The Biochemist Blog

Your Scales Look Awfully Fishy

By Paulo Szwarc, Federal University of Paraná

Following the Oscars 2018 Best Picture award to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, a weird thought probably navigates our minds: what if we had scales instead of skin? No? Maybe it’s just a crazy thought I had while observing the movie’s creepy yet astonishing “monster”, an amphibian/fish-looking humanoid looking straight out of a Lovecraft story.

Plant-based biomaterials: engineering the future

By Emily May Armstrong, University of Glasgow

Currently, there’s a massive drive toward improving, creating, and manufacturing cheap and safe alternatives to traditional, mammalian-based biomaterials. Biomaterials take many forms: solid inert scaffolds, decellularized ghost organs, hydrogels, pastes, and powders. This is where plants come in, our photosynthetic friends are diverse, adaptable, and cheap to grow – making them perfect candidates for novel biomaterial production.

Exploiting drug redeployment for modern-day drug discovery

By Sabrina Hossain, University of Birmingham

The progression of drug discovery and development over the last 50 years has been rather exciting for scientists and the community to follow. The drastic improvements of the techniques used to understand the molecular basis of diseases, alongside more competent machinery for a faster drug production line, has led to significant benefits for global health.

CancerSEEK – the ‘holy grail’ of cancer diagnosis?

Kelli Gallacher, University of Bristol

It may only be early in 2018, but we have already been treated to some exciting science news. Last week, a study published in Science described a blood test that is able to detect proteins and genes that are characteristic of eight common forms of cancer; ovarian, lung, breast, liver, stomach, pancreatic, colon and oesophageal. This could have a huge impact in how we diagnose cancer – but how far have we come and how soon can we see the test in practice?