That's Basic Science

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Life’s one long chemical reaction…just hope your body has the best reagents. That’s Basic Science explores the fundamental nature of disease, one research paper at a time. Rather than scratch the surface, TBS translates the complex underpinnings of these studies with videos, pictures, and language that are …well…basic. Feel free to send me your comments, questions, and concerns. Cheers! About me: I’m a science writer at the Center for Infection & Immunity at Columbia University. (All views & opinions expressed here are my own.)

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  • December 15, 2012
  • 08:41 AM
  • 266 views

After The Fall: The Financial Future of U.S Medical Research

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Follow-up to my story in Scientific American: ""Fiscal cliff" threatens to impede biomedical discoveries:... Read more »

Wadman M. (2012) NIH tackles major workforce issues. Nature, 492(7428), 167. PMID: 23235855  

  • December 1, 2012
  • 07:05 AM
  • 363 views

A Home For The Common Cold

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

New techniques for growing cold viruses could be the key to finding a vaccine.... Read more »

Bochkov YA, Palmenberg AC, Lee WM, Rathe JA, Amineva SP, Sun X, Pasic TR, Jarjour NN, Liggett SB, & Gern JE. (2011) Molecular modeling, organ culture and reverse genetics for a newly identified human rhinovirus C. Nature medicine, 17(5), 627-32. PMID: 21483405  

Hao W, Bernard K, Patel N, Ulbrandt N, Feng H, Svabek C, Wilson S, Stracener C, Wang K, Suzich J.... (2012) Infection and propagation of human rhinovirus C in human airway epithelial cells. Journal of virology, 86(24), 13524-32. PMID: 23035218  

  • November 18, 2012
  • 12:18 PM
  • 337 views

Serotonin: Fertilizer For Your Patience & "Herbicide" For Your Liver

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Japanese scientists show how the neurotransmitter serotonin factors into the ability to wait, while researchers from the UK tell us why blocking serotonin in the liver improves wound healing after an injury.... Read more »

Miyazaki KW, Miyazaki K, & Doya K. (2012) Activation of dorsal raphe serotonin neurons is necessary for waiting for delayed rewards. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32(31), 10451-7. PMID: 22855794  

  • June 25, 2012
  • 06:57 AM
  • 736 views

Llamas: Vaccine Factories For HIV

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

A special llama antibody used as a powerful inhibitor for HIV. ... Read more »

McCoy LE, Quigley AF, Strokappe NM, Bulmer-Thomas B, Seaman MS, Mortier D, Rutten L, Chander N, Edwards CJ, Ketteler R.... (2012) Potent and broad neutralization of HIV-1 by a llama antibody elicited by immunization. The Journal of experimental medicine, 209(6), 1091-103. PMID: 22641382  

  • April 1, 2012
  • 06:25 PM
  • 498 views

The 'Connexin' between Tylenol and Liver Injury

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

MIT/Harvard study finds that liver toxins spread from cell-to-cell via gap junctions. ... Read more »

Patel, S., Milwid, J., King, K., Bohr, S., Iracheta-Velle, A., Li, M., Vitalo, A., Parekkadan, B., Jindal, R., & Yarmush, M. (2012) Gap junction inhibition prevents drug-induced liver toxicity and fulminant hepatic failure. Nature Biotechnology, 30(2), 179-183. DOI: 10.1038/nbt.2089  

  • January 26, 2012
  • 09:14 PM
  • 533 views

Sniffing out Parkinson's disease

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Via my new Nature Network blog, a breathalyzer for Parkinson's disease based on carbon nanotube technology.... Read more »

Tisch, U., Aluf, Y., Ionescu, R., Nakhleh, M., Bassal, R., Axelrod, N., Robertman, D., Tessler, Y., Finberg, J., & Haick, H. (2011) Detection of Asymptomatic Nigrostriatal Dopaminergic Lesion in Rats by Exhaled Air Analysis Using Carbon Nanotube Sensors. ACS Chemical Neuroscience, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/cn200093r  

  • January 9, 2012
  • 01:00 AM
  • 561 views

View to a Blood Vessel

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

A microscopic camera for mapping atherosclerotic plaques.... Read more »

Yoo, H., Kim, J., Shishkov, M., Namati, E., Morse, T., Shubochkin, R., McCarthy, J., Ntziachristos, V., Bouma, B., Jaffer, F.... (2011) Intra-arterial catheter for simultaneous microstructural and molecular imaging in vivo. Nature Medicine, 17(12), 1680-1684. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2555  

  • December 19, 2011
  • 03:02 PM
  • 558 views

Another Mad Cow

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Emergence of a new prion species in Switzerland implicated in mad cow disease.

(Apologies to those who tried to read this post from 4:30p - 6pm on 12/19. Had some Blogger issues.)... Read more »

Seuberlich T, Gsponer M, Drögemüller C, Polak MP, McCutcheon S, Heim D, et al. (2011) Novel prion protein in BSE-affected cattle, Switzerland. Emerging Infectious Diseases. info:/10.3201/eid1801.111225

  • December 5, 2011
  • 11:47 AM
  • 701 views

Techie Ecstasy: Preview of SIGGRAPH Asia 2011

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Highlights from the forthcoming tech fest SIGGRAPH Asia 2011

1) An Iphone app that writes your autobiography from internet posts

2) A Cartography graphics tool for cardiologists

3) A Renaissance collage generator.

Plus a video of some great rendering software innovations.... Read more »

Zhu, B., Iwata, M., Haraguchi, R., Ashihara, T., Umetani, N., Igarashi, T., & Nakazawa, K. (2011) Sketch-based Dynamic Illustration of Fluid Systems. ACM Transactions on Graphics, 30(6), 1. DOI: 10.1145/2070781.2024168  

Huang, H., Zhang, L., & Zhang, H. (2011) Arcimboldo-like collage using internet images. ACM Transactions on Graphics, 30(6), 1. DOI: 10.1145/2070781.2024189  

  • December 2, 2011
  • 06:18 PM
  • 697 views

The Chlamydia Vaccine: Reloaded

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

The journey to a chlamydia vaccine has been rough, but might now be over ... Read more »

Kari, L., Whitmire, W., Olivares-Zavaleta, N., Goheen, M., Taylor, L., Carlson, J., Sturdevant, G., Lu, C., Bakios, L., Randall, L.... (2011) A live-attenuated chlamydial vaccine protects against trachoma in nonhuman primates. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 208(11), 2217-2223. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20111266  

O'Connell CM, Ingalls RR, Andrews CW Jr, Scurlock AM, & Darville T. (2007) Plasmid-deficient Chlamydia muridarum fail to induce immune pathology and protect against oviduct disease. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 179(6), 4027-34. PMID: 17785841  

  • November 22, 2011
  • 05:58 AM
  • 671 views

Mighty Mouse Lemur

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Mouse lemurs develop a disease that is strikingly similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

Advantages over current AD models:
- Short lifespan (6 – 8 yrs)
- Mimics sporadic AD
... Read more »

Languille, S., Blanc, S., Blin, O., Canale, C., Dal-Pan, A., Devau, G., Dhenain, M., Dorieux, O., Epelbaum, J., Gomez, D.... (2011) The grey mouse lemur: A non-human primate model for ageing studies. Ageing Research Reviews. DOI: 10.1016/j.arr.2011.07.001  

  • November 17, 2011
  • 12:12 AM
  • 504 views

Update of "Your Legal Brain" w/ Video

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

SfN11 video of lecture with start cues. ... Read more »

  • November 15, 2011
  • 11:15 AM
  • 587 views

Sins of the Father

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Novel findings from rodent models of juvenile abuse and infant cocaine addiction... Read more »

Sadri-Vakili G, Kumaresan V, Schmidt HD, Famous KR, Chawla P, Vassoler FM, Overland RP, Xia E, Bass CE, Terwilliger EF.... (2010) Cocaine-induced chromatin remodeling increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor transcription in the rat medial prefrontal cortex, which alters the reinforcing efficacy of cocaine. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(35), 11735-44. PMID: 20810894  

  • November 13, 2011
  • 06:44 AM
  • 510 views

Your Legal Brain

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

The influence of neuroscience on legal proceedings - a symposium at the Society of Neuroscience conference. ... Read more »

  • November 8, 2011
  • 07:50 PM
  • 616 views

Ebola Blocker

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Scientists discover a new facet of Ebola viral entry and a compound to stop it. ... Read more »

Carette, J., Raaben, M., Wong, A., Herbert, A., Obernosterer, G., Mulherkar, N., Kuehne, A., Kranzusch, P., Griffin, A., Ruthel, G.... (2011) Ebola virus entry requires the cholesterol transporter Niemann–Pick C1. Nature, 477(7364), 340-343. DOI: 10.1038/nature10348  

Côté, M., Misasi, J., Ren, T., Bruchez, A., Lee, K., Filone, C., Hensley, L., Li, Q., Ory, D., Chandran, K.... (2011) Small molecule inhibitors reveal Niemann–Pick C1 is essential for Ebola virus infection. Nature, 477(7364), 344-348. DOI: 10.1038/nature10380  

  • October 11, 2011
  • 01:16 AM
  • 747 views

Baby Pains

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

A neuroimaging study tries to define when pain perception crops up in infants.... Read more »

  • September 30, 2011
  • 05:45 AM
  • 796 views

Scientist creates "Contagion"

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

The scientific mind behind "Contagion"... Read more »

Lipkin, W. (2010) Microbe Hunting. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 74(3), 363-377. DOI: 10.1128/MMBR.00007-10  

  • August 30, 2011
  • 07:30 AM
  • 1,105 views

'Epoxy' for Your Arteries

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

A new method for suturing blood vessels... Read more »

Chang, E., Galvez, M., Glotzbach, J., Hamou, C., El-ftesi, S., Rappleye, C., Sommer, K., Rajadas, J., Abilez, O., Fuller, G.... (2011) Vascular anastomosis using controlled phase transitions in poloxamer gels. Nature Medicine. DOI: 10.1038/nm.2424  

  • August 18, 2011
  • 03:47 PM
  • 1,260 views

One Sound, One Synapse: Imaging Synapses in Living Brains

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

Live imaging of synapse firing.... Read more »

Chen, X., Leischner, U., Rochefort, N., Nelken, I., & Konnerth, A. (2011) Functional mapping of single spines in cortical neurons in vivo. Nature, 475(7357), 501-505. DOI: 10.1038/nature10193  

  • July 19, 2011
  • 01:10 AM
  • 1,412 views

Parasites in Your Poop

by Nsikan Akpan in That's Basic Science

The peculiar case of a man who used tiny critters to cheer up his bowels... Read more »

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