Endoplasmic Biotech-You-Learn

Science is full of jargon and wonderful multi-syllabic words that roll off the tongue. One of my favorite biology phrases from junior high school days is “endoplasmic reticulum”.  With this blog, we’ll be going “endoplasmic” or “inside the cell” to find out more about the latest biotech-related research and global challenges. Our Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology PhD student bloggers will be writing for a general audience, aiming to educate and myth-bust about popular science topics, as well as highlighting campus research projects. Bloggers will also be sharing their experiences of graduate school, biotech-related internships and professional development advice for a wide range of professional career paths. DEB students are drawn from 29 STEM disciplines across the life sciences and engineering, so this blog will be a smorgasbord of biotech fun. Enjoy!  

- Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung

How to Search and Organize Research Articles

As PhD students, reading is part of our life. There are so many new papers coming out every day, so many research blogs to follow, so many books to read. But, how would you find them and organize them? Certainly, I’ve seen people downloading everything to their desktop and piling up 100 pdfs with no labeling or grouping. To be honest, that was me at one point. When you start to write a report or research paper, it can become a nightmare to organize the reference list.

Protein Structure Prediction

If you are a PS4 player, you might have heard of a game called, “Detroit: Become Human”. The story is set in the city of Detroit during the year 2036; the city has been revitalized by the invention and introduction of Androids (Robot) into everyday life. These Androids are very intelligent and can behave just like humans. The story is about the humanity of the robots and the conflict between humans and artificial intelligence. There are now many novels and games discussing artificial intelligence and philosophies related to how it will change society.

Engineering Fungi as Enzymatic Powerhouses for a Plant-Based Economy

The public perception of fungi is typically focused on the beautiful, and occasionally delicious, fruiting bodies of a relatively limited range of fungal species. But the human applications of fungi and the compounds they produce go well beyond our dinner plate or photo album. Fungi, many of which gain energy from decaying plant matter, are known to produce a wide suite of enzymes specializing in the degradation of biomass components. Of particular interest is their capacity to break down lignocellulose, a complex and abundant constituent of plant tissue that forms secondary cell walls.

Computational Chemistry Studies of Terpene Synthase

On a typical morning, I usually grab an orange and get a cinnamon bagel from coffee shop for breakfast. Around 11 am, I have an apple as a snack. I normally get the steamed broccoli in the dining hall for lunch. In the evening on my way back home, sometimes I can smell cannabis on the highway — everything I just mentioned contains terpene. Citrus fruits usually have a large amount of limonene. Cinnamon, broccoli, and some other spices possess β-caryophyllene, which has anti-diabetic potential.

Modern-Day Fluorescent Techniques in Research

Modern-Day Fluorescent Techniques in Research

by Chidera Alim

Fluorescence microscopy techniques have been used extensively for both research and diagnostic purposes. Recent advances in fluorescence microscopy have enabled detailed investigation and understanding of life on an intracellular level. This originates from tools and techniques that allow visualization of molecular signaling events. Before we discuss these techniques, let’s briefly review the concept of fluorescence.