Published by Portland Press
Print ISSN: 0954-982X
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are tiny light-emitting particles that have emerged as a new class of fluorescent labels for biology and medicine. Compared with traditional fluorescent probes, QDs have unique optical and electronic properties such as size-tuneable light emission, narrow and symmetric emission spectra, and broad absorption spectra that enable the simultaneous excitation of multiple fluorescence colours.
Demodex mites, class Arachnida and subclass Acarina, are elongated mites with clear cephalothorax and abdomens, the former with four pairs of legs. There are more than 100 species of Demodex mite, many of which are obligatory commensals of the pilosebaceous unit of mammals including cats, dogs, sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, deer, bats, hamsters, rats and mice. Among them, Demodex canis, which is found ubiquitously in dogs, is the most documented and investigated. In excessive numbers D. canis causes the inflammatory disease termed demodicosis (demodectic mange, follicular mange or red mange), which is more common in purebred dogs and has a hereditary predisposition in breeding kennels1. Two distinct Demodex species have been confirmed as the most common ectoparasite in man. The larger Demodex folliculorum, about 0.3-0.4 mm long, is primarily found as a cluster in the hair follicle (Figure 1a), while the smaller Demodex brevis, about 0.2-0.3 mm long with a spindle shape and stubby legs, resides solitarily in the sebaceous gland (Figure 1b). These two species are also ubiquitously found in all human races without gender preference. The pathogenic role of Demodex mites in veterinary medicine is not as greatly disputed as in human diseases. In this article, we review the key literature and our joint research experience regarding the pathogenic potential of these two mites in causing inflammatory diseases of human skin and eye. We hope that the evidence summarized herein will invite readers to take a different look at the life of Demodex mites in several common human diseases.
Nearly all species employ mechanosensitive channels to detect mechanical cues, such as touch and sound waves, and convert these mechanical forces into electrochemical signals. Genetic, biochemical and electrophysiological studies of touch-insensitive mutants in model organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster provide insights into the molecular basis of mechanosensory transduction.
Anyone whose sporting prowess has given him the opportunity to examine X-rays of his own broken bones will know the perverse fascination that such pictures of one's ‘physical inner-self’ can provide. As biochemists, our fascination is less likely to be with our bones than with our genomes, and this article considers some of the ways in which we can survey our ‘genetic inner-selves’ on a desktop computer, in the office or in the home. The article takes the standpoint that, in addition to any particular genetic ‘bone’ (broken or otherwise) that we may wish to view, we are also interested in traversing the whole genomic ‘skeleton’. Those of a squeamish nature, who think that genome browsing should be left to the scientific equivalent of the surgeon, need read no further.
Also available via In the last decade, several methods have been developed to measure enzyme activity at the level of a single enzyme molecule. This represents a considerable technical feat, but what does it allow us to learn about enzymes? Here, the basic principles are reviewed to show that new forms of heterogeneity in activity may be revealed and evidence gained for rare states that would otherwise be swamped in bulk assays.
Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. The final published version is available at, Doi: [DOI] In June 2008, celebrity psychiatrist Raj Persaud was disciplined by the General Medical Council for the unattributed republication of work by other scholars as though it was his own. This high-profile case is only one example of a growing anxiety about plagiarism, both in academic works and, particularly, in undergraduate courses. Indeed, concern about plagiarism now starts before students even get to Higher Education. For example, the discovery that 233 university applicants all cited as their inspiration to study medicine the same childhood incident – in which they set fire to their pyjamas – has led to the routine screening of all UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) applications. Many issues are raised by this current emphasis on plagiarism, with each apparently prompting a more fundamental question: why are we more concerned about plagiarism now than previously? Why has there been a growth in plagiarism? Has there been a growth in plagiarism? What is plagiarism? Why do students plagiarize? What can and should we be doing to address the issue?
Free-living humans consume meals at frequent intervals and consequentially spend about three-quarters of each day in the postprandial state. During this time, a number of metabolic perturbations occur that are likely to play a role in the atherosclerotic disease process.
Articles about the gender imbalance in science typically generate energetic, emotional and voluminous response. Look at the number of responses on the message boards to the Nature commentary article 'Does gender matter?' by Ben Barres. It was a close second to those responding to an article on creationism versus evolution. Similarly Peter Lawrence's article in PLOS Biology, "Men, women, and ghosts in science" generated an enormous response.
The proposed introduction of impact into research funding assessments has been controversial. The current proposals for the new quality-related research (QR) framework contribute to a very tense environment which also includes looming cuts to higher education budgets. There are widespread concerns about how the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will allocate the resulting budget.
From space our planet is blue, and life here has evolved in the presence of abundant water. However, on land, water remains one of life's major challenges. Fully two-fifths of the land surface is classified as arid: the hot and cold deserts, where water is largely unavailable. Even in biomes where water availability is generally good, seasonal, daily and sporadic conditions can mean that life has to be able to survive its absence. Surprisingly, some organisms are able to survive complete loss of all their body water, to undergo anhydrobiosis. This surprising ability has evolved many times, and is particularly prevalent in very small animals. The biochemistry of anhydrobiosis challenges ideas of what ‘being alive’ really means and promises exciting biotechnological applications.
Leading figures from the life sciences community gathered in London at the British Library on 18 February to celebrate the digitization of the back archive of the Biochemical Journal.
Metal-ion-dependent reactions are involved in a wide variety of biological processes, from the geochemical changes that have affected evolution to the biochemical and physiological effects of metals on health and disease. Biometals 2002, the 3rd International Biometals Symposium, brought together some of the most active workers in these areas with the aim of sharing common themes in biometals research. Over 200 delegates from some 21 countries attended the 3-day meeting.
The 57th Harden Conference was more of a single-subject conference (although it is a pretty big subject). Speakers covered areas such drug targets, the link between cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease and the origin of BACE (β-site APP-cleaving enzyme) in sea squirts.
The first exhibit in the Pain exhibition is a set of three chairs; one used for torture, one for dentistry and one for childbirth. We all know pain; how we react to it is the subject of the latest exhibition from the Wellcome Trust.
2009 is a particularly significant year for the theory of evolution; it is 150 years since the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species and also the bicentenary of his birth. But what really is the current state of evolutionary theory and what have been the major advances since the publication of Darwin's book?
Ah… Christmas in London! But it seems the science was the biggest draw, as delegates came from around the world to listen to two medal lectures, and attend the Annual Symposium in honour of Alan Barrett, Proteases and the Regulation of Biological Processes. The Annual Symposium will be published as part of the Biochemical Society Symposia Series in the summer. Other colloquia included Polyamines and their Role in Human Disease, Human Ageing: from the Bench to the Clinic, Sulphotransferases in Glycobiology, Drug Discovery and Design, and Proteasome Interactions with Viral and Cellular Proteins. The Research Colloquium for young scientists was once again very popular, this time concentrating on Biological Functions of Sulphated Glycoproteins. Unusually, no dancing was observed at this meeting, but there was plenty of eating, with each colloquium having its own dinner.
Biology and Chemistry Departments have traditionally occupied separate buildings on campus -- at one time in the not too distant past, few universities managed to encourage mingling. A one-day symposium, organized by the UKLSC and RSC, aimed to address some of the issues involved in convincing biologists that chemistry is invaluable, and vice versa. The presentations demonstrated how a mixture of disciplines can achieve impressive results in the new post-genomic proteomic era.
In 1924, in a rarely quoted but remarkably sharp address on the status of biochemistry in Britain, F. Gowland Hopkins deplored how painfully little, “as compared to any other country of importance”, British work had contributed to advancing the subject [of biochemistry] until the beginning of the 20th Century1. However, as we shall see, W.D. Halliburton appears to be a notable exception to Hopkins' generalization. And indeed, in a retrospective assessment, Hopkins came to regard Halliburton as a pioneer in his own discipline: “He was the first in this country, by his works and his writing, to secure for it [biochemistry] general recognition and respect”2. That, in essence, explains why the Biochemical Society which he was instrumental in founding (see Plimmer's history3 elected him as its first Honorary Member in 1923.
The British biochemist Muriel Wheldale Onslow was one of only two genetics researchers in the first decade of the 20th century who performed plant breeding experiments and also investigated the corresponding chemistry of flower pigments of the plants (the other being Erwin Bauer in Germany)1. J.B.S. Haldane used her research to conclude that genes controlled the formation of large molecules, such as pigment molecules2.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected scientific research across the world, emphasizing old entrenched problems as well as bringing new challenges and even some opportunities. In May 2020, the Biochemical Society conducted a survey of 469 researchers, across all career stages, to assess the impact of the pandemic on the molecular bioscience community. The survey results indicated that researchers early in their careers are the most adversely affected by the ongoing circumstances.
In 2020, the Biochemical Society conducted two surveys to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on researchers in the molecular biosciences. Totalling over 1000 responses across both surveys (a first-phase survey launched in April 2020 and a follow-up survey launched in October 2020) , the feedback reflected the impact of the various lockdowns and restrictions implemented within both the UK and globally.
On 19 and 20 June 2003, a joint meeting was held at the University of Nottingham between the Biochemical Society (as part of their Focused Meetings series) and the British Biophysical Society, which focused on the molecular interactions. Interactions between molecules underpin the whole of biological science, both in 2D, as in membrane systems, and in ‘3D’, or aqueous systems.
The Biochemical Society paid for 20 young biochemists to attend an event that allowed them to question the Commons' Science and Technology Committee. Two postgraduate delegates give us their impressions.
Diabetes mellitus affects almost 1 in 25 of the populations of Western Europe and North America, and the treatment of its complications presently consumes as much as 15% of the healthcare budgets of many countries. Both forms of the disease (Type I and Type II) are on the increase, with an incidence predicted to double by the year 2020. Against this backdrop, research into the biochemical mechanisms by which pancreatic islet -cells synthesize and secrete insulin has gathered significant momentum in recent years.
The Biochemical Society will be 100 years old in 2011, and this centenary will be the occasion for much celebration and nostalgia. The anniversary publications and displays will be accompanied by photographs of the pioneers who established the Society, and this photographic record will smooth out their individuality and leave just a single overall impression - of a group of wing-collared, waist-coated, watch-chained and walrus-moustached middle-aged men! We have been exploring how representative a picture this is of the early biochemical community in Britain.
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