Nobel Prize 2016 – how yeast and mouse studies uncovered autophagy

Congratulations to Professor Yoshinori Ohsumi Tokyo Institute of Technology on being awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy"! The process of autophagy is hardly one familiar to most people, but is is absolutely crucial to all complex life on out planet, including ourselves. The name autophagy comes … Continue reading Nobel Prize 2016 – how yeast and mouse studies uncovered autophagy

USDA publishes 2015 Animal Research Statistics

Congratulations to the USDA/APHIS for getting ahead of the curve for a second time and making the US the first country to publish its 2015 animal research statistics. Overall, the number of animals (covered by the Animal Welfare Act) used in research fell 8% from 834,453 (2014) to 767,622 (2015). These statistics do not include … Continue reading USDA publishes 2015 Animal Research Statistics

We mightn’t like it, but there are ethical reasons to use animals in medical research

Trichur Vidyasagar, University of Melbourne The media regularly report impressive medical advances. However, in most cases, there is a reluctance by scientists, the universities, or research institutions they work for, and the media to mention animals used in that research, let alone non-human primates. Such omission misleads the public and works against long-term sustainability of … Continue reading We mightn’t like it, but there are ethical reasons to use animals in medical research

Herding Hemmingway’s Cats: Book review

What can cats with six toes, flies with wimpy testis, fish with hips, and mice with socks tell us about how our genes work? Turns out, they – together with a cast of characters ranging from bacteria to our own species – can tell us quite a lot. In Herding Hemmingway’s Cats: Understanding how our … Continue reading Herding Hemmingway’s Cats: Book review

Exciting cells and controlling heartbeats – could optogenetics create drug-free treatments?

A laser-controlled brain or a heart that beats in time to a disco light display sound like some of the more vivid imaginings of science fiction writers. But scientists are gathering together tricks that may allow us to do just that – and they could be used to create drug-free therapies. This is the growing … Continue reading Exciting cells and controlling heartbeats – could optogenetics create drug-free treatments?

How zebrafish help advance cancer research

Do sharks get cancer? Despite the widely touted myth that sharks do not develop cancer, fish of all species do occasionally develop spontaneous tumours. This is of course also true for the most common of laboratory fish, the zebrafish. In this article, I will give you a brief overview of how the unique properties of … Continue reading How zebrafish help advance cancer research