Stressed out about RNA Granules; Roy Parker

Coming to you LIVE from the 3rd annual RNA Symposium: Advancing RNA Bioscience into Medicine. Follow us on Twitter or the tag #umichrna!

Live blogger: Whit Froehlich. Editor: Sarah Kearns.

Roy Parker, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Colorado and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute who studies the regulation of translation and degradation of messenger RNA (mRNA) using yeast as a model organism. Degradation of mRNA is accomplished in coordination with the removal of the “poly-A tail” at its end, which precedes degradation from either end of the molecule. His other work includes investigation of the processes around mRNA decapping and storage in P-bodies. He is speaking today about RNA granules, and generally about aggregated RNA structures, as well as some of their roles in disease. Continue reading “Stressed out about RNA Granules; Roy Parker”

Through Space and Time: Monitoring RNA Translation; Jonathan Weissman

Coming to you LIVE from the 3rd annual RNA Symposium: Advancing RNA Bioscience into Medicine. Follow us on Twitter or the tag #umichrna!

Live blogger: Sarah Kearns. Editor: Whit Froehlich.

Suppose you have some extremely important information in the form of a blueprint and it’s your job to protect it. It’s not just a blueprint for a top-secret location – it’s the blueprint to life; it specifies how every cell in the body should function.  Continue reading “Through Space and Time: Monitoring RNA Translation; Jonathan Weissman”

Genetics of Colorectal Cancer; Eric Fearon

Coming to you LIVE from the 3rd annual RNA Symposium: Advancing RNA Bioscience into Medicine. Follow us on Twitter or the tag #umichrna!

Live blogger: Sarah Kearns. Editor: Whit Froehlich.

Most of the work done in your cells is done by complex molecules called proteins. Made up of long chains of amino acids, they are required for the structure, function, and regulation of your body’s tissues and organs. The design of these proteins comes from DNA, the genetic code of life. But the pathway from double helix DNA to protein, as it turns out, is a complicated one.  Continue reading “Genetics of Colorectal Cancer; Eric Fearon”

Modern(a) developments in mRNA theraputics; Melissa Moore

Coming to you LIVE from the 3rd annual RNA Symposium: Advancing RNA Bioscience into Medicine. Follow us on Twitter or the tag #umichrna!

Live blogger: Whit Froehlich. Editor: Sarah Kearns.

Melissa Moore, Ph.D., is currently the Chief Science Officer at Moderna Therapeutics, having previously been on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts as Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology and Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research with a concurrent appointment as Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her work ranges widely in RNA, currently focusing on pre-mRNA processing for medicinal applications.  Continue reading “Modern(a) developments in mRNA theraputics; Melissa Moore”

Health Benefits of High-intensity Interval Training: Helping you HIIT the Gym

Author: Alison Ludzki

Editors: Zena Lapp, Alex Taylor, and Sarah Kearns

Gyms are riding out their busiest season, as patrons hang on to their New Year’s resolution exercise programs. But will it last? It seems inevitable that exercise participation wanes from January through December, except for maybe a blip prior to “beach body” season.  High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one newer exercise option that could help your resolution stick.

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Are Omega-3 fatty acids healthy?

Author: Attabey Rodríguez-Benítez

Editors: Jimmy Brancho, Andrew McAllister, and Noah Steinfeld

When I got sick as a child, my great-grandmother used to treat me with unpleasant fish oil. She would say, “bébete esto para que te pongas mejor y tengas un corazón fuerte” (“drink this so you can get better and have a strong heart”). Both of my parents also swore by fish oil, taking these enormous yellow pills, which I did not take myself because I was afraid to choke on them. These large fish oil pills were full of omega-3 fatty acids. My family explained that the supplements helped with high blood pressure, but never explained why they worked. As it turns out, there is still quite a lot of debate in the scientific community as to how omega-3s impact human health.

Continue reading “Are Omega-3 fatty acids healthy?”

Microscopic Diversity: How and Why One Gene Creates Many Unique Proteins

Author: Jessica Cote

Editors: Zena Lapp, Christina Vallianatos, and Whit Froehlich

The Human Genome Project is one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in recent history— this international collaboration identified almost all of the ~20,500 genes in the human body, known collectively as the genome. Now that scientists know the details of these genes, they are better able to understand and treat human diseases associated with genetic factors. However, despite the immense effort put forth by over 30 research labs for 13 years (1990-2003), the information we gained from this project is limited. Genes serve as guidebooks for cells in the body to build proteins; genes themselves don’t perform the necessary cellular functions—proteins do. So, while scientists have now known the nitty-gritty of thousands of human genes for a while, the details of their protein products, known collectively as the proteome, are still quite puzzling.

Continue reading “Microscopic Diversity: How and Why One Gene Creates Many Unique Proteins”

The Amazing Space Odyssey of a Hydrogen Atom

Author: Ryan Farber

Editors: Alex Taylor, Jessica Cote, and Sarah Kearns

Where do you come from? Somewhere on Earth, you say. But how did life begin? How did the Earth begin? How did the Sun begin? … How did the universe begin? These questions of origins have fascinated humanity for millennia. And though we can answer neither the first question nor the last, nor many in between, modern astronomical theory places a handle on the origins of one structure of particular importance for our existence: the Sun.

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Methylated Memory

Author: Sarah Kearns

Editors: Nayiri Kaissarian, Patricia Garay, and Shweta Ramdas

If you saw a hippo on campus, you would remember it. But, would you expect that seeing such a pachyderm roaming on a university would alter the expression of your DNA? A recent study found that rats placed in an environment that tested their memory had alterations to their DNA, or epigenetic changes.

For a long while, we have generally known that neurons within the hippocampus of our brains are responsible for memory. The current model for memory storage is due to the plasticity of neuronal connections, but researchers have recently found that it also involves active changes at the genetic level. These changes come from external factors and are linked to retaining long-term memories, which has implications in stress-related learning and memory disorders.

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The After-Hours Life of a Protein

Author: Sarah Kearns

Editors: Zena Lapp, Jimmy Brancho, Noah Steinfeld

After you get home from work, perhaps after eating dinner, you may start working on other projects or hobbies. Humans aren’t the only ones that have a life after hours. Recently it’s been discovered that many proteins have roles in the cell outside of their main functions. This peculiar behavior led to the name ‘moonlighting,’ referencing individuals who have multiple jobs. A useful analogy might be a werewolf’s behavior under a full moon: being a person during the day, but a wolf at night.

Continue reading “The After-Hours Life of a Protein”