Unspoken words for thought

Archive for the ‘Scientific Language’ Category




The p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) also known as Bcl-2-binding component 3 (BBC3)…

Well, you learn sth new everyday.. 

Big ideas- Mind Boggling

‘Humans make 900 000 000 000 000 000 000 molecules of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) per second. Another, this time in Inside the Brain, was that there are 150 000 000 000 000 synapses in the human neocortex, part of the cerebral cortex of the brain. Such large figures can be mind-boggling.’

via Big ideas.




Word of the day.

Pupil Constriction and Dilation

So the other week I bought some lens extensions for taking macro images as one of my hobbies is to take pictures of nature. I thought I’d give filming in HD ago and chose the eye as my subject because of it’s intricately beautiful design.

As you can see the video reveals details of the iris and pupil including their movements- constriction and dilation in this case. This didn’t happen to a friend’s eye that I initially filmed. I’m puzzled by this…

After some research and looking at other videos that people posted I came across things such as autonomic nervous system, galvanic response, adrenaline levels… Maybe the pupil is changing in size due to the blood circulation? However someone suggested it could just be the lights. Although additionally, I should point out that I am affected by myopia- essentially shortsightedness which might affect the constriction/dilation as well?

I’m still not sure what exactly causes this relatively fast paced change in size in the pupil & is wondering if many people have eyes that behave like this….

Sea Urchin Fertilisation Practical


Total nerdy post alert.

How often do you shake a sea urchin until it releases eggs or sperm? I wonder if you can tell a sea urchin’s sex from judging by its cover? But that certainly wasn’t the case when we vigorously shook sea urchins until they spored… or for some impatient ones.. Injecting KCl certainely forced some gametes out!

Well, it was a female! After about ten minutes of nudging, our little sea urchin finally produced some orange coloured products… From which we were ever so delighted to deduce that our sea urchin was an egg producing individual. Safely positioned on top of a beaker of sea water, the eggs fell like some sort of fairy dust towards the bottom of the glassware.

… Skipping some boring procedures..

After adding sperm to the eggs, you can observe and marvel at the process of fertilisation in action! Even more exciting, this picture captures mitosis at its late stages of cytokinesis where the fertilised egg splits in two after prophase, metaphase and anaphase.

Isn’t life magical?! 🙂

Motivation for future scientist wanna-bes


Arnold Young, (aka the Ph.Diddy) is a biotech Ph.D candidate. Arnold was an A+ student, and is now ready to take over the world of science! He soon discovers how life in the lab is filled with drive and devotion, frustrations and fulfillment, hard work, late hours, repeated experiments, peer review and a strive for respect and recognition. How will the ups and downs of life in the lab shape our Ph.Diddy on his journey to have his first scientific paper published?

Acknowledgements: This video is inspired by all the dedicated everyday-heroes-of-science. Invitrogen recognizes your passion and admires your perseverance!

Check us out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/invitrogen


I was the black belt of my class, marked out as an achiever. First day on the job, enter the gene-weaver.
My future colleagues look up from the PCR machine, checking me out man. The Ph.Diddy’s on the scene.
So I claim my pipette and pimp it up to halt the theivin’. Get the thermocycler going, my samples cool chilling.
Yeah, I shoot my tips like I’ve been here all my life. Wait for instrument time with my free pizza slice.
I run my first Western blot. Man, this lab scene is easy. But wait up, hold a minute. I’m feeling kinda queasy.
Is that Trizol I can smell? Oh, my head’s in a spin! ‘ve gone and dropped my freakin’ sample in the biohaz bin.

He’s a super fly grad. Life plans to shape the future, that’s right!
Sees his name in lights and a centre spread in Nature. All right!

I’m always splitting cells, always working late. I’ve cleared the biohazard bin so much I herniate.
Got samples botched, samples lost, samples dropped on the floor. Messy benches, empty buffers, lab politics galore.
My PI’s buggin’. Man he sounds like my father. Western blot once again, but development shows nada.
I’m doin’ my time in the cell culture hood – at the weekend bro. It’s the only time I could!
Then suddenly my data is starting to make sense. Even Western blot bands start to make an appearance.
So I repeat once again all the steps I need to follow. But every culture well… turned yellow.

He’s a super fly grad. Life plans to shape the future, that’s right!
Sees his name in lights and a centre spread in Nature. All right!
I’m talkin’ ’bout the ooh, ooh…

Serum and media get swiped with no apology. And all my cells are showing abnormal morphology.
So now my PI’s freaking, “Find something you can prove!” But contamination aggravation knocks me off my groove.
So I stay late once again as the lab detainee. Yeah, its 9 pm but the thermocycler’s free
I don’t understand! What’s happened now? That’s it. Yeah, time to give up. I’m throwing in the towel.

Ooh, ooh, supergrad. I’m talkin’ ’bout the ooh, ooh… Super bad lab grad, yeah!
Ooh, ooh, supergrad. I’m talkin’ ’bout the ooh, ooh… Super bad lab grad, yeah!

My transfection worked – confirmed with Pol II chIP – mutagenesis determined the TF targeted.
I’m not going down! I can still do BioChem! My genes will express, I’m gonna beat it out of them.
And yeah, I must have results that no one can undress. And quickly move my paper from in prep to in press.
I’m finally finished writing the discussion, whilst my PI once again, “tweaks” my introduction.
So, here we go, yo. Here’s the scenario: Peer review’s due to hit. When exactly? I don’t know.
My paper will be published. My research is legit. OK it’s not quite Nature but, I think I nailed it!

He’s a super fly grad. Life plans to shape the future, that’s right!
Sees his name in lights and a centre spread in Nature. All right!
He’s a super fly grad. Life plans to shape the future, that’s right!
Sees his name in lights and a centre spread in Nature. All right!
Ooh, ooh, supergrad. I’m talkin’ ’bout the ooh, ooh… Super bad lab grad, yeah!

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Symphony of Science

Connections. Will write more…

If only everyone can be reasonable.

Quorum sensing: Learning about lux operons of Vibrio fischeri!

So there is a molecular biology test coming up in 2 days and I’m on the last part of revision learning about how there are glowing squids and how fireflies glow! Could not resist but to  listen to the amazing song by Owl City 🙂

There are 2 lux operons. the first encodes luxR, a protein required to activate the second lux operon which is comprised of the genes lux I C D A B E G… the luxI gene encodes the enzyme VAI ( Vibrio fischeri autoinducer) sythase. VAI binds to the luxR protein. This complex then binds to the promoter of the second lux operon and assists RNA polymerase to bind.

The operon is then transcribed, producing more luxI, which in turn produces more VAI. This is a process called autoregulation. The operon is responsible fore producing a chemical that activates the operon. Complex yet clever! (Bearing in mind what I wrote in my last blog, I think that we can if we have not already taken this idea and incorporate it into some mechanical technology?!)

One of the proteins encoded by the second lux operon is luciferase. Luciferase then metabolises luciferin to produce a luminescent chemical- the came chemical that makes glow worms and fireflies glow :). –> The more VAI produced, the more luciferase produce.

Info courtesy of Professor…

Conjugation of Bacteria Notes

Conjugation leads to acquisition of traits e.g. antibiotic and metal resistance, pathogenicity etc.

Plasmid go through autonomous replication

Plasmids with same replication mechanism can’t co-exist in the same cell- known as incompatibility (Inc)

Transposons themselves are assigned to one of two classes according to their mechanism of transposition, which can be described as either “copy and paste” (class I) or “cut and paste” (class II)

Acquisition-l’acquisition-获得,收获 -gaining : my acquisition of scientific language at UCL… is a slow progress. Hope to acquire more from visiting wordpress blogs 😉

Pathogenicity-la pathogénicité- 致病性- ability of a pathogen to produce an infectious disease in an organism: bacteria can gain pathogenicity through conjugation.

Autonomous– autonomes- 独立存在的 – self governing, independent: I’ve had to try to adopt life in London, first time away from home, by becoming more autonomous. I no longer need to be ‘governed’ by parents or teachers. Freedom is not always a good thing, one must make up own rules to be able to lead a good life.

Incompatibility-l’incompatibilité-不兼容(Bù jiānróng): Incompatibility between a couple is obvious when they are speaking the same language as though they are speaking completely foreign tongues to each other, where as some couples possess ultimate understanding(默契!) of each other without even a single word- all messages are sent by a brief moment of endearing eye contact.

Transposon-le transposon-转座子: transposon is a segment of DNA that can be integrated at many different sites along  chromosome ( especially a segment of bacterial DNA that can be translocated as a whole)/ DNA sequence with ability to move= ‘Jumping genes’ e.g. Tn3


Conclusion: Never stop learning, the more you learn the less you find out you know.

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