The 6,000-Calorie Diet

Between October 2013 and July 2014, six healthy, middle-aged men reported to Temple University Hospital in north Philadelphia. For seven days, researchers confined each subject to his hospital bed and told him to select breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with three daily snacks, from the hospital menu containing typical American cuisine: eggs, fried chicken, hamburgers, French fries, etc. The intake totaled a whopping 6,000 calories—about 2.5 times the men’s normal diet.

Physician Guenther Boden of the Temple University School of Medicine and his colleagues had recruited the men to investigate how overeating leads to insulin resistance, which in rodent models happens quickly and dramatically, well before the animals gain much weight. Researchers had proposed several possible mechanisms, including elevated levels of fatty acids; inflammation; endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress; and oxidative stress. “If you look at people who are obese and insulin resistant, you find all sorts of abnormalities that could explain the insulin resistance,” says Boden. “What no one knows is how the whole thing starts.”


Link to full article at The Scientist

Baby girl is first in the world to be treated with ‘designer immune cells’

Genetically engineered cells successfully used to treat aggressive form of childhood leukaemia, but landmark treatment had only been tested on mice

A baby girl with aggressive leukaemia has become the first in the world to be treated with designer immune cells that were genetically engineered to wipe out her cancer.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London treated the girl two months ago and stressed that it could be more than a year before they know for sure whether the therapy has cured the disease, or simply delayed its progression.

Link to full article at The Guardian

Being Moody May Help Us Adapt To Change, University College London Study

It’s long been known that mood biases our judgments and perceptions, but this effect has usually been regarded as irrational or disadvantageous. A new theory published November 3 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences argues that mood draws on experiences and can, in fact, help us quickly adapt to changes in our environment. For example, experiencing unexpected gains on the stock market should improve a trader’s mood. That positive mood may then cause the trader to take more risks, essentially helping her adapt more quickly to a market that is generally on the rise.

According to the new theory, as people learn from experiences that are colored by their mood, their expectations come to reflect not only the reward associated with each particular state (such as each stock), but also recent changes in the overall availability of reward in their environment. In this way, the existence of mood allows learning to account for the impact of general environmental factors.


Link to full article on BioSpace


Low doses of environmental chemicals can make animals gain weight. Whether they do the same to humans is a thorny issue.


In 2005, Mike Skinner’s group at Washington State University published a disturbing observation: pregnant rats exposed to high levels of a commonly used fungicide had sons with low sperm counts as adults. When the males did succeed in impregnating a female, they bore sons who also had fewer sperm, and the gametes were less viable. The problem perpetuated through multiple generations, as Skinner’s lab observed the rats over several years.1

“We sat on [the results] for four years because it was a major observation, so we wanted to get as much on the mechanism as possible,” Skinner says. He and his colleagues found that altered DNA methylation patterns in the germ line were to blame.

To see if other environmental chemicals could have the same effect, they screened a host of potentially toxic chemicals: jet fuel, plastics ingredients, and more pesticides. Again, exposed animals had offspring with reproductive problems, which were passed down for generations. The researchers also saw another phenotype pop up again and again: obesity. Skinner first saw fat rats in his experiments after he’d injected females with a mixture of bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, substances used to make plastic products and, like the fungicide the researchers originally tested, known to be endocrine disruptors. The rats’ pups and their pups’ pups—animals that had direct exposure to the chemicals—showed other abnormalities, but were of normal weight. However, roughly 10 percent of third-generation (F3) rats descended from exposed females became obese.2


Link to full article on The Scientist

Thanks to everyone who attended the BioSpace Career Fair, Cambridge Nov 19th

Thank you to everyone who attended the career fair last night in Cambridge, We were very impressed with the number of applicants and their qualifications.

We are now reviewing all all of the resumes and will be in contact with those who are selected for a second interview shortly.

Click here for more details of our current opportunities