Novel 3D Vaccine Against Infectious Diseases

Recently, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a novel 3D vaccine capable of harnessing the immune system to combat cancer and other infectious diseases. The vaccine is injected into the skin, where it spontaneously self-assembles into a 3D scaffold capable of attracting and manipulating immune cells to … More


The foreign within

A recent study, published in Genome Biology, claims to have found at least 145 ‘foreign’ genes in human DNA . In order to detect these ‘intruders’, a team of scientists scanned human DNA for segments with close resemblance to genes of non-animals (such as fungi or bacteria), but not genes found in other animals. Additionally, … More


How does your handshake smell?

You meet someone for the first time and shake their hand in greeting. You chat for a while, lift your hand to your face and then… You sniff it. A study carried out by the department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel has identified a rather unexpected, subconscious behaviour following handshaking … More


The Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

“I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,” Alice replied very politely, “for I can’t understand it myself, to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland) The Alice in Wonderland Syndrome was first described in 1955 by psychiatrist Dr. John Todd and refers … More


Researchers make headway in organ-on-a-chip technology

Developments at the Wyss Institute, Harvard, have made a major step towards personalised medicines, but their research may even be leaping towards reducing the use of animals in science. Probably the most prominent ethical concern over biomedical research among scientists – and the public – is the use of animals. One of the more uncomfortable … More


“Ugh, Mum, just five more minutes!”

Teenagers are often viewed as lazy and moody, sleeping in late and being annoyed at their parents all the time. Adolescence is often a rebellious age, but could there be another factor at hand? Research on sleep could provide some explanation for adolescent behaviour. The exact beneficial mechanisms of sleep are unclear, but it is … More


Miniaturisation of the Kelvin Water Dropper Experiment

Residents of Glasgow will undoubtedly be familiar with the fair West End of the city, home to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the surrounding park, through which the River Kelvin flows, as well as Kelvin Hall, Kelvinbridge and the Kelvin walkway. Those in Glasgow interested in science will also undoubtedly be familiar with Lord … More


Combined data from the Planck satellite and BICEP2 rules out detection of primordial gravitational waves

In March last year, members of the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) experiment, based in Antarctica, announced results that appeared to contain measurements of an elusive physical phenomenon named primordial gravitational waves. Gravitational waves were predicted to exist by Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity, published almost a century ago, and to … More


Mini-Neptunes, Super-Earths and the Search for Extrasolar Planets

There are a few ways to create a habitable planet. We think the way Earth was created was as a bunch of rocks that were orbiting the Sun and all clumped together. Scientists think that later extra water was brought by asteroids. However as the search for extra-solar planets progresses we find more and more … More


Attractiveness Can Make You Quicker (If You Are a Website)

New operating systems often look more “flash” than the previous iteration, with many an Apple/Android fan raving to their friends about the new look, but do improved aesthetics actually make the product better? According to new research by Irene Reppa of Swansea University and Siné McDougall of Bournemouth University, the answer is yes . By … More


Father’s Sweet Tooth Slows Offspring’s Metabolism

We all gain a few pounds after a little indulgence, especially over a gut busting Christmas, but why are some of us affected more than others? New research suggests that your father’s diet could be to blame. Cheers Dad! A study carried out using fruit flies found that the rate of weight gain in flies … More


The Fountain of Youth… In a Whale Genome?

Wouldn’t we all like to live longer? In our society, the pursuit of youth and longevity is an obsession – from the constant barrage of anti-aging cosmetics to the recent approval of self-DNA tests for genetic disease risk. Scientists all over the world study the process of aging with hopes of increasing the human lifespan. … More