What do you have in common with rodents, birds, and reptiles? A lot more than you might think. These creatures have organs and body systems very similar to our own: a skeleton, digestive tract, brain, nervous system, heart, network of blood vessels, and more. Even so-called “simple” organisms such as insects and worms use essentially the same genetic and molecular pathways we do. Studying these organisms provides a deeper understanding of human biology in health and disease, and makes possible new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide range of conditions.
Historically, scientists have relied on a few key organisms, including bacteria, fruit flies, rats, and mice, to study the basic life processes that run bodily functions. In recent years, scientists have begun to add other organisms to their toolkits. Many of these newer research organisms are particularly well suited for a specific type of investigation. For example, the small, freshwater zebrafish grows quickly and has transparent embryos and see-through eggs, making it ideal for examining how organs develop. Organisms such as flatworms, salamanders, and sea urchins can regrow whole limbs, suggesting they hold clues about how to improve wound healing and tissue regeneration in humans.
Continue reading “Amazing Organisms and the Lessons They Can Teach Us”
Charmaine N. Nganje, PREP scholar at Tufts University in Boston.
Credit: Katherine Suarez.
Charmaine N. Nganje
Hometown: Montgomery Village, Maryland
Influential book : The Harry Potter series (not exactly influential, but they’re my favorite)
Favorite movie/TV show: The Pursuit of Happyness/The Flash
Languages: English (and a bit of Patois)
Unusual fact: I’m the biggest Philadelphia Eagles fan from Maryland that you’ll ever meet
Hobbies: Off-peak traveling
Q. Which NIGMS program are you involved with?
A. The Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University in Boston.
Continue reading “PREP Scholar’s Passion for Understanding Body’s Defenses”
Women have two X chromosomes (XX) and men have one X and one Y (XY), right? Not always, as you’ll learn from the quiz below. Men can be XX and women can be XY. And many other combinations of X and Y are possible.
Continue reading “Chromosomally speaking, what do you know about sex? Take a quiz to find out.”
Cover of Pathways
NIGMS and Scholastic, Inc., have collaborated to bring you Pathways, a collection of free resources that teaches students about basic science, its importance to human health, and research careers that students can pursue.
Continue reading “Pathways: New Scholastic Resources on Basic Science and Career Paths”
Happy Fat Tuesday!
On this day, celebrated in many countries with lavish parties and high-fat foods, we’re recognizing the importance of fats in the body.
You’ve probably heard about different types of fat, such as saturated, trans, monounsaturated, omega-3, and omega-6. But fats aren’t just ingredients in food. Along with similar molecules, they fall under the broad term lipids and serve critical roles in the body. Lipids protect your vital organs. They help cells communicate. They launch chemical reactions needed for growth, immune function, and reproduction. They serve as the building blocks of your sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone).
Here we feature five of the hundreds of lipids that are essential to health.
Continue reading “Five Fabulous Fats”
When you think of blood, chances are you think of the color red. But blood actually comes in a variety of colors, including red, blue, green, and purple. This rainbow of colors can be traced to the protein molecules that carry oxygen in the blood. Different proteins produce different colors.
Continue reading “Roses are red and so is . . . blood?”
In a previous post, we highlighted two NIGMS-funded winners of the 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM ). For January’s National Mentoring Month, we tell you about other awardees: J.K. Haynes, Virginia Shepherd, and Maria da Graça H. Vicente.
Continue reading “NIGMS Grantees Receive National STEM Mentoring Award”
Brain injuries, cancer, infections, and wound healing are some of the complex and pressing
health concerns we face today. Understanding the basic science behind these diseases and biological processes is the key to developing new treatments and improving patient outcomes. Physician scientists—medical doctors who also conduct laboratory research—are essential to turning knowledge gained in the lab into innovative treatments, surgical advances, and new diagnostic tools.
In this blog, we highlight the work and impact of three surgeon scientists funded by NIGMS at different stages in their careers: Dr. Nicole Gibran (current grantee), Dr. Rebecca Minter (former grantee), and Dr. Carrie Sims (former grantee). Their work, despite the historical underrepresentation of women in the physician scientist training community, has led to revolutionary surgical treatments, new therapeutics, better screening, and improved quality of life for patients.
Continue reading “How Three Physician Scientists Are Taking Strides to Improve Our Health”