Monday, January 31, 2011
The picture to the left shows API2 and MALT1 binding to NIK. API2 and MALT1 are fused together in certain subsets of lymphoma. The API2 part of this fusion can bind to an enzyme called NIK. When this binding occurs, MALT1 cleaves NIK. This cleaving makes NIK more stable. (credit: University of Michigan Health System)
When NIK is cleaved, the regulatory region is removed. NIK is now an enzyme gone wild. It makes cancer cells that grow very aggressively, spread easily and resist all of the traditional cancer treatments.
The fusion protein is found 30-40 percent of the time in the B-cell type MALT lymphoma which is mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue.
The MALT lymphomas that have this fusion protein have been found to be more resistant to treatment, more aggressive and have larger tumors throughout the body.
NIK cleavage only happens when this fusion protein is bound. Because of this, researchers are looking at NIK as a target for new drug therapies.
click here for the link to this news story and the journal reference.
In the above post I used a hook to get readers interested, used active voice and tried to give the readers a visual via a picture and language of what might be happening during this fusion and subsequent binding.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Crime shows sell. It’s the thing that has been keeping bread on the table for people like Dick Wolf (producer of Law and Order) and Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of CSI). They make science accessible to the public. They incorporate kernels of truth, hidden within the finesse of Hollywood. The fancy clothes, the perfect makeup and of course the magic database that knows all. Take this quote from CSI Las Vegas:
Gil Grissom: I just got a page from James Watson.
Nick Stokes: And I got one from Francis Crick. What's going on, Greg?
Greg Sanders: Well, as you both know, Watson and Crick are the granddaddies of DNA. Without their discoveries, I'd have nothing to do all day.
Nick Stokes: What have you been doing all day?
Being a scientist this banter is very entertaining. It was all in knowing Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. Does the non-scientist viewer glean this information for this banter that will take less than a minute of screen time? Probably not. While reading a report done by the National Science Teachers Association, this topic of ignoring practical and careful science was discussed. Since shows like CSI and Law and Order can out, there are significant increases in students pursuing degrees in criminal justice, criminology and forensic science. The central question that comes from this fact is “Do we really want all this falsely assigned attention?” In a crime lab on CSI, the scientist receives a sample and within the work shift shown in the show, the unknown sample has been identified as a nylon fiber rug made in the 1970’s. In reality, trace evidence may take weeks to identify. Also the DNA evidence is collected, extraction, amplified and identified within hours, where in reality it could take 5-10 days. The disparity between Hollywood and reality lies in the funding. Currently many crime labs struggle with increasing case loads. In a report put out by the National Research Council, it states the primary funding is focused on advancement in DNA technology. The lack of equal funding leaves many loose ends. Also in the report, it discusses the necessity for assessing the validity of certain assay and standardizing practices used in crime labs nationwide. Another thing was laying down guidelines for education of forensic scientists. One of the biggest concerns in the proper collection of data would be that all scientist use valid methods and proper technique when analyzing data. Personally I know I do not watch CSI for the scientific merit hat it exudes, but for the vanity. Hopefully one thing that can come from the inaccuracy of the science presented is a hope for ethical and better regulation of forensic science in the future.
In this blog post, I tried to hook the reader by choosing a popular television show. I tried to avoid using jargon or delving to deep into science of forensic. In this post I was trying to express the importance of understanding proper and practical science. The article I found was focused on the uses of forensic sciences in education. I think as scientists this idea of accessible science through popular culture can be helpful in showing the ethics and applications of science.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The immune system has always been very interesting to me plus the author is a peer. He is a guy named Kevin who is getting his PhD in immunology. I like that he has a witty voice in his blog along with recent research and his own knowledge.
The next blog I picked was one called respectful insolence. Even just the name intrigued me.
This guy sounds to me like an intelligent smart ass. He is a surgeon/scientist that said he posts miscillaneous ramblings. I think I like it although im afraid his ego might get in the way of what he is trying to convey. His posts can be somewhat long but I am interested in what this guy has to say.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
A blog that kept me reading for more was Sandwalk. It is written by a biochemistry professor at the University of Toronto and the extended title of the blog describes its content perfectly: Strolling with a Skeptical Biochemist. The blog consists of a smattering of topics, some of which I do not necessarily agree with, but nonetheless will read in order to see other views of the topic. This blog serves as an awesome footbridge to a lot of very valuable information. Another blog that caught my eye was The Last Word on Nothing because it again has a large amount of different information that keeps my attention until the end. Although I have noted two blogs that have a general theme to them, I think I would enjoy a more specific blog more. Perhaps one on strictly neuroscience, or chiropractic, or maybe even one's journey through undergrad (with a science degree) through grad school and even their post-grad travels? I guess we'll see...
Sunday, January 23, 2011
So blogging for the first time can be very intimidating, especially after reading all these witty blogs. So while exploring the “Blogosphere,” I discovered Dr. Isis. She writes the blog On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess. What first attracted me to this blog was the name. Then when I began reading, I realized she was speaking to all female scientists out there. She always has some hilarious videos she adds to her blog. Her ability to relate pop culture to science is refreshing. She also takes time to call out injustice and puts the spotlight on the trials that come with being a female scientist. Overall the blog was about embracing science and life and figuring out how that two fit together. Another blog that caught my eye was Bioephemera.This blog had an eclectic mix of posts. The blogger, a molecular biologist, seemed to move away from the ordinary scientific topics, and blended science, art, and just random science related facts. One of my personal favorite posts was about an artist who made an anatomically correct dress depicting the major body systems. So I guess the things that attracted my attention were the unconventional, the bloggers who were thinking outside the box. Those who were taking their other interests and mixing in their love of science.