Abrazos/Dasein,” an anatomical watercolor series by Fernanda Uribe

// christophvalse:fer1972

reblogged via christophvalse
This is amazing. Communication transduction.
letterhome by Jennifer Cantwell
// dontoverthink

This is amazing. Communication transduction.

letterhome by Jennifer Cantwell

// dontoverthink

reblogged via dontoverthink

First the players. The insect in question is the citrus pest mealybug, Planococcus citri. Like aphids and other insects that feed on the amino-acid poor phloem sap of plants, mealybugs require endosymbiotic bacteria to provide them these essential nutrients. They carry these working partners in the cytoplasm of specialized cells, the bacteriocytes. As for the bacteria, the ‘host’ is β-proteobacterium Candidatus Tremblaya princeps, called Candidatus because it cannot be grown in the lab. Its name won’t be italicized until this rule changes. It better, because T. princeps (I use italics in defiance) will never be able to grow independently as it has the smallest of all known cellular genomes: 139 kb. Living inside of it is the newly named γ-proteobacterium, Moranella endobia (also a ‘candidatus,’ but we’ll dispense with that.) The genus name honors the famed endosymbioticist Nancy Moran. The host Tremblaya cells are quite large, 10-20 μm wide; nested within are the Moranella, each 3-6 μm long and with a Gram-negative-like double membrane structure. Moranella has the audacity to possess a genome about four times larger than that of its host, a case, ostensibly, of genomic chutzpah. (» more)

1. Because it is interesting.
2. Because of the sassy science writing.

Small Things Considered: A Bug in a Bug in a Bug

reblogged via tiiigerstyle

…He and Pascal George—a younger colleague whom Kaplan described as “sympathetic and brilliant”—started by building wooden models, including ones for Valium, Halcion, and zopiclone. Colored one-inch spheres, representing atoms, were connected by thin rods, creating models the size of a shoebox. This was a more empirical, architectural approach than is typical in a lot of pharmaceutical chemistry. Kaplan and George tried to identify what these molecules had in common, structurally, that allowed them to affect the brain in the same way. Kaplan told me that their thinking wasn’t wildly creative, but it was agile: “You know, at that time it was maybe clever, because you have no computer. Now it’s routine work.”

George wrote a report describing a few possible types of new chemical compounds. Working separately, they built molecules of the first two types: about ten of one, five of the other. These were unpromising. A third series, made by George, looked better. When it was tested on animals, Kaplan said, “it was clear that it would be a great success. After the very first compound, I knew.” But in 1980, while this work was still under way, Kaplan was taken off the project. In his account, Synthélabo, eager to get rid of him, “didn’t want to give me the merit of the invention.” From then on, George ran the research. Kaplan heard only rumors about how the compounds were testing.

That fall, Synthélabo applied for a French patent on a series of seventy-seven compounds. The company knew that one of the compounds had far more pharmaceutical promise than the others, but did not need to disclose this to industry competitors. So the star molecule was also hidden from Kaplan, even though his name was at the top of the document. He showed me the patent. “I was named the first inventor, but did not have the results of the compound I proposed!” he said. He looked down a list of seventy-seven chemical formulas, and pointed to the seventy-fifth: this was Ambien. (» more)

This is an excerpt from a fascinating look at suvorexant— a Merck drug that seeks to fight insomnia without the side-effects of Ambien— from early research to drug development to FDA trials.

Ian Parker: The Search for a Blockbuster Insomnia Drug : The New Yorker

"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music." 

—Bertrand Russell

The Beauty of Mathematics by Yann Pineill & Nicolas Lefaucheux

“Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty — a beauty cold and austere, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music.”

—Betrand Russell

from The Beauty of Mathematics by Yann Pineill & Nicolas Lefaucheux

// tallskinnyasian:nicconoh

reblogged via tallskinnyasian

my dream protein class

  • study the structure and function of existing proteins
  • design a new protein, residue by residue
  • visualize the 3D structure of your protein
  • your protein should perform a specific task in a specific environment
  • name your protein!

This is the coolest.

// prostheticknowledge:

Early Interactive Molecular Graphics

wetwareontologies introduces us to an early 3D visualization system displaying molecular structure wireframe models:

Eric Francouer helped rescue this crucial archive of early uses of interactive computer graphics in understanding the molecular realm of intracellular biology. These movies document the very early days of interactive computer graphics and their maiden scientific use (in practical science at least) in working out macromolecular structures.

The first system for the interactive display of molecular structures was devised at MIT in the mid-1960s.

Cyrus Levinthal and his colleagues designed a “model-building” program to work with protein structures (Levinthal 1966). This program allowed the study of short-range interaction between atoms and the “online manipulation” of molecular structures. The display terminal (nicknamed Kluge) was a monochrome oscilloscope, showing the structures in wireframe fashion.

Three-dimensional effect was achieved by having the structure rotate constantly on the screen. To compensate for any ambiguity as to the actual sense of the rotation, the rate of rotation could be controlled by globe-shaped device on which the user rested his/her hand (an ancestor of today’s trackball) (NOTE - this is a fantastic historical parallel to the use of the Leap Motion to control data from the Protein Data bank [link])

Speaking of his invention Levinthal said:

"It is too early to evaluate the usefulness of the man-computer combination in solving real problems of molecular biology. It does seems likely, however, that only with this combination can the investigator use his "chemical insight" in an effective way. We already know that we can use the computer to build and display models of large molecules and that this procedure can be very useful in helping us to understand how such molecules function. But it may still be a few years before we have learned just how useful it is for the investigator to be able to interact with the computer while the molecular model is being constructed."

More about this technology can be found here, and other video examples here

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