Climbing Up the Tree of Life

Remember the tree of life? The monumental, ridiculously gigantic construct we would ponder upon in our biology textbooks at schools? We were told all of biology revolved around it – it was the underlying concept picturing the genealogy of all life forms on Earth, linking every single organism ever recorded in a single, colossal family tree, right down […]

St Andrews Awarded £5.7m to Further Understand Evolution

The University of St Andrews announced last week that they have been awarded a £5.7 million grant to lead an international team of experts in a research programme with the aim of furthering our understanding of evolution. [1] The multi-disciplinary team of 50 world renowned figures, led by Professor Kevin Laland of the School of Biology […]

Home grown hearts – the stem of something great?

Organ transplants are in great demand; more than 100,000 patients are waiting for organs in the US alone. In particular, 4,185 are waiting for a transplant of one of the most important bodily organs – the heart. [1] One of the most important complications of transplant surgeries stems from the recipient’s immune system attacking the […]

Seeing the Light: New Hope for Cataract Sufferers?

New research carried out in China and the USA has discovered a new method that could allow the optical lens to be regenerated completely, without the need for potentially harmful surgery, and has so far completely restored sight in 12 children. The five senses in humans are all hugely important and anything that causes any […]

Nephrotic Syndrome: a light at the end of the tunnel?

Nephrotic syndrome, a detrimental kidney disease that results in a patient’s blood proteins leaking into the urine [1], has been a topic of research for some time but a recent advancement could drastically cut the time and funding required to diagnose the condition. The newly developed super-resolution structured illumination microscope (SIM) does what 200 years of […]

Gravitational Waves Detected At Last

This past week marks one of the greatest milestones in physics since the Higgs Boson particle was detected in 2012. On the 11th of February, physicists at LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) announced that after 14 years of searching, they had finally detected gravitational waves, a phenomena predicted 100 years ago by Albert Einstein’s […]

A New Prime Number

We’ve done it – the longest Prime number to be discovered by humans was announced last month by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). The number, 274,207,281 – 1, was discovered on the 7th January 2016 by Curtis Cooper and his team at the University of Central Missouri. The number is referred to as […]

St Andrews and Harvard publish breakthrough in fibre-optic wound healing

Researchers from the University of St Andrews and Harvard University have jointly published a paper in the journal Nature describing the use of biodegradable fibre-optic devices. These waveguide devices deliver externally-applied light deep into the tissue, allowing the process of photochemical tissue bonding in deeper tissue than previously treated  [1,2]. Photochemical tissue bonding is a technique that […]

UK Scientists Get “Gene-Editing” Permission for Human Embryos

For the first time, scientists have been given the go-ahead to genetically modify human embryos. Permission has been granted by the UK fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), for experiments to be carried out on embryos during the first seven days after fertilisation, in the hope that the work could shed some […]

Zika virus outbreak in the Americas

Update (02/01/2015): On the 1st February, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Zika Virus a Global Health Emergency, placing it in the same category of concern as the Ebola virus [8]. WHO director general, Margaret Chan, states “I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America […]

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