Finding an Alzheimer’s Drug From Scratch

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Alzheimers Drugs Hippocampus NeurogenesisPharmaceutical companies sometimes get a bad rap, but most people don’t realize just how labor/money-intensive the process of drug discovery is.  A recent JACSJournal of the American Chemical Society paper offers a little glimpse at the process Continue reading

Posted in Brain Stuff, Chemistry | 2 Comments

The Chemistry of Sweet

As a new year begins, so do new diet plans. Many diets encourage replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners as a way to cut calories. So what’s really in those pink, blue, and yellow sugar-substitute packets? Continue reading

Posted in Chemicals Among Us, Chemistry | 5 Comments

New Year’s Resolutions for Graduate Students

new year's resolutions graduate studentsThe most popular New Year’s resolutions aren’t always practical for graduate students. Often we need to set the bar a little lower Continue reading

Posted in Fun Stuff | 2 Comments

Class Action Lawsuit Against Brazilian Blowout

I’m still on Christmas break, with minimal internet availability, but here’s a tidbit of news about Brazilian Blowout.  Courthouse News Service reports today that a class action lawsuit was filed against Brazilian Blowout Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry | 2 Comments

Christmas Chemistry!

Here’s a random assortment of holiday cheer, with just a hint a big dollop of chemistry nerdiness. Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Fun Stuff | 1 Comment

Trespassing Viruses Will Be Killed on Contact

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santa claus flu virusIt’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to start thinking about the flu! Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Medicine, Viruses | 3 Comments

Awkward Conversation

Q: What’s the opposite of a pick up line? Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Updates on the Brazilian Blowout Front

(To catch up, see this, this, this, and this earlier post.)

Update 1. Yesterday, it was announced that the company behind Brazilian Blowout (GIB) is suing Oregon OSHA Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout | 4 Comments

Sleepy Bees Waggle Sloppy

sleep deprivation bees waggle danceFor humans, sleep deprivation has a negative impact on performance in many areas, such as motor and communication skills. Continue reading

Posted in Biology, Brain Stuff, Communication | 8 Comments

Highest Impact Factor… Wikipedia?

In college, I remember being told to never cite Wikipedia as a reference when writing up an essay or report.  Literally anyone (and their mom) can contribute to Wikipedia, so believing its content is an exercise of faith in collective human intelligence.  Though you still shouldn’t cite Wiki as a source, this online encyclopedia is becoming more and more relied upon as a first pass source of information. Continue reading

Posted in Communication | 4 Comments

Update: ACC’s Position on Formaldehyde

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has issued a statement about the formaldehyde/methylene glycol “controversy”.  You can read a summary of the statement here, and the full statement here.  Here’s a couple of key quotes: Continue reading

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I Can Has Science Hair Straightener?

My apologies, I really do not want to turn this into a Brazilian Blowout Blog.  However, I am super swamped this week and am writing on borrowed time, and Brazilian Blowout keeps falling into my lap.  The last week and a half, I’ve been talking about the formaldehyde/methylene glycol controversy surrounding the hair product Brazilian Blowout. Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry, Current Events | 2 Comments

Really, We’re Doing This Again?

brazilian blowout formaldehyde methylene glycolMore drama on the Brazilian Blowout front.  (For a recap from last time, see here.)  For whatever reason, a BB spokesperson emailed me again this weekend with another press release, Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry, Chemistry Basics, Current Events | 7 Comments

Alien Life and the Periodic Table

A “new” life form was documented in a Science article released yesterday.  OK, so it’s not exactly alien life: it was found in California (Earth) and, technically, its unusual characteristics are kind of due to human interference.  Regardless, these little microbes certainly sound like science fiction. Continue reading

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Brazilian Blowout and Formaldehyde

Brazilian Blowout formaldehyde methylene glycolHaving no reason to do my hair since I’m in lab all day Having naturally straight hair, I don’t usually pay attention to trendy methods of hair-straightening.  Until yesterday, that is, when a colleague pointed out a Fashionista article to me about the “Brazilian Blowout.” Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry, Chemistry Basics, Current Events | 23 Comments

Bisphenol A Ban in Europe

bisphenol A baby bottle banWhile those of us in the US were busy stuffing ourselves with turkey on Thursday, the European Commission was hard at work making a decision about a proposed ban on the chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Continue reading

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Women. Science. 1880.

women in science 19th century

An 1880s woman. (Morning Walk, John Singer Sargent)

Whew!  A gem of an article was published in Science magazine… in October 1880 that is. I stand by my previous assertion – reading some of the least current scientific papers available provides an entertaining and enlightening break from the confines of 2010. Continue reading

Posted in Old Chemistry, Women in Science | 3 Comments

The Machinery of Retroviruses Part 3: Caught in the Act

electron micrograph of HIV or AIDS

HIV Particles. Photo credit PhD Dre at en.wikipedia.

Retroviruses such as HIV work by integrating their genetic code into the DNA of a hostsuch as a person or animal (see part 1). Continue reading

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The Machinery of Retroviruses Part 2: Using X-Rays to Solve Scientific Problems

(Part 1 here) X-ray crystallography is used by the authors of a recent Nature paper to visualize the structure of certain key molecules relevant to retroviruses.  Though we usually think of X-rays as just a way of looking at our bones, these high energy light waves can also be used to “look at” atoms and molecules.

visible ultraviolet x-rays electromagnetic spectrum Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Chemistry Basics, Materials, Viruses | Comments Off

The Machinery of Retroviruses Part 1: What is a Retrovirus?

Retroviruses such as HIV are in some ways still a black box to scientists.  The specific details of their mechanism of action are slowly being elucidated, but much is yet unclear. However, an article was published in Nature this past week sheds some light on how retroviruses work at the molecular level.   Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry Basics, Viruses | 1 Comment