Search Results for: label/Cell Motion BioBus
Biology Explainer: The big 4 building blocks of life–carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and nucleic acids
…ll selection of different materials: bricks, mortar, iron, glass, and wood. Arranged in different ways, these few materials can yield a huge variety of structures. We encountered functional groups and the SPHONC in Chapter 3. These components form the four categories of molecules of life. These Big Four biological molecules are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. They can have many roles, from giving an organism structure to be…
Authored by Emily Willingham on June 8, 2012
Unicorns and Brainbows
orite, shown below: A cerebellar flocculus, a lobe in the cerebellum, from the original Brainbow paper (Source) Since its original description, researchers have used the Brainbow concept extensively — it has been cited 361 times, according to the Web of Science – and extended it into zebrafish and fruit flies, both species that researchers frequently use in experiments to trace gene expression and how animals develop. But though Lich…
Authored by Jeffrey Perkel on May 6, 2013
Good Deeds, Good Science: Dr. Ben and The BioBus
ing called the Cell Motion BioBus, which is a 1974 San Francisco transit bus that has been converted into a high-tech mobile microscopy lab, and for that particular day, the duties of the scientist volunteer involved teaching 3rd graders about the tiny crustacean, Daphnia. A few weeks later, I found myself inside The BioBus, hanging out and talking science with a bunch of very excited 8-year-olds. We spoke about the habitat where Daphnia l…
Authored by Jeanne Garbarino on January 3, 2012
Pregnancy 101: Fertilization is another way to come together during sex
oal is not an easy feat. To help overcome the odds, we have evolved a number of biological tactics. For instance, the volume of a typical male human ejaculate is about a half-teaspoon or more and is estimated to contain about 300 million sperm cells. To become fully active, sperm cells require modification. The acidic environment of the vagina helps with that modification, allowing sperm to gain what is called hyperactive motility, in which its w…
Authored by Emily Willingham on December 3, 2011
No gene is an island: What do scientists mean when they talk about environment and genes?
Nope. This island does not represent your genes. (Source) When you read news stories about what affects a developing human in the womb or how cancer or obesity arises, you probably also see references to genes and environment. Some articles may focus on genes versus environment, or mention that something is “mostly” genetic or that the “environment” contributes to a disorder or trait in some way. What some people…
Authored by Emily Willingham on May 7, 2012
Towards better drug development, fewer side effects?
…interesting than its title. Those trees on the right are called SPADE trees. They map cellular responses to different stimuli in a collection of human blood cells. Credit: (c) 2012 Nature America [Nat Biotechnol, 30:858--67, 2012] Here’s the basic idea: The current methods drug developers use to screen potential drug compounds –- typically a blend of high-throughput imaging and biochemical assays – aren’t perfect. If they were, d…
Authored by Jeffrey Perkel on September 24, 2012
Literal XX Xplainer: How we can live with two X chromosomes
…ous about this dosage compensation thing and will tolerate no Xtra dissent. If we kept the entire X chromosome active, that would be a lot of Xtra gene dosage. The X chromosome contains about 1100 genes, and in humans, about 300 diseases and disorders are linked to genes on this chromosome, including hemophilia and Duchenne muscular dystrophy . Because males get only one chromosome, these X-linked diseases are more frequent among males–…
Authored by Emily Willingham on June 27, 2012
A peek inside the US Naval Observatory – keepers of time and celestial motion
…one of products, or helping to get that upgrade ready by testing it. Q. The USNO in Washington, DC has telescopes. What kind of telescopes do you have and what are they used for? A. The biggest telescope we have in DC is the 26-inch refractor. It is the telescope that Asaph Hall used in 1877 at our old Foggy Bottom location to discover the moons of Mars. It is still used today (despite DC’s light pollution!) to study double stars and the…
Authored by Matthew R Francis on February 9, 2012
La vie est belle, n’est-ce pas?
…s to capture, store, and interpret — about a terabyte’s worth per hour. Using those data, Keller and Ahrens tracked the activity of individual neurons (well, more or less — they actually tracked neuron-sized 3D pixels, called “supervoxels”) as they turned on and off, from which they could identify collections of neurons (supervoxels) that appeared to act in synchrony and might therefore be part of the same neuron cir…
Authored by Jeffrey Perkel on April 14, 2013
Pregnancy 101: My placenta looked like meatloaf, but I wasn’t about to eat it.
…of us are involved in policing the neighborhoods, some of us build structures, some of us communicate information, some of us deal with food, some of us get rid of waste, etc. Every cell gets a job (it’s the only example of 100% employment rates!). Now back to the cells in the fertilized egg. As they start to learn what their specific job will be, the cells within the sphere will start to organize themselves. After about 5 days after fertil…
Authored by Jeanne Garbarino on July 27, 2012