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 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: Kathryn Pietrosimone, Ph.D Postdoctoral Research Associate Thurston Arthritis Research Center, UNC-CH         Peer edited and reviewed by  Amy Rydeen. Follow us on social media and never miss an immunology article: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn This article was co-published on the SWAC Blog, The Pipettepen.

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

Written by Dan Albaugh President of SWAC, Doctoral Candidate in Neurobiology Hello Pipettepen Readers! SWAC is gearing up for another great semester! To kick it off, we’ve got another MRI image ready for your guesses. Every so often, I like to post images of produce items taken at UNC’s Biomedical Research Imaging Center. These scans …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 7

Posted: 09.04.15

Future Science Educator Blog Post: Session 7 By Cathryn J. Kurkjian, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow & FuSE Member How do you become an effective educator? When it comes down to it, that’s all we are trying to figure out, isn’t it? Session 7 of the TIBBS summer series was a panel of current and former SPIRE scholars …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 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

FuSE Blog Post: Session 5

Posted: 08.31.15

Future Science Educator Blog Post: Session 5 By Kelsey Marie Gray, FuSE Member This class started off with a bang. Literally. Todd Zakrajsek had us notice how our levels of attentiveness changed when he stood behind a podium saying words and when he moved around the room holding a balloon, poised to be popped, saying words. …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 Adele Musicant Illustrated by Allie Mills Most of us have heard the story of Van Gogh and his ear:  he reportedly sliced it off after a quarrel with an artist friend who was thinking of severing (no pun intended!) the partnership. However, there is a plethora of similar stories: Virginia Woolf (a British novelist), the …read more

July: Guess What We Imaged

Posted: 07.29.15

Hi Readers! Thanks for your guesses for last month’s MRI image. Nur and Saideep are both right- it’s a kiwi! Posted below is a new image. For those that attended a 4th of July barbecue, this produce item may seem especially familiar. Happy guessing!   By Dan Albaugh Peer edited by Rachel Cohen Tags: [wpv-post-taxonomy type=”post_tag” …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

Mr. Turtle Gets Sick

Posted: 06.18.15

In 2012, I was working at the Cooperative Oxford Lab in Oxford, Maryland, when we were notified of and rescued a stranded sea turtle. Sadly, the turtle was so sick that it died. An intern performed the necropsy (an autopsy on animals) and found that the turtle’s stomach was full of plastic trash and even …read more

June: Guess What We Imaged

Posted: 06.15.15

Hi Readers! Thanks for your guesses on last month’s MRI image. As Tania correctly guessed, it was an image of an onion. If you look closely, you can see that the inner layers are darker. This is because the scan is water-sensitive, and the onion was not so fresh. It was dehydrating from the inside …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

Requiem for a Western Blot: A Haiku on Reversing the Positive and Negative Electrodes     Two weeks to prepare It’s time to transfer this gel Data finally? Excitement building Put the wires on backwards Proteins all lost, $%!#     By: Nicole M. Baker Peer edited and Reviewed by Bailey Peck & Chris Givens. …read more

TBT: Darwin’s doodles

Posted: 05.28.15

The image before you is known as Darwin’s tree of life. Today, most scientists immediately recognize it as a basic idea in evolutionary theory; yet when Darwin drew it in 1837, it was simply a sketch drawn in an attempt to understand the observations he made on the voyage of the Beagle. Based largely on …read more

Warm as a fish in the sea

Posted: 05.21.15

No one can accuse the opah, Lampris guttatus, of being a cold fish. Nor could one call it a cold-hearted fish. Even if it were the most emotionally distant and bitter of all fish, the opah is in fact a warm fish. That is to say, the opah is a warm-blooded fish. Warm-bloodedness, or endothermy, …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

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

Guess what we imaged?!

Posted: 05.01.15

Hello readers! I want to have a little fun with some of the great images that we create in the laboratory. My graduate research in Ian Shih’s lab focuses on neuroimaging, and our tool of choice is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Although we generally scan brains, occasionally some other interesting items enter through the MR …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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