Are Children Fighting The “Fat” Gene? An Analysis of Pediatric Obesity and Genetics

Posted Posted in Biology, Book Review, Genetics, Health and Medicine

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 […]

Epigenetic Approach Sheds Light on Potential New Therapeutic Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted Posted in Biology, Genetics, News

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.

Cause of Seizures in Individuals with Angelman Syndrome

Posted Posted in Biology, Genetics, Neurobiology, News

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.

Novel Mechanisms and Functions of Protein Kinase D in the Cardiovascular System

Posted Posted in Biology, Genetics, Health and Medicine

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.

Cultured Meat: Teaching an Old Cell New Tricks

Posted Posted in Environment, Genetics

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 […]

Aggie Transcript Interview: Dr. Janine LaSalle

Posted Posted in Campus News and Reports, Genetics

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.

A Review of Personalized Cystic Fibrosis Treatments: Genotype-Phenotype Relationships

Posted Posted in Genetics, Health and Medicine

By Daniel Erenstein, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ‘20 Author’s Note: One of the major assignments in my Writing in Science (UWP 104E) course was a literature review on some current topic of scientific interest. The process involved in understanding prior research on a topic and in predicting a field’s future directions was challenging. Along the way, I often found myself lost in a world of complicated scientific jargon. In the end, it was a personal story that provided the inspiration I needed for this article. Worldwide, more than 70,000 people have cystic fibrosis, and there are over 30,000 patients in the United States alone. Mary Frey is one of them, and she chronicles her life alongside Peter, her husband, and […]

The Relationship Between Genetic Diversity and Disturbance in the Eelgrass Species Zostera marina

Posted Posted in Environment, Genetics

By Ryan Green   Author’s note: This piece was written for my upper division university writing class, Writing in the Sciences. We were required to write a review article on a topic of our choice, and I chose the relationship between genetic diversity and disturbance of Zostera marina. I decided to pursue this topic because I was concurrently working in a molecular ecology eelgrass lab on campus, and I believed to get the most out of this lab experience I should have a good grasp of the current research that is already published and what still needs to be published within the subject. I hope this review gives readers a better understanding of where we now stand in eelgrass molecular […]

Could a DNA Sample Reconstruct a Face?

Posted Posted in Genetics

By Anna Kirillova, Cell Biology, ’19 Author’s Note: I came across facial genetics in one of my classes and immediately decided to write a review about it. To my surprise, the field was not as developed as I’ve expected it to be, but with the rise of facial recognition technologies, this area of research will be growing in the near future. In this review, I explained basic concepts and recent advancements in the field of human facial genetics.

Solving the Organ Shortage

Posted Posted in Genetics, Health and Medicine

By Sofie Bates Author’s Note: At the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting this year, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Pablo Ross from UC Davis present in a panel discussion on gene editing to create xenogeneic organs. I wrote this article to highlight interesting research that is being done by researchers around the country and right here at UC Davis. I hope that this article will explain xenogeneic organ production—a revolutionary development in the future of medicine—and push readers to think about related bioethical issues and future directions.