Articles

Mosquito spit gives Zika virus an infectious edge

Zika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as a significant human health threat in the last 5 years. Zika virus is associated with (and may cause) microencephaly and neurological deficits in infants, with unknown long-term consequences for adults. In late 2015 there was a spike in ZIKV infections in South America. Initially, the surge was blamed on … Continue reading Mosquito spit gives Zika virus an infectious edge

Vector-borne diseases: directions in transmission

Pathogens, including viruses and bacteria, have one primary goal: reproduction. Transmission is the movement of a pathogen from one host to the next. Infectious pathogens that cause disease have evolved to enhance the likelihood of transmission so that they can infect more hosts. For example, influenza virus and the measles virus are both highly contagious … Continue reading Vector-borne diseases: directions in transmission

The diversity of immunoglobulins

Immunoglobulins (Igs), commonly known as antibodies, are Y-shaped proteins that are key players in the adaptive immune system.  These proteins are made to bind to specific antigens, such as those found on bacteria and other foreign substances.  Immunoglobulins generally consist of two heavy chains and two light chains that are joined by disulfide bonds.  Both … Continue reading The diversity of immunoglobulins

The very model of a modern research organism

When studying biology, researchers often run into experimental limitations due to the complexity of living beings---especially in regards to human health and disease. Depending on the scientific questions being asked, researchers turn to a model system or model organism to simulate complex biological mechanisms and gain further understanding. A model organism can be as simple … Continue reading The very model of a modern research organism