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Specific transcription factors distinguish umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells from fibroblasts

Park et al. | Aug 16, 2019

Specific transcription factors distinguish umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells from fibroblasts

Stem cells are at the forefront of research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Two essential properties of stem cells are self-renewal and potency, having the ability to specialize into different types of cells. Here, Park and Jeong took advantage of previously identified stem cell transcription factors associated with potency to differentiate umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (US-MSCs) from morphologically similar fibroblasts. Western blot analysis of the transcription factors Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2 revealed their expression was unique to US-MSCs providing insight for future methods of differentiating between these cell lines.

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Modulation of planaria regeneration by Resolvin D1 and the omega-3 fatty acid precursor 17-hydroxy docosahexaenoic acid

Chan et al. | Aug 13, 2019

Modulation of planaria regeneration by Resolvin D1 and the omega-3 fatty acid precursor 17-hydroxy docosahexaenoic acid

Omega-3 fatty acids ingested in the diet are essential for regulating many functions in the body including controlling inflammation in chronic conditions such as arthritis as asthma. Omega-3 fatty acid derived lipid mediators have been implicated in resolving inflammation, tissue homeostasis and wound healing. To further explore this effect, Chan and Chatterjee measured the impact of supplementation with lipid mediator Resolvin D1 and its precursor 17-HDHA on planaria regeneration. For the first time planaria have been shown to synthesize RvD1 from 17-DHA. Further, both RvD1 and 17-DHA enhanced regeneration showing potential for enhanced regenerative responses in tissues.

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The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Gohari et al. | Aug 12, 2019

The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Since the discovery that thousands of different bacteria colonize our gut, many of which are important for human well-being, understanding the significance of balancing the different species on the human body has been intensely researched. Untangling the complexity of the gut microbiome and establishing the effect of the various strains on human health is a challenge in many circumstances, and the need for simpler systems to improve our basic understanding of microbe-host interactions seems necessary. C. elegans are a well-established laboratory animal that feed on bacteria and can thus serve as a less complex system for studying microbe-host interactions. Here the authors investigate how the choice of bacterial diet affects worm fertility. The same approach could be applied to many different outcomes, and facilitate our understanding of how the microbes colonizing our guts affect various bodily functions.

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Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Mathew et al. | Aug 11, 2019

Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 81% of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) patients in the renal fibrosis stage later develop CAD. In this study, Mathew and Joykutty aimed to create a cost-effective strategy to treat AKI and thus prevent CAD using a model of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. They first tested whether AKI is induced in Danio rerio upon exposure to environmental toxins, then evaluated nitrotyrosine as an early biomarker for toxin-induced AKI. Finally, they evaluated 4 treatments of renal fibrosis, the last stage of AKI, and found that the compound SB431542 was the most effective treatment (reduced fibrosis by 99.97%). Their approach to treating AKI patients, and potentially prevent CAD, is economically feasible for translation into the clinic in both developing and developed countries.

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The role of corresponding race, gender, and species as incentives for charitable giving.

Antonides-Jensen et al. | Jul 31, 2019

The role of corresponding race, gender, and species as incentives for charitable giving.

Inherent bias is often the unconscious driver of human behavior, and the first step towards overcoming these biases is our awareness of them. In this article the authors investigate whether race, gender or species affect the choice of charity by middle class Spaniards. Their conclusions serve as a starting point for further studies that could help charities refine their campaigns in light of these biases effectively transcending them or taking advantage of them to improve their fundraising attempts.

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Improving wound healing by breaking down biofilm formation and reducing nosocomial infections

DiStefano et al. | Jul 09, 2019

Improving wound healing by breaking down biofilm formation and reducing nosocomial infections

In a 10-year period in the early 2000’s, hospital-based (nosocomial) infections increased by 123%, and this number is increasing as time goes on. The purpose of this experiment was to use hyaluronic acid, silver nanoparticles, and a bacteriophage cocktail to create a hydrogel that promotes wound healing by increasing cell proliferation while simultaneously disrupting biofilm formation and breaking down Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are two strains of bacteria that attribute to nosocomial infections and are increasing in antibiotic resistance.

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Cathodal galvanotaxis: the effect of voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Zheng et al. | Jun 10, 2019

Cathodal galvanotaxis: the effect of voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

The surface of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena pyriformis, is covered with thousands of hair-like cilia. These cilia are very similar to cilia of the human olfactory and respiratory tracts making them model organisms for studying cilia function and pathology. The authors of this study investigated the effect of voltage on T. pyriformis galvanotaxis, the movement towards an electrical stimulus. They observed galvanotaxis towards the cathode at voltages over 4V which plateau, indicating opening of voltage gated-ion channels to trigger movement.

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Pichia kudriavzevii yeast exposure increases the asthmatic behavior of alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Ortega et al. | Jun 07, 2019

Pichia kudriavzevii yeast exposure increases the asthmatic behavior of alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Asthma affects over 334 million people worldwide and is triggered by inhalation of environmental stimuli. The authors of this study characterized the effect of exposure to common spoilage yeast, Pichia kidriavzevii, on alveolar epithelial cells. A direct correlation between infection duration and asthmatic status of these cells was found, indicating the potential for this yeast to be an environmental stimulus of asthma and warranting further study.

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A temperature-based comparison of compounds found in Bao Chong tea, green tea, and black tea.

Lin et al. | May 14, 2019

A temperature-based comparison of compounds found in Bao Chong tea, green tea, and black tea.

While tea has a complex history, recently the health benefits of this beverage have come into focus. In this study, researchers sought to compare the levels of caffeine, catechins and L-theanine between different types of tea using NMR spectroscopy. Further, the impact of brewing temperature on the release of these compounds was also assessed. Of those tested, Bao Chong tea had the highest levels of these compounds. Brewing temperatures between 45ºC and 75ºC were found to be optimal for compound release. These results can help consumers make informed choices about their tea preparation and intake.

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The effect of caffeine on the regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

Lazorik et al. | May 10, 2019

The effect of caffeine on the regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

The degeneration of nerve cells in the brain can lead to pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease. It has been suggested that neurons in humans may regenerate. In this study, the effect of different doses of caffeine on regeneration was explored in the planeria model. Caffeine has been shown to enhance dopamine production, and dopamine is found in high concentrations in regenerating planeria tissues. Higher doses of caffeine accelerated planeria regeneration following decapitation, indicating a potential role for caffeine as a treatment to stimulate regeneration.

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Measuring Exoplanetary Radii Using Transit Photometry

Tang et al. | May 07, 2019

Measuring Exoplanetary Radii Using Transit Photometry

Studying exoplanets, or planets that orbit a star other than the Sun, is critical to a greater understanding the formation of planets and how Earth's solar system differs from others. In this study the authors analyze the transit light curves of three hot Jupiter exoplanets to ultimately determine if and how these planets have changed since their discovery.

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An analysis of soil microhabitats in Revolutionary War, Civil War, and modern graveyards on Long Island, NY

Caputo et al. | May 05, 2019

An analysis of soil microhabitats in Revolutionary War, Civil War, and modern graveyards on Long Island, NY

Previously established data indicate that cemeteries have contributed to groundwater and soil pollution, as embalming fluids can impact the microbiomes that exist in decomposing remains. In this study, Caputo et al hypothesized that microbial variation would be high between cemeteries from different eras due to dissimilarities between embalming techniques employed, and furthermore, that specific microbes would act as an indication for certain contaminants. Overall, they found that there is a variation in the microbiomes of the different eras’ cemeteries according to the concentrations of the phyla and their more specific taxa.

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Cytokine treatment for myocarditis may directly impact cardiomyocytes negatively

Kasner et al. | Apr 26, 2019

Cytokine treatment for myocarditis may directly impact cardiomyocytes negatively

The purpose of our study was to determine if direct administration of CXCL1/KC to cardiomyocytes causes negative changes to cell density or proliferation. This molecule has been shown to reduce inflammation in certain instances. Homocysteine models the direct effect of an inflammatory agent on cardiomyocytes. Our question was whether these molecules directly impact cell density through an interaction with the cell proliferation process. We hypothesized that cells treated with CXCL1/KC would maintain the same cell density as untreated cells. In contrast, cells treated with Homocysteine or both Homocysteine and CXCL1/KC, were expected to have a higher cell density that than that of untreated cells.

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3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Jayatissa et al. | Apr 26, 2019

3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Scientists are always on the quest to improve the body's healing abilities and broken bones are no exception. In this article, the authors investigate properties of 3D-printed biocompatible polymers used to improve bone healing. With such efforts, we can hope to, one day, improve bone scaffolding materials in ways that make the natural healing processes more efficient, reducing the time needed for recovery from bone fractures.

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Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

Jayram et al. | Apr 08, 2019

Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

A primary cause of diabetes is insulin resistance, which is caused by disruption of insulin signal transduction. The objective of this study was to maximize insulin sensitivity by creating a more effective, early intervention-based treatment to avert severe T2D. This treatment combined metformin, “the insulin sensitizer”, and medicinal plants, curcumin, fenugreek, and nettle.

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A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Tsai et al. | Apr 05, 2019

A Taste of Sweetness in Bioplastics

Sweet potatoes are one of the most common starches in Taiwan, and sweet potato peels hold significant potential to make biodegradable plastics which can alleviate the environmental impact of conventional petroleum-based plastics. In this paper, Tsai et al created starch-based bioplastics derived from sweet potato peels and manipulated the amount of added glycerol to alter the plastic’s strength and flexibility properties. Their results indicated that higher concentrations of glycerol yield more malleable plastics, providing insights into how recycled agricultural waste material might be used to slow down the rate of pollution caused by widespread production of conventional plastics.

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