By Candice Vieira, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17
After researching Fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) treatment methods for a UWP 104F assignment, I learned that current FXTAS therapeutics is limited to symptomatic treatment. Most articles emphasized the need to better characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying FXTAS development to develop drugs specifically for FXTAS. Therefore, I questioned what researchers currently know regarding molecular events that lead to FXTAS signs and symptoms and how this knowledge can aid in drug therapies. This motivated me to prepare a literary review, intended to educate and inform practicing clinicians, especially neurologists and psychologists, about recent findings and the future directions for FXTAS research. For this assignment, we were expected to synthesize recent articles and provide relevant information for clinical practice. Specifically, I wanted clinicians to gain a better understanding of a primary focus within FXTAS research—molecular triggering events—and importantly, how this research relates to clinical treatment of FXTAS.
Continue reading Molecular Mechanisms Leading to FXTAS Development and Therapeutic Perspectives
By Lo Tuan, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and Managerial Economics, ’17
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
By Shivani Kamal, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17
“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
Independent Project Findings
By Harsh Sharma, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ’13
“I wrote this paper to share my independent project takeaways with everyone who is interested in, or a part of, the healthcare field. This project taught me a lot about what we can do to help our patients get the most out of the clinic they go to. As you gain experiences in the medical field, think about the services your organization offers and how you can use your skills to enhance those services to the next level!”
Continue reading “Let’s Take a Deep Breath”: Managing Hypertension by Bridging the Clinic-Home Healthcare Gap
By Nicole Strossman, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17
“I chose to write about this topic in an effort to gain a better understanding of Zika virus. While the topic is frequently in the news, the specifics of the virus are not always discussed in depth. As ongoing research is demonstrating the virus’ possible links to human health disorders, it is important for the general public to be informed about the facts of the virus, in an effort to minimize its spread.”
Continue reading Zika Virus
By Mor Alkaslasi, Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, ’16
“I chose to write a review about this book because I kept finding myself telling my professors and peers about it. As a student in a scientific discipline to which genetics and DNA are crucial, I feel that this book is a notable chronicle of the scientific process and of one of the most groundbreaking discoveries of the past century. I hope that this review serves to encourage anyone with an interest in science to read this book, or at least to realize the book’s importance in the scientific community.” Continue reading The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
This is a submission from UC Davis CBS Professor Sean Burgess. It comes from a future publication that relates the human quest to visualize the inner workings of the cell, molecular biology, with the quest to visualize the interior of the mind, art.
The Eukaryotic Ribosome
The basic mechanism of ribosomebased protein synthesis is conserved among all domains of life. The ribosome comes in two parts. The small subunit interacts with the mRNA and decodes the interaction with the aminoacyl tRNAs. The large subunit contains the active site of peptidyl transferase. The two subunits together
form three pockets for three forms of tRNA. The A site is where the aminoacyl tRNA binds, the P site holds that peptidyl tRNA when the Asite is occupied. The E site contains the deacylated tRNA following peptidyl transferase. The ribosome is a huge conglomeration of RNA and proteins. The RNA appears to do all the heavy lifting for the main catalytic event of protein synthesis. So what came first, the protein or the ribosome?
Obtaining the crystal structure of the ribosome was a tour de force effort. The Nobel Prize for solving its structure was awarded in 2009.
Top: Willi Baumeister: Mortaruru with Red Overhead (1953), The Art Book,
Phaidon Press Limited, 1994.
Bottom: The 60S (PDB: 305H) and 40S (PDB: 1S1H) subunits of the eukaryotic ribosome. BenShem et al. (2010) Science, 330 (6008): 12031209. The image was generated by S.M.B. using MacPymol using coordinates from the Protein Databank (http://helixweb.nih.gov/cgibin/pdb). MacPyMOL is product of
Schrodinger, LLC. Copyright (C) 20092010.
By David Ivanov, Biochemistry ’15
Oral vaccines are known to be a convenient and effective method for treatment or prevention of diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms. The difficulty of developing such vaccines is due to the often inhospitable environment of the stomach and intestinal tract because of low pH, or acidity, as well as enzymes that can digest or destroy biological molecules. Using a virus-like particle to deliver the vaccine is an advantageous method for getting around these and other barriers in the host organism.
A virus-like particle, or VLP, is a biological particle that resembles a virus, but contains no genetic information and thus cannot infect host cells. VLP’s can be formed by inserting and expressing just the genes for creating the viral capsid, which is a shell made up of protein subunits that protects the infectious genetic information in wild-type, or normal, viruses. The expressed capsid proteins can then self-assemble into the VLP. The capsid also has domains, or structural areas, that are responsible for recognizing suitable host cells to infect and inserting the viral genome.
Continue reading Engineering Hepatitis Virus-like Particles for Oral Vaccine Delivery