The Biochemist Blog

Yellow fever: Brazil’s current outbreak

Louise Corscadden, University of Leicester, UK

Most people are first introduced to yellow fever at the travel clinic; upon imminent jet-setting to a tropical destination far away, we are told we need a yellow fever vaccine. To us, yellow fever is a disease of places far away: out of sight, out of mind. However, to those in the 47 at-risk countries in South America and Africa (WHO, 2018), it is a highly lethal disease. The World Health Organization estimates that in 2013 between 84,000 and 170,000 people suffered from the severe form of the disease, with 29,000 to 60,000 dying as a result (WHO, 2018). Last year, the disease once again reared its head in Brazil in a precedence recently unseen in years.

New therapy helps your own immune system kill cancer cells

Emma Pettengale, Portland Press

You might have seen the recent news story about Judy Perkins – the woman cured of terminal breast cancer using her own immune cells in a world first. Some doctors believe that the pioneering development could mark a “paradigm shift” in cancer research and we’re going to take a look at the case, and explain the science behind it!

Mimicking molecular machines

By Arwen Nugteren, University of Queensland, Australia

Rotors were used in early combustion engines and are still used in electric engines and turbines today. That means that when we first built cars, back in 1886, they used rotors in their engines simply because that was just what worked.

ATP synthase was discovered in 1960 as an essential enzyme in aerobic cellular respiration, but it wasn’t until the 1990s when John E. Walker partnered with crystallographers to determine its structure.