The Undergraduate Research Journal
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) systems have revolutionized the life sciences since their development as an experimental tool in 2012. Native CRISPR systems act in prokaryotes as an adaptive immune system against invading genetic elements, such as viral DNA. These systems recognize invading nucleic acids, insert segments of the sequence in the host genome, and use these sequences to recognize and destroy the viral element if the cell is invaded again. In recent years, proteins from CRISPR systems, particularly the Cas9 nuclease, have been repurposed for different applications, such as gene editing experiments, large scale genetic screens, and imaging of DNA elements. CRISPR systems have dramatically increased the ease and efficiency of genome engineering, and further investigation and development of these systems is likely to continue for years to come.
Video games are a popular form of entertainment. But can video games have a negative impact on your focus? Many studies show that both duration of exposure and level of violence of video games appear to be associated with concentration difficulties. However, whilst much attention has been given to the affects of long duration of game playing to violent video games (1), little is known on the impact that short exposure to less violent video games can have. Jacob Brawer, a Clinical Neuroscience Research Intern at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has just published a study in the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) providing the first evidence that even short-term video gaming can significantly impact both the concentration and attention of players (2)
Twenty years after the molecular mechanism of gene silencing was unraveled, researchers are making critical steps forward following the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a new gene silencing therapeutic. The drug, Onpattro (Patisiran), licensed by Alnylam Therapeutics, is designed to treat patients with hereditary transthyretin-mediated (hATTR) amyloidosis, a rare but life-threatening disease that causes damage to the peripheral nerves. The drug works by targeting RNA before it has a chance to be translated into a disease-causing protein. Now that this drug approval barrier has been overcome, have doctors and researchers entered a new era of treating genetic diseases?
Dr. Longen Zhou is the director of Translational Cancer Research at Johnson & Johnson’s Shanghai headquarters. He has had extensive experience in the area of cancer drug development and working in the industrial sector. Dr. Zhou is very knowledgeable about various topics in health science and medicine. His work involves drugs targeting a variety of different cancers, including but not limited to lung cancer, stomach cancer, and leukemia. He has shared with JYI his insights about working in the field of drug development.
Microbes in the human body outnumber human cells at approximately a 10:1 ratio. There are 100 trillion microbes living in the intestines alone; these microscopic communities can account for as much as 6 pounds of a person’s body weight. Gut microbes have been known to promote healthy digestion, but recent research uncovered these microbes’ influence on the body’s immune and nervous system, as well as potential implications in therapies for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
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