Category Archives: Hard Science

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!

Immunotherapy: Highly priced cure for a Lucky Few…

“It´s revolutionary, prohibitively expensive, and in frustratingly short supply, but for a Lucky Few, an immunotherapy drug is their miracle CURE “ – This is how the August 20, 2016 GoodWeekend journal´s (1) cover looked like in Melbourne, Australia, exactly the week when the International Conference of Immunology (ICI) took place in the same city and gathered more than 4000 clinicians, scientist, students to discuss … Continue reading Immunotherapy: Highly priced cure for a Lucky Few… »

Now on stage: NLRP3 and the molecular mechanisms behind atherosclerosis

The blog goes multimedia: with their film “What is NLRP3 and why do we care?” four PhD students from the Institute of Innate Immunity (Bonn) feature what their research is about. The research group around Prof. Eicke Latz wants to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind diseases like atherosclerosis, gout or Alzheimer´s disease. In all of these diseases the protein NLRP3 (NACHT, LRR and … Continue reading Now on stage: NLRP3 and the molecular mechanisms behind atherosclerosis »

Immune Checkpoint Blockade: A milestone on the way to cure cancer

For a scientist, one of the most exciting things to happen is when basic principles established in laboratory models lead to new therapeutic approaches for humans. Most recently, the understanding of several checkpoints in T cell self-tolerance, infection and transplantation led to the development of immune checkpoint blockade to treat cancer. The use of drugs blocking specific checkpoints, such as Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) and … Continue reading Immune Checkpoint Blockade: A milestone on the way to cure cancer »

Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease

People with dementia start to forget and often show changes in their abilities and personality. Over time the failure of short-term memory gradually turns into confusion about time and place, which may turn to depression or even aggressive behavior in later stages. In principle, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an advanced stage of dementia that gets progressively worse over time. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for around 50-70% … Continue reading Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease »