Immune system

Category archives for Immune system

Scientists communicating their science

Christie Wilcox has a great post over at Science Sushi about why scientists should be on social media. I don’t disagree with anything she says, and I try to do it myself (see: the twitter and G+ links to the left… I also recently signed up for tumblr which is kind of fun). But sometimes…

For anyone in the Boston Area, two of my colleagues and I will be giving a talk on how the immune system recognizes and responds to pathogens, and how understanding this will allow scientists to design better vaccines and more effectively treat illness. How to Spot a Virus: The origins of an immune response. This…

When folks in my lab think about biological problems, we think about basics. A pathogen has some molecular component that trips a sensor on the outside of a cell. That sensor (the receptor) grabs on to some adapter proteins and starts a cascade of chemical reactions catalyzed by various enzymes, which eventually leads to the…

The GoD of B-cells

I took my first immunology class at UCSD in the spring of 2004. I’ve always been interested in signaling (how cells take information from the outside and translate that to the inside) but the subject matter of this class was set to disappoint – in terms of signaling, it more or less stopped at the…

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.

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…

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…

Abbie over at ERV has a really great summary of a new Nature Medicine paper, in which the authors managed to turn a mouse’s immune system against prostate tumors by infecting them with viruses engineered to express prostate proteins. Some of the results struck her as a bit counterintuitive, but I thought of some possible…

Badass Bacteria vs Malaria

In the wild, as I wrote about last week, some strains of commensal bacteria in mosquitoes seem to confer some resistance to infection with Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria in humans. Not content to wait for for nature to get around to it, researchers at Johns Hopkins University decided to see if they could…