Research Highlights: Gut Microbiome May Promote Fetal Brain Development

Microbiota, good bacteria in human intestine. Image Source: Marcin Klapczynski, iStock / Getty Images Plus Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2745-3 Dysbiosis is a term for a microbial imbalance or maladaptation on or inside the body. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiome during pregnancy, in response to challenges such as infection, altered diet and stress during pregnancy, has been increasingly correlated with … Continue reading Research Highlights: Gut Microbiome May Promote Fetal Brain Development

Research Highlights: Pseudomonas syringae Gene Contribution to Apoplastic Fitness in Different Plant Hosts

Tomato leaf (Lycopersicon esculentum) with bacterial speck (Pseudomonas syringae). Copyright Melodie Putnam 2009, Oregon State University. Image Source: http://sites.science.oregonstate.edu Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0239998 A variety of traits are necessary for bacteria to colonize the interior of plant hosts. These traits include well-studied virulence effectors as well as other phenotypes contributing to the growth of bacteria and … Continue reading Research Highlights: Pseudomonas syringae Gene Contribution to Apoplastic Fitness in Different Plant Hosts

Research Highlights: Monitoring the Placebo Effect with Plasma Proteins in Nausea

Image Source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-power-of-the-placebo-effect Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0238533 Researchers tested whether placebo effects can be monitored and predicted by plasma proteins. Participants were exposed to a nauseating stimulus on two separate days. Participants were randomly assigned to placebo treatment or no treatment on the second day. Significant placebo effects on nausea, motion sickness, and gastric activity in … Continue reading Research Highlights: Monitoring the Placebo Effect with Plasma Proteins in Nausea

Research Highlights: Macrophages Perform Quality Check in Colon Fluid Absorption

Image Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.048 Original Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.048 The primary function of the colon is to absorb fluids. The colon contains a large number of microorganisms including fungi, which are elevated near the end of the segment. The mucous membrane of the colon must regulate fluid influx to control absorption of metabolites from fungi. Fungal metabolites can … Continue reading Research Highlights: Macrophages Perform Quality Check in Colon Fluid Absorption

Research Highlights: Cancer Cell Consumes “Fake” Amino Acid with a “Ticking Time Bomb”

Scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic HeLa cancer cell. Thomas Deerinck, UC San Diego. Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.202003757 External sources of amino acids are important nutrients to fuel the growth of cancer cells. The study utilized the increased demand for amino acid displayed by cancer cells as a design principle. The goal is to fill cancer … Continue reading Research Highlights: Cancer Cell Consumes “Fake” Amino Acid with a “Ticking Time Bomb”

Research Highlights: Stem Cell Therapy after Praziquantel Treatment May Reduce Liver Damage in Schistosomiasis

Life cycle of Schistosoma. Image Source: https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/schistosomiasis/index.html Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0008635 Mesenchymal stem cells have potential immunosuppressive and regenerative properties. Researchers investigated whether transplantation of adipose tissue-derived stem cells could be used to control the granulomatous reaction in the liver of mice infected with Schistosoma mansoni after Praziquantel treatment. Granulomatous reaction is a distinctive pattern of chronic inflammation … Continue reading Research Highlights: Stem Cell Therapy after Praziquantel Treatment May Reduce Liver Damage in Schistosomiasis

Research Highlights: In-Depth Structural Analysis of Staphylococcus aureus Bacteriophage Baseplate

Schematic diagram of the bacteriophage baseplate (left). Isosurface representation of the 80α bacteriophage baseplate (center). Cutaway side view, showing the inside of the tail (right). Image source: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008314 Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008314 Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of infections in humans. S. aureus or “staph” is a type of bacteria found on human skin, in … Continue reading Research Highlights: In-Depth Structural Analysis of Staphylococcus aureus Bacteriophage Baseplate

Research Highlights: Understanding the Rare Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children with COVID-19 Infection

Image Source: https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/what-parents-should-know-about-multisystem-inflammatory-syndrome-in-children-and-covid-19 Original Article: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.09.016 COVID-19 viral infection is typically very mild and often does not show symptoms in children. If complication develops in children associated with COVID-19, it may be the rare multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, … Continue reading Research Highlights: Understanding the Rare Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children with COVID-19 Infection

The Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter

(a) Wax undergoes a physical change when solid wax is heated and forms liquid wax. (b) Steam condensing inside a cooking pot is a physical change, as water vapor is changed into liquid water. (credit a: modification of work by “95jb14”/Wikimedia Commons; credit b: modification of work by “mjneuby”/Flickr) OpenStax Chemistry 2e The characteristics that … Continue reading The Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter

Reading the Chemical Hazard Diamond or Fire Diamond

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) hazard diamond summarizes the major hazards of a chemical substance. Source: OpenStax Chemistry 2e OpenStax Chemistry 2e You may have seen the symbol shown in the image above on containers of chemicals in a laboratory or workplace. Sometimes called a “fire diamond” or “hazard diamond,” this chemical hazard diamond provides … Continue reading Reading the Chemical Hazard Diamond or Fire Diamond