Jun 7, 2023 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

Melding Neuroscience with Computer Technology

As a lifelong Star Trek fan, it has been exciting to see a lot of the science fiction gradually become science fact, even from the classic episodes with Captain Kirk and Mister Spock. From automatic doors to cellular phones, and even the computing innovations we take for granted such as the Google search engine, touch screen iPads, and the Alexa voice-activated assistant, science fiction like Star Trek has fed our imaginations to turn concepts into reality, such as this happy goofball (albeit a very resourceful goofball) making Doctor Octopus tentacles. I will continue sprinkling in Star Trek references because many of the neuroscience-based innovations in this post seem inspired by mere words on a script page that turned into an "aha" moment on screen, but as paraphrased from Arthur C. Clarke's laws, nothing is truly impossible with the right kind of science.


Feb 13, 2023 6:00:00 AM       by Kin Leung

Ubiquitin is Everywhere!

When living in Chicago, we would often get off on the 31st Street exit on Lakeshore Drive, and at the time there was a sign pointing out some parking areas for McCormick Place. I recall specifically that two of those were labeled "E2" and "E3" and being the gigantic nerd that I am, thought immediately of ubiquitin. Since it is found in every type of cell in all eukaryotic cells, the protein is appropriately named. Check out the cool ribbon model I made of ubiquitin for my students once upon a time, and then let's take a look at ubiquitin's functions in living organisms and how it contributes to health and disease.

Feb 8, 2023 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

Insights Into the Management of Cellular Aging

As I march slowly toward the twilight of my life, ever more I wake up with aches and pains and can hear the sounds of popping bubble wrap or Rice Krispies drowning in milk every time I make any major movements. Everyone deals with the realization of their own mortality in different ways. Some decide to finally climb Mount Everest or go skydiving. For me, I decided to look into the research behind cellular aging, and how we can make the most of our later years with the power of knowledge and biomedical science. This does remind me of that one episode of Star Trek where Jake and Nog have to get stuff for a mad scientist's cellular regeneration and entertainment chamber, which is supposed to restore the cells to a younger state and keep them from being literally bored to death. If you consider some of the treatments and technology being implemented or proposed these days, it almost seems like Star Trek has inspired yet another advancement beyond just cell phones and Alexa.

Jan 18, 2023 12:00:00 PM       by Kin Leung

Fun Science Breakthroughs Coming Back From Holiday

In the holiday rush, there were some fun science stories I was unable to get to other than the 2022 breakthrough of the year celebrating the ongoing JWST expedition. Now that we're back from celebrating with friends and family, let's check out some of what we missed!


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.