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Red blood cells

This category contains 11 posts

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

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

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

The science behind the headlines

The Museum of Natural History in Oxford runs many activities to try and engage the public with scientific research, including their regular ‘Super Science Saturdays’ events. Last autumn, as part of a special themed Super Science Saturday called ‘Behind The Headlines’, a team of scientists from Roger Patient’s lab in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit … Continue reading

How super is a super-enhancer?

Over the past few years, a fierce debate has raged on amongst geneticists about whether the enticingly named ‘super-enhancer’, a region of the DNA proposed to have essential functions in controlling how a cell works, actually exists. Last month, a study by a team of scientists in Doug Higgs’ lab at the WIMM finally took … Continue reading

25 years of LMO2: from bad guy to good guy

Twenty-five years ago the gene that codes for the protein LMO2 was discovered. To mark this anniversary, the lab that made this initial finding, now based in the WIMM, have written a review article to highlight the history, current understanding and continued importance of this remarkable protein in human health and disease. In this blog, … Continue reading

How do you fix broken blood?

Congenital Dyserythropoietic Anaemia (CDA) is a rare disease that causes insufficient production of red blood cells. This means that the body is unable to carry enough oxygen around to its vital organs, resulting in dizziness, chest pain, tiredness and shortness of breath. In severe cases, patients are dependent on regular blood transfusions for life. In … Continue reading

What links Down Syndrome and childhood leukaemia?

In short: we don’t know – but scientists at the WIMM are hoping to find out. Just over a year ago, Professor Irene Roberts moved from the Hammersmith Hospital in London to the WIMM, where she is continuing her long-standing research into haematological disorders that affect newborn babies – particularly those with Down syndrome. In … Continue reading

How to make a red blood cell – and fast

Understanding how normal blood cells are made in the body can help us understand what goes wrong in blood-related diseases such as anaemia (a lack of red blood cells) and leukaemia (cancer of the blood). Guest writer Dr. Gemma Swiers describes recent research by Claus Nerlov’s group in the WIMM that has made an exciting breakthrough in understanding how the … Continue reading

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