Beaches, barbecues and baseball: summer is absolutely my favorite time of year, though it does come with a few drawbacks. The Texas heat is unrelenting, and getting more than a brief exposure to the sun often leaves me roughly the color of Elmo. I should know to be more diligent with the Coppertone, but, well, I’m not.
Perhaps you’re nursing a nasty burn as you read this. Take a look – do you ever wonder what exactly causes your skin to turn red and painful after sun exposure? Richard Gallo and his lab at the UC San Diego School of Medicine recently published their answer to that question in the journal Nature Medicine.
Skin infections? Nausea, vomiting dehydration? Fever, chills, low blood pressure? Toxic shock syndrome? Perhaps you should send your thanks to the Staphylococcus family of bacteria. I’m sure you’re all aware of the dreaded staph infection, which could lead to the aforementioned skin lesions, food poisoning, or a range of other problems. In fact, staph bugs are responsible for more deaths per year in the United States than HIV/AIDS. They are highly resilient little bugs that rapidly acquire antibiotic resistance, thus causing tremendous problems in hospitals throughout.
As you no doubt have heard, antibiotic resistance is a major hurdle that the field is working to tackle. Luckily, we have work being done like this recent study published in PLoS Pathogens that aims to combat this bug head on. It seems we may have a powerful new antibiotic that targets the bacteria’s ability to….recycle. Continue reading →
If you were pivy to my first intro “course” in genetics 101, the basics, you got a fast and furious introduction to DNA and what it does. Again briefly, DNA works as a coded system of information storage to tell the cells of our bodies what to do and how to get it done. However, as you might expect, there’s quite a few layers in between that I glossed over on the first pass. How the cell reads its DNA and performs necessary functions is known as the central dogma