Scientia Issue #110

Apr 3, 2017 | Issues

CELEBRATING CELL BIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY

Cell biologists, biochemists and molecular biologists alike have illuminated many of the microscopic mechanisms essential to life on Earth. Because of their tireless efforts, we now understand the most fundamental processes that characterise living cells, such as the replication of DNA and its translation into proteins with specific amino acid sequences. This insight has given us a molecular basis for how the first unicellular life forms evolved into the vast multitude of different species we observe today. Furthermore, by elucidating the human genome, scientists have greatly enhanced our ability to pinpoint molecular aberrations responsible for even the most complex of genetic diseases.

Beyond the genetic code, a deep understanding of the structure and function of proteins has also enabled us to discover how many diseases can arise, such as sickle cell anaemia. Similarly, knowing the biochemistry of lipids has enlightened our understanding of atherosclerosis, while a molecular understanding of carbohydrate metabolism has further elucidated diseases like diabetes. Insight into these complex processes has made the rational design of new drugs possible, such as molecules that inhibit the enzymes required for viruses to replicate. Furthermore, the ability to detect certain biomolecules associated with disease has greatly enhanced our medical diagnostics.

In this fascinating edition of Scientia, we celebrate the ways in which these disciplines have illuminated our understanding of life on Earth in addition to advancing our healthcare. To open the issue, we have had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Erica Siebrasse of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), who discusses the organisation’s dedication to accelerating research in these fields. Next, we feature an article about the Dresden International Graduate School for Biomedicine and Bioengineering (DIGS-BB) – a PhD training program based at TU Dresden that combines cutting edge research projects with innovative mentoring strategies.

Following an interview with our charity partner, Trees for Cities, we then move on to highlight the latest in genetics research. Here we feature eight fascinating projects, ranging from investigating the genes responsible for parenting behaviour, to developing new DNA fingerprinting techniques for ensuring quality in medicinal cannabis production. Next, we showcase the work of three researchers, each dedicated to improving our health into old-age, by investigating the biochemistry behind the ageing process. Our final two sections in the magazine highlight groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of both breast cancer and HIV research. By investigating the nuts and bolts of these diseases at the cellular and molecular levels, the scientists behind these projects are opening the door to targeted therapies.

 

 

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CONTACT

 

Published in the UK,
by Science Diffusion ltd

ISSN 2059-8971 (print)
ISSN 2059-898X (online)

 

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W: www.sciencediffusion.com
W: www.scientia.global

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Meet The Team…

 

 

 

DIRECTOR
Nick Bagnall 
nick@sciencediffusion.com

 

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Nelly Berg nelly@sciencediffusion.com

 

PUBLICATION MANAGER
Nick Powers 
npowers@sciencediffusion.com
Brett Langenberg 
brett@sciencediffusion.com
Dion Rees 
dion@sciencediffusion.com

 

DESIGN MANAGER
Mimi Jones

 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Conn Hastings, PhD
Alice Jensen, MSc
Christopher Barnard, MSc
Margaret Unkefer, MSc
Joseph Pastorek, MD, JD
Chris Harrison, PhD
Kate Stewart, BSc
Allan West, PhD
Anna Fagre, DVM, MSc
Mary Ziegler, PhD
Erin Hare, PhD

 

 

 

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Scientia Issue #110 Contents

 

 


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THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
An exclusive interview with Dr Erica Siebrasse of the ASBMB

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DIGS-BB: SETTING THE STANDARD FOR MODERN PHD TRAINING
An introduction to TU Dresden’s innovative PhD training program in biomedicine and bioengineering

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TREES FOR CITIES
An exclusive interview with the Chief Executive of Trees for Cities – Scientia’s charity partner

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DECRYPTING THE CODE OF LIFE

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OMIM® – THE ONLINE MENDELIAN INHERITANCE IN MAN KNOWLEDGEBASE
Professor Ada Hamosh
An introduction to the OMIM knowledgebase, providing a map to the complex world of human genetics

 

 

 

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UNCOVERING THE EVOLUTIONARY ORIGINS OF PARENTAL CARE
Professor Allen J. Moore
Illuminating the genetic underpinnings of parental behaviour, by studying the burying beetle
 

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ENSURING QUALITY ASPECTS OF MEDICINAL MARIHUANA
Professor Zamir Punja
Applying DNA fingerprinting techniques to a large number medicinal cannabis strains

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REAL-TIME VISUALISATION OF MRNA REGULATION AND TRANSPORT
Dr Diana P. Bratu
Using biophotonics to image mRNA movement and interacting proteins during fruit fly egg development

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HISTONES: TAILLESS MRNAS
Professor William F. Marzluff
Investigating the regulation of histone mRNA in mammals, flies, flogs and sea urchins

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RNA METABOLISM: HOW DIFFERENT BACTERIA REACHED THE SAME CONCLUSION IN THEIR OWN WAYS
Dr Harald Putzer
Investigating how bacteria regulate gene expression by degrading their transcripts with RNase enzymes

 

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UNDERSTANDING HOW BACTERIAL CELLS ORGANISE IN SPACE AND TIME
Professor Marc Bramkamp
The latest research into growth, division and chromosome organisation in bacteria

 

 

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AWAKENING SLEEPING BACTERIA
Professor Karl Forchhammer
Analysing how cyanobacteria can survive and recover from long periods of starvation
 

 

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ILLUMINATING THE BIOCHEMICAL MECHANISMS BEHIND AGEING   

 

 

 

 

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THE BRITISH SOCIETY FOR RESEARCH ON AGEING
An exclusive interview with Professor Richard Faragher of the BSRA

 

 

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COMBATTING CARBON STRESS TO KEEP CELLS HEALTHY
Dr Matthew D. Hirschey
Investigating how metabolism contributes to ageing and how the body defends itself
 

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GUIDING AGEING RESEARCH INTO MATURITY
Dr David Marcinek
Bringing fledgling therapies for mitochondrial dysfunction out of their infancy

 

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UNCOVERING THE MYSTERIES OF AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
Professor Deborah Ferrington
Exploring the cellular pathways underlying the pathology of AMD

 

 

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A BIOCHEMICAL APPROACH TO BEATING BREAST CANCER

 

 

 

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FIGHTING CANCER BY KEEPING CANCER CELLS ALIVE
Professor Tan Ince
Developing a system of categorising breast and ovarian cancer cell types

 

 

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DYSREGULATED CELLULAR MIGRATION: SEEING IS BELIEVING
Dr Stefan Veltel
Uncovering the role of Rab21 in integrin trafficking, cancer progression and metastasis

 

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TRANSLATING MECHANISTIC INSIGHT INTO TARGETED HIV THERAPIES

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A VERSATILE ANTIVIRAL DRUG WITH POTENTIAL FROM EBOLA TO HIV
Professor Paul Dent
Investigating the potential of the small molecule drug AR-12 to act as a versatile antiviral agent

 

 

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EXPLORING ALVEOLAR MACROPHAGES AS HIV RESERVOIRS
Professor David M. Guidot
Exploring the mechanisms leading to lung disease in people with HIV, in order to develop novel treatments