Infection Detection

Posted: 11.24.15

Written and Illustrated by Christina Marvin Doctoral Candidate in Chemistry at UNC Open-wound injuries such as burns are serious enough to warrant hospitalization by themselves but patients often run into further problems when routine treatment is unexpectedly interrupted by bacterial infections. Infections are notorious for increasing the risk of severe complications and prolonging recovery times. Unfortunately, by …read more

Written by Amy Rydeen Doctoral Candidate in Chemistry at UNC  Protein engineers do. Most people are familiar with chemical, civil and aerospace engineering. However, not many are aware of ‘designer protein’ engineering. Proteins are responsible for nearly all aspects of life, including cell communication, metabolism, structure and maintenance. Proteins are also commonly utilized by the …read more

Written by JoEllen McBride Doctoral Candidate in Astrophysics at UNC Life requires balance. We spend a large part of our existence balancing our careers and our personal lives, our family and work obligations, and our own personal health. If something occurs that displaces one of the elements of our lives, we take action to bring …read more

Written by Chris Givens Doctoral Candidate in Cell & Molecular Physiology at UNC As I enter the Microscopy Services Laboratory (MSL), a soft southern accent greets me: “Come in- want a cucumber? Help yourself!” Dr. Bob Bagnell, the faculty director of the MSL, is an institution at UNC. Over the course of thirty years, he …read more

Written by Nicole M. Baker Doctoral Candidate in Pharmacology If you have any interest in science and have ever contemplated your existence within the confines of this universe, chances are that you’ve come across an interactive Flash-based animation called “The Scale of the Universe.” Developed by two 14-year-olds, Cary and Michael Huang, this animation allows …read more

Written by Margaret Jones Masters student in Geological Sciences A new project kicked off this July as researchers across four institutions joined forces with local start-up companies, consultants, and coastal utilities to explore how a process that occurs naturally every minute along North Carolina’s coast may be harnessed for sustainable energy. The process in question …read more

Written by Mimi Huang PhD Student in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Dr. Rachel Noble of the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, takes water samples at a beach near Morehead City. Photo by UNC via IMS website. Going to the beach? In addition to keeping an eye out for …read more

Written by Deirdre Sackett Doctoral Candidate in Behavioral Neuroscience It sounds like medicine from a futuristic, sci-fi hospital: nanoparticles that deliver drug therapies and cells that can fight cancer or promote organ regeneration. However, by combining engineering and pharmaceutical research, UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University are helping to bring the future of therapeutics …read more

Stay Free of CHIKV!

Posted: 09.09.15

Written by Suzan Ok Doctoral Candidate in Microbiology & Immunology at UNC Illustration by Allie Mills Doctoral Candidate in UNC Department of Pharmacology Stay Free of CHIKV! Chikungunya (pronunciation: chik-en-gun-ye), a virus with a difficult name to pronounce, is also proving difficult to contain. Like the more commonly known dengue virus, chikungunya (CHIKV) is an …read more

FuSE Blog Post: Session 6

Posted: 09.04.15

Future Science Educator Blog Post: Session 6 By Cathryn J. Kurkjian, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow & FuSE Member Designing a syllabus can be tedious and challenging; that was made abundantly clear during session 6 of the TIBBS summer series. The syllabus that Jennifer Coble handed out was critically reviewed, eliciting positive, negative, and ambiguous feelings by those …read more

Written by JoEllen McBride PhD Candidate in Astrophysics We like to think of the Universe as static. Our time is very short compared to the age of the Universe. But there are processes in space that happen on the time scales we inhabit. The variation in brightness of certain types of stars allow astronomers to …read more

Written by Christina Marvin Illustration by Christina Marvin Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) are extraordinary in that they have the potential to differentiate into any somatic cell type and thus are used as effective tools in a wide range of studies, from understanding basic scientific processes to discovering treatment for disease. Yet, there is a …read more

FuSE Blog Post: Session 8

Posted: 08.31.15

Future Science Educator Blog Post: Session 8 By Kelsey Marie Gray, FuSE Member The workshop in active learning exemplified the teaching technique through and through. We learned about active learning using active learning. This began even before the class meeting with the presentation of the following learning objectives: What does research say about active learning? How …read more

By Mimi Huang Hindsight is always 20/20, especially in the field of science. Given what we know now, it seems crazy that people used to think the world was flat. The realm of toxicology is filled with similar stories (see “pregnancy-boosting” DES and super-insecticide DDT). In the mid-twentieth century America, realization of the harmful effects …read more

Career Video Resources

Posted: 08.28.15

Learn more about possible career options from a variety of career areas! Some resources are listed below: UCSF Career Center: Vanderbilt Career Center Video Library: TBA University of North Carolina “5 Questions: 100 Answer” Video Series: Become a part of the changing the biomedical workforce expansion by exposing trainees to knowledge of exciting PhD science …read more

By Kristin Sellers Comprised of the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system (CNS) stands apart from other organ systems. While all other organs share a common, loosely filtered blood supply, the brain is highly selective in what it allows to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter into this space. Furthermore, cells in many …read more

By Nicole Baker Illustration by Meagan Ryan As scientists, many of us have read a paper, been inspired by the glamorous data, carefully followed the methods section in order to replicate the results in our own hands, and failed to validate the original results. I’ve often attributed these issues to my own inexperience and naiveté …read more

By Ashley R. Scheaffer A Guest Writer from the Wayne State University Department of Criminal Justice Illustration by Meg Ryan   In 2007, Jenny McCarthy stood on her celebrity platform and told everyone that certain components in vaccines contribute to the development of autism1. She has since become one of the most prolific opponents of …read more

Puppies are cute. We don’t often get to see them in utero, but now we can, thanks to this sweet radiograph courtesy of my mom, a Labradoodle breeder at Red Rock Doodles. Can you guess the number of puppies by counting the heads and tails? How many do you see? I think puppies are fabulous, …read more

As a young adult living in Carolina, I have come to associate summer with intolerable heat, delicious watermelon, and…the start of wedding season. Two friends of mine got married recently in May. A few months before, as they were making their registry, they encountered a troubling question. As they held the Bed, Bath and Beyond …read more

One of my research projects involves characterizing a new protein-protein interaction. I wanted to know which specific regions of the two proteins interacted with each other, so I generated plasmid DNA able to express several shortened versions of the proteins in cells, hoping to later test whether the proteins could still bind to one another. …read more

It is well known that the Moon is responsible for the tides on Earth. The effects of the tides at the Earth’s surface are predictable, but the effects of tides deep beneath the ocean’s surface are not as well understood. Ed Santilli, who recently received his PhD in Physics from the University of North Carolina …read more

I am not a morning person. Often, rising from bed seems like harder work than any experiment I will do in the coming day. Coffee helps, but my morning shower is what gets me going. While practicing my hygiene regimen, my sleepy mind awakens. Unconsciously, I corral my scattered thoughts and focus on one subject, …read more

Mark Derewicz is a translator. As the Science Communications Manager at UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care, Mark works to translate the language of science – an esoteric tongue necessarily peppered with jargon – into English that more general audiences can understand. Because of his experience and skills in science communication, Mark was …read more

Speaker: Mark Derewicz, Science Communications Manager at UNC School of Medicine/UNC Health Care Date: May 26th, 2015 Time: 5:30 PM Location: Bondurant Hall, Room G030 Event Link: Last month, SWAC hosted a very successful first seminar featuring Lauren Neighbours, PhD, RAC, from Rho, Inc., a contract research organization in Chapel Hill. This month we …read more

Title: A previously unreported method for complete randomization of biological samples Authors: Ima B. Klutz1, Tripp R. Treat1, Lucy Fenghers1,2, O. H. Schitt3, Ivana Revind4, Nev R. Definde3, Rocco Starr1,2,4. Author Affiliations: 1 Curriculum in Unrealistic Biological Methodology, Wannabe-Harvard University, Cambridge, NC, 2 Department of Acronym Development and Testing, Wannabe-Harvard University, Cambridge, NC, 3 Department …read more

Non-scientist friends and relatives often ask me whether I am “curing” cancer, and question why the cure for cancer doesn’t already exist following decades of funding for research. Worse, some social media conspiracy theorists are irrevocably convinced that the cure for cancer already exists, but, for monetary gain, the government only allows companies to treat …read more

Before undergoing an MRI scan, the patient must answer a laundry list of safety questions.  For example, the MRI technician will ask about any metal that you may have on (or in) your body. That’s because some metals are strongly magnetic, and may present a safety hazard or simply interfere with the scan image quality. …read more

The concept of a magic bullet comes from the ancient Germanic folktale of Freischutz, a marksman who made a deal with the devil for bullets that would hit whatever target he desired. Drawing on the folktale, Paul Ehrlich developed the concept of a magic bullet that destroys pathogens, but not the host. Before he became …read more

Contrary to scientific consensus, the public at large continues to harbor concerns over the consumption of foods containing  Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. To make matters worse, scientists have now discovered we have unknowingly been eating GMO foods for more than 10,000 years. Indeed, it seems our overambitious ancestors may have even selected for crops …read more

Protein purification can be a lengthy process that requires patience, perseverance, and, at times, creativity. The purification of a protein that is susceptible to degradation and exhibits poor solubility provides extra challenges. I had the pleasure of working with one such protein. The purification procedure calls for three different affinity columns and numerous incubation steps. …read more

Move over, Mendel

Posted: 05.02.15

Recently featured in Science, Valentino Gantz and Ethan Bier have developed a novel genome editing method that subverts traditional heritability. Termed the mutagenic chain reaction, this process  can insert new mutations in the genome that automatically spread themselves to neighboring chromosomes. Thus, homozygous mutants are generated after just one generation, instead of the two generations …read more

Most people would presume the safest place to survive the imminent Zombie apocalypse would be in an underground bunker. This erroneous conclusion has led to the untimely death of a large number of soft-shelled clams – admittedly not by Zombieism itself, but its closely related cousin: transmissible and highly contagious cancer. Hemic neoplasia, a leukemia-like …read more

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