Some pathogenic bacteria -- including strains that cause diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy -- get their daily dose of iron by swiping the essential nutrient from their host. To enact the heist, these bacteria spit out molecules called siderophores, shown here in light orange, that grab iron, shuttle it back to the bacterial membrane, and dole out the precise amount to keep the bacteria strong and healthy.
The green ring of cells lining this fruit fly’s digestive tract normally lie dormant, but after injury they spring into action, growing and copying their DNA to help the fly’s gut heal. To repair damage, organs either make new cells to replace those that were lost, or enlarge the cells that remain.
DURHAM, NC - Prescribing certain medications on the basis of a patient’s race has long come under fire from those uneasy with using race as a surrogate for biology when treating disease.
But there are multiple challenges to overcome before we can move beyond race-based treatment decisions, writes Duke University geneticist and bioethicist Charmaine Royal in a perspective piece published May 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Biomedical Engineer Amanda Randles is building models to simulate how individual blood cells travel throughout the human body. But running these simulations is no small feat; even powerful supercomputers struggle to calculate fluid flows that include pulsing heartbeats, webs of blood vessels, and trillions of cells. To speed up the simulations, Randles’ algorithms divide each vessel into smaller regions, and calculate the blood flow in each region separately.
Collaborative Innovation at the Intersection of Data and Health
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Successful vaccines and immune therapies contain more than just bits of harmful bugs; they also contain components that guide our immune response, making them more effective. Duke engineer Joel Collier and his group are hacking proteins’ natural ability to bend, fold, and assemble to create precisely blended vaccines. His team attaches important proteins (modeled here as red, cyan, and green) to short nanofiber segments (grey).
Scientists can now watch how hundreds of individual cells work together to maintain and regenerate skin tissue, thanks to a genetically engineered line of technicolor zebrafish.
Every cell on the surface of the fish, from the center of the eye to the tip of each scale, is genetically programmed to glow with a slightly different hue. But these zebrafish weren’t bred to brighten up an aquarium; the colors effectively stamp each cell with a permanent barcode, letting scientists track its movements in a live animal for days or even weeks at a time.
Mongolia, a country of rugged, windswept expanses, is home to three million people and 50 million horses, camels, sheep and cattle. It is there that Greg Gray, professor of global health, infectious diseases and environmental sciences, has set up a remote research outpost that could detect the next global infectious disease pandemic.
The muscle cells of a zebrafish heart, called cardiomyocytes and colored red in this image, are able to re-grow after an injury, something cell biologist Ken Poss and cardiologist Ravi Karra would like to teach human heart cells to do. This image comes from 2015 paper in PNAS, in which their team identified a gene transcription factor that is key to the regeneration program activated in cardiomyocytes after an injury.