that generates such mini organs — or organoids — has existed for more than a decade. This technology is nevertheless constantly evolving, and I believe it will continue to do so for years to come.
By Emily Villarreal, Nutrition Science (Biology Emphasis), 2018 Author’s Note: This literature review was written for a UWP 104F course. I chose this topic because the gut microbiota is something that I am deeply interested in as a student researcher. The audience for this review includes medical professionals or members of academia who are interested in the microbiota and its effects on the onset of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
By Mari Hoffman, Genetics and Genomics ‘21 Author’s Note: I chose to interview Dr.LaSalle because of my interest in epigenetics and the relationship that our genes have with environmental interactions. Dr. LaSalle’s lab focuses on the role of epigenetics in the human autism-spectrum and many other neurodegenerative disorders. Her research group looks at the pathogenesis of the disorders by focusing on heritable changes that are not encoded in the DNA, such as DNA methylation and imprinted genes. It was an honor to get to talk to Dr. LaSalle about her research, as she is extremely passionate about this very complex and exciting topic.