Herman Branson: a pivotal figure in protein biology

Koby Ljunggren is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Biophysics Program at Harvard University. Abby Knecht is a second year graduate student in the Molecules Cells and Organisms program at Harvard University where she is studying self versus non-self recognition in bacteria. Cover image by Image by stokpic from Pixabay. This biography is part of our “Picture a Scientist” initiative. To learn more about the amazing … Continue reading Herman Branson: a pivotal figure in protein biology

Herman Branson: a pivotal figure in protein biology

by Koby Ljunggren Proteins are much more complex than the number on a nutrient label. They serve as the building blocks for every process that keeps your cells alive. To do this, proteins must be able to mold into many different shapes to carry out their intended function. In every fundamental biology classroom around the globe, students are taught about two major 3D shapes in … Continue reading Herman Branson: a pivotal figure in protein biology

The New Trojan Horse: Using tumor cells to kill tumors

Cancer immunotherapy exploits our immune system to kill cancerous cells. Recently, researchers have discovered a novel way to do this. They engineered cells that are programmed to die and injected them into tumor. They have successfully shown that the dying cells is able to kill tumor cells via recruitment of the immune system. This strategy might be a potential new method to improve the efficacy of current cancer immunotherapy methods. Continue reading The New Trojan Horse: Using tumor cells to kill tumors

Genetic tools create new opportunities for decoding protein structures

Proteins are made up of linear sequences of amino acids but understanding how these amino acids fold to form a three-dimensional structure is notoriously difficult. Knowing what a protein looks like in 3D is often necessary for understanding how it functions and how it can be manipulated. For instance, understanding how proteins such as antibodies bind to viruses like the flu would enable scientists to … Continue reading Genetic tools create new opportunities for decoding protein structures

The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

It’s that time of year – Nobel Prize season! This year, the Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded to three scientists: one half to Frances Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes,” and the other half to George Smith and Sir Gregory Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.” What exactly are these award-winning technologies and how have they impacted society? ‘Directed evolution of … Continue reading The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

Making Steak out of Spinach: How bioengineering could change meat production

by George Touloumes figures by Brad Wierbowski Would you ever consider eating meat that was grown in a lab instead of raised on a farm? What if it were both healthier and more sustainable than conventional meat? Silicon Valley venture capital firms and major meat companies like Tyson Foods are now investing tens of millions of dollars in bioengineering research to produce exactly that kind … Continue reading Making Steak out of Spinach: How bioengineering could change meat production