The healing powers of light

By Helen Albert, Community & Press Editor, Biochemical Society

serotonin-jewels
Serotonin molecule

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

Biomedical Engineering – Not Just Science Fiction

By Chelsea Reighard, University of Michigan, USA

I remember my first exposure to bioengineering vividly. My love for science started in primary school, when I received a gift subscription to weekly science magazine. One Saturday afternoon I sprawled out on my parents’ living room carpet to read an issue about ‘wacky inventions’. I could not believe my eyes when I turned the page to find a mouse with an ear on his back—a human shaped ear!

While many of these tissue engineering and 3D printing applications seem to be the stuff of science fiction; the innovative medical devices and education approaches are real. I am fortunate to be spending this academic year researching biomedical solutions to clinical problems under the mentorship of Dr David Zopf.

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The Biochemist: Student Editing Experience

John Innes SVC

Every year The Biochemistry Society’s magazine, The Biochemist, holds a competition. This competition invites early career researchers to try their hand at editing an edition of The Biochemist. Interested teams submit a proposal on a theme that they would be interested to see an edition based around. This year’s winning proposal came from the John Innes Centre, and a team comprised of Tom Vincent, Leonie Luginbuehl and Guru Radhakrishnan. Their winning theme was ‘Communication in Plants and Microbes’. I sat down with Tom (as well as a brief email exchange with Guru) to find out what the competition involved and how the team felt about their experiences.

The Leonie, Tom and Guru, the editing team

What attracted you to apply to edit the Biochemist?

T: Having little experience in science communication, this looked like a great way to try something new in a new area. New experiences may even have…

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