Archives for July, 2011

While researching Wednesday’s post, I ran into a number of strange case studies. They didn’t quite fit into that post, but I thought they were too interesting to ignore. If you’re interested, follow me down the pubmed rabbit hole.

There’s this NPR show I really like called “On the Media,” and I’ve listened to just about every episode for the past 8 years through the podcast. As it’s name implies, the show is about the media, and is a wonderfully meta way of getting the news through the prism of analyzing the way the…

Allergic to Spunk

For about two years in high school, I would occasionally break out into pretty severe hives. I would first notice a mild itch on my wrists or ankles, and I would know that the hives were coming if I gently scratched my forearm and raised red streaks were left behind (I have a picture somewhere…

The Trouble with Magic Bullets

Antibodies are often thought of as magic bullets, and as far as bullets go, they are about as magic as you can get. Antibodies are proteins that are manufactured by specialized “B-cells,” and their main feature is that they stick to things. At first glance, biochemical stickiness does not seem all that magical; there are…

Heather at Sea

In some ways, I’m kinda jealous of the research Heather does. I love my macrophages, but studying the bugs that live in the extreme environment of deep sea hydrothermal vents has always fascinated me. As a consequence of the stuff she studies, Heather also has to (gets to?) take multi-week sea voyages to travel out…

The field of immunology has a few quirks. I’m sure this is no different than other fields of study, but one of the most puzzling (and sometimes infuriating) of these quirks is an obsession with categorizing different types of cells. Case in point, a recent paper in Nature Immunology: A semi-invariant Vα10+ T cell antigen…

There’s a great post at the Sciam guest blog describing the science of antimicrobial cleaners, and it doesn’t look promising: perhaps the most comprehensive study of the effectiveness of antibiotic and non-antibiotic soaps in the U.S., led by Elaine Larson at Columbia University (with Aiello as a coauthor), found that while for healthy hand washers…

Detour to the top of a mountain

Been working hard on lab science, so I haven’t had as much time for blog science, but I thought I’d share something else I’m proud of: My friend Matt and I hiked to the top of Mount Jefferson in northern New Hampshire this past weekend with a table, 2 chairs, a bottle of wine, glasses,…