Interview with Leah MacDonald.

Interview with Leah MacDonald.

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Recently, biomedical science student Leah MacDonald, was awarded the first Christopher Haggarty-Weir bursary at the University of the Sunshine Coast. This is an annual scholarship I set up to give something back to my alma mater where I did my biomed degree. I thought it would be a great idea to sit down with Leah and ask her a few questions about herself and her interests, as well as life as an undergraduate in the sciences.

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Viruses as a new form of antibiotic? A race against evolution of antibiotic resistance.

Viruses as a new form of antibiotic? A race against evolution of antibiotic resistance.

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We have a guest post from University of Melbourne M.Sc student, Ashleigh Henderson!

The discovery and production of penicillin as an antibiotic in the early 1900’s was one of the most significant breakthroughs in the history of medicine. Antibiotics turned many menacing, life-threatening diseases into mere annoyances that could be solved with the pop of a pill. However, bacteria are fighting back and are rapidly evolving resistance to antibiotics. They are able to do this due to our misuse of antibiotics.

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The Osiris-REx Space Program

The Osiris-REx Space Program

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Bryce Harper, a student at the University of Queensland, has written a great article for us on the Osiris-REx space mission. this is Bryce’s second article for us at Mostly Science (his first was on skepticism). Check out his newest article below and also his blog by clicking here.

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An interview with Dr. Sara Canavati

An interview with Dr. Sara Canavati

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Recently I had the pleasure of being a finalist in the 2015 Malaria Social Media Awards with Dr. Sara Canavati. Sara went on to win an esteemed award (the South-East Asia category) and I thought it would be jolly good to interview her.

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Prof. Gero Miesenböck: A man of the mind

Prof. Gero Miesenböck: A man of the mind

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Image credit, www.cncb.ox.ac.uk

Please note this article is co-authored by both Christopher Haggarty-Weir and William Godfrey. William had the idea of interviewing Prof. Miesenböck (one of William’s current favourite scientists) and came up with the majority of questions, in addition to writing up the transcripts from the recorded interview. Christopher conducted the interview and attended the public lecture in Edinburgh. Also fellow readers, please accept our apologies for the delay in posting this piece; our website was hacked and had to be taken down for several weeks until we could sort the issue out. Anyway, I hope the wait was worth it!

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Malaria Heroes: Alphonse Laveran.

Malaria Heroes: Alphonse Laveran.

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I have decided to launch a series of articles called “Malaria Heroes” which will give some information about some of the key figures throughout the modern history of malaria (i.e. since the 1800’s). The first of these heroes that led to a greater understanding of this parasitic infection is Dr. Charles Alphonse Laveran, a French physician who was born in Paris in 1845.

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Optogenetics: An understanding and mastery of brain function

Optogenetics: An understanding and mastery of brain function

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Written by William Godfrey and Christopher Weir.

 

Before we get into the article, I would first like to welcome the newest addition to our writing team here at Mostly Science, William Godfrey. Will and I are both alumni of the University of Queensland, which is where he went to the T.C. Berne School of Law and graduated with an L.L.B. After being unable to resist the intrigue of science, he made the bold decision to head back to UQ this year to begin a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with a view to engaging in neuroscience research (specifically, optogenetics). With that, I would like to leave you to enjoy Will’s first article.

For those who are unaware, the relatively new field of optogenetics can be simply described as using light to control neurons that have been genetically engineered to respond to certain wavelengths of light. The technique was developed based on a re-evaluation of how the brain functions and in this new paradigm the brain is not just an organ in the traditional sense, but a combination of sophisticated electrical circuitry combined with computational power. If this sounds enticing and exciting, then you can see why optogenetics was selected as the Method of the Year (2010) by the prestigious journal Nature Methods.

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Theileria parasites

Theileria parasites

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Parasites, in all their forms, artfully exploit their unwitting host. Theileria is similar to Plasmodium but infects cattle and is spread by ticks rather than mosquitoes.

Here, a white blood cell infected with Theileria (labelled green) is dividing into two daughter cells and the parasite has adopted a cunning disguise to get itself copied in the process. By covering itself in one of the host’s own proteins Theileria is pulled to opposite ends of the cell by the spindle (stained red) along with the dividing host DNA (stained blue). When the daughter cells split both will be infected and the parasite quickly spreads throughout the blood in this way. Scientists hope that understanding exactly how these tiny tricksters operate will inspire new ways to stop them. (Written by Emma Stoye)

Image courtesy: Dirk Dobbelaere, University of Bern, Switzerland (published on PLoS Biology here)

Brought to my attention by Susan on the World Federation of Parasitologists official Facebook page, check it out for all things parasite-related!

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