By Derry K Mercer, Principal Scientist at Novabiotics Ltd & member of the Biochemical Society Policy Advisory Panel
From cradle to grave, antimicrobials have become pivotal in safeguarding the overall health of human societies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the biggest threats to global health today. Recently, at the United Nations, World Heads of State committed to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture, only the fourth time that a health issue has been taken up by the UN General Assembly. According to the O’Neill report, it is estimated that 700,000 people die annually from drug resistant infections. In the US alone, more than two million infections a year are caused by bacteria resistant to at least one antibiotic, costing the US health system more than US$20 billion in excess costs annually. Continue reading →
By Sayan Chakraborty, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A-STAR, Singapore
In our hectic modern lifestyle, we are constantly subjected to stress of many kinds including the stress experienced by our body from weight-gain. From the physiological perspective, these symptoms are managed by signalling molecules present in the body that control energy expenditure and form new blood vessels (angiogenesis) to cope with increased ‘cellular stress’ levels. These physiological consequences can be precursors to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, one symptom of which is increased angiogenesis.
Proliferative retinopathy, an advanced form of diabetic retinopathy, occurs when abnormal new blood vessels and scar tissue form on the surface of the retina. (Credit: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, USA)Continue reading →
By Helen Albert, Community & Press Editor, Biochemical Society
It’s that time of year again, short days, long nights, all feeling a bit of the ‘winter blues’ before we all head off to rest and recuperate over the Christmas break. We all know that sunlight can be therapeutic and indeed much of the literature suggests that exposure to sunlight triggers the release of the happiness hormone serotonin.
It seems that the healing powers of light are much broader than simply making us all feel good about ourselves. Earlier this month Li-Huei Tsai and her colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US published a paper in Nature that showed that optogenetic techniques could improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s in a mouse model of the disease. Continue reading →
At the end of May, we announced the winners of our Science Communication Competition. This month the 3rd prize written piece ‘Cancer: a disease of bad luck, or bad lifestyle?’ by Jessica Hardy, who is studying for a DPhil in Pathology at the University of Oxford, was published in the December issue of The Biochemist.
To coincide with the publication of this piece, we asked Johanna Laibe, who is studying for a Masters by Research in structural bioinformatics at Kingston University and is the 3rd prize winner of the video competition, about the inspiration behind her video ‘In between the (beta)-sheets’. Continue reading →
By James Brown, Education and Public Engagement Officer, Biochemical Society
“The future is here, but it is not well distributed.” With these words, Oron Catts (SymbioticA, University Western Australia) set the scene for not only this meeting of community DIY biologists, but also for the worldwide biohacking community. Like La Paillasse in Paris, or GenSpace in New York, the London Biohackspace is a community run molecular biology and microbiology lab, and on 17 November they held the first Open Biology Forum, London which was an opportunity for members of this community to gather and meet whilst discussing the possibilities and goals of open biology. Continue reading →