With the growing number of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, there is a need for new antibiotics. Bacteria within the order Actinomycetales produce the majority of known antibiotic compounds but harbor cryptic secondary metabolic pathways that likely produce thousands more antibiotics awaiting discovery. This has recently renewed interests in bioprospecting for novel Actinomycetales in underexplored environments, such as the lower atmosphere, and activating cryptic secondary metabolic pathways in previously characterized members of this order.
Understanding bacterial translation is of interest to many high school and college biology students, but hands-on research of this process has traditionally been inaccessible because of the expertise required for molecular cloning. There is also a need for more and better translational control elements that can be used for genetic circuits with applications in medicine, biotechnology, bioremediation, and biomaterials.
Finding a career that embodies your interests, goals and values is difficult. For some people that means long hours of discovery in a research lab. For others, the most fulfilling career focuses on interacting with the public, or teaching students. Clinical microbiology is a fascinating interdisciplinary career that masterfullyblends these three fields into one distinct package. To learn more about this niche occupation, I interviewed Dr. Prameet Sheth, PhD, MSc, a clinical microbiologist at the Kingston General Hospital (KGH).
When a virus infects a cell, it has an important decision to make – whether to kill the host (lysis) or to integrate its DNA into the host genome (lysogeny), entering a state of dormancy. This anthropomorphic view may not be far from the truth. A recent study by Zohar Erez and colleagues in Israel, published in Nature, demonstrated that a small signalling peptide used mediates the lysis-lysogeny decision.
Cancer patients are known to develop clinically significant, long-term symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, one in four cancer patients has clinical depression and almost 40% meet the criteria for a mood disorder. However, a recent Johns Hopkins University study shows that hope may lie in psychedelic research.
Chemists at the University of Manchester have produced the tightest knot ever created. Published earlier this month in the journal Science, the team led by David Leigh used techniques in synthetic chemistry to braid strands of different molecules into a structure with over eight crossings. The first synthetic chemical knot was created in 1989 by chemist Jean-Pierre Sauvage of Strasbourg University, who later went on to win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for molecular machines.
Earlier this month, Google Deepmind chief executive Demis Hassabis revealed that their updated version of AlphaGo, a program capable of learning and playing the board game Go, has exhibited remarkable success against the world’s best Go players in online matches. Go, for many decades, has been the game to beat for many artificial intelligence (AI) engineers. Considerably more complex than Chess, Go has stumped many computer researchers seeking to develop a program that could compete with high-level human players.