THE SCIENTIST’S SCRIBE Royal Holloway, University of London School of Biological Sciences
Undergraduate Dates & Deadlines Year III
Please also do not forget to register for the 2014 yearbook: http://www.gradfinale.co.uk/students/ register Please refer to Nikki Moss’ email of Nov 14th 2013 for details of this keepsake from your time at RHUL.
A number of our staff have had their work publicised in the national media recently. Prof Mark Brown, Dr Nigel Raine and Gemma Baron were interviewed by most national newspapers, Radio 5 Live and ITV for their work on pesticides and bees. Dr Dave Morritt appeared in a similar array of papers and on Radio 4 about his work on plastic rubbish in the Thames. Dr Francisco Ubeda was featured in the Daily Mail for his work on mood swings during menopause and Prof Robin Williams’s work on use of the amoeba in the study of Alzheimer’s is currently on the College news page.
Year II Prof Mark Brown will be talking to you all in the week after reading week, about conduct of a project and its selection. Please make sure you attend this session, which will be posted on Moodle.
The PG symposium this year will be on April 29 & 30.
from the Head of School
Since the last School E-Zine, there has been further research grant success for the School, with over £1M in income. Prof Paul Fraser has been awarded £773,000 from the EU for a study of the sustainable generation of high value plant products, Prof Simon Cutting has been awarded £367,000 from DEFRA/BBSRC for work on control of C. difficile while Prof George Dickson has secured £230,000 for his work on muscular dystrophy treatment.
Thursday 27 March 2014 Hand in deadline for dissertations: Thursday 13 March 2014
Dates & Deadlines
I am so pleased to see the first edition of this newsletter. Please do give it your support, with articles, notices, campaigns etc. The more that is contributed, the more interesting it will be!
The hand in deadline for Term1/Term2 projects:
There are a number of deadlines coming up this term, but perhaps one of the most important is the National Student Survey for those of you in your third year. It is critical that you take advantage of this opportunity to express your views, so that our sample size is as large and accurate as possible. The survey is completely anonymous and can be done in a few minutes. Please do it today! www.thestudentsurvey.com. As always, if you have any comments about the School, please do let me know!
Professor Alan Gange
In conversation with
Professor Mark Brown BY MARY MIN Second Year Medical Biochemist!
The use of Pyrethroid pes0cide has aﬀected the bees in our dynamic eco-‐ system. But to what extent? Recently Professor Mark Brown, Dr Nigel Raine and Gemma Baron (PhD student) published a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology which delved into the eﬀects of the use of the Pyrethroid pes0cide on individual bees. It was discovered that the exposure resulted in smaller working bees which subsequently had a knock on eﬀect on its role in the ecosystem in which it once bloomed in. Mary asks Royal Holloway's Professor Brown about his research interests with an insight into his recently published paper. MM: What made you research about bees (as I can see some here)? MB: Serendipity really, I did my undergraduate project on birds and I did my PhD on ants. With the birds I was looking at parental care and with the ants I was looking at territoriality; how they use space and how encounters change what they do! AVer my PhD I was unemployed and I was looking for postdoctoral [posi0ons] for about 6 or 7 months living with my dad. I Bees applied for a lot, all of which was in my area of interest. One came up on bumblebees, looking at how they interact with parasites which is all about encounters, it’s what I did in my PhD on ants! I was oﬀered the posi0on and I accepted it because I didn’t have any other oﬀers! I’ve been working on bees ever since and I’m really glad I got that opportunity. MM: So, tell us what your research is about. Bees MB: Okay, so we basically do two major areas of research. We’re interested in how hos0ng parasites interact with each other, so why do some parasites hurt their host a lot, why some hurt them a li]le bit and how the host defend themselves against parasites. That’s sort of the big general ques0on in evolu0onary biology, but we’re also interested in the conserva0on of social insects, so ants, bees, wasps and par0cularly in the conserva0on of bees. So one of the major threats that bees face are actually parasites -‐ not their na0ve parasites but emergent parasites. They sort of spread from other species so there, the two interests come together where our knowledge from parasites and our knowledge about their conserva0on link up quite nicely. In addi0on to those, we study general stuﬀ about the biology of social insects, ants, bees and even wasps are actually really cool and there are lots of ques0ons about them that haven’t been asked and that we want to ﬁnd the answers to. MM: If you were to begin again, are there any changes you would make in the way you conducted your research? MB: Oh my goodness, that’s a really good ques0on! I would have more skills in gene0cs because gene0cs has become really important in conserva0on and in host parasite biology. I have fairly good skills but nowadays my PhD students and my post docs have a lot more than I do and I wish that I have had Bees the 0me and opportunity to learn more so all of those organismal biologists who are reading this, make sure
that you actually really get on top of the molecular stuﬀ because it’s a really important tool for us! MM: What are your research plans for the next few years? MB: Oh my god to get more funding, but more seriously.. we understand the basic dynamics of emerging infec0ous diseases and wild bees now, what I want to know in ﬁve years’ 0me, I want to be able to say what impact they’re really having, how can we manage commercial bees so that wild bees are okay and are there any other emerging diseases that we haven’t found yet that actually are really importantly. MM: How would you explain the broader signiﬁcance of your research to an educated layperson? MB: So bees are absolutely essen0al, they pollinate Bees crops and wildﬂowers. Without bees and other pollinators we would lose about a third of out diet, we’d lose all the really good bits, all the fruit, a lot of vegetables would disappear and if we lost the wildﬂower the world would be a much poorer place to look at and that would be, I think very sad. The work we’re doing is related to the conserva0on of those bees and the impact of parasites that are having direct eﬀects on the management of the conserva0on of bees. So I guess another answer to the ques0on where I’d be in ﬁve years’ 0me, hopefully I’ll be in a world where bees are actually doing be]er. MM: In general, where do research strengths and weaknesses lie in the world? MB: I think we’re really good at answering very speciﬁc ques0ons. As scien0sts and the scien0ﬁc community as a whole we’re much less good at answering ques0ons that you can’t answer, with good scien0ﬁc experiments, and taking those answers out to real world prac0ce. In conserva0on that’s central to what you do, but surprisingly a lot of conserva0on biologists don’t do it and I think we need to get a lot be]er about doing that without abandoning pure research. MM: Where do you professionally see yourself in ﬁve years? MB: Here, *laughs* hopefully here. I’m very happy at Royal Holloway. I enjoy the undergraduate students, you’re a really nice bunch on the whole. It’s a fantas0c place to do research, a great group of academics, it’s a fun place to work and it’s also a very professional place to work and I like all those things. MM: So, is your recently published paper in Nature taking a step in that direc0on? MB: Yes, the paper that came out on Monday, was one of by a PhD student Gemma Baron, who is a co-‐supervised student of myself and Nigel Raine. Gemma’s work is on the interac0on between parasites, pes0cides and the impact they have on bees. Gemma’s work which came out on Monday got loads of media coverage which was fantas0c, it was in all the papers! ITV came and ﬁlmed us in the school in the aVernoon and there was a camera crew in the labs. It was all very exci0ng. It’s about the impact of a par0cular Bees pes0cide on bumblebee colonies. Watch this space, in a few weeks’ 0me we have a really big paper coming out which I’m hoping will get a lot of coverage about emerging diseases and bumblebees. But I can’t say anymore because it’s under a media embargo. MM: And lastly, do you have a pet bee? MB: *Laughs* I wouldn’t recommend having pet bees, I would recommend keeping a nice garden where you can sit in the sun watching the bees pollinate your ﬂowers for free and just realise how beau0ful they are.
Dallas Buyers Club and the ethics behind providing the terminally ill access to experimental treatments BY CHANDIKA JAYASEKERA
Second Year Biochemist
Dallas Buyers Club is an Oscar nominated 2013 biographical-‐drama ﬁlm telling the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas-‐based homophobic rodeo enthusiast who was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, a 0me in which the s0gma surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic was at its prime. Having previously been let down and nearly killed by the side eﬀects of ineﬀec0ve drugs, while poten0ally lifesaving drugs remained unapproved by the Food and Drug Administra0on (the US drug regulatory body), the ﬁlm focusses on the redemp0on of his character through his worldwide search for experimental drugs and his founda0on of the Dallas Buyers Club, an organisa0on providing these unapproved drugs to HIV vic0ms. The ﬁlm also serves as a cri0cism of drug regulatory bodies and also addresses the ques0on: “what rights do terminally ill pa0ents have to experimental drugs that may poten0ally prolong their lives?” The ﬁlm is another addi0on to the ongoing debate surrounding this ethical issue, an issue whose complexity ensures that this worldwide debate will con0nue for a very long 0me. Compassionate Access
The opponents of organisa0ons such as the Dallas Buyers Club state that they do very li]le to help the health of the terminally ill apart from providing them with a feeling of false hope while poten0ally purng the quality of their life at risk. Inevitably, when you provide someone with an untested treatment which may save their life, inappropriate expecta0ons would put upon it, even it is against the pa0ent’s be]er judgement. If the opponents of compassionate access are right, and all these treatments would do is provide the recipient with false hope then the ques0on the pa0ent is leV with is this: “Would it be be,er approach the end of your life with a feeling of hope, false or otherwise, or hopelessness?”
“Reality vs. Fiction in Gravity” BY JUSTINE BRAITHWAITE
Second Year Film Studies
Gravity, released in 2013 and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a ﬁlm about Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a medical engineer on her ﬁrst mission to repair the Hubble space telescope. However, the mission goes horribly wrong and Stone and her colleague Ma] Kowalski (George Clooney) are leV stranded in space with their only hope of escape riding on shu]les on the Interna0onal and Tiangong space sta0ons. Gravity marks a great landmark in the portrayal of space in ﬁlm, with some of the technology developed for the produc0on of Gravity being on the curng edge of CGI technology. But just how true to life is Gravity’s presenta0on of space?
If a person has been given a limited amount of 0me to live, isn’t it a basic There are many small inconsistencies in the presenta0on of gravity, in human right to a]empt to prolong that period by any means necessary as par0cular, in the ﬁlm. For a ﬁlm 0tled ‘Gravity’ one would imagine that long as no others are harmed? If this person is prepared to accept the these small devia0ons from reality risks, what right does anyone have to would have been ironed out very bar them access to poten0ally early in the crea0ve process. For lifesaving medica0on? These are the ‘The quality of a person’s life at the time of death example, Stone’s body moves like m a i n a r g u m e n t s u s e d w h e n she’s ﬂoa0ng in zero gravity and yet defending the idea of providing t e r m i n a l l y i l l p a 0 e n t s her hair stays ﬁrmly planted to her is just as important as the time at which they “ c o m p a s s i o n a t e a c c e s s ” t o head. There is also a scene in which experimental drugs. Proponents of she begins to cry aVer realising that t h i s i d e a h av e o rga n i s a 0 o n s die.’ she may actually die in space. As she worldwide, the most well-‐known one cries we are shown a close-‐up of her being US-‐based Abigail Alliance. as a tear rolls down her cheek and ﬂoats oﬀ her face. In reality the tear would have ﬂoated right out of her The UK-‐based organisa0on is known as The Right to Try Campaign, whose eye. founda0on was inspired by high proﬁle cases such as that of 3 year old Lily MacGlashan, who was denied an unapproved treatment for neuroblastoma by the NHS before going to America for successful treatment. The Hippocratic Oath There are several valid arguments against compassionate access, many of them based around the side eﬀects of the drugs. The ﬁrst of these is the argument that if a doctor was to provide a pa0ent access to an experimental drug with poten0ally harmful side eﬀects, the Hippocra0c Oath, which states that medical prac00oners must “never do harm to anyone”, would be violated. However, although this argument may be clear cut against any other pa0ent, the terminally ill could argue that there is no worse harm than death, and providing these drugs would fulﬁl what Hippocrates stated in Epidemics 1, that medical prac00oners, above all else, must “do good.” ‘The quality of a person’s life at the 0me of death is just as important as the 0me at which they die.’ This statement is another argument used against compassionate access, saying that providing pa0ents with be]er access to alterna0ve forms of end of life care, such as hospices, is more beneﬁcial than providing them with poten0ally harmful treatments. However this argument can be countered by the fact that pa0ents with a limited life expectancy should be allowed the same right as any other individual, to determine their own beneﬁt: risk ra0o.
Not only does the ﬁlm distort the laws of gravity, there are also a few notable spa0al inconsistencies. To escape to earth Stone is required to travel in between space shu]les, in completely diﬀerent orbits at a distance of around 100 miles, in order to ﬁnd a working escape shu]le. However, theore0cally, even though the journey Stone takes is possible it would be very diﬃcult for even the most experienced astronaut to achieve this with the appropriate equipment. Let alone the single jetpack Kowalski uses which was last used in an actual space mission in the late 1980’s. In all likeliness an actual astronaut would not even have a]empted such a fu0le mission because of just how low the success rate actually is. On this note, another completely unrealis0c element of the ﬁlm is the equipment used by the astronauts. Underneath Stones suit she wears a set of modest undergarments and that is all. When in reality individuals travelling in space a required to wear many layers of protec0ve clothing to shield them from the incredibly low temperature in space, debris and ﬁre. Which is important to note because there is a scene in which Stone is on the Tiangong space sta0on, which catches ﬁre. In reality she wouldn’t have survived the blast even if she had been wearing all the necessary protec0ve clothing items. Overall, Gravity is an excellent ﬁlm in its piercing visuals and rive0ng story line. But when considering how much eﬀort went into making the ﬁlm as realis0c as possible it seems strange that there are so many small dispari0es between the presenta0on of working in space in the ﬁlm and what space is actually like.
Serendipity in science! BY DAVID LAMB Second Year Molecular Biologist ! Some of the greatest scien0ﬁc discoveries of all 0me were made en0rely by accident. When you take a cursory glance at the history of science, it can some0mes look like a long list of extra-‐ordinary ﬂukes; a sort of ‘right place at the right 0me’ business. Yet somehow we’ve arrived at this roman0c no0on of scien0sts as deliberate and purposeful inquisitors of nature, the very concepts of the ‘eureka’ moment and ‘Newton’s apple’ imply that we think scien0sts are perfect induc0ve logicians, with varying degrees of genius. However, I think this is only part of the picture; blind accidents and dumb luck have a much larger role in scien0ﬁc progress than you might think.
understanding of astrophysics no ma]er how long they were around for. How fortunate we are to be born so soon in the life of the universe that everything is s0ll close enough to be seen! But what does that mean for science? What about its tradi0on of deduc0on and logic and pure ra0onality, does it all ul0mately boil down to luck? By no means, I s0ll there is great skill and reason involved in the progression of science, it’s just important not to deny the role of luck so far. Alexander Fleming was a trained scien0ﬁc mind, when he walked into the lab that fateful day and no0ced something unexpected he didn’t just brush it aside and start over, he no0ced its implica0ons and set about looking deeper; this is the essence of Science. It is not necessarily about pure, ra0onal or conscious deduc0on (though that would be ideal), but more no*cing those unexpected phenomena and ﬂukes when they arise in nature, documen0ng them, and a]emp0ng to understand them. Perhaps science is more about being watchful, and not lerng even the seemingly insigniﬁcant li]le anomalies escape your a]en0on.
Science is more akin to photography when considered in these terms. The photographer, like the scien0st, is dependent ul0mately on his equipment; its scope, resolu0on and quality will all aﬀect the outcome of his work. He must be ever watchful and observant, with all his We know that Alexander Fleming discovered powers of observa0on trained on his subject. an0bio0cs purely by accident, when through There is also a combina0on of luck and his poor laboratory protocol he allowed a “…the seeds of Einstein’s theory” proﬁciency, neither is more important, without fungus to contaminate a petri dish of fortunate accidents we could not hope to prolifera0ng bacteria. The very next morning make much progress at all, and without the he no0ced that there was a clear and ability to no0ce and u0lize these mistakes then impregnable ring around the fungus that the we would also be unable to advance. As developmental biologist Hans growing bacterial colony could apparently not invade. He subsequently found Spemann noted: “You may well make a discovery without intending to do so, out that the fungus itself released a protein that would prevent bacterial but not without no0cing it.” growth as a natural self-‐defence mechanism. Hey presto, an0bio0cs for the masses. No longer do people die by the millions of silly old infec0ons. I can’t think of a single person I know who hasn’t undergone an0bio0c treatment at some point in their lives, all because of a lab-‐accident. Even the seeds of Einstein’s theory of rela0vity can be traced back to the mishaps of a few plucky 19th century astronomers who set out to measure the speed of light bouncing oﬀ of the speeding Earth in the direc0on it was travelling. According to Newton it should be faster than normal light, as you’d have to add the speed of light to the speed of the Earth. Just as if a man is walking down the carriage of a moving train, his total speed is a combina0on of the train’s speed and his own walking pace. But bizarrely, when they measured, it was the same. Light did not get faster (or slower) at all, in fact light is always travelling at the speed of light rela0ve to anyone, however fast they’re moving themselves. Luckily they documented this phenomenon well enough for a young Albert Einstein to ponder many decades later and in turn revolu0onise the en0re ﬁeld of physics. In fact, these examples of lucky observers pale in comparison to the example made famous by physicist Lawrence Krauss in his book ‘A Universe from Nothing’. As we all know, the universe is expanding, which means everything is gerng further away from everything else. More space is literally being created between things pushing them further apart. Recently we discovered that not only is the universe expanding, but the rate of expansion itself is accelera0ng, so in a short few billion years, every galaxy will be so far away from every other galaxy that each one will be eﬀec0vely isolated. Galaxies will be the dessert islands of space, surrounded by nothing but an incredibly vast expanse so big that even light can’t traverse it.
Biodiversity - A major challenge for the 21st century
BY JESSICA BRODHOLT First Year Zoologist!
Joining the ranks of biologists concerned with the preservation of biodiversity, Professor emeritus Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University argues that maintaining our planet’s biodiversity is one of the key issues humanity faces at this moment. He wrote in The Economist (The World in 2014, 131) that biodiversity is critical for Earth’s survival, the way we know it and questions whether we will ever stop to think about the harm we are inflicting on the planet. After all, biodiversity directly benefits humans by ensuring we have access to enough food for survival, has enabled the development of biotechnology and there are several plants from which pharmaceuticals can be derived, many of which we may know nothing about yet. There are also some indirect benefits to having a high diversity of organisms such as environmental and climatic regulation, along with the purification of freshwater and air.
The media tends to disguise the declining biodiversity of the planet by focusing on how many new species are discovered each year. For instance it was made known in 1758 that Carl Linnaeus (a Swedish botanist and zoologist) began the taxonomic classification system, which is still in use today. He estimated there to be roughly 20,000 species worldwide, an estimate which has since been proven inaccurate due to the number of species already discovered peaking closer to 2 million. It is now believed there could be as many as 5 million to 100 million species yet to be discovered.
C u r r e n t l y, s c i e n t i s t s a r e Here’s the amazing part: If intelligent “…the harm we are inflicting on the planet” discovering approximately 20,000 life were to evolve in any of these new species a year, but as galaxies during the coming ‘age of Professor Wilson writes: “at this isola0on’, they themselves would have rate, and taking the low-end estimate of 5m species remaining to be classified, the task will not be completed no method of knowing that the universe was expanding. If they looked until the middle of the 23rd century.” outwards they’d see nothing beyond the few stars huddled together in their own galaxy, suspended in endless black void. They wouldn’t be able to The outstanding question being how can we care for the plethora of measure red-‐shiV or the astronomical distances between celes0al bodies, species on Earth and attempt to prevent the extinction of so many of these they would have no concep0on of black holes or singulari0es. They would when we are not even aware of their existence? have to assume that a simple, eternal, steady state model of the universe is th true. To put it simply, they’d never get further than a basic, 18 century
There are already projects being undertaken to maintain the biodiversity of our planet which are believed to have slowed the loss of biodiversity by one fifth already. But it is crucial that this effort be continued before another species has to face extinction. The current extinction rate is the loss of 0.01% of species every year (between 1,000 and 10,000 times more than the natural extinction rate) according to figures from the WWF.
Side eﬀects of the pharmaceutical industry BY EMILY HILBOURNE Second Year Medical Biochemist !
Hereby, now is the time that humans face the moral dilemma of do we continue to exploit the environment for our own benefit or do we preserve the world as it is for future generations by preventing the decline and/or extinction of thousands of species? Now is the time to decide.
The Science Of faith BY CHRISTOPHER HUCKLE Second Year Medical Biochemist
Science is glorious. We look at this world and its inhabitants, or beyond this world into space or the realms of theore0cal physics and mathema0cs. We discover miracles and then we invent our own. We fall in love with the inﬁnite splendour of the universe and wonder at the inﬁnite poten0al of the future.
The year 754AD saw the world’s ﬁrst known pharmacy open in Baghdad. This soon became a popular sight in the medieval Islamic world, and soon the Europeans co]oned on. The early 1900s saw major discoveries including that of penicillin and since then the number of drugs being discovered has increased exponen0ally. Today 889 million prescrip0ons were dispensed overall in 2009, according to UK na0onal sta0s0cs. These are prescrip0ons given by doctors based on trial data and published ar0cles in pres0gious journals such as the Bri0sh Medical Journal. Doctors need this to guide them through the ever evolving world of medicine. But there is also unpublished data. It sits in ﬁling cabinets hoping to be forgo]en, because it goes against everything it should in fact support. The people behind the drug do not want you to know it even exists. Here is why.
The pharmaceu0cal industry is in fact epically deceiving everyone. The woeful story of Reboxi0ne provides one of many examples. This is an an0depressant designed to treat unipolar depression, but is actually worse It's easy whilst delving into the hows, whats and whys to see a hugely than useless. When it ﬁrst came onto the market in 1997, the published complex pain0ng with splashes of stardust, cardiovascular systems and trial data was overwhelmingly in its favour. It was be]er than a placebo, atomic interac0ons. So naturally when musing over all this, a big ques0on safe and eﬀec0ve. The trial itself was well designed, and only fair tests were oVen wanders in: where did it all come from? conducted. However, in October 2010 a systema0c review was carried out We have the wonderful theories of the Big obtaining all of the data produced during Bang (not the TV show, mind you), t h e t r i a l s , b o t h p u b l i s h e d a n d primordial soup and evolu0on, which unpublished. From here, a completely eloquently give us plausible ideas of how “…the infinite potential of the future” diﬀerent story came to light. Reboxi0ne it all happened... But what about why it was no longer a wonder drug, but happened? What about concepts of unveiled as nothing be]er than a placebo, purpose, love and imagina0on? What and was in the conclusion of the review, about faith in something divine? seen as merely “an ineﬀec0ve and poten0ally harmful drug”. The vast I dare say that every person has faith in something. I had faith that my chair majority of the trial data for this drug was not published in 1997, but kept wouldn't collapse when I sat down to write this. Any scien0st has faith in hidden. Sadly, this story is not uncommon. Drug companies simply don not theories they believe are true but as of yet cannot completely prove. Faith want to publish data that makes their drugs look bad. Despite regula0ons should not be blind, but is based on evidence. So why are science and faith to prevent this, they are s0ll able to bypass this perfectly legally. so oVen seen as incompa0ble?
In terms of learning about the universe, I believe they are two sides of the same coin. Science is the how, faith is the what and why. Flip open a Bible and you'll ﬁnd descrip0ons of shining stars, but you won't learn how they fuse atoms to do so. Conversely, open a neuroscience textbook and you'll learn about serotonin in the brain, but it can't describe love. You need to look in the right place for the right thing.
I'm not silly enough to dismiss overwhelming evidence for the sake of my beliefs, we can't deny truth when it's plain to see, but neither do I see any contradic0on between scien0ﬁc truth and my faith. There have been 0mes when I've thought “Hang on a moment...” before having to do more research. When pondering such concepts, who wouldn't have to stop and rethink now and then? But never have I come to a place where I've thought “I give up, one clearly disproves the other”. Never. My beliefs give me the drive and joy to discover more about the methods behind the universal pain0ng, and what I learn does nothing if not reinforce my amazement and apprecia0on of the painter.
So in my studies, from the smallest cell to the largest ecosystem, I do not see a complete hub where God needs to be shoehorned in somehow. No, I see that pain0ng, beau0fully framed by somebody who poured such passion, imagina0on and joy into each brush stroke, making it all come alive. I am a biochemist with a faith that ﬂows through every molecule I study; a Bible verse wrapped around Avogadro's constant.
But how exactly do science and faith ﬁt together?
Ben Goldacre, a doctor and published author, writes on this con0nuous ba]le to ﬁx the rather corrupt pharmaceu0cal industry. Bringing to light how u]erly misled pa0ents and doctors are by ‘needlessly ﬂawed research’ in his book ‘Bad Pharma’. He prompted parliament to ﬁnally start addressing this issue of unpublished data. In essence, if some data is leV unpublished, the data that is published creates a distorted image of a drug, leading doctors to prescribe drugs on incorrect facts. This frankly unethical nature of the pharmaceu0cal industry in today’s 0me is harming pa0ents in a way that is nothing smaller than betrayal. A change is needed.
Ibogaine natural remedy against treacherous pills BY GRZEGORZ WASILEWSKI Second Year Medical Biochemist !
Why should we trust pharmaceu0cal companies and their pills when dealing with alcoholism, drug addic0on or psychoanalysis?
The increased use of legal drugs is associated with more deaths per year in comparison to the use of illegal drugs. You should check the sta0s0cs if you do not believe me. A prime example is the introduc0on of the prohibi0on period in America in the early 20th century which brought out more problems with alcoholism than ever before.
It has been a century since we know of Ibogaine, a psychoac0ve alkaloid occurring in an African tree. Its wide range of uses in trea0ng addic0on, pain and psychotherapy has introduced a new sense of therapy for those individuals who seek alterna0ve treatment; by-‐passing legalised medica0on.
Ibogaine alleviates physical withdrawal symptoms of opiate detoxiﬁca0on by reserng and refreshing for example the opiate receptor sites without giving major side eﬀects. Treatment takes 1-‐2 days aVer consump0on and puts the pa0ent into a visual psychedelic state, re-‐serng your brain chemistry back to normal.
and the algae hasn’t been found independently. The algae can be found in the egg capsules of the salamander (thought to beneﬁt from the carbon dioxide it produces) and as the embryo matures, it enters its cells and stays throughout the salamander’s life. It is not yet clear exactly what beneﬁt the alga provides. Allowing the salamanders cells to use its photosynthe0c products seems unlikely as the salamander “Think twice before you spends most its 0me underground.
swallow your pills…”
However Ibogaine may never be introduced into mainstream medicine. Many are unaware of Ibogaine’s remedies due to its lack of popularity due to its low cost -‐ oblivious to its poten0al of eﬀec0veness.
This ar0cle is wri]en to make you think twice before you swallow your pills. To play with the idea, that there are many natural occurring compounds which need to be researched and dug out for the world to see.
Present Day Endosymbiosis Associations Involving Animals BY ELLIOTT LLOYD First Year Biologist
All animals, as well as all other eukaryotes, are a result of an endosymbio0c event around two billion years ago between an ancestral prokaryo0c cell and a proteobacterium to eventually form mitochondria. Purng it simply, we are complex, evolved colonies of prokaryotes. Today, endosymbio0c events are common involving animals, albeit on a smaller scale, and here are a few examples which will hopefully knock you oﬀ your chair. Corals primarily get their food from unicellular eukaryotes called dinoﬂagellates through photosynthesis. The dinoﬂagellates can live independently and when they are found in an endosymbio0c rela0onship inside the cells of corals, they are referred to as zooxanthellae. Per cubic millimetre, coral 0ssue may contain up to thirty-‐thousand zooxanthellae. Because corals rely on zooxanthellae to produce their food (as glycerol) using photosynthesis, they can only be found in shallow waters with enough light penetra0ng through, usually less than 60m deep. Coral bleaching occurs when the zooxanthellae die, which is associated with environmental stress like increased temperature and acidity (which can be caused by increase carbon dioxide concentra0on in the water). With global warming, this will become more common. The Eastern Emerald Elysia, Elysia chloro*ca, is a species of sea slug that ingests the cells of a yellow-‐green alga species, Vaucheria litorea, and instead of totally diges0ng them, it incorporates its chloroplasts into its own 0ssues. So, as well as feeding by inges0ng food, it can now also photosynthesise (which we biologists call mixotrophy). However, this is only made possible because Elysia chloro*cai has somehow incorporated algal genes for proteins vital for the func0oning of the chloroplasts into its own genome. The Spo]ed Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, has an endosymbio0c rela0onship with a species of green algae, Oophila amblystoma*s. This salamander is the only known vertebrate to do this
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