Dec 19, 2022 11:32:20 AM       by Kin Leung

The Final Frontier: Science Breakthrough of the Year 2022

Every December, Science Magazine awards a scientific breakthrough of the year. When you take a look at the previous winning breakthroughs, they come from all different fields and many have been eventually awarded with Nobel Prizes. The breakthrough from last year, for example, is particularly important for structural biologists who hope to translate their findings into practical applications for other biologists and drug researchers. Since a breakthrough suggests a more recent discovery, it is no surprise that the Science Breakthrough of 2022 is the NASA JWST that has brought us myriad breath-taking images over the past year since its launch. 

 

Source: NASA


Dec 7, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

The Ongoing Battle Against HIV and AIDS

December is a month of holidays and celebration, but it is also a time to raise awareness for a global epidemic that has lasted over four decades. During World HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, health organizations, including the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, serve to remind everyone about the importance of getting tested, to remember those who succumbed to the disease, and to improve access to advanced therapies.

Since its first identification and description in 1981, medical advances have offered effective therapies to keep the virus at bay, and in some cases even completely cure a patient of the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, and to prevent it from becoming the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, which is often catastrophic to the patient. Unfortunately, as of 2021 per the World Health Organization (WHO), there are still over 38 million people living with HIV, with approximately 1.5 million new infections and 650,000 HIV-related deaths. Much of this has to do with lack of education or proper infrastructure and often obstacles to accessibility for treatment and prevention. I hope to explore HIV with you during this month of awareness so we can do our part to mitigate this persistent epidemic.


Nov 30, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

Protecting Yourself from Preventable Diseases

It has been a very trying time for all of us across the planet, with COVID-19 still lurking around as new variants pop up, while having to also deal with the growing spread of monkeypox. As for me, I’ve had a couple of bad colds since the start of the pandemic, but one was before commercial testing was available (maybe COVID? But probably not!), and the other was more recent and was definitely not COVID (lucky me!). In fact, I have to say that because of certain choices I have made to avoid the big bad disease as well as other preventable diseases, this has been the least I’ve experienced illness in quite some time.


Nov 21, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

The Thing About Tryptophan…

It’s that time of the year again where we’re supposed to gather with family and close friends, talk about anything but politics, and eat monstrous amounts of good food throughout the next few days as we celebrate Thanksgiving. I used to joke with my friends that we would all be subjected to tryptophan poisoning, but just as the story about Ben Franklin wanting the national bird to be a turkey is just a myth, we can’t blame our post-feast stupor on just tryptophan either.

 

 

 


Nov 16, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

Trim and Proper: A Nifty Method for Targeted Protein Degradation

A common experimental strategy in studying the effects of a specific protein in cells or organisms is to remove it. One can determine the physiological outcomes in the absence of that protein to ascertain its relative importance in maintaining normal functions, or in some cases, to note that it is dispensable or redundant and might have a backup within the cell to take up the slack. Some targeted techniques include RNA interference (RNAi) and CRISPR-based gene editing, and in many cases, it is possible to generate knockout cell lines or even organisms, like mice, that cannot express a specific protein. But when those strategies are not feasible for the experiment at hand, what is one to do?


Nov 9, 2022 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

To Honor Scientists Who Served and Supported the Military

My wife’s family has a rich and decorated military history, with her grandfathers, in particular, having served honorably in major combat. When I was in graduate school, I had a few acquaintances who had served in the Navy or Marine Corps prior to using their military college benefit to go into the sciences and eventually earn their doctorates. The military and those who serve are a key cog in our society to help protect the many freedoms we enjoy, and while they’re not as well-known as, for example, athletes like Ted Williams who served in combat, scientists have contributed greatly to efforts in war and in peace.