From textbook

INTEGRINS AND THE SOCIAL NETWORK OF CELLS

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) When imagining a cell, it’s often easy to think of it as a lone entity, a single squishy bubble of fluid. However, cells are actually incredibly complex, and they can organize in ways to form many types of structures and ultimately whole living organisms like a tree, a bird, or even our own bodies! Understanding how these cells interact and get together is key to understanding how different cells make different structures – like how bones are different from skin for instance. Knowing this also reveals how cells talk to one another. And just as we…

KINESIN: THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) When we are learning about cells and how they function, we are often confronted with large, circular blob-like things that contain several different internal structures for us to memorize. It may be tempting to dismissively think of cells as being nothing more than these simple, two dimensional objects (after all, they are commonly referred to as “the most basic units of life”). However, closer inspection reveals that cells are extremely dynamic, and their daily activities are far more exciting and complicated than first appearances may suggest. Cells operate like tiny machines and their inner workings are…

PLANTS: AMAZING PHYTO-PHARMACIES

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) Some of the best chemical engineers in the world don’t have a university degree. The most prolific institutions (if they can be called that) don’t have professors or laboratories. The chemicals themselves boast more complicated architectures than humans could imagine. The working conditions are dirty and crowded, but somehow the immobile chemists still succeed. These thriving chemical production plants, in every sense of the word, are forests. Some phytochemicals (compounds synthesized by plants) that nature has so elegantly engineered are also life-saving medicines. Take Taxol, a compound originally isolated from the bark of Pacific yew trees.…

AN INTERVENTION LETTER TO BRAD, A DEADPOOL FAN

Dear Brad, I love you very much and it breaks my heart to write this letter. For a long time, I believed that your fascination with Deadpool was just a phase. But it has driven us apart. It is clear that you believe you can regenerate limbs like Deadpool, but you are harming your physical health and it scares me. Your belief in your power to regenerate limbs has led to some close calls. I’ve had to accompany you to the emergency room too many times, like when you almost severed your hand with a circular saw. As I don’t…

A BRIEF GUIDE TO COMBATTING MASS SURVEILLANCE

Mass surveillance has been the norm for decades, and is growing rather than shrinking even as public knowledge of it increases. Spy agencies surveil entire countries the world over, targeting political dissidents and minorities more than terrorists and subverting the free expression essential to democratic processes. These practices harm liberty and security alike according to…

AN INTRODUCTION TO CREATINE

Many profits in the supplement industry are generated by making exaggerated claims about their products. Despite the popularity of such supplements, few are very well researched and the industry itself isn’t well regulated. In fact, one popular pre-workout stimulant, Jack3d, was recently banned in the United States because it contained an illegal dietary supplement, dimethylamylamine (DMAA), that has been linked with the development of cardiovascular problems. Creatine, however, is a popular supplement used for increasing muscle development and athletic performance that has been well-researched and has been consistently proven to produce these effects. Its effects can be explained by basic…

REFUGEE SCREENING: A BRIEF INTRODUCTION (AND A REQUEST FOR EQUIPMENT)

In an increasingly chaotic world, people fleeing life-threatening chaos—refugees—are a growing group. Today over 65 million displaced people—representing the biggest wave of mass displacement since World War II—seek safer, better lives in new countries, cultures, languages, fields, and communities. Many are climate refugees—people displaced by the effects of climate change. This group will probably grow by an order of magnitude in the coming decades, unless countries and corporations achieve global collective action to reduce carbon emissions and otherwise stem the effects of what we are already experiencing as climate departure. Refugees face many challenges, from life-threatening violence and other disaster…

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…