This tag is associated with 27 posts

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 »

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 »

Life Beyond Earth

Are we alone, or is there life beyond Earth? It’s a question we’ve been trying to actively answer for decades now, with increased interest in more recent times. While there almost certainly is life outside of our world, we have yet to find it. Based on our understanding of the spectrum of organisms that live … Continue reading »

STAP Retraction Imminent

In January, two papers were published in the prestigious journal Nature showing how to make stem cells using a shockingly simple and completely novel approach — by putting cells in an acid bath. The resultant mouse stem cells were called STAP cells (for stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency). However, since then, other researchers have had great … Continue reading »

A Parasitic Amoeba Kills Cells by Eating Them

Amoebas are fascinating single-celled organisms. They typically move about by having their internal fluid (their cytoplasm) flow around and they eat their food by surrounding and digesting it with their body, in a process called phagocytosis. Some amoeba are parasites, such as Entamoeba histolytica, which can infect people and cause a potentially fatal diarrheal disease … Continue reading »

The Latest on the STAP Controversy

Back in late January, two papers were published in the prestigious journal Nature showing a completely novel and shockingly simply way to make stem cells – the approach used an acid bath. Since then, there’s been huge controversy surrounding the creation of these mouse stem cells, called STAP cells (for stimulus-triggered aquisition of pluripotency). This … Continue reading »

Building Computer Circuits from Slime

It might sound like science fiction, but researchers are actually exploring how to make computer circuits using slime molds. Why slime molds? It turns out that while slime molds don’t have a brain or even a nervous system, they’re able to make chemical-based decisions, and this behavior can be utilized to make some basic circuit … Continue reading »

Building a Genome: The First Synthetic Yeast Chromosome

When you were a kid, did you ever dream up fantastical creatures, like cats with wings or super-intelligent dogs that could speak? While we’re nowhere near making such animals, we’re definitely becoming increasingly better at genetically modifying the organisms around us. One amazing recent breakthrough is the creation of a synthetic yeast chromosome. This is … Continue reading »

How Kids Learn Behaviors from Video Games

We naturally learn from our environment, including the media we use, whether it’s a television show, a radio station, or a video game. And the media can teach us certain behaviors that we, and others, might not even be aware of. This is why a group of researchers recently took a closer look at how … Continue reading »