Teisha has written 110 posts for Biology Bytes

Stem Cell Awareness Day: October 8, 2014

Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 8, is Stem Cell Awareness Day. It’s a day to celebrate stem cells, have discussions on what stem cell research is, and learn about potential benefits and disease treatments using stem cells. Many national and international events (especially in California) are taking place to celebrate this special day — the California Institute … Continue reading »

First Transplant using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Treating Blindness

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have enormous potential for being used in tissue transplants and therapies. Why is this? It’s because iPSCs can be made using virtually any cells from a person’s body — such as skin or fat samples that wouldn’t be missed. (And since they’re the patient’s own cells, the immune system should … Continue reading »

Getting Your Hands Dirty through Citizen Biology

Do you like to bird watch using your backyard bird feeder? Or maybe you have fun going bug hunting at a local nature preserve. However you enjoy taking in the natural world around you, there may be a way you can help scientists with important research at the same time! It’s thanks to citizen science, … Continue reading »

Making Glowing Plants

Can you imagine using a plant instead of a light bulb to light up a room? Or a tree to light up a street instead of a lamp post? These inspiring, sustainability-focused ideas were what the Glowing Plant Project used to raise public support in creating plants that glow. And not just simply glow — … Continue reading »

The Science of ALS and the Irony of the Ice Bucket Challenge

With the ALS ice bucket challenge going viral, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has been getting a lot of attention. But what exactly is ALS? It is essentially a poorly understood neurodegenerative disease that kills relatively quickly — with people usually dying within 3–5 years after onset of the first symptoms — and is responsible for … Continue reading »

Salt, Cardiovascular Disease, and Death: Controversial Correlations

Just last Thursday, three papers were published in The New England Journal of Medicine that came to very different conclusions about how much table salt (sodium chloride) we should have in our diets if we want to avoid cardiovascular disease and a related death. While two of the studies suggested that most people could safely … Continue reading »

Using Silkworms to Make More than Silk

We have a long history with the silkworm (Bombyx mori), which was native throughout Asia and thought to have been domesticated more than 5,000 years ago in China to make silk. Silkworms today are biological silk-producing machines, the products of thousands of years of careful breeding. Silk production is now a multi-billion dollar industry, with … Continue reading »

Ebola: What Is It and What Do You Have to Worry About?

Ebola has been in the headlines a lot lately, mostly because the current outbreak is the largest one we’ve ever seen. There have also been people transported into the United States who were infected, raising concerns about an Ebola outbreak happening in the country. However, while Ebola is a terrifying disease, it is unlikely to … Continue reading »

The Chikungunya Virus is in the U.S.: Get to Know the Virus

Have you heard of the chikungunya virus? The virus (pronounced chik-en-gun-ye) was discovered in 1952 in Africa, and has been slowly making its way around the world… although the pace has been quickened in recent years. The first U.S. case was reported just earlier this month, on July 17, 2014, and a second case soon … Continue reading »

Our Microbiomes: In Sickness and in Health

Last week, we took a look at the amazing diversity of microbes (bacteria, fungi, and others) that live on, and inside of, our bodies. This week we’ll dig deeper into our microbiomes and explore what’s known about how they help keep us healthy, and why they sometimes make us sick. Shown here are Lactobacillus bacteria … Continue reading »