Gut microbes and the quest for needle-free vaccines

by Luisa Torres A new vaccination method may spare us the needles and the pain,  but it may not work as well in people who are obese or in those whose gut bacteria are different due to antibiotic use, researchers from Cornell University reported last month in the Journal of Science Advances. Although vaccines have saved … Continue reading Gut microbes and the quest for needle-free vaccines

A new target to treat nerve injuries? Natural killer cells strike back!

The biology of neuropathic pain Unfortunately, humans are fragile individuals. Our backs hurt when we sleep on a bad mattress. We cannot carry a heavy object without enduring some aches the next day. And one explanation comes from the fragility of our nerves. They are composed of multitudes of fibers called axons. They are often … Continue reading A new target to treat nerve injuries? Natural killer cells strike back!

The Dark Side of the Immune Response: how antibodies can facilitate the spread of Zika virus

From 2015 to 2016, Americans watched as a curiously-named virus spread like wildfire throughout South America, leaving a trail of birth defects in its wake. This virus, known as Zika virus, or ZIKV for short, eventually entered the United States, and with it came the fear that these birth defects would start popping up in … Continue reading The Dark Side of the Immune Response: how antibodies can facilitate the spread of Zika virus

Connection interrupted? How regulatory cells selectively tune down immune responses.

Our immune system constantly protects us from threats originating from both the outside and inside of our bodies. One example of internal threats are autoreactive immune cells, which attack our own tissues. Like powerful machines, the immune system requires regulation. There are checkpoints in every immune response and different immune cells must effectively communicate to … Continue reading Connection interrupted? How regulatory cells selectively tune down immune responses.

The Surprising Similarities between Cilia and Immune Synapse Signaling

Biology is full of complex, yet efficient, systems. Signaling pathways, for example, have multiple components that often need to be specifically arranged in order to function. As evolution favors efficiency, cells have often adopted components of an already established signaling pathway for a new purpose rather than creating new pathways from scratch. Researchers from Madrid … Continue reading The Surprising Similarities between Cilia and Immune Synapse Signaling

Objection (not) Sustained: Macrophages Prevent Transplant Rejection

If you’ve ever watched a medical drama, chances are that you’ve seen an episode centered around an organ transplant. These transplants are high risk and important - someone may need a new heart, lung, or liver to survive. The surgeries themselves are inherently dangerous - and that is before you account for the risk of … Continue reading Objection (not) Sustained: Macrophages Prevent Transplant Rejection

What’s gut got to do with it? How the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy

Bacteria are virtually everywhere—on bus seats, on our hands, and even inside of our gut—but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These bacteria are part of the microbiome, the collection of microorganisms that live in or on an environment (such as the human body). The microbiome is thought to influence many aspects of human health, … Continue reading What’s gut got to do with it? How the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy

Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergies: a surprising cause of idiopathic anaphylaxis

Whether you or someone you know has suffered from them, many will undoubtedly recognize the puffy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, hives, and difficulty breathing that are often triggered during an allergic reaction. The irritants that cause most allergies are generally quickly identifiable, as responses to them are generated rapidly after exposure. However, some allergic reactions … Continue reading Tick Bites and Red Meat Allergies: a surprising cause of idiopathic anaphylaxis