Bench to Bmore Blog

Mendeling in your affairs: understanding the term “Mendelian Disease”

It is a simple fact of life that each of us is impacted by genetic disease in one form or another, whether we know it or not. Most of us have probably heard a lot about diseases that develop due to both genetic susceptibilities and environmental exposures, such as type II diabetes and different forms of cancer. We in the genetics field like to call these “complex” diseases, because we just don’t fully get what causes them yet. On the other hand, there are some diseases that are 100% dictated by the alleles (variants of a single gene) you are...

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5 on Friday

Happy Friday! I’ve perused the world wide web to bring you 5 interesting science happenings from this week. In honor of the weekend being but hours away, sip on your morning coffee for a few extra minutes and catch up with the world of science. Of course if it’s written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, it’s going to be interesting but this article does a great job of tackling why science is not a matter of opinion – What Science Is — and How and Why It Works Let’s just say the phrase “antibiotic resistance” isn’t going away anytime soon… – New...

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Careful what you think you just might taste it.

A very interesting study was published in the online edition of Nature on the biology of taste perception. The study was led by Charles S. Zuker, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics and of neuroscience, a member of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science and the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), and executed by Yueqing Peng, a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Zuker’s lab and others.  The researchers examined whether manipulating the neurons in unique sets of brain cells, located in separate locations in the brain’s cortex could evoke the perception...

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Let your kids play in the dirt, or don’t – they might be screwed either way.

The hygiene hypothesis has been a sexy but controversial topic in all the health sciences since its conception in the late 1980’s. The hypothesis being that developed countries have higher incidences of allergy because they are generally cleaner. Sounds simple but 20+ years later, it’s one of the most debated theories in the field. It started with an observation by David Strachan that, in a longitudinal study of individuals from birth to age 23, the incidence of hay fever was inversely correlated with the number of children in the household. In other words, the kids that got hay fever, which...

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What can a “science nerd” learn from a “sports jock?”

Sports psychology isn’t something everyone has heard about, but more and more big name teams are providing in-house sports psychology services. Articles published this fall detail how teams like the Miami Dolphins and the New York Mets see value in providing sports psychologists whose job it is to help players reduce anxiety, increase focus on tasks, and enhance performance.

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Think of it as an adventure more than a career.

I had a chance to talk to Chris Cheadle a scientist with a background in functional genomics and data analysis. In this podcast you will hear about Chris’s journey of 36 years in the lab. He brings you a history on the emergence of the technology of Oligo synthesis and how a fledgling field turned into what we know as personal genomics. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

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Correlation does not imply causation! But then what does it mean?

“Correlation does not imply causation.” If you’ve ever taken a science course, you’ve likely heard this phrase before. And doubtless, if you’ve ever worked in research, this statement probably made you roll your eyes a bit, huffing out a scoff with the obligatory “No duh.” But if you’ve never heard of this phrase before, what does it actually mean? It’s actually less specifically related to science and more of a discipline in logical thinking. “Correlation” just means that two things are related or associated with one another. And “causation” just means that one event caused another event to occur. So...

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