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wimmblogeditor

wimmblogeditor has written 88 posts for The WIMM blog

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

Multiple Sclerosis – Action and Reaction

Brain Diaries is an exhibition and series of events organised by the Oxford Museum of Natural History in partnership with Oxford Neuroscience. The aim is to show the public how the latest neuroscientific research is transforming what we understand about our brain – from birth to the end of life.  In order to celebrate the … Continue reading

Cells have a skeleton, and a very clever way of organising it

Just like humans, each of our cells have a skeleton in order to maintain their shape. Up until recently, we didn’t have the ability to see their skeleton in great detail. But with new technology creating ever-more powerful microscopes, we can now see the skeleton and the patterns it creates to maintain the cell’s structure. … Continue reading

CRISPR computers: how to program a cell

Inside every cell in your body, a complex network of signals are constantly being sent, received, interpreted and acted upon. These signals tell the cell how and when to perform its particular specialised task, in concert with all the other cells surrounding it. Understanding how these networks operate is critical to developing a full understanding of biological systems, but … Continue reading

What are the consequences of severe anaemia for mothers and babies?

Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that results in the production of abnormal red blood cells, resulting in the inefficient transport of oxygen around the body. In severe cases, babies carrying the genetic changes that cause the disease rarely survive to birth and the health of the mother is also affected. However, recent improvements in … Continue reading

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