Category Archives: Hard Science

Time to shine – how smiling impacts our lives

  Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu, when someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too. (Author Unknown)       Smiling – a common pattern that paves the way to laughter. There are many sayings about smiling, like “A smile says more than 1.000 words”, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”, and “Life is short, smile while you still … Continue reading Time to shine – how smiling impacts our lives »

Living with the immune system in “auto“ mode: Coeliac disease

Isn’t “auto” always good? Automatic parking assistant in your car, auto focus of your camera, auto heating system for your home – it just makes life so much easier! When it comes to the immune system: definitely not. In this case “auto” means “against itself”, implicating that the immune system fails to distinguish between self and foreign and damages the body’s own tissues. More than … Continue reading Living with the immune system in “auto“ mode: Coeliac disease »

Lonely little Lars – A polar bear’s homeland, habitat, and future

Lately, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Bonn. Apparently, confrontation and reflection on our planet´s global warming evokes very different associations in each and every one of us. When the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP 23) was held, I thought of the little polar bear cub named Lars because I fear that many years from now children could read … Continue reading Lonely little Lars – A polar bear’s homeland, habitat, and future »

“Being the Englishman in New York” or Discussing Enteric Glia at a Glia meeting

This year was the third time that I participated in the glia conference in Edinburgh. As always, it was a meaningful event for me and it gave me the opportunity to learn new things and meet interesting people. Until last year, I worked mainly on Multiple Sclerosis and hippocampal neurogenesis in the Neurology Department of the University Clinics Düsseldorf. Therefore, presenting these topics on conferences … Continue reading “Being the Englishman in New York” or Discussing Enteric Glia at a Glia meeting »

Delicious and nutritious – worms, grasshoppers &co

Insect-based food for human purpose is now sold in Switzerland. Our neighbours have recently legalised the growing and sale of insects for food purposes, which makes them the first European country to do so. Since mid of August, mealworm-based burger patties and meatballs (where the term “meat” might be misleading) are offered in Swiss grocery stores. With my eyebrows raised to the max, I spontaneously … Continue reading Delicious and nutritious – worms, grasshoppers &co »

Fighting Melanoma – Quantum Leap Ahead

“We can begin to dare dreaming about curing melanoma”, a sentence I’ve heard said out loud on the podium during last year’s Society of Melanoma Research (SMR) conference in Boston, the largest and most important conference for all those involved in the fight against malignant melanoma. This sentence would not have been thinkable only a few years ago. Back then, classical chemotherapy using the DNA … Continue reading Fighting Melanoma – Quantum Leap Ahead »

Fantastic Sortases and where to find them

Since my bachelor thesis I use cloning on a regular basis. Back then to transform yeast, later I needed to clone in order to perform a yeast-two-hybrid screen while now everything has shifted to the expression and modification of proteins. Cloning of plasmids is easy due to the long known and appreciated restriction enzymes. You flank your coding sequence with unique restriction sites and ligate … Continue reading Fantastic Sortases and where to find them »

The good, the bad, and the ugly – Cell culture as substitute for animal-based research

The “Three R principles” are quite old but represent a “must-have” (or rather a “must-be”) in our daily lab routine. In 1954, the Universities Federation of Animal Welfare (UFAW) approached two scientists who were instructed to inaugurate a systematic study of laboratory techniques in their ethical aspects. Based on their reports, a book named “The 3Rs” was published in 1959, which describes guidelines for a … Continue reading The good, the bad, and the ugly – Cell culture as substitute for animal-based research »

What are iMATEs?

Have you ever wondered what the term iMATEs stands for? In this cool little presentation here Ru-Lin Cheng from the group of Percy Knolle explains the role of iMATEs in the liver and how they can be used to influence immune reactions in the liver. Check it out!