you are what you eat

Air pollution and the gut microbiome: you are what you breathe

A dark cloud of smog lingering on the horizon is likely more than just an eyesore—research suggests that long-term exposure to high levels of air pollution increase an individual’s risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic dysregulations during their lifetime. The direct pathways and biological mechanisms underpinning these relationships, however, remain unclear. What we do know is

Read More »

Glycerol uptake in ice wine fermentation through the use of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing

Icewine is a signature sweet dessert wine that is widely distributed in cold regions; it is produced through the fermentation of juice from pressed frozen grapes. The process of fermenting frozen grapes is complex, owing to its association with highly concentrated solutes such as sugars, organic acids, and nitrogenous compounds. Jared et al. of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario investigated the

Read More »
coronavirus

Coronavirus: To panic or not to panic?

Chances are, you’ve been keeping tabs on the recent coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak that has emerged out of Wuhan, China—and rightly so. Infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, and this new strain of the coronavirus (CoV) cause widespread morbidity and mortality, provoke civil unrest, and disrupt global travel and supply chains. At the time of this writing, over 78 000

Read More »

Run the world without AtLAS

The phrase “natural born leader” is often used to describe those among us with a tendency to dominate, boss, and—put simply—win in life. Newly published research from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) and Boston University (USA) may have demonstrated a molecular truth to this expression. Authors Mei Ma, Wan Xiong and Fan Hu—lead by Professors Dan Liu

Read More »

Mitochondrial DNA — a promising biomarker for IgA nephropathy

The mitochondrion, coined the “powerhouse of the cell”, comprises a powerful factory for cellular energy production. Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Disease is defined as a state of disorder that lays the groundwork for conditions of ill health. Even the most complex disease begins with cellular imbalance, and scientists are looking to discover biomarkers that can detect the earliest

Read More »

Revisiting the gold standard for stool sample storage

With the advent of microbiome studies, stool sample collection and preservation have been highlighted as key steps in ensuring microbiome authenticity. Freezing at -80°C has been widely accepted as the gold standard for stool sample storage in a variety of research and clinical applications. However, this method of storage renders host cells and microorganisms susceptible to deleterious effects such as

Read More »

An HIV Vaccine: No More Monkey Business

Since its discovery in the 1980s, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) has had a significant impact on countless lives across the world. As of today, more than 37 million people worldwide are infected according to statistics generated by the World Health Organization. This is roughly the entire population of Canada, although to date there has been no effective treatment or cure

Read More »
potato germplasm

Examining Virus Elimination Techniques in Potato Germplasm

Plant viruses cause the second highest losses to crop yields every year, surpassed only by fungi. A research team in Norway recently compared several in vitro virus elimination therapies on a variety of potato cultivars. Traditional meristem culture, cryotherapy, and a combination of chemotherapy and thermotherapy techniques were included in this study and assessed for their ability to eliminate potato-specific

Read More »

Renal inflammatory pathway mediation by miRNA: isolation and quantification of miR-103a-3p

RNA isolation and quantification of miRNAs are gaining significance as promising methods in cancer biomarker discovery. Establishing standardized protocols for collection, sample storage conditions, and the use of exogenous and endogenous controls for normalization are all critical aspects to reliably quantify miRNA levels which can be further implemented in a clinical laboratory setting. Quilun et al. at the University of

Read More »

Exploring the role of cerebrospinal fluid miRNA in brain tumour diagnostics

The National Institute of Health estimates that approximately 6 in 100 000 individuals develop brain or central nervous system-related cancers each year1. Current approaches in the diagnosis of brain cancer include CT scans, MRI and tissue biopsy. However, such techniques can be limited by tumour location and heterogeneity, and in the case of tissue biopsy, its highly invasive nature. “Liquid

Read More »

Air pollution and the gut microbiome: you are what you breathe

A dark cloud of smog lingering on the horizon is likely more than just an eyesore—research suggests that long-term exposure to high levels of air pollution increase an individual’s risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic dysregulations during their lifetime. The direct pathways and biological mechanisms underpinning these relationships, however, remain unclear. What we do know is

Read More »

Glycerol uptake in ice wine fermentation through the use of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing

Icewine is a signature sweet dessert wine that is widely distributed in cold regions; it is produced through the fermentation of juice from pressed frozen grapes. The process of fermenting frozen grapes is complex, owing to its association with highly concentrated solutes such as sugars, organic acids, and nitrogenous compounds. Jared et al. of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario investigated the

Read More »

Coronavirus: To panic or not to panic?

Chances are, you’ve been keeping tabs on the recent coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak that has emerged out of Wuhan, China—and rightly so. Infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, and this new strain of the coronavirus (CoV) cause widespread morbidity and mortality, provoke civil unrest, and disrupt global travel and supply chains. At the time of this writing, over 78 000

Read More »

Run the world without AtLAS

The phrase “natural born leader” is often used to describe those among us with a tendency to dominate, boss, and—put simply—win in life. Newly published research from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China) and Boston University (USA) may have demonstrated a molecular truth to this expression. Authors Mei Ma, Wan Xiong and Fan Hu—lead by Professors Dan Liu

Read More »

Mitochondrial DNA — a promising biomarker for IgA nephropathy

The mitochondrion, coined the “powerhouse of the cell”, comprises a powerful factory for cellular energy production. Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Disease is defined as a state of disorder that lays the groundwork for conditions of ill health. Even the most complex disease begins with cellular imbalance, and scientists are looking to discover biomarkers that can detect the earliest

Read More »

Revisiting the gold standard for stool sample storage

With the advent of microbiome studies, stool sample collection and preservation have been highlighted as key steps in ensuring microbiome authenticity. Freezing at -80°C has been widely accepted as the gold standard for stool sample storage in a variety of research and clinical applications. However, this method of storage renders host cells and microorganisms susceptible to deleterious effects such as

Read More »

An HIV Vaccine: No More Monkey Business

Since its discovery in the 1980s, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) has had a significant impact on countless lives across the world. As of today, more than 37 million people worldwide are infected according to statistics generated by the World Health Organization. This is roughly the entire population of Canada, although to date there has been no effective treatment or cure

Read More »

Examining Virus Elimination Techniques in Potato Germplasm

Plant viruses cause the second highest losses to crop yields every year, surpassed only by fungi. A research team in Norway recently compared several in vitro virus elimination therapies on a variety of potato cultivars. Traditional meristem culture, cryotherapy, and a combination of chemotherapy and thermotherapy techniques were included in this study and assessed for their ability to eliminate potato-specific

Read More »

Renal inflammatory pathway mediation by miRNA: isolation and quantification of miR-103a-3p

RNA isolation and quantification of miRNAs are gaining significance as promising methods in cancer biomarker discovery. Establishing standardized protocols for collection, sample storage conditions, and the use of exogenous and endogenous controls for normalization are all critical aspects to reliably quantify miRNA levels which can be further implemented in a clinical laboratory setting. Quilun et al. at the University of

Read More »

Exploring the role of cerebrospinal fluid miRNA in brain tumour diagnostics

The National Institute of Health estimates that approximately 6 in 100 000 individuals develop brain or central nervous system-related cancers each year1. Current approaches in the diagnosis of brain cancer include CT scans, MRI and tissue biopsy. However, such techniques can be limited by tumour location and heterogeneity, and in the case of tissue biopsy, its highly invasive nature. “Liquid

Read More »