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THE CELL-ECTION: ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

It’s election time! Whether discussed in casual conversations or featured in heated arguments, the campaign trail is one that many have followed. The highly anticipated day when voters take to the polls will ultimately lead to huge changes on a number of fronts. The major parties have advertised their platforms on many occasions and statistics suggest leaders remain in a close race. With polls revealing no indication of a sure winner, the leaders are undoubtedly seeking to appeal to undecided voters. We now begin live coverage of tonight’s final debate in this year’s Cell-ection. – – – Moderator: The leaders…

CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION

Over the past few decades, cancer therapy has advanced in leaps and bounds. Despite this improvement (and also spurred on by it), scientists and researchers are constantly looking for newer and better ways to treat cancer patients. Traditionally, cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs and radiation therapy uses high energy waves to kill cancer cells. However, both treatments don’t only affect cancer cells. They can be extremely toxic and have many severe side effects, as they are systemic treatments, meaning that they can affect cells all over the body,…

FLORIGEN: THE HIDDEN HORMONE

Introduction It’s a mysterious substance with a mysterious past: intrigue and imprisonment followed the first suggestion of its existence, and a lifetime of labour could not discover its identity. Mikhail Khristoforovich Chailakhyan, a biologist in the USSR during Stalin’s reign, argued in 1936 that there must be a hormone – called florigen – that causes plants to produce flowers. Florigen, and the evidence for its existence that Chailakhyan amassed, was an exciting contribution to the era’s understanding of plant development and attracted considerable scientific attention. What is surprising is that florigen was also a politically radical notion. Chailakhyan’s idea was…

TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE GIANT SEQUOIA: OR WHAT KIND OF NAME IS SEQUOIADENDRON GIGANTEUM

Imagine a large tree. Now imagine a much larger tree. That is how the giant sequoia do. No, let’s try this again. Imagine a large tree. Now imagine this tree as a branch, not a tree, attached to another much larger tree. Now imagine that much larger tree. That is how the giant sequoia do. Three decades ago, a branch fell off one of the largest giant sequoia. It was 43m long. Last try: imagine a boy. He grew up in the desert, is 4 years old, has never seen a tree, but was once told how a tree looks…

CELL BIOLOGY VIA SEVENTEEN-SYLLABLES: LESSONS THROUGH HAIKUS

Introduction Since I have a fierce love for cell biology (I did complete my BSc. in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, after all), what follows is a brief overview of cell biology that someone in grade 12 could understand. We start with animal and plant cells, and the various organelles in each before we marvel at cell signaling for a moment, and then take a quick look at how cells use the processes of transcription and translation to produce proteins from a gene. Each section begins with a descriptive paragraph and helpful visuals, and is concluded by a series of…

THE SECRET SCIENCE OF VIDEO GAMES

Video game developers are using crude experimental psychology and behavioural economics to make simple games that get you hooked. One professor used satire to fight back, but not everyone got the joke. This week’s guests: Ian Bogost, Jason Tanz, Adam Scriven, Nicholas Lovell, Ramin Shokrizade, Jamie Madigan, James Ivory, and Richard Smith. To check out this episode’s bibliography, go to here. Credits: Produced by: Gordon Katic and Sam Fenn. With research and production help from: Sophie Comyn, Amy Do, Mel Resoso and Rebekah Parker, Kamil Somaratne, Jane Young, Cherrie Lam, Eric Bing, Hailey Froese and Kerria Gray.

FEARBOLA AND THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE: HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTS GLOBAL HEALTH AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

The emergence of social media has drastically changed how people share and receive information. It has also altered how we learn about current events; keep in touch with family and even how we make healthcare decisions. In recent times, social media has also been seen to have a profound impact on global health and scientific research. In 2014, the third and fifth most searched for trending terms on google globally were “ebola” and the “ALS ice bucket challenge” respectively. Both of these events brought science into the spotlight and much of their exposure can be attributed to tremendous discussion over…

LIVING ON THE BOUNDARY: EXPLORATION AT THE EDGE OF PHYSICS

Why do we explore? Joel Hutchinson speaks about using the “holographic principle” as an interdisciplinary tool to provide insight into how science and nature actually works together. He believes that by incorporating these innovative approaches to science education, it makes it easier to get people interested in how science impacts the world around them. Filmed at TEDxTerryTalks 2014 on October 25th, 2014.