Genetically Engineered Crops: A Food Security Solution?

Posted Posted in Book Review, Environment

By Roxanna Pignolet, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 20’ Author’s Note: Since I started working on plant metabolites as an undergraduate researcher in the Shih Lab, I’ve developed a great appreciation for the power of plant genetic engineering to address a wide variety of problems. A uniquely global and increasingly relevant concern is how to continue to feed the world’s growing population in the face of climate change. I decided to write this paper to provide a snapshot of the current research being done to innovate crop species that will survive in the face of climate change. As part of this review. I also wanted to address ongoing concerns about the safety and impact of GMOs on consumers and the environment, […]

Novel Pathway Elucidates Potential for Nitric-Oxide Produced by Tumor-Associated Macrophages to Confer Resistance to Chemotherapy Drug Cisplatin

Posted Posted in Biochemistry, Biology

By Reshma Kolala, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology ‘22 Authors Note: This past summer I was given the incredible opportunity to work in the Thurmond Lab at the City of Hope where I investigated a point mutant of the Syntaxin 4 protein on -cell function and apoptosis. The following piece reviews a publication that was fundamental to both the understanding and methodology of my project.    Introduction Cisplatin (CDDP) is a widely used chemotherapy drug that induces apoptosis in solid tumor cells, which are cells that lack cysts or liquid areas such as carcinomas, sarcomas, and lymphomas. The platinum-based chemotherapeutic agent was popularized in the late 1970s as the antitumoral toxicity of platinum compounds became known for their clinical efficacy against solid […]

How Expectations Shape Perception

Posted Posted in Biology, Neurobiology

By Neha Madugala, Cognitive Science, ‘21 Author’s Note: Previous studies in neuroscience have suggested that our expectations and prior experiences impact how we perceive reality and current tasks. This idea is embedded in Bayesian integration, also referred to as multisensory integration, which essentially studies how the brain combines information obtained from sensory neurons to affect perception and create a distinct outlook on an organism’s surroundings. It defines how we view and think about our environment.  This topic was particularly interesting to me because expectations can serve to aid our further understanding of incoming information, but can also inhibit our understanding if the new information contradicts our predictions.   Scientists classify expectations as essentially creating a placebo effect. The idea is that […]

Reading into the Future: Development of Long-read DNA Sequencing

Posted Posted in Biology, Genetics

By Aditi Goyal, Genetics and Genomics, ‘22 At this moment, the next revolution in the field of biology is currently underway: third-generation sequencing, or Long-Read sequencing. Instead of relying on cluster-based short read technology (1), third-generation sequencing builds a DNA sequence on a nucleotide basis, therefore eliminating the extensive process of read alignment. Until now, scientists across the world have been heavily relying on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) for getting DNA sequences. This technology creates clusters of short DNA sequences, which range anywhere from 50 to 150 base pairs in length, by using fluorescent nucleotides (2). It is often referred to as sequencing by synthesis because a DNA sequence is created by tracking which nucleotides are being used to build the parallel […]

CD47-SIRPα Pathway as a Target for Cancer Therapeutics

Posted Posted in Biology, Cell Biology

By: Nicholas Garaffo, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 20’ Authors’ Note: I originally wrote this piece for my UWP 104E class Writing in the Science’s, but I have since expanded my topic and complicated my original analysis. Ultimately, I submitted this piece to the Norman J. Lang Prize, was awarded second place, and presented my research to the UC Davis college deans. I chose to focus my literary review on cell signaling pathways because I hope to study such topics in my PhD. This topic has impacted my life personally because my grandmother was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma my freshman year of college. In fact, during this review the drugs she was treated with were mentioned, and the CD47-SIRPa pathway may […]

CRISPR/HDR Platform Allows for the Production of Monoclonal Antibodies with the Constant Region of Choice

Posted Posted in Biology, Genetics

By Sharon Yang, Cell Biology, ‘20 Author’s Note: I first came across an article talking about this new innovation on Science X. Having worked with hybridomas and antibodies through various internships, I was deeply intrigued by this discovery and secured an original paper to learn more about its potential applications. Because of the revolutionizing usage of antibodies in the medical field, it is vital to understand how this finding will facilitate antibody-based therapies in clinical research.     Introduction Since the discovery of antibodies and their applications in therapeutics, many diseases once deemed incurable now have a treatment, if not a cure. Antibodies are proteins that recognize and bind to specific antigens (proteins that are considered “foreign” to the body). The […]

Finding a Solution in the Source: Exploring the Potential for Early Beta Cell Proliferation to Disrupt Autoreactive Tendencies in a Type 1 Diabetes Model

Posted Posted in Biology, Cell Biology, Health and Medicine

By Reshma Kolala, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology ‘22 Residing in the pancreas are clusters of specialized cells, namely alpha, beta (), and delta cells. cells, more specifically, are insulin-secreting cells that are instrumental in the body’s glucose regulation mechanism. An elevation of the extracellular glucose concentrations allows glucose to enter cells via GLUT2 transporters, where it is subsequently metabolized. The resultant increase in ATP catalyzes the opening of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, triggering the depolarization of the plasma membrane which in turn stimulates insulin release by cells (1). In individuals with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), however, pancreatic islet beta cells are damaged by pro-inflammatory cytokines that are released by the body’s own immune cells. The loss of functional beta cell mass induces […]

A Chemical Report on Heptachlor (Heptachlor Epoxide)

Posted Posted in Biology, Environment, Health and Medicine

By Kaiming Tan Author’s Note: This report analyzes and explains the biological, chemical, and environmental importance of heptachlor. More and more in today’s society, we are utilizing synthetic compounds as agricultural insecticides, which makes understanding what these chemicals do to our bodies and the environment of utmost importance. Farming strategies may seem far-removed from our daily lives, but these chemicals do not stay on the farm. They travel to our cities, to our grocery stores and markets, then make their way onto our dinner plates and into our children’s stomachs. I am constantly amazed at the power of scientific research to transform and demystify the detrimental nature of environmental and biological toxicants; this, combined with my passion in toxicology, has inspired me […]

The Effect of Trastuzumab on HER2-Signaling in Breast Cancers to Induce Cardiotoxicity

Posted Posted in Biology, Book Review, Genetics, News

By Karissa Cruz, B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Spring ‘19 Author’s Note: I wrote this piece as part of my UWP 104F assignments and ended up becoming really interested in what I wrote about. I specifically chose this topic because I think breast cancer is a smart, complex disease, and the treatment can change day-to-day. I wanted to shed light on a widely accepted breast cancer treatment that is now under review after discovering that it can cause cardiac dysfunction.