Cell Biology

Category archives for Cell Biology

Sue Lynn Lau chose classical ballet and highly kinetic party dancing as the way to interpret her Ph.D. thesis, “The role of vitamin D in beta-cell function.” As The Nutcracker Suite lilts in the background, Lau, a graduate student from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, appears as the Sugarplum Fairy, delivering…

A protist is a single celled eukaryotic organism, and they are usually pretty small. You can often see them, though! Before you put that sample of pond water under the microscope, take a close look: Many protists are at the boundary of visibility for humans. Then, there are the giant protists, grape size, living on…

The paper I’m about to discuss is a minefield of potential misconceptions that arise from the way we often use language do describe natural phenomena. This is a situation where it would be easier to start with a disclaimer … a big giant obvious quotation mark … and then use the usual misleading, often anthropomorphic…

Imagine that you are a bad guy running from the law, and the sheriff is about to catch up to you. If you want, you can be Butch Cassidy or the Sundance Kid or any other charismatic bad guy. Or maybe you’re a wizard in Harry Potter and Dementors are about to catch up to…

A very good day of grunting worms. Credit: Ken Catania So-called Gene-Culture Co-Evolution can be very obvious and direct or it can be very subtle and complex. In almost all cases, the details defy the usual presumptions people make about the utility of culture, the nature of human-managed knowledge, race, and technology. I would like…

An article just out in PLOS Biology explores one of the most important, but also difficult to observe, phenomena related to DNA regulation. Figure 1 from the paper: “Atomic Force Microscopy of Lac Repressor-DNA Complexes (A) Schematic structures of biotin (bio)- and digoxigenin (dig)-labeled DNA constructs with one (O-539 and O-349) or two (O-153-O and…

Blood flow in the brain is linked to neuronal activity. Therefore, various ‘brain scanning’ techniques can be used to observe neuronal activity in the brain. This has led to an astonishing revolution in knowledge of how the brain works. Of course, you knew that already. Also astonishing is that the reason for changes in blood…

Life is complex. The way a living system works can be described in a series of increasingly refined models, each fleshing out details of the previous model. Typically, description at one level raises questions about what is happening at the finer level. These questions induce hypotheses which drive experimental work which produces ever more detailed…

What’s in the air?

Good question … what IS in the air? The simple answer is that the air … the Earth’s atmosphere … is about 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, with a tiny amount of some other gases including water vapor. Then, there’s dirt. I want to talk a little about the oxygen, one of the other gases (carbon…

There is an updated version of this post here: “Is Blood Ever Blue, Science Teachers Want To Know!“ According to one of the leading experts on the human circulatory system, blood flowing through veins is blue. I’m not going to mention any names. All I’ll say is this: A person I know visited a major…