A fairytale gone bad

“You must be very intelligent – The PhD Delusion” By Karin Bodewits’ ISBN 978-3-319-59321-0 Karin Bodewits’ partly autobiographic book “You must be very intelligent – The PhD Delusion” is a revealing, tongue in cheek tale about PhD life. We first meet Karin as an idealistic, yet naïve student who wants to add to our knowledge…

Becoming a better writer – an update

Every once in a while I use this blog as a sort of diary – to document my journey of (hopefully) becoming a better writer. Given the imminent changes in my life: becoming a mom and with that a one-year long break from lab work (perks of living in Germany), I have been pondering my…

A letter to myself.

This article was originally published on Tipbox.  Maybe I am getting old or its impending motherhood, but I am finally realising that nobody can make it on their own. Not in science. Not anywhere else. And I wish I knew this earlier. Starting my PhD, 8 years or what feels like a lifetime ago, I…

A living drug – FDA approves gene altering cancer treatment

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: Immunotherapy is an exciting field of research. It investigates different approaches to harness the immune systems ability to recognise and destroy mutated cells. Different ways have been utilised to enhance the immune systems response to cancer. One way is to modify genes in…

Vaccines by John Oliver – watch it!

Most people know John Oliver from his shows about Donald Trump. But I love it when he does sciences. I have mentioned his pieces on science journalism before in a blog I did on the topic relating to a new “cancer cure” and this week he dedicated his time to vaccinations. A topic we have…

Wow, your immune system smells good…

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: For the second instalment of the new baby science category, we’ll look at an early event in the baby making process. At choosing a mate. Scientific evidence suggests that we choose our mates, at least in part, based on scent, including the odour…

I march for basic research

This post was also published on the Real Scientists.  To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: This Saturday, the 22nd of April, scientists will take to the streets in 518 cities. This is a rare event given that scientists tend to live for their research. In their own little bubble…

Baby science

Regular readers may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as often as before. I have been somewhat distracted recently… But why not combine what is happening with this blog. So in a new section I will be talking about science around babies (yes this is a strange kind of announcement 😉 👶). When scientists…

The bone marrow is no longer alone – the lung also makes blood cells

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: In this month’s “Paper Of The Month”, research out of UCSF demonstrates that the lung is the main producer of platelets. So far scientist believed that all blood cells – from pathogen-fighting white blood cells to red blood cells that transport…

Tatsache: Donald Trump ist gefährlich für die Wissenschaft und ihre Gesundheit

 To view this post in english click here/ Für die englische Version hier klicken: In Anlehnung an den #WomensMarch, der in der Woche nach Trumps Amtseinführung stattfand, planen Wissenschaftler momentan Märsche für die Wissenschaft (March for Science). Die weltweiten Demonstrationen finden am 22. April statt. In Deutschland sind Märsche unter anderem in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Berlin,…

Die Suche nach einem Zika Heilmittel

 To view this post in english click here/ Für die englische Version hier klicken: Nach dem pandemischen Ausbruch des Zika-Virus in Mittel- und Südamerika sowie in der Karibik erklärte die WHO den Virus zu einem weltweiten Notfall. Derzeit gibt es weder einen Impfstoff noch eine Therapie gegen Zika. Aber gerade die Korrelation zwischen Zika und…

New ways to treat Zika

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: The pandemic outbreak of the Zika virus in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean, and its link to microcephaly in newborn babies led the WHO to declare the virus a global emergency. No vaccine or therapy currently exists,…

Real fact: Donald Trump is dangerous for science and public health

Watching the inauguration and subsequent protest (#WomensMarch) unfold over the weekend, I came across #USofScience. The hashtag was used by scientist to protest. More importantly it also highlighted why science is important and should have the full support of politicians and the public. In the USA this support is questionable, at best, for the next…

My goals for 2017

I don’t normally do New Year’s resolutions. They never last with me. Seeing lots of resolutions from fellow #scicommers on twitter though, I thought about my goals for writing this year. What do I want to achieve this year? What do I need to do to eventually make the transition from lab to laptop? Read…

Ein nicht enden wollender Kampf – Koevolution von Erreger und Immunsystem

To view this post in english click here/ Für die englische Version hier klicken: Vereinfacht ausgedrückt, prophezeit die Red Queen Hypothese eine konstante Koevolution zwischen Organismen, um das Überleben der konkurrierenden Parteien zu gewährleisten. Bezogen auf das Immunsystem bedeutet dies die ständige Weiterentwicklung  der Beziehung von Erregern und dem Immunsystem. Pathogene finden dabei immer neue…

Antibiotics against viruses

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: Antibiotics block bacterial growth and are routinely prescribed to patients suffering from bacterial infections. They do not help against viruses. So somewhat surprisingly headlines like “An already in-use antibiotic may limit Zika infections” have been hitting the news recently. But how…

A never ending fight. Co-evolution of pathogens and the immune system.

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: Simplified, the Red Queen hypothesis proposes a constant co-evolution between organisms in order to ensure survival of the involved parties in a competitive environment. When looking at the immune system this entails the constant evolution of pathogens to avoid the immune…

Marathon sniffles

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: I like to run. At the end of September I run my 6th marathon and fell ill the week after. Again. This has happened to me nearly every time post marathon. Isn’t running supposed to improve our health? Time to find…

Monograph or cumulative: what is the best way to write a PhD thesis

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: In the UK PhD theses are monographs. So back in 2012, when I wrote my thesis I produced roughly 300 pages on what I had done over the last three years. Four result chapters. Introduction, methods and discussion. But theses do…