Bench to Bmore Blog

Cancer Stem Cells – Targeting the Mothership of a Tumor

There are moments while reflecting on my research that I imagine I’m in the movie Independence Day, gliding through outer space in a hijacked attack ship with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, locked in the alien mothership’s tractor beam. Little does the mothership know that inside this seemingly normal alien vessel sits a manmade nuclear bomb, primed for detonation. We creep up to the entrance of the great ship; its massive doors slowly open. Once inside, we see its vast inner workings. It is clear that they are mounting a new assault and we finally understand that this is the...

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5 on Friday

Hello friends and fellow science enthusiasts! Join us for 5 of the most interesting and quirky events in science this week! Could you explain complex science to an 11 year old? If you attack DNA, you can treat a snakebite! What does your office microbiome look like? Zombie crabs! and… Time magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People. Could you explain complex science to an 11 year old? Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge asks 11 year old students to submit science questions, and this year’s question is: “What is sound?” Scientists from all over the world send in their answers and the kids vote...

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Job Hunting Advice from Experts: Part 1

Having watched a loved one recently go through the process, I can personally attest that job hunting is no cup of tea. It is often frustrating and rarely easy on one’s self-esteem. Earlier this week I attended a panel discussion at the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering’s (ISPE) Mid-Atlantic Life Sciences Showcase entitled, “Engineering a Blockbuster Career.” The discussion was sponsored by BioBuzz and moderated by BioBuzz’s own, Chris Frew. The panelists have certainly engineered blockbuster careers and they all have significant experience in the job hunting and hiring arenas. The panel included – Wendy Penry, Chief Human Resource Officer...

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5 on Friday

1)Parasitic Worms – A treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases? Research was published this week showing that infection with a parasitic worm reduces inflammation and restores the mucus-secreting ability of intestinal cells in mice with a genetic defect that is also present in some who suffer from Crohn’s disease. This mucus secretion is key for health because it protects the gut from harmful bacteria. The researchers concluded that the worms actually help by influencing the microbiome in the intestine of the mice. The interest in this area of research stems from the Hygiene Hypothesis, which I previously blogged about. While controversial,...

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5 on Friday

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” – Albert Einstein 1. Your birth season is stamped on your DNA and can affect your risk of allergies Allergies. If you live in the western world, you’re probably no stranger to them. And if you’re somehow lucky enough to not have any allergies, then you probably know someone who does. How allergies first arose and why they’re even a thing has long been a question that immunologists have pondered. Allergies are essentially an aberrant immune response:...

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5 on Friday

Thanks to everyone who stopped by at the Umaryland Bioresco Vendor’s show yesterday! If you didn’t get a chance to before, sign up for our mailing list today! Now, to end your week right, we bring you 5 on Friday! LOCAL EVENT: Project Bridge is hosting another Science Cafe this coming Monday (April 4th) at the Baltimore Underground Science Space! This time, come listen to Dr. Claire Fraser (former president and director of The Institute for Genomic Research, and current director of the Umaryland Institute for Genome Sciences) lead a discussion about the human gut microbiome. Stay afterwards to check out a science themed art...

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“They just couldn’t cut it.” How the old school rhetoric in modern PhD programs selects against diversity.

Sometimes when a student fails out of a Ph.D. program, the same old school rhetoric gets passed around: “They just didn’t have ‘it.’” Professors often cite the dubious evidence that because they were able to succeed in a PhD program, if someone else can’t then they “don’t deserve to be here.” But are we culling out great scientists because our programs are designed for a narrowly defined type of student? Ph.D programs are designed for students who test well on the GRE, who can learn through traditional didactic lecture and independent self-teaching, and who can perform well on written exams....

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5 on Friday

From hard-work progress to novel discoveries, let’s check out what’s been happening in the world of science and research!   1. Scientists breed pigs resistant to a devastating infection using CRISPR “[Biologists at the University of Missouri] are one of the first teams to develop a commercial agricultural application for the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing method—to breed pigs resistant to infection.”   2. Doctors 3D-print ‘living’ body parts “The team at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre developed a new technique that 3D-prints a tissue riddled with micro-channels, rather like a sponge, to allow nutrients to penetrate the tissue.”   3. Stem Cells...

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5 on Friday

I’m coming off a post-conference science high right now (thanks to the awesome presenters at the Association for Otolaryngology 2016 Midwinter Meeting), and am excited to share this weeks “5 on Friday!” LOCAL EVENT: How do cells process information? Johns Hopkins University’s Project Bridge hosts its 15th Science Café with speaker Dr. Cynthia Wolberger addressing the topic “Ubiquitin is Everywhere: How Cells Process Information.” Come join in on the discussion Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 7pm at Homeslyce (336 N. Charles, Baltimore MD). Learn more about Project Bridge from their blog. R2d2, friendly droid or ‘selfish’ DNA? Researchers at the National...

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Publish the Negative

Being extremely Type A, I’ve always found the scientific method to be comforting (#nerdstatus). I like how methodical and adaptable it is and I admire the emphasis it puts on planning.   Importantly, the scientific method is not hasty – it does not aim to definitively answer any question rapidly. Instead, it allows for the ongoing gathering of evidence through observation and experiments.   In this ongoing gathering, there is no distinguishing between positive and negative results. All experiments give data, from which observations can be drawn, and after a few replicates, conclusions can be made.   A result that...

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