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wimmblogeditor

wimmblogeditor has written 92 posts for The WIMM blog

Lights, Camera, Immuno-action!

Melissa Bedard, a DPhil student in the Cerundolo Lab , writes about her research on invariant natural killer T cells, and the starring role they may be able to play in the fight against cancer.    We all know the classic plot line featured in countless spy and action movies. An intelligence team is defending … Continue reading

Sensing viruses: The alarm system in our cells

Layal Liverpool, a DPhil student in the Rehwinkel lab, writes about her research on how cells are able to tell the difference between their own molecules and those of invading viruses. Every cell in our body is equipped with an alarm system. We can draw an analogy with a smoke alarm, which detects a product … Continue reading

Building a blood factory

On 29 September the University put on its largest-ever public engagement activity across several locations and well into the evening.  The Curiosity Carnival aimed to engage people from all over Oxford in the exciting and varied research that goes on within the University.  Dannielle Wellington, a postdoc in the Dong lab, spent the last 4 … Continue reading

Deciphering the power of the leukaemia stem cell

Healthy stem cells produce billions of different cells every day, and these go on to perform a wide range of functions in our bodies. But this production line can be hijacked, as is the case in certain types of cancer. One such cancer is Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Zahra Aboukhalil, a DPhil student in the Vyas lab, is trying to find out how this hijacking takes place in AML. In this piece, for which she was awarded the Moorbath Domus prize by Linacre College, she tells us more about her project and how it could help develop improved treatments. Continue reading

Sensing viruses: shape matters

Viruses are basically packets of nucleic acid, DNA or it’s sister molecule RNA. Our cells have therefore evolved to recognise these molecules as a sign of virus infection. A recent study from Jan Rehwinkel’s lab in the MRC Human Immunology Unit has revealed a new way in which cells sense and respond to invading viruses. … Continue reading

Breaking boundaries in our DNA

Each of the cells in your body contains an instruction manual, otherwise known as your DNA, with all the information required to build an entire human being. An important open question in biology is how different cells get directed to the right part of this manual to find the instructions for their specific tasks. A … Continue reading

The stem cell that keeps you topped up with blood

Our blood is made up of a huge number of different cell types responsible for oxygen distribution, blood clotting and fighting infection. So, have you ever wondered where all these different blood cells come from? Believe it or not it is down to one type of cell, called hematopoietic stem cells, which can give rise … Continue reading

The slimy jelly that helps us respond to infection

A fully functioning immune system is dependent on good communication between many different types of cell. We know that one set of cells detects damage and infection, while another leaps into action to defend the body. But we weren’t entirely clear how the two ‘talked’ to each other. In this blog, Prof David Jackson and … Continue reading

A zebrafish genetic toolkit to understand development

Development is complex business – from the moment a sperm fertilises an egg, a cascade of biological processes is set in motion. Small changes in this cascade can cause a number of different developmental conditions, and so trying to tease apart the stages is important to help find the causes and highlight potential treatment options. … Continue reading

INTERFERing: the immune responses helping cancer cells resist treatment

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy generally work by causing damage to the DNA of cancer cells. Unfortunately, cancer cells can become resistant to this DNA damage and therefore resistant to the treatments. Recent collaborative research in the WIMM between labs in the Department of Oncology and the MRC Human Immunology Unit sheds light on … Continue reading

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