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KCL Science

PhD Student Blog

Top Three of the Week

The top three news stories of the week, as chosen by our resident students. This week’s top three news stories are icebergs, pain, and spiders, brought to you by Jake Howden.

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It’s Xmas Party Season – Time to spare a thought for your liver

Welcome to the Christmas season- PhD students are hanging up dusty tinsel, everyone’s rushing to finish experiments and there’s a welcome increase of cakes being circulated around the office.

Somewhere within this muddled environment you’ll find Student Scrooge.

Student Scrooge is the student who has lost passion in their project and feels that it’s more likely for the ghost of Christmas past to visit them than to be able to find a significant difference within their data.

Now you might think that a Christmas break from the lab might be the healthy treatment of choice for Student Scrooge, but according to Hippocrates from Ancient Greece, they might benefit more from having a liver transplant from Tiny Tim.

Continue reading “It’s Xmas Party Season – Time to spare a thought for your liver”

Respiratory viruses hijack your social network for spread

Respiratory viruses hijack your social network to facilitate their spread1. Liquid droplets saturated with virus, released when you sneeze, have about a 6 metre radius (just an estimate). So the people you infect are most likely to be your close friends and relatives.

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Top 3 of the Week

Top Trumps
On Tuesday 8th November the citizens of the mighty U.S of A made what may have
seemed unthinkable a year ago, a reality. The 45th president of The United States will
be Donald J Trump. Obviously, this is worrying for many reasons mainly because he
is unpredictable, but what could this mean for US science? Trump has been quite
vocal about his scepticism of climate change, and the human led causes of such, and
he has also stated that he holds the belief of the causal effect of vaccinations and
autism. But, will these beliefs or others yet to be voiced, manifest themselves in
harmful policies, or will his focus on ‘innovation’ and strengthening the US economy
prove positive for research? Some are saying that the rumours that Newt Gingrich is
pegged for a top job in a Trump administration is a positive step, as he is publicly proresearch,
supporting a bid to double the NIH budget when he was speaker for the
house of representatives, and since has backed increases in many funding agencies.

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It happened today: the first image of the polio virus

While the 11th day of the 11th month is now best known as Remembrance day, a few other significant events have taken place on this day in the course of recent history. Most notably, the 11thof November marks the date the Polio virus was first identified and photographed in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Top 3 of the Week

The Deadpool Protein

 deadpool1

Deadpool is known for his amazing healing factor and this fictional character has something in common with a small but popular lab model organism; the zebrafish. Zebrafish have also been shown to have super-hero like powers and are able to repair spinal cord injuries. A protein called CTGF (connective tissue growth factor) was found to be crucial in aiding regeneration in zebrafish1. Continue reading “Top 3 of the Week”

Write for us…

Hi everyone

Would like to take this opportunity to promote the journal article side of the new Randall and CHAPS PhD blog. As you can see, its looking pretty snazzy these days, traffics pretty high from those who already participate, and we are ready for as many new submissions as we can manage!

Here’s why its good:

  • If you feel like an imposter when you write, actively avoid it, or just take a long time over it…the cure is to write more! You might go from hating writing to actually finding joy in it. This will make you the next Hemingway/Stein, guaranteed.

EH 6947P

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#askforevidence

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that most of our research is funded indirectly by the public. With this funding comes a responsibility to be able to communicate our science clearly and simply. This is important for a number of reasons, but one of those is that poor science communication can lead to erroneous media reports. We’ve all seen the inaccurate articles in national newspapers that make our inner scientists cringe. ‘Everything causes cancer and you can prevent it by eating 500 types of super foods a day’. Some of this can be written off as bad or lazy journalism, however scientists should do their part by better communicating their science.

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Bitop aerosolises an ancient bacterial molecule to protect us from pollution

Here’s a link to the paper under discussion1: http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1164/rccm.200812-1911OC#.WBcwWvmLR7O

Pollution in our cities is a big problem. Cycling to work every morning through central London exposes me to a broad range of tiny carcinogenic particles. Google maps now labels high pollution areas for the conscientious cyclist to avoid, but sometimes this is impossible, and it is arguable how much distance you actually need to be away from a problem area for this to be effective.

Most face masks designed to protect the wearer from airborne particles have filters that are too large to be effective – most of the harmful stuff is pretty tiny. There is a notable exception in ‘totobobo’ masks, which provide OK protection. Warning – these do not look trendy, and they make it pretty hard to, um, breathe.

Continue reading “Bitop aerosolises an ancient bacterial molecule to protect us from pollution”

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