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…

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 of their immune system. The idea is that we aim to choose…

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…

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…

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…

The Plague in the USA. Wait what?

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: On my recent trip to the USA, I was hiking in the Grand Canyon and came across the sign pictured above. While I agree with the notion of not interacting, e.g. feeding or trying to pet, wild-life, I laughed at the…

BREXIT: From a scientists point of view

As a scientist, mobility is part of our job. As a German national, I have lived in France to gain lab experience before going to the UK for my PhD and a short post-doc. The fact that I didn’t need work permits or visas made this a lot easier. Shockingly the UK has now optioned…

Reports of a universal cancer vaccine: too good to be true

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken: Headlines like “We’re fighting cancer with a universal vaccine” and statements such as “A vaccine could be developed which could be used against all cancers”  are what’s wrong with science journalism, because they are far from the truth hidden in this study published in Nature. When most people…

Becoming a better writer

I started this blog because I always liked to write and I wanted to see if this continues when I write more often. The lack of posts in recent months may seem like my interest is fizzling out – but to the contrary. To be more serious about science communication and writing I have been…

Evolutionary view on the immune system

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken Our blog just had its first birthday! Yeah! And what would be a better way to celebrate than a new post? And not unlike the very first post, I am going to write about the basics of the immune system –…

Exchanging macrophages in Alzheimer’s disease brains

To view this post in german click here/ Für die deutsche Version hier klicken In October 2015, the Journal of Experimental Medicine published two papers on the effect of peripheral (outside the brain) myeloid cells on Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a disease manifesting itself in the brain. Both publications depleted brain-resident macrophages and allowed the open…