basic science

The Scientific Activist

Category archives for basic science

An individual cell inside the human body is in a dynamic environment: it not only has to anchor itself to its surroundings but also be able to communicate with them and respond as appropriate. One group of proteins–the integrins–play a central role in all of these tasks. The integrins are large (about 200,000 Da) membrane-spanning…

Stem Cells from Down Under

Two weeks ago, on November 15th, researchers reported in the Journal of Translational Medicine (see citation below) that they had successfully isolated and characterized stem cells from menstrual blood. The researchers, Meng et al., were able to differentiate these cells–called Endometrial Regenerative Cells (ERCs)–into nine distinct cell types, and the stem cells displayed other encouraging…

That could easily have been the shared title of a pair of articles in today’s New York Times discussing the science and political implications of two very significant stem cell papers published online yesterday. The biggest offender was Sheryl Stolberg: It has been more than six years since President Bush, in the first major televised…

The winners of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine were announced this morning. The prize went to Mario R. Capecchi (University of Utah), Martin J. Evans (Cardiff University), and Oliver Smithies (UNC), all for their work contributing to knockout (and knock-in) mice becoming one of the most powerful scientific tools available to biologists…

For this round of Ask a ScienceBlogger, the question is “Is sunshine good for you?” It’s a beautiful sunny day outside. And, of course, you’re stuck in the lab (or the office, classroom, or daily holding tank of your choice). Although you may thumb your nose at those who seem to have nothing better to…

The U.S. Office of Research Integrity announced this week that it has found a former postdoc in Gerald Schatten’s lab, Park Jong Hyuk, guilty of research misconduct for falsifying images in a manuscript on deriving embryonic stem cells from cloned rhesus monkeys. Although the paper had not yet been submitted for peer review, this is…

The second paper from my undergraduate work at Texas A&M University was recently published in Molecular Cancer. The abstract can be found here, and the pdf of the full paper here. Molecular Cancer is an open access journal, so a subscription is not required to read the paper. It’s also an online-only journal that publishes…

More on Edible Cotton Seeds

Last month, I wrote a post about a research group at Texas A&M University that reported genetically engineering “edible cotton seeds” by using RNAi technology to stably and specifically knock out production of the gossypol toxin in the seeds of the plant. I thought that the paper was interesting for a variety of reasons, including…

Congratulations to Daniel Rhoads

Via A Blog Around the Clock comes news that Daniel Rhoads, who writes the informative blog Migrations (and formerly A Concerned Scientist), has successfully defended his dissertation. So, after a few minor revisions, it looks like it won’t be too long before we’ll have to call him Dr. Rhoads. In good blogger form, Daniel has…

In this week’s edition of PNAS, crop scientists at Texas A&M University report the engineering of cotton strains with edible seeds. Now, when I think of cotton, I generally think of clothes, especially the kind that really seem to like getting wrinkled in the drier. Not counting the unrelated–but still delicious–exception of cotton candy, food…