The Stress of Science: Mental Health in Graduate School

Most graduate students I know have had a string of academic successes in their lives – they maintain good grades and are considered the ‘smart ones’ in the family. In fact, their hard-working nature has made them accustomed to being successful. Graduate school, however, tends to cause an abrupt end to their streak of success – a steep plunge into the abyss of failing scientific experiments. Scientific projects are infamously maligned by far too many reproducible failures. One can argue that it is the nature of scientific research – when you’re pushing the boundaries of the unknown, you are bound to encounter a few hurdles, right? Being a graduate student myself, I often wish I had been forewarned, so I could have equipped myself with the tools required to survive the storm.65121bb5-f233-44d2-9249-88693f900fe4

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Understanding Cancer Immunotherapy

The Immune system

Our Immune system comprises different cell types, which are programmed to identify and destroy foreign cells. There are three main categories of cells in our immune system: (1) Lymphocytes comprising the T and B cells, (2) Antigen-presenting cells: macrophages and dendritic cells (3) Granulocytes: neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils. The immune response generated by these cell types can be classified in to two types: the innate immune response and adaptive immune response. Continue reading

Bright News for Pearly Whites

The most common chronic disease in young children is not what you think.  It’s not the viruses that cause constant runny noses or those dreary nights of when a child wakes mom up in the middle of the night and says, “I feel sick.”  Actually, the answer is dental caries, also known as cavities.

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The Future of Research, Healthcare, and Education at the University of Texas System

The vision of William H. McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System

Recently, William H. McRaven, Chancellor of the University of Texas (UT) System, spoke to the UT System Board of Regents to outline his vision for the future of the UT system 5, 10, and 20 years from now. During his speech Chancellor McRaven discussed his initiatives to implement what he described as “Quantum Leaps” in the ability of the UT System “to provide the citizens of Texas the very best in higher education, research, and health care.” Continue reading

Chlamy– A tiny, mighty alga…

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is the size of ten microns under a microscope, which is smaller than the diameter of a hair follicle, but this organism is a treasure trove of information relevant to plant evolution and human health (Chlamydomonas). Scientists working on it, often call it “Chlamy”. Chlamy is a unicellular, biflagellate green alga that thrives in fresh water ponds and lakes. The amazing ability of Chlamy to prepare its food by using light in the process of photosynthesis, and assimilate in the dark by utilizing available carbon sources in its medium, which make this tiny algae very special. This is the reason some people also call it Plan-imal (Plant + Animal). The photosynthesis is achieved by a single cup-shaped chloroplast. The photosynthetic apparatus is closely related to that of land plants, and its haploid genome during its vegetative phase leads to many important discoveries. Continue reading