Category Archives: Uncategorized

To Infinity and Beyond: A Review of “The Life of Pi, and Other Infinities” by Natalie Angier

By Lo Tuan, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Managerial Economics, ’17

Author’s Note:

I wrote this review as an assignment for a UWP course that investigates the role of science in society using different lenses and models. It was a scintillating experience engaging in scientific reading and writing while evaluating the relationship between science and society. This paper proved to be a useful exercise for me to communicate scientific information to the general public in a clear and accessible manner.

Continue reading To Infinity and Beyond: A Review of “The Life of Pi, and Other Infinities” by Natalie Angier

Blueberries and Breast Cancer Treatment

By Shivani Kamal, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17

Author’s Note:

“I originally became interested in the potential anti-cancer effects of blueberries when I took a nutrition seminar my first year at UC Davis. Curious about further research on its effects on breast cancer, I decided to write an article to educate other students about it. Many of us either have a family member or know someone diagnosed with cancer, so spreading knowledge of current cancer research is an important reminder of support, hope, and determination to individuals and their families.” Continue reading Blueberries and Breast Cancer Treatment

Exploring the Known Unknowns Using the Power of Metagenomics: Discovery of the crAssphage

By Connie Chen, Microbiology, ’15-’16

Author’s Note:

“Metagenomics is the study of genetic material directly from environmental samples such as the soil or the human gut. With whole metagenomic sequencing, it is possible to obtain and analyze every piece of genetic material in the sample. As we being to learn more about the world, it becomes evident that there is more that is unknown. The crAssphage is an example of a “known unknown” because through metagenomics, the virus’s genome has been built and certain properties can be interpreted from the genome, but it has never been seen under a microscope and there is much still unknown about the virus. Metagenomics have opened the doors to analyzing multiple sequences and determining the ecology of the environment. Because metagenomics is becoming more prevalent, it is essential to understand the potential of this growing field. I hope that by learning about the potential of metagenomics, new ideas can sprout from using this technology in order to help others.”

Continue reading Exploring the Known Unknowns Using the Power of Metagenomics: Discovery of the crAssphage

Winter Seminar 2016: “Science Journalism and Editing: The Aggie Transcript”

The Aggie Transcript is offering its first-ever seminar on science journalism and editing in Winter Quarter 2016! Please see the flyer below for more information.

To read more about the course description, the goals of the seminar, course assignments and grading criteria, please visit the link and click “Seminar Schedule: Winter 2016”

Link: http://fys.ucdavis.edu/student/#frs-schedule

Winter Seminar 2016 Flyer-page-001(1)

What is LASIK?

By David Ivanov, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2015

LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure commonly used to correct for visual defects or lack of visual clarity. Commonly referred to as laser eye surgery, LASIK is a type of surgery that is used to alleviate visual loss associated with common defects of the eye, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hypermetropia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Astigmatism, like near and far-sightedness, can be caused by the irregularity in shape of the cornea that leads to blurred vision. For all three cases, corneal remodeling via LASIK can be performed (Thomson, 2015).

The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye, the transparent part that one can touch, and upon which contact lenses are placed. It is responsible for most of the focusing power, and thus is a common culprit in visual defects of the eye. The cornea focuses the light reflected into the eye, through the lens and onto the the retina at the back of the eye, which senses light and converts it to nerve impulses, and transmits the resulting image to the brain for processing. This then produces the image that we ‘see’. While the retina is the part of the eye that is light-sensitive and is responsible for transmitting the image to the brain, the cornea, along with the lens, must focus light reflecting off of three dimensional surfaces so that they strike onto the anterior, or front part of the retina. Without this precise focusing of light rays directly onto the retina, the brain generates a blurred image (NKCF 2014).

Continue reading What is LASIK?

A Work In Progress

By Shadeh Ghaffari-Rafi, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior, ’16

At first, Jerry’s expected springtime pollen allergies didn’t bother him or seem unusual. His allergies caused mild nosebleeds, which he would stop by pinching his nose for five minutes. This past year, however, the bleeding didn’t stop.

Five years ago, Jerry relocated to Iowa for work, as the company he worked for in California closed. For the past five years, everyday, Jerry has been taking two pills, one to alleviate his heart rate, blood pressure, and heart strain and another to lower his blood cholesterol. His doctor recommended that Jerry occasionally take low dose aspirin so his blood would flow more easily, he would feel less chest pain, and avoid blood clots and severe headaches. Although he hiked and went to the gym regularly, for a 5’5’’ 56 year old man, he was slightly overweight at 165 lbs.

A nosebleed, or epistaxis, can range from mild to severe, and sometimes lead to life-threatening consequences, depending on the flow (Fried 2013). The bleeding is due to rupture of small blood vessels inside the nose. Professor of head and neck surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Marvin Fried describes minor bleedings tend to occur “more frequently in children and adolescents” and most are easily treatable, while more severe, rarer cases occur in patients over 50, with blood oozing down the back of the throat, and generally require emergency treatment. Epistaxis may result from mild conditions, including nose picking, mild allergies to pollen or environmental irritants, and moderate conditions such as trauma or prior nasal surgery. In some cases, epistaxis can occur due to life threatening conditions such as leukemia. Family history of severe or heavy bleeding tends toward more severe cases and patients at risk of cardiovascular disease tend to have severe nosebleeds. Dr. Fried emphasizes “epistaxis can be either short-term and disappear quickly or it can also occur in sudden episodes”. In some instances, epistaxis occurs with other symptoms, such as fever, headache, and dizziness. Continue reading A Work In Progress

Can Polio Cure Cancer?

By Briga Mullin, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’15

The human body’s immune system has been developed to successfully battle foreign invaders including bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Immunotherapy is the idea that the power of the immune system can be utilized against diseases such as cancer. Typically, the immune system does not harm the body’s own cells, preventing it from being extremely effective against cancer. However with different medical interventions to strengthen the body’s immune response, it is possible to get an effective treatment (Cancer Immunotherapy 2015).

A unique and exciting branch of immunotherapy involves oncolytic viruses, genetically modified viruses that are used to infect tumor cells and fight cancer (Vile, Ando, and Kirn 2002). One example of an oncolytic virus is Oncolytic Polio/Rhinovirus Recombinant (PVS-RIPO), a genetic combination of poliovirus and a strain of the common cold. Continue reading Can Polio Cure Cancer?

Bhutan Rice Fields

elizabethridolfibhutan1

By Elizabeth Ridolfi

This is a photograph of the rice fields in Bhutan, where I did a 6- week field research program through the School for Field Studies in Summer 2014. Bhutan is a small, Himalayan country located near India and Nepal.The spread of rice cultivation in Bhutan is an illustration the effect of global climate change. Rice typically grows in low lying, relatively warm areas with high precipitation certain times of the year. The vast majority of the country’s land area is above 6000 feet, which is considered too high of an elevation for rice cultivation under normal circumstances. Continue reading Bhutan Rice Fields

AGGIE TRANSCRIPT IS RECRUITING FOR SPRING 2015!

Interested in both science and writing? Want some practical experience managing a student-run life sciences journal? Consider applying to the editorial board of the Aggie Transcript, an undergraduate life sciences journal run by UC Davis students!

Editors are expected to solicit and review submission articles, as well as to submit their own pieces of original writing. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone hoping to gain valuable experience in critical analysis, strengthen their written communication, and share their work with others at UC Davis and beyond!

The editorial board meets weekly and editors are offered 1 unit of credit. To apply, please submit a writing sample and a cover letter to: aggietranscript@gmail.com.

The letter should discuss why you are interested in being part of The Aggie Transcript, what you can bring to the journal, and what you hope to gain from this experience. The writing sample should demonstrate strong written and literacy skills in the biological sciences.

The deadline to apply is: April 13, 2015 (Monday)

If you have any questions or concerns,

email us at: aggietranscript@gmail.com