Tag Archives: immune system

Tobacco Leaves Could Provide Cheap, Scalable Way to Make Zika Vaccine

Tobacco leaves drying. Photo by MRaccine.

Tobacco might have finally found the image upgrade it’s been looking for, as scientists hope to use the plant to produce a safe and cheap Zika vaccine.

If successful in humans, the plant-based approach could provide an effective solution for countries affected by the disease.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Scientists Use Tobacco Plant As Cheap, Scalable Zika Vaccine Factory

10 History-making Hispanic Researchers

Photo of Luis Alvarez with balloons.
When not doing Nobel prize-winning research, Luis Alvarez built President Eisenhower an indoor golf-training machine, analyzed the Zapruder film and tried to locate an Egyptian pyramid’s treasure chamber using cosmic rays. Photo courtesy Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Far too many scientists who made major contributions to knowledge and human health go unremarked, forgotten save for the occasional postage stamp or Google doodle. So when I was offered the chance to write about a few of the many outstanding scientists who came from Spanish-speaking lands, cultures and ancestors, I was understandably excited…and a little nervous. On the one hand, combining such a varied assemblage of people under one term – especially the political term Hispanic – wasn’t ideal. On the other hand, it gave me the chance to explore, and raise awareness of, a remarkably diverse array of persons, backgrounds and accomplishments. I hope you’ll find their stories as inspiring as I did.

10 Hispanic Scientists You Should Know

Fecal transplants: One man’s trash…

C. diff photo
Scanning electron micrograph of C. diff, courtesy CDC

Accepting a transplant of someone else’s stool might sound extreme, but it might just be the next big thing in medicine, thanks in part to a potentially deadly stomach bug called Clostridium difficile.

C. diff, an emerging epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes that tears through the gut like Sherman through Georgia, has grown increasingly virulent and antibiotic-resistant in recent years. For many sufferers, fecal microbiota transplantation offers hope when all else fails. Can we get over the “ick factor” when our lives are on the line? You bet we can.

How Fecal Transplants Work