Microbiome manipulation – full steam ahead?

Tilly Potter, Department of Twin Research, King’s College London

TP - pic1I recently began my PhD during which I will be carrying out investigations into the human microbiome – that is, all of the microbes we harbour on and in our bodies and their genetic material. The reasons why I was attracted to this area are likely similar to those of other scientists who have entered this field; microbiome research is still in its relative infancy yet appears to hold enormous potential regarding understanding differences between health and disease, with the number of diseases or adverse health states examined continuing to increase with time. This makes it an incredibly diverse and exciting area to work within! Continue reading

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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