There is no end to work as a researcher. Eight experiments running at once, preparing for a lab meeting, reading journal articles. I guess I can’t complain too much, but I have been pretty damn busy lately, as evidenced by the slight lack of posts recently.
If only I had a little robot sidekick to help me out with things. May not be too far off if a collaborative project from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK) and National Science Foundation (USA) takes off. This work, being done primarily at Newcastle University in the UK, aims to create a tiny robot designed to function like a living creature.
I’m sure we are all quite familiar with the story of the Trojan War. The King of Troy falls in love with the fair Helen of Sparta and steals her away from her husband, only to have his city attacked by the Greeks. If not that, at least we all know of the famous Trojan Horse that ended said war. Presented to Troy as a sacred offering, the giant hollow horse was in fact filled with soldiers that would be the downfall of the city of Troy once they brought it within their city gates.
And so from a battle over a beautiful ladies, scientists now employ a similar measure in the battle to save all of our present day lovely ladies. Dr. David Ateh and colleagues at Queen Mary, University of London have recently published work in Biomaterialsdescribing their efforts to trick cancer cells into accepting small, drug filled particles in order to combat tumor growth.
Hours of my life were once wasted trying to keep an imaginary avatar happy. Getting them up for work on time, making sure they’re fed, even keeping up awkward social interactions in some made-up language. And all for what? Nothing, mostly.
Recent news would seem to suggest that I’m not the only scientist that every enjoyed spending a little time in the virtual world. Now, scientists are beginning to try to incorporate this love into a sort of simulated experiment. Dr. Daniel Beard and his team at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee plans to begin crafting computer models of rat physiology to fashion a ‘virtual rat’ that will be used for the study of a range of diseases. Known as the “Virtual Physiological Rat”, this is a project just beginning that will receive funding support from the NIH over the next five years.
If you’re anything like me, you are NOT a morning person. One could argue that part of the reason is my consistent inability to go to bed at a reasonable hour, or my addiction to Diet Coke. I, however, prefer to assign blame elsewhere – like a loose gear in my body clock.
Seems like I’m not the only one who believes that a wonky clock could be the culprit. There’s quite a bit of research into what controls circadian rhythms, and it’s always been quite intriguing to me. I came across a very interesting little article recently published in Scientific American that pointed me towards research being done by Dr. Ravi Allada’s group at Northwestern University. His lab, in collaboration with Dr. Joonho Choe’s group at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, published an article in the February issue of Naturethat presents the discovery of a new gene critical for normal daily rhythms of the sleep-wake cycle. Continue reading →