Milestones

Tumor Growth and the 1931 Nobel Prize

February 12, 2018
Why do tumors grow? Cancer has increasingly drawn the public eye, accounting for the third-most yearly deaths after heart disease and accident. Current cancer treatments are becoming more sophisticated, examining the role of communication between cancer cells and methods of using patients’ own immune systems to battle tumors. But long before those developments, Otto Heinrich Warburg would win the 1931 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries related to the tumor growth. The understanding of cancer’s development and origins has advanced considerably since Warburg won the Nobel Prize. But his research served as part of the foundation that… continue reading »

The history and importance of washing your hands

February 6, 2018
Hand-washing is commonly accepted today as a practice intended to protect ourselves from the transmission of germs and other pathogens, but hand-washing wasn’t always a common practice even among medical professionals. In fact, its connection to our health was first established in 1847 by Dr. Ignatz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician and early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. A historical perspective The story of hand-washing begins in the maternity wards of a hospital in Vienna, where Dr. Semmelweis was chief resident. He was puzzled that maternal mortality rates were three times higher in the obstetrical clinics runs by medical students than those… continue reading »

Milestones

Latest

Rapamycin: The miracle chemical discovered in Easter Island’s dirt

February 6, 2018
Our bodies are quite miraculous machines and as a whole, we are near perfect. We are born with a genome that contains the code for every protein necessary for survival. We develop, produce hormones that allow us to reproduce, and have children. Then we all grow old. But what exactly happens as we get older? This question has puzzled scientists for years while they offer theory after theory. In 1957, evolutionary biologist George Williams proposed what he called the antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis as a theory of how and why we age. He claimed that our bodies will express a gene… continue reading »

The Accidental Discovery of Penicillin

February 6, 2018
In the era before antibiotics, bacterial infections were a serious problem. Common diseases that are easily treatable today, such as strep throat, sinus infections, and ear infections, were far more dangerous and debilitating. Physical injury, particularly burns, carried a high risk of wound infection, which can be deadly. The discovery of penicillin, the first antibiotic, was awarded the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Still used today, penicillin opened the door for more effective treatment of a variety of bacterial infections. Sir Alexander Fleming and the accidental discovery of Penicillin In 1928, Alexander Fleming was studying staphylococcus, a type… continue reading »

Milestones in Science: Recycling Processes in Cells

February 6, 2018
What can scientists learn from studying yeast? Yeast is an extremely popular organism for biologists to study because of its surprising biological similarities to humans. Like human cells, yeast cells are eukaryotic, meaning that their DNA is contained in chromosomes within a cell nucleus. Yeast cells can survive in a variety of different environments, which is important when scientists want to examine how cells respond to treatments and stimulus. And yeast cells divide very similarly to human cells, making them an ideal organism for many genetic studies. Research in yeast has led to important discoveries. In 2016, for example, Japanese… continue reading »