Pattern Recognition

Category archives for Pattern Recognition

Every time I see an ad for some remedy that “Helps BOOST the Immune System!”  I die a little inside. It’s not just that these products are often homeopathic bull*, but (as I’ve mentioned before), boosting the immune system can actually be a terrible idea. The immune system is a finely tuned instrument, and too much can…

For this week’s OAS Wednesday, I thought I’d try to highlight some research that’s in my field. As a result, I will likely be more prone than usual to lapsing into jargon and assuming knowledge that I shouldn’t (or maybe I’ll over-correct and get too simplified). Please let me know if anything needs clarification. In real…

Monday’s announcement for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine should have been a happy occasion for my lab. On the one hand, it was given for early discoveries in the field of innate immunity – my field! On the other hand, it was given to a scientist that many* feel is undeserving of the…

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…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – pathogens are devious little bastards: Discovery of a Viral NLR Homolog that Inhibits the Inflammasome In order to respond to a virus, a cell first has to recognize that it’s there. There are a lot of ways the cell tries to do this – some…

Weekend Review: Sterile Inflammation

If you’ve ever rolled your ankle (as I have many times), you have a visceral knowledge of inflammation. Clinically, inflammation is the redness, swelling, heat and pain that’s associated with injury. From an immunologist’s perspective, it’s the set of molecular events that get the immune system going. All of the clinical systems associated with inflammation…

Saturday Review: The Inflammasome!

This week, I’m going to take a break from vaccines and do some innate immunity. Today’s topic: the provocatively named “Inflammasome.” This Nature Review from last month focused on inflammasomes and anti-viral immunity, but I think the inflammasome itself needs its own post. A breakthrough in our understanding of the mechanisms that control the activation…

Normally, I would feel woefully unqualified to analyze a Nature Neuroscience paper, but I’m going to do it anyway. How could I pass it up? It features a Toll-like receptor! Toll-like receptors are typically expressed in immune cells to regulate innate immunity. We found that functional Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) was expressed in C-fiber primary…

I have a love/hate relationship with Nature Reviews: Immunology. It comes out once per month, and is usually packed with easy to read articles about fascinating (to me) topics, and each is filled with tons of great references so I can dig into the issue more. On the one hand, I get really excited about…