The Biochemist Blog

Resident evil: inflammation and depression

By Leah Kivivali, La Trobe University

Inflammation. When most of us think of inflammation, we probably think about a swollen joint or swelling around a wound, but can inflammation also affect our brains. Ultimately, inflammation is good. It’s the process whereby our body eradicates invading pathogens and helps us fight disease. However, inflammation can turn bad when the signalling to turn it off after the threat has gone doesn’t work.

Accessing our inner clock

By Helen Albert, Editor

We all have an inner clock that allows us to respond appropriately to our immediate environment according to the time of day or night. The existence of such biological clocks has been known about for some time, but the specific mechanism of action was unclear. In the 1980s, three American scientists – Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young – succeeded in isolating a gene called period that had previously been linked with disruption of the biological clock in fruit flies.

Hacked: the human edition

By Natalie Hamer, Newcastle University

In today’s western society, almost every individual owns a piece of technology. Be that a mobile phone, a tablet or a computer; technology has become so integrated into our lives that we use it daily to complete simple tasks such as communicating, banking and even shopping. The more we depend on technology, the more criminals will try to exploit this dependency to steal our private information for gain.

Stem cell therapy for arthritis?

By Debosree Pal, JNCASR, India

During the development of an embryo, the initial mass of cells that possess the capacity to constantly divide and give rise to all mature cell types of an organism are referred to as the stem cells. Stem cells have a capacity known as pluripotency, derived from the Latin term plurimus meaning very many and potens that refers to their capacity to differentiate into all cell types.