Scientia Issue #114

Sep 21, 2017 | Issues

In this diverse edition of Scientia, we explore the variety of ways that scientific research enhances our health and happiness, from cell biology to social science. We kick-start the edition by investigating human health at the most fundamental level – the molecular processes that occur in our cells. Here, we showcase the work of several researchers, each dedicated to unravelling these intricate mechanisms, and the ways in which they can go wrong. As we’ll see, this type of basic research lays the foundations for elucidating the biochemical origins of many diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Next, we highlight a collection of research projects, where scientists are applying this fundamental knowledge in the hunt for new pharmacological treatments for many different diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and HIV. While pharmaceutical treatments are behind much of our improved healthcare in the twenty-first century, alternative solutions can also provide huge benefits without the need for costly drug development. Therefore, in the next section of the edition, we meet several scientists who are developing innovative non-pharmaceutical person-centred approaches to treating a variety of conditions.

After showcasing the latest innovations in healthcare, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical, we then conclude the edition with another paradigm shift, towards the human as a whole, and our complex interactions with one another in society. Here, we explore the ways in which these social structures and interactions influence our health, happiness and even how our species developed.

 

Contributors from…

 

CONTACT

Published in the UK, by Science Diffusion ltd
ISSN 2059-8971 (print)
ISSN 2059-898X (online)  
E: info@sciencediffusion.com
W: www.sciencediffusion.com
W: www.scientia.global

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Meet The Team…

DIRECTOR
Nick Bagnall 
nick@sciencediffusion.com

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Nelly Berg 
nelly@sciencediffusion.com 

EDITOR
Catriona Houston 
catriona@sciencediffusion.com 

PUBLICATION MANAGERS 
Nick Powers 
npowers@sciencediffusion.com
Brett Langenberg 
brett@sciencediffusion.com
Marie Serrano  
marie@sciencediffusion.com
Tom Render 
tom@sciencediffusion.com  

DESIGN MANAGER
Mimi Jones
 

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS 
Margaret Unkefer, MSc
Conn Hastings, PhD
Sherwin Barretto, PhD
Jenny Chik, PhD
Meghan Maslen Kelly, MRes
Sherwin Barretto, PhD
Ingrid Fadelli, BSc, MA
Miriam Grace, PhD
Kate Stewart, BSc
Joseph Pastorek, MD, JD
Alma Ionescu, BSc
Fiona Williams, BSc
Chris Harrison, PhD
Matthew Aitkenhead, PhD
Kevin Pollock, PhD

 

Scientia Issue #114 Contents

 

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FROM THE INSIDE OUT

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THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR CELL BIOLOGY 
An exclusive interview with Dr Erika Shugart, Executive Director of ASCB

 

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PUTTING LIFE IN CONTEXT
Professor Julio Collado-Vides
Taking a grammatical approach Big Data and finding important scientific links

 

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NEW STATISTICS FOR SMELLING OUT DISEASE
Professor Wenxuan Zhong & Professor Ping Ma
Developing mathematical methods to unlock complex biochemical datasets

 

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USING COMPUTER GRAPHICS TO VISUALISE THE INVISIBLE
Dr William Clarence Ray
Graphically visualising proteins on a molecular scale to understand how they function

 

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THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF GENERAL MEDICAL SCIENCES
An exclusive interview with Dr Jon R. Lorsch, Director of NIGMS

 

 

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TWISTS AND TURNS IN PROTEIN ASSEMBLY
Professor Robert Fairman
Unravelling the underlying causes of neurodegenerative disease

 

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MECHANOBIOLOGY – EXPLORING THE MECHANICS OF CELL BEHAVIOUR
Professor Taher Saif & Dr Andrew W. Holle
Uncovering how cells are impacted by their mechanical microenvironment

 

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COUNT DOWN TO THE FUTURE
Meg Cheng-Campbell, Ryan Scott, Samantha Torres, Matthew Murray & Eric Moyer

Working to understand the negative health effects of long-term space flight 

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THE HUNT FOR MEDICINE – NOVEL APPROACHES TO TREATING DISEASE

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OUTCOMES OF THE 2017 GLOBAL RESEARCH COUNCIL MEETING
Dr B. Mario Pinto, President of NSERC, highlights the key outcomes of this year’s GRC meeting

 

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MITOCHONDRIA – A NOVEL TARGET IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER
Professor Varda Shoshan-Barmatz
Investigating VDAC, in the hope that it will present a therapeutic target for cancer treatment

 

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OF METABOLITES AND MEN: APPLICATIONS OF METABOLOMICS TO MEDICINE
Professor Ian A. Blair
Using metabolomics to elucidate the mechanisms that cause disease and develop therapies

 

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SPHINGOLIPIDS: FATS THAT PROTECT THE HEART
Dr Annarita Di Lorenzo
Elucidating the mechanisms regulating sphingolipid synthesis, towards finding treatments for cardiovascular disease

 

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SMALL SCALE ROOTS OF METABOLIC DISEASE
Dr L. Ashley Cowart
Uncovering the cellular pathways behind metabolic disease, towards finding treatments

 

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ILLUMINATING PATHWAYS TO THE FUTURE OF HEALTH
Dr Petra Kienesberger & Dr Thomas Pulinilkunnil
Understanding the molecular underpinnings of heart disease, obesity and diabetes

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MACROPINOCYTOSIS: THE MACROPHAGE DRINKING PROBLEM BEHIND ATHEROSCLEROSIS
Dr Gábor Csányi
Exploring macrophage LDL cholesterol uptake, towards finding treatments for atherosclerosis

 

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UNRAVELLING THE MYSTERY OF CHRONIC ASTHMA
Professor Dale Tang
Investigating the role of smooth muscle proteins in the development of asthma

 

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INFLUENZA – NEW STRATEGIES FOR DEFEATING AN OLD ENEMY
Dr Peter Palese
Designing a universal flu vaccine, to provide long-lasting protection against seasonal and pandemic influenza

 

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CAPRISA: CENTRE FOR THE AIDS PROGRAMME OF RESEARCH IN SOUTH AFRICA
An exclusive interview with Professor Salim Abdool Karim, Director of CAPRISA

 

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THE AAV CLUB: APPLYING AAV VECTORS TO GENE THERAPY
Professor Arun Srivastava
Investigating the use of the next generation of AAV viral vectors for gene therapy

 

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PREVENTING PRETERM BIRTH AND IMPROVING INFANT OUTCOMES
Professor Jeff Keelan
Lowering rates of child mortality through preventing and treating premature labour and birth

 

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DISARMING BACTERIAL VIRULENCE
Professor Roy Michael Robins-Browne
Taking a novel approach to combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria

 

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HARNESSING SKIN BACTERIA TO FIGHT SKIN DISEASE
Travis Whitfill & Azim Munivar
Using the power of the microbiome to change the landscape of skin disease treatment

 

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PERSON-CENTRED APPROACHES TO HEALTHCARE

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HEALTHMEASURES: A NATIONAL PERSON-CENTRED ASSESSMENT RESOURCE
A new set of four measurement systems that assess patients’ health, symptoms and wellbeing

 

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THE NF CENTER: EXCEPTIONAL CARE THROUGH GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH
Providing exceptional care for individuals with NF, through ground-breaking research

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THE HAND HUB: PLAYING FOR RECOVERY
Professor Mary Galea
Significantly enhancing upper limb rehabilitation after stroke with the ‘Hand Hub’ 

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VIRTUAL REALITY AND ROBOT-BASED REHABILITATION FOR POST-STROKE RECOVERY
Dr Fei Hu
Integrating virtual reality, robot and motion capture technology to help stroke survivors recover

 

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ENHANCING OUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS THROUGH SOCIAL STUDIES

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THE SOCIAL GRADIENT IN MUSCULOSKELETAL HEALTH
Dr Sharon Lee Brennan-Olsen
Investigating musculoskeletal disorders as a socioeconomic-related health outcome

 

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SHAPING RURAL TRANSPORTATION FOR ELDERLY POPULATIONS
Dr James Mjelde & Dr Rebekka Dudensing
Illuminating the issues surrounding rural public transport for the elderly, and advising state agencies

 

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LANGUAGE AS A TIME MACHINE
Dr Marian Klamer
Using language as a tool to open a window into the past in places with few historical records

 

 

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CHILD’S PLAY: REVEALING HUMAN NATURE THROUGH EARLY COMPETITION
Dr Beate Priewasser & Dr Josef Perner
Playing games with young children to reveal the nuances of social development