By Tannavee Kumar, Genetics and Genomics, ’20 Author’s Note: When I found out that CRISPR was used for the first time on human embryos that were fully brought to term, I was pretty surprised that such a new technology with numerous unknowns was being used on the germline. I was interested in understanding the reasoning for such an experiment and what may come out of it in the long run. To some, CRISPR may seem like a far off technology that could be applied to humans in the distant future. However, the experiment on the twin fetuses that went through this “genetic surgery” proves that CRISPR is happening now and is likely to stay. But first, how does CRISPR work? […]
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 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 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 Gita Mallya, Plant Biology, ‘19 Author’s note: I wrote this piece for my UWP 104E class with Brenda Rinard during Fall Quarter 2017. The assignment was to read a classic book based in science and then to write a review on it. I chose this book because I have always been fascinated by genetics and the study of genes even catalyzed my decision to study biology. Although the review was a class assignment, it gave me the opportunity to explore and think critically about a subject I feel passionately about. I would like the reader to come away with the notion that scientific study is not always as cut and dry as it may seem, and that The Gene is […]
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 […]
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.
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.