An Introduction to Ribosomes: Nature’s busiest molecular machines

by Francesca Tomasifigures by Jovana Andrejevic  Right now, the world is eagerly awaiting clinical trial data for two candidate COVID-19 vaccines known as mRNA vaccines. mRNA stands for “messenger RNA,” referring to the molecule that the vaccine delivers to our bodies. Once the vaccine enters our cells, the mRNA tells them exactly how to build a piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The vaccine itself cannot … Continue reading An Introduction to Ribosomes: Nature’s busiest molecular machines

COVID-19 and Emerging Viral Diseases: the journey from animals to humans

by Ziqi Chen figures by Rebecca Senft We live in a universe of viruses. It is estimated that there are billions of types of viruses on earth, and ~320,000 types that infect mammals alone. Many viral species exist in our surrounding environment. As we live, breathe, eat, talk, and go about our daily activities, the number of viruses that we come into contact with is virtually … Continue reading COVID-19 and Emerging Viral Diseases: the journey from animals to humans

The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu

Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most

Carrying diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus and yellow fever, a few species of mosquitoes are responsible for more than one million deaths each year. Certain species of mosquitoes actually prefer feeding on humans, and even show preferences between people. A common wives’ tale suggests to kids that mosquitoes prefer sweeter blood (“eat more veggies!”). However, there is no scientific evidence supporting changing your … Continue reading Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most