Page 1

Engineers Without Borders

Which

Fish?

Don’t be a sucker. Learn about your sustainable dinner options.


Contents

Nerve Magazine • March 2013

Science

6

8

The Sensationalism and Science of Fighting HIV

A Piece in the Plant Puzzle

The implications of curing HIV, and what questions this breakthrough brings up. (Ralph Yeung)

Investigating the mystery of calcium signalling in plants through a Biology Research Mentorship project. (Catherine Owsik)

Technology

Medical Nanoparticles: A Golden Opportunity

18

Gold nanoparticles have many promising medical applications. You may be surprised to discover how many nanoparticles you come in contact with everyday (and how little is known about their effects). (Brad Henderson)


Fishy Business When it comes to your choices as a consumer, not all fish are the same. Five Queen’s students investigate seafood choices at local Kingston stores to discover what sustainable options we have. (Tara Russell)

Editor in chief

Catherine Owsik

12

Engineering

(Alison Rockley)

Toxins reveal their true selves in dating profiles. (Tyler Vance)

Copy Editors

Geoff Lundell-Smith Genevieve Chan Catherine Owsik Social Media & Marketing Manager

Mary Gilaine Arkles

22

The Mixture

TOX Dating Profiles

Ralph Yeung Tyler Vance

Layout & Design

Breaking Borders Engineers Without Borders is becoming a stronger force on the world each year. The Queen’s chapter is following this lead and helping locals as well.

Staff Writers

26

Nerve is published monthly. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission of Nerve Magazine. The inaugural issue was released August 2012. Print issues will be released as funding permits.


News

Curiosity Update From @MarsCuriosity:

“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. More evidence of H2O-bearing minerals in rocks.” — March 18 “Listen, baby. Ain’t no crater wide enough... to keep me from getting to Mount Sharp. New panorama” — March 15 “I was sent to Mars to find evidence of past habitable environments. Achievement unlocked!” — March 12 “How chilly is chilly? The high is about -1C, with the lows in the -60s.” — Feb. 23

Get your breaking SCIENCE NEWS (and fun) from our Twitter feed! From @NerveMag:

“New Life found! They may only be microbes, but they’re living at the deepest known point on the Earth’s surface. [article]” — March 19 “In spirit of the return of the snow and cold: Antarctic & Arctic insects differ when dealing with lack of water. [article] ” — March 13 “We ‘lost’ an hour last night due to DST but a study in Indiana shows that his may actually waste energy, not save it. [article] — March 10 “Friday Fun: “B” in the Science Quiz. [sporcle game]” — March 1

4 • Nerve Magazine


Times are a changin’ ...

and so are we.

Nerve will continue to grow in the upcoming months. In 2013, we will be expanding our magazine to other Canadian Universities. We will be looking to hire University Bureau Cheifs (student position) for the 2013-14 academic year. If you would like to apply, or if you have any questions, please contact us at nerve.queensu@gmail.com

(NASA JPL)

5


Science

The Sensationalism and Science of Fighting

A scanning electron micrograph of HIV1 (shown in green) budding from a white blood cell.

6 • Nerve Magazine

A few weeks ago, headlines across the world flashed something along the lines of “Baby Cured of HIV” followed optimistically by a

HIV

cohort study of 14 adults who were similarly “cured”. But sensationalism aside, how much truth is there to these claims?


By Ralph Yeung Autoimmune deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) selectively targeting and killing a person’s killer T-cells, a vital part in one’s immune system. Without these cells, and an increasing viral load (amount of virus inside a person), the immune system becomes less and less effective at fighting the myriads of infectious agents your body is bombarded with on a day by day basis. Eventually, one of these everyday infectious agents overwhelms the immune system, causes systemic infection, and kills the host.

then, when a report came out where a baby was seemingly “cured” of HIV after being born to a mother who was HIV positive. Normally, well after delivery, a baby positively tested for HIV is given a standard dose of one anti-retroviral drug that then help suppress the replication of the virus. In this case, the baby from Mississippi was given a large dose of three different anti-retroviral medications as soon as possible after delivery, and subsequent blood work indicated no detectable traces of HIV, and so the baby was declared to be “cured”.

Most people infected with HIV don’t develop symptoms of the infection for years – the virus tends to hide and remain in relatively low concentrations over a long period of time. At some point, the viral load becomes large enough to cause symptoms, and by then, patients can only be treated with anti-retroviral drugs meant to suppress the large amounts of virus from replicating and increasing the viral load anymore. This typically extends the period of time someone can live with an HIV infection, but cannot cure them.

This raised a number of questions – could we do this to more babies born to HIV positive mothers? What about adults? A study published merely two weeks after this case came out claimed that 14 adults treated within 10 weeks of infection also displayed an extremely low viral load after stopping a three year treatment, to the point where the virus cannot replicate and the immune system can keep the virus at bay, and thus the patients were “functionally cured”. Could this be done to other adults?

It came as a surprise

It appears that the key, as the researchers of

both cases noted, is early treatment with antiretroviral medications. In both cases, the baby and the adults were treated much earlier than would typically be the case for someone infected with HIV in similar situations. It seems that this suppresses the initial infectious viral load from infecting and replicating enough such that the virus can be kept at bay. This also implies that there is a threshold amount of viral load beyond which antiretroviral medications simply dampen an increasing viral load instead of practically wiping out the virus. Does this mean that as long as every person infected with HIV is treated as early as possible, that every person will be functionally cured? The truthful answer is, we simply don’t know. It’s entirely possible that these 15 cases are of extraordinary people, and simply have a higher resistance to infection than normal individuals. Nonetheless, this is a seminal finding in immunology, and as is always the case in science, it requires more work to be done to confirm or refute our hypotheses. It does, however, seem to show that the fight against HIV isn’t hopeless. •

7


a Piece Plant Puzzle

Science

in the

By Catherine Owsik

8 • Nerve Magazine


“Do you

like to bake?”

What did he just ask me? I am sitting in my professor’s office, speaking to him about joining his lab. It’s pretty quiet, so I don’t think I misheard him. I nod, and my supervisor-tobe explains. “I ask that of all my students interested in doing lab work. Because working in a lab is similar to baking: to be successful you must follow a recipe exactly at times, but have the ability to improvise when necessary, and be creative when opportunities arise.” That makes a lot of sense, and luckily, I am a superb baker. My professor, Dr. Wayne Snedden, studies calcium signalling in plants. Calcium signalling was a major part of the Plant Physiology course I took in third-year, so I understand what he’s talking about as I sit at his desk. His office is messy in the way a professor’s always is, and potted plants grace random shelves. After looking through my transcript, Snedden agrees to take me on as a BIOL 594 student. A BIOL 594 project, officially called a Biology Research Mentorship, is similar to a full-year thesis project, but it’s on a smaller scale. All of the work in a Research Mentorship can fit into one semester (or so they say), and therefore it is worth only one credit, whereas a thesis is worth four.

I find out my workload is very similar to a thesis project: I have hands-on lab work to do, I attend seminars, I write a research paper, and I present my project to my lab. I’m pretty excited to get started, and we exit the office to meet with Kyle Bender, Snedden’s graduate student. The three of us sit down at a large table in the lunchroom to discuss the details of my project. But before we get into that, they debrief me on the current goal of the Snedden lab. As Snedden puts it (on his lab website): “We have adopted a multi-faceted approach in our investigations of plant CMLs by using the tools of genetics, molecular biology, biochemisty, and whole-plant physiology.” The conversation flies by me, and my brain slowly recalls my knowledge of calcium signalling.

Calcium ions (Ca2+) are

present in every plant and animal, including humans. But calcium is toxic at high concentrations, and thus the ions are shuttled in and out of cells through cellular channels. This ensures that not one cell or extracellular space builds up a toxic level of calcium ions. The balancing act can be rapid and dramatic; the concentration of calcium inside a cell can increase 100-fold in the blink of an eye. But the movement of calcium isn’t in place just to keep everything safe. Evolution has harnessed this system, and now a rapid calcium

9


Science

A CML (with EF-hand motifs shown). (Emw wiki)

influx often triggers the start of other cellular processes. In essence, calcium ions act as messengers to inform molecules inside the cell of what is happening outside the cellular walls, and the inner molecules react accordingly. The message can be anything from activating an enzyme, opening a cellular channel, or synthesizing a protein. In fact, calcium ions are one of the most commonly used ‘messenger’ molecules in eukaryotic cells. (The molecules that relay messages into cells, like calcium, are called secondary messengers.) Cells detect calcium ions using many different receptors, but calmodulin (CaM) is arguably one of the most important calcium receptors. CaM binds calcium for many vital processes, like when you need to contract your smooth muscle (in your digestive tract), when you need to break down glycogen for energy, and when you need white blood cells to fight off an infection. The cell knows how to respond because each calcium signal has a unique amplitude, duration, localization, and frequency of calcium ion influxes.

10 • Nerve Magazine

In plants, calcium is primarily used as a signal for growth and stress response (against stresses like salt, heat, and pathogens). But their signal path is uniquely complex: plants also have camodulin-like proteins (CMLs). CMLs have a similar structure to CaM (both have EF-hand motifs that grab hold of calcium ions), and therefore when they were discovered in the early 2000’s it was assumed they were involved in calcium signalling. The problem is that there are many different CMLs (about 50 have been discovered to date) so scientists don’t really know their full function. This is where my lab steps in.

Snedden and Kyle decide

that I will study two CMLs, CML25 and CML35, for my project. Apparently, not much is known about their functions. Suddenly, I feel like a member of a CSI team, or an apprentice of Sherlock Holmes, or a pipe-smoking Clue character. I leave the BioScience building with a bounce of


How well can you learn from a diagram? This shows how to create an SDS gel page to visualize proteins through electrophoresis. (Bensaccount wiki)

excitement in my step. By 10 p.m. that night, I’ve had the same question asked of me at least five times. “Why didn’t you just apply to do a thesis?” Of course, my friends and family are happy to hear my news, but they always question my “impulsive” decisions. This time, I had a good reason. “I’m doing a Research Mentorship over a thesis project for one main reason: I wanted to learn the real research process, not the one illustrated in my textbook. Pastel-coloured diagrams are easy to memorize, but difficult to really relate to. But, at the same time, I know I don’t want to pursue a career in research, so it wasn’t worth committing myself to a thesis.” I pause. And they, whether they are a biology student or not, understand.

Fast forward a couple

months: it’s one of the last days of my Research Mentorship. I slip into the office and throw my bag on my desk. A mug sitting in the corner of the desk is the only thing that marks the desk as my own.

Soon, I’ll have to take my mug home and return the keys to this office, I think to myself. Of course, what that really means is soon I’ll have to finish solving the mystery of CML25 and CML35. I breathe out my frustration as I make a todo list in my head. I think it’s worth it to know first-hand how scientific research is done. Although I have made mistakes in the lab, I now know how to use instruments like a centrifuge and French press (and why and when to use them). I know how to use transgenic Ecoli bacteria to produce a foreign protein. I can create a gel to visualize purified proteins, and ultimately analyze them using different programs. I have a strong understanding of scientific methods that I can apply to other fields. I also know, very well, the frustrations from a 10-hour day in the lab where everything goes wrong, which I know all researchers can relate to. But one thing is for sure: plants can’t hide their CML secrets forever. •

Expression of CML37, CML38, and CML39 (top to bottom), shown in blue, around wound sites. (Vanderbeld and Snedden 2007)

11


Science

Fishy Business

Tara Russell Rachel Selwyn Katarina Simcisko Alexandra Ternosky Kai Ip Wong

12 • Nerve Magazine


An investigation of fish products, sustainable or not, available at Kingston grocery stores. Consumers are largely unaware of the impact of their fish choices; these five Queen’s students want to change that through this report.

(Larry D. Moore)

13


Science

What Are We Doing?

We set out to analyze whether or not local grocery stores in Kingston, Ontario are sustainable in terms of their fish products. We investigated their sources and the sustainability of their practices. Ultimately, we wanted to improve the way this information is relayed to the public (because in reality, no such information is given to consumers). A couple months ago we spoke with representatives from Metro, Loblaws, Bearances and John’s Deli. Through these meetings we had a chance to assess their sustainability bylaws, if available, and the information provided in store about their fish products. With our collected research, we hope to establish a way to inform consumers about the type of fish they are purchasing, the sources from which these businesses acquire them from (i.e- from a wild stock, inland fishery or in-water fishery), and whether or not the fishery has sustainable practices. In this way, consumers can make informed decisions. Our ultimate goal for undertaking this project is to raise awareness about the issues of unsustainable fishery practices. Hopefully, we can spark a change for more conscience purchasing choices in our society that will

14 • Nerve Magazine

encourage grocery stores, both large and small, to meet these demands with only sustainable sources.

Why Is This Important? The issues of overharvesting and resource depletion is nothing new; however, it appears to be an ongoing problem with no definitive solution in the near future. Fish have been highly integrated into the human diet, and provide essential omega-3 fatty acids that our brains require for proper development and function. We estimate that on a global scale, humans annually consume over 100,000,000 tonnes of fish. Driven by the need to meet this demand humans have begun irresponsible and unsustainable harvesting practices, and have driven many fish populations to the point of collapse all around the world. For example, to increase catch numbers boats have begun to move outwards, from coastal fishing to deep-sea fishing, which is not only non-specific in terms of the species they target (causing a species decline in many fish), but is also poorly regulated. Deep-sea species that have lower productivity rates compared to coastal species; this means they are at a greater risk of a not reestablishing their population size if humans continue to overharvest them. Is there anything we can do as citizens to make a difference?


Our group believes that we can, because the industry is essentially responding to consumer demand; therefore, by educating the public about the issues of overfishing and which species are in danger we can alleviate the stress placed upon these populations.

The SeaChoice Ranking The SeaChoice organization assesses a species based on biological and ecological factors. A “Green” rank means this species is currently the best seafood choice you can make. The species is well managed, has a high abundance, and is fished or farmed

in a sustainable way. A “Yellow” rank means there are some concerns associated with the species and should therefore be consumed infrequently, or when a green choice is unavailable. The fishery could be unsustainable or there could be linked impacts on the environment and other marine life. A “Red” rank means this seafood should be avoided, until the industry changes their practice. At this time, the species needs time to recover. There is probably a combination of critical problems: habitat damage, critically low populations, or poor management, as examples.

John’s Deli A small, privately owned grocery store on Princess Avenue.

Be wary of eating Atlantic Salmon. Salmon farming is

Source

Wild Or Farmed

Inland Or In Water

SeaChoice Rating

Atlantic Salmon

East Coast Of Canada

Farmed

In Water

Red

Catfish

USA

Farmed

In Water

Green

Tilapia

Honduras

Farmed

In Water

Yellow

Steelhead Trout

Canada/Chile (Most Often)

Farmed

In Water

Yellow

Rainbow Trout

Canadian

Farmed

Inland

Green

Arctic Char

Iceland And Canada

Farmed

Inland

Green

Marlin

USA

Wild

Red

Perch

Canada

Wild

Green

Basa

Vietnam

Farmed

In Water

Yellow

15


Loblaws Species

Source

Wild Or Farmed

Seachoice Rating

Rainbow Trout

Canada

Farmed

Green

Catfish

USA

Farmed

Green

Tilapia

Ecuador

Farmed

Yellow

Sole

Canada (East Coast)

Wild

Yellow

Atlantic Salmon

Canada (East Coast)

Farmed

Red

Haddock

Canada (East Coast)

Wild

Yellow

Arctic Char

Canada

Farmed

Green

Ocean Perch

Canada (East Coast)

Wild

Yellow

Monkfish

Canada (East Coast)

Wild

Red

Royal Porgy

USA

Wild

Yellow

Sea Bream

South America

Wild

Yellow

European Sea Bass

Europe

Wild

Green

Spanish Mackerel

USA

Wild

Green

Whiting

Canada

Wild

Yellow

B-Line Snapper

USA

Wild

Green

Marlin

South America

Wild

Red

Tuna

USA

Wild (Pole & Line Caught)

Yellow

Pickerel

Canada

Wild

Yellow

Source

Wild Or Farmed

Inland Or In Water

Seachoice Rating

Atlantic Salmon

East Coast Of Canada

Farmed

In Water

Red

Rainbow Trout

Ontario

Farmed

Inland

Green

Pacific Salmon

Pacific Coast Of Canada

Wild

Net

Yellow

Bearances A small, privately owned grocery store on Union Street.

16 • Nerve Magazine


Metro Source

Wild Or Farmed

Seachoice Rating

Yellow Perch

The Great Lakes

Wild

Green

Haddock

North-West Atlantic

Wild, Trawl

Yellow

Tilapia

South America

Farm

Yellow

Atlantic Salmon

North-West Atlantic

Farm

Red

Rainbow Trout

Canada

Farm

Green

Pacific Cod

Gulf Of Alaska

Wild, Longline

Green

Sole

Northwest Atlantic

Wild, Trawl

Yellow

Catfish

U.S.

Farm

Green

Recommendation to shoppers:

Remember the good “Green” species with:

CARY

As consumers we can play a role in influencing the direction of the fishing industry by choosing sustainable seafood options at your local grocery stores. Take the time to find out where your fish is coming from, either by reading information provided or by asking your grocery store employees. Larger grocery stores like Loblaws and Metro offer a wider selection of seafood with several sustainable species readily available. Although John’s Deli usually has a limited selection at a given time, half of the species they rotate are recommended. Next time you are at the grocery store, look for sustainable fish like catfish, arctic char, rainbow trout and yellow perch. Remember the influence you can have as a consumer.

Recommendation to Stores: Stores have a responsibility to promote sustainable seafood, but also have a right to sell unsustainable seafood for which there is a demand. The best action that retailers can take in promoting sustainable fishing is to provide consumers with the information required to make the right decisions when promoting seafood. In the case of John’s Deli and Bearances, this involves educating store employees on how fish is obtained and where it comes from, as well as clearly labeling seafood in the store. Loblaws has access to this information and can make it available to employees upon request, but they could have the information more widely available. Metro could improve on labeling its frozen fish, but is otherwise doing very well in informing consumers. •

17


Technology

Medical nanoparticles: a

Golden

opportunity

By Brad Henderson

18 • Nerve Magazine


A

lthough it’is an expensive luxury and a previous currency standard,

gold has many important applications that extend beyond that of your jewellery and small electronics conductors; especially when the global medical imaging market is expected to reach $34 billion by 2017. Gold nanoparticles have been engineered in recent years for many promising medical applications due to their unique physical properties. The term nanoparticle sounds very specific, but is in fact, quite broad. By definition, they are molecular structures, commonly in spherical aggregates less than 100nm in diameter. While gold nanoparticles are being explored as medical diagnostic tools and drug delivery systems, they can be composed of chemical polymers, biologics, or a combination of the three. So what makes nanoparticles so useful? In addition to their small size, they have a unique surface to volume ratio, allowing them to exhibit sufficient anti-receptors complimentary to receptors often over-expressed by cancer cells. This is particularly important in both drug delivery systems and diagnostic imaging. By chemical or biologic

means, you can attach an “antireceptor” to the outside of a nanoparticle; think of this as a puzzle piece that will precisely bind and compliment a receptor on the outside of a cell in your body. The nanoparticle and attached puzzle pieces can now precisely bind receptors commonly over-expressed by cancer cells. An example of overexpressed receptors on the surface of cancer cells would be epidermal growth factors (EGFs), which when normally bound, cause rapid cell proliferation. Cells with excess EGFs will have attached aggregates of bound nanoparticle because of the antireceptor-receptor interaction. Designing a nanoparticle to properly function and interact with a specific receptor can be difficult, but it’s not therapeutically useful yet, you


Technology Examples of consumer products that may contain nanoparticles.

have to visualise it.

therapeutics effectively through the use of anti-receptor/receptor While protein or lipid- interactions. based nanoparticles may Their uniquely small increase biocompatibility size also enables them to (due to safer internal deliver drugs and image responses), gold cells into the brain, due to nanoparticles have a their ability to cross the unique quantum property. blood brain barrier (which This property is the is usually a major difficulty ability to differentially in effectively administering absorb and scatter brain-bound therapeutics). light under white light This also gives them imaging. Simply put, access to specific cellular under a normal white components, allowing light microscope, gold is for membrane diffusion able to absorb, scatter and and even nuclear (DNA) even re-emit absorbed targeting. light. It does so because While both of these the magnetic field of the applications pose endless light causes the surface medical advancements, electrons to collectively their small size also limits oscillate. the control of distribution The importance of in the body, posing this property is that it inherent unwanted side allows you to distinguish effects. The unknown and nanoparticle-bound cancer unwanted possible genetic cells from normal cells, interactions and cellular because those bound will toxicity have become the reflect light. main area of concern and subsequent focus of many researchers in the field. Drug delivery systems work similarly, by linking nanoparticles to a Every potential therapeutic compound, or therapy has a risk/benefit by encasing an insoluble trade-off. Now you may or rapidly degraded be thinking, you’re safe drug in a nanoparticle from the unwanted effects shell. They can deliver of nanoparticles, right? biologic or small molecule While this assumption

20 • Nerve Magazine


The above photograph shows five solutions of gold nanoparticles. The difference in colour is due to the difference in gold particle size (corresponding diagram below). (Aleksandar Kondinski)

is partly correct, the truth is, is that they’re everywhere. Silver nanoparticles have antibiotic effects, and are commonly used in odourresistant clothing such as your socks. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are often used to increase the whiteness of food, including salad dressings and donut icing sugar. While the vast majority of these compounds have not been proven to have toxic effects, many are currently under investigation by environmental protection agencies, and the subject of academic research.

While the awareness of possible nanoparticle toxicities has increased, in terms of biotechnology this field is still fruitful. Molecularly imprinted nanoparticles have been proposed in enzyme substitutions, antibody substitutions, and biosensors; carbon nanostructures and quantum dots have also shown great potential in medical applications. In the upcoming years, as environmental protection and regulatory agencies place restrictions on the use of these molecularly engineered nanostructures, research, design, and development should proceed with utmost vigilance and discretion. •

21


Engineering

22 • Nerve Magazine


Breaking

Borders By Alison Rockley

23


Engineering

In a rapidly evolving

world, there are still millions of people in Africa that live in poverty. Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a nongovernment organization that strives to help improve the quality of life for these people. The organization was founded in 2000 by George Roter and Parker Mitchell, two engineering graduates from Waterloo University. Since then, EWB has grown into a worldclass organization, with over 25 full time staff members, 45,000 members, and more than 300 over-seas volunteers. In Canada, Engineers Without Borders works alongside the government to improve Canada’s global development actions. They advocate for smart policies, practices, and decisions; they work through the 3000 active members at 36 EWB chapters across Canada (including a The Queen’s University chapter of Engineers Without Queen’s University chapter). Borders (EWB) launched in 2009. EWB Canada is not a part of the International EWB community, which repaired, and instead of systemic innovations that includes other EWB distributing seeds, they work have the ability to affect organizations such as EWBwith businesses to provide large populations of people. UK and EWB-USA. information and tools that For example, instead of farmers need to prosper. drilling wells, they help EWB’s approach to to ensure thousands of development focuses on Ventures in Africa wells are monitored and

24 • Nerve Magazine


The annual EWB conference is the largest international development conference in Canada.

include improving water and sanitation in Malawi, infrastructure in Ghana, and agriculture in Zambia, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. For the past 12 years, Engineers Without Borders has held annual national conferences that bring together EWB members with development experts, engineering industry leaders, Canadian Parliament members, and African business representatives. This event has become the largest international development conference in Canada. Presenters share their views on current development practices, their vision for a better future (fostered by EWB members), and their suggestions and criticisms of EWB. This year, the conference was held in Calgary from January 12 to 14, and the theme focused on the desired future, and how members can help reach that goal as social change

leaders. The Engineering Without Borders chapter at Queen’s University is an interdisciplinary development club that run several programs, campaigns, and events throughout the year. Members attend weekly workshops focused on developing leadership and critical thinking skills, and they have the opportunity to participate in nation-wide initiatives. Each week members meet to discuss nontechnical global issues, with the hope that members will be better prepared to applying problem solving skills to global challenges. EWB Queen’s also works with the Applied Science department to help develop a curriculum which includes global problems. This includes providing case studies and contributing problems to APSC 100, a first

year engineering design course. The Youth Engagement team, a part of EWB Queen’s, organizes and leads workshops for youth in Kingston to raise awareness about issues such as limited clean water, the energy crisis, and fair trade. EWB Queen’s also works towards making Kingston a Fair Trade City, which includes having the city council pass a motion to promote Fair Trade purchasing, and to have a certain number of Fair Trade vendors with respect to the population. Throughout 2013, Engineers Without Borders will continue to create opportunities for people to learn, grow, and have an impact on the world. •

25


The Mixture

Toxic

Dating

By Tyler Vance

T X Profile Hello and welcome to TOX Profile: the on-line match-making engine that connects toxic compounds to thousands of potential targets. We know the challenge. In today’s urban society, toxins are a dime a dozen. Even the most potent compound can have a hard time seeing its soul-binding partner for the photochemical smog. But here, we allow you to market yourself directly to potential candidates within biological organisms across the globe. The creation of a TOX Profile based on chemical compatibility and good ol’ fashion persistence has been proven to increase the chances of favourable binding by some non-descript percentage! Feel FREE to check out some of our current patrons’ TOX Profiles below for ideas on how to best market yourself to the unsuspecting public. No time to waste. Let TOX Profile start working for you!

26 • Nerve Magazine


T X Profile

2, 3, 7, 8 – tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

PROFILE

POTENTIAL MATCHES

SITE HISTORY

1 NEW MATCH ARYL HYDROCARBON RECEPTOR

cc

COMPATIBILITY SURVEY RESULTS

Hello, My name is 2, 3, 7, 8 – tetrachlorodibenzop- dioxin, but you can call me Dioxin. I am looking for a biological partner who will appreciate my unique chlorination pattern and bind to me, for me. A little about myself: I love organic matter, thanks to my natural hydrophobic domains, and enjoy taking long walks within the food chain. My ideal date would be anything around combustion. I love the smell of fire, especially when it’s burning plastics! I admittedly am not the greatest with DNA and have been known to cause some damage to it on occasion. My LD50 in humans has yet to be found but I’m sure it’s really high. So don’t bother looking at any other species. Seriously, it’s okay. So, if you feel like finding a good aromatic binding partner, or happen to be using the pesticide 2, 4, 5 –T, then give me a ring. If my chlorine pattern isn’t your style, then give one of my 75 or so siblings a chance. a call. They’re all really nice too!

T X Profile About PROFILE Methyl-Me Salutations! I am looking for a wonderful seleniumcontaining enzyme to share my days with in an irreversible manner.

MethylMercury For Pictures Click HERE

Things I Like

I really like fish, like a lot! I could bioconcentrate into fish all the live long day! I also really like thermometers, dental fillings in old people and some bacteria . . . only some

Things I Hate Potential Matches 0 New

I hate mercuric ion reductase. That guy’s a son of a bitch. I also hate some regulations on water quality!

27


The Mixture

T X Profile I’m a very lonely individual. I wander through cars, cities, homes and they just look right through me, walk right byPROFILE me and never know I’m there. I’m invisible to all their senses and that would be fine if I could just meet someone. Maybe a gentle protein whose conformation changes when I’m around, one with a heme group that wants me more than anyone else, including that TRAMP oxygen.

POTENTIAL MATCHES

Carbon Monoxide Personal Poetry Born in the shadow of incomplete fire Attempting to move both earth and tire Then off to the bountiful, yet filling sky Reducing its quality and making it mine. Many a particle I meet and then pass Forming transient bonds that shatter like glass All I wish is to come into your fold To never let go, once I’ve grabbed a hold.

BIOGRAPHY

Compatibility Questionnaire 1. You feel overshadowed by a more oxidized sibling. Disagree Neutral Agree 2. The high-pitched shrill of alarms and detectors is soothing to you. Disagree Neutral Agree

COMPATIBILITY SURVEY RESULTS

Potential Matches Hemoglobin STATUS: Bound to Oxygen but open to others Myoglobin STATUS: Bound to Oxygen but open to others Cytochrome Oxidase STATUS: Bound to Oxygen . . .

(Reddit user rfallon1)

28 • Nerve Magazine


Hunting with Science A physicist, engineer and a statistician are out hunting. Suddenly, a deer appears 50 yards away. The physicist does some basic ballistic calculations, assuming a vacuum, lifts his rifle to a specific angle, and shoots. The bullet lands 5 yards short. The engineer adds a fudge factor for air resistance, lifts his rifle slightly higher, and shoots. The bullet lands 5 yards long. The statistician yells, "We got him!"

29


Want Nerve emailed directly to you?

Send us an email and we’ll deliver every monthly issue right to your inbox, free of charge. nerve.queensu@gmail.com

Join us on Facebook or Twitter for immediate posts.

facebook.com/NerveMag @NerveMag

COntact us with comments or questions at nerve.queensu@gmail.gom

Nerve Magazine — ­ Vol. 1

Issue 7  

A student-run science, technology, and engineering magazine.

Advertisement