biomeds

Interstellar Cultural Exchange

A problem that we might have is the importance of food. There are certain things that I’m quite certain will be constant from culture to culture, and, barring the possibility of aliens taking control of  their evolution in such a way that they no longer need to eat, I think food would be one of them.

People would be careful in the beginning, but eventually some people would break more and more quarantine and contraband laws, resulting in unusual fusion which we might not be able to predict.


“What’s this apple-looking thing I’m eating?” 

“It’s actually an animal that sucks sap out of trees. Think of it as a vegetarian tick.”


“What is that?”

“It’s called chocolate, want some?”

***Two Hours Later***

“I see colors!”

“Chocolate is space cocaine. Got it.”


“Human, I have made gumbo using ingredients from my planet. Would you like some?”

“Isn’t your biome arsenic-based?”

“Your point?”


“Want some chips?”

“Are you insane human!? That has SALT in it! Are you trying to kill me!?”

Tough as a Tardigrade

Without water, a human can only survive for about 100 hours. But there’s a creature so resilient that it can go without it for decades. This one millimeter animal can survive both the hottest and coldest environments on Earth, and can even withstand high levels of radiation. This is the tardigrade, and it’s one of the toughest creatures on Earth, even if it does look more like a chubby, eight-legged gummy bear. 

Most organisms need water to survive. Water allows metabolism to occur, which is the process that drives all the biochemical reactions that take place in cells. But creatures like the tardigrade, also known as the water bear, get around this restriction with a process called anhydrobiosis, from the Greek meaning life without water. And however extraordinary, tardigrades aren’t alone. Bacteria, single-celled organisms called archaea, plants, and even other animals can all survive drying up.

For many tardigrades, this requires that they go through something called a tun state. They curl up into a ball, pulling their head and eight legs inside their body and wait until water returns. It’s thought that as water becomes scarce and tardigrades enter their tun state, they start synthesize special molecules, which fill the tardigrade’s cells to replace lost water by forming a matrix. 

Components of the cells that are sensitive to dryness, like DNA, proteins, and membranes, get trapped in this matrix. It’s thought that this keeps these molecules locked in position to stop them from unfolding, breaking apart, or fusing together. Once the organism is rehydrated, the matrix dissolves, leaving behind undamaged, functional cells.

Beyond dryness, tardigrades can also tolerate other extreme stresses: being frozen, heated up past the boiling point of water, high levels of radiation, and even the vacuum of outer space. This has led to some erroneous speculation that tardigrades are extraterrestrial beings.

While that’s fun to think about, scientific evidence places their origin firmly on Earth where they’ve evolved over time. In fact, this earthly evolution has given rise to over 1100 known species of tardigrades and there are probably many others yet to be discovered. And because tardigrades are so hardy, they exist just about everywhere. They live on every continent, including Antarctica. And they’re in diverse biomes including deserts, ice sheets, the sea fresh water, rainforests, and the highest mountain peaks. But you can find tardigrades in the most ordinary places, too, like moss or lichen found in yards, parks, and forests. All you need to find them is a little patience and a microscope.

Scientists are now to trying to find out whether tardigrades use the tun state, their anti-drying technique, to survive other stresses. If we can understand how they, and other creatures, stabilize their sensitive biological molecules, perhaps we could apply this knowledge to help us stabilize vaccines, or to develop stress-tolerant crops that can cope with Earth’s changing climate. 

And by studying how tardigrades survive prolonged exposure to the vacuum of outer space, scientists can generate clues about the environmental limits of life and how to safeguard astronauts. In the process, tardigrades could even help us answer a critical question: could life survive on planets much less hospitable than our own?

From the TED-Ed Lesson Meet the tardigrade, the toughest animal on Earth - Thomas Boothby

Animation by Boniato Studio

Anatomy & Physiology Overview - The Ear

Outer ear 

  • Pinna (auricle) - visible part of the ear outside of the head.  
  • External auditory canal 
  • Ceruminous glands - specialized sudoriferous glands (sweat glands) located subcutaneously in the external auditory canal. They produce cerumen (earwax) by mixing their secretion with sebum and dead epidermal cells.

 Middle ear: air filled 

  • Tympanic membrane -  vibrates in response to sound waves 
  • Malleus, incus and stapes - 3 small bones that transmit vibrations to each other

Inner ear: fluid filled 

  • Mechanoreceptor for hearing and balance 
  • Vesibular apparatus - balance
  • Semicircular canals 
  • Cochlea
  •  • Organ of Cor -  sensory epithelial cell

Cochlea

  • Perilymph = similar in compositon to plasma – Na+ 
  • Endolymph = high in K+ 
  • Organ of Cor: contains hair cells – move due to pressure waves 
  • 50-100 stereocilia on each cell 
  • Longest embedded in tectorial membrane 

In the cochlea that the vibrations transmitted from the eardrum through the tiny bones are converted into electrical impulses sent along the auditory nerve to the brain. 

  • The cochlea is a tapered tube which circles around itself 
  • The basilar membrane divides the tube lengthwise into two fluid-filled canals joined at the tapered end. 
  • ossicles transmit vibration to the cochlea where they attach at the oval window
  • resultant waves travel down the basilar membrane where they are “sensed” by  16-20,000 hair cells (cilia) attached to it which poke up from a third canal called the organ of Corti
  • Organ of Corti transforms the stimulated hair cells into nerve impulses 
  • Waveforms travelling down the basilar membrane peak in amplitude at differing spots along the way according to their frequency 
  • Higher frequencies peak out at a shorter distance down the tube than lower frequencies
  • The hair cells at that peak point give a sense of that particular frequency
  • The distance between pitches follows the same logarithmic distance as our perception of pitch i.e. the placement of octaves are equidistant.
All Pokémon in our Biomes Posts

When I was a kid, I loved pretending my friends and I were Pokémon trainers. We would battle each other, catch wild Pokémon, we would even bring our injured Pokémon back to the Pokémon center (the swingset). One thing that always intrigued me, was where you could find different species of Pokémon. My friends and I always knew that to find ground Pokémon, you would look by the sandbox, and to find grass Pokémon you’d go into the bush. 

Over time, my love for Pokémon or the outdoors hasn’t changed. Now, I’m in college, studying environmental technology and biology, and of course, still playing Pokémon. 

Because my knowledge of biology and ecology has bloomed, I have recently decided to write some posts hypothesizing where different species of Pokémon could be found in our world if they were actually real.

I choose a specific biome, which is a type of environment that shares similar characteristics across the world (deserts, tropical rainforests, etc) then try to estimate what Pokémon could potentially be found in that biome.

I only choose a few Pokémon for each post, but I always try my best to explain my theories as to why that Pokémon would be found in that specific biome. I use the Pokémon’s morphology, abilities, typing, biology, Pokédex entries, and what the Pokémon is designed after from the real world to support my theories.

Below you can find links to all of the Pokémon in our Biomes posts I have written so far:

Of course, these are only the ones I have written so far. There are dozens of biomes, and hundreds of Pokémon species. I will not cover all of the species, but there will be more posts to come as I am constantly writing and thinking of new ideas.

I hope these posts entertain you as Pokémon has always entertained me. Obviously any comments, recommendations, opinions and suggestions are always encouraged, but please remember to credit these posts if you reuse them.

Enjoy!

-mewistheancestor

🌲 Forest With Me Spell 🌲

The forest is full of peace and magick, bring it home with you to boost your spells and provide peace.

Gather

🌲 Bottle

🌲 earth (dirt, sand, rocks)

🌲 Assorted forest items (berries, leaves, flowers, bark, seeds)

(side note: do not collect or ingest anything that you are unsure about. Even if 99% sure about a plant id, don’t pick it. It’s for your own safety.)

Process

🌲 Take your bottle on a nature walk or hike. This can be anywhere deep in the woods or in an urban park. Work with your surroundings.

🌲 Half way through you walk stop and collect some earth from the ground and place it in your bottle. This can be what ever is locally available to you, but should be as natural as possible.

🌲 Hold the bottle and dirt in your hands and center yourself. Focus you energy into the bottle and invite the earth to put in its own energy. 

🌲 Add other items from around you. These items can add additional effects to your spell. I added pine needles for protection, some dried wildflowers, and berries for regrowth.

🌲 After your bottle is full close it.

🌲 Keep the bottle close to you for the rest of your walk. Allow it to absorb the energy all around you.

Moving Forward

Keep the bottle on your altar, on you, or where ever you need it most. Allow it to project forest energy all around.

Feel free to create a diverse biome of energy be creating more jars with different parts of the forest.

Neurons - Anatomy Overview

Going to be covering nerves and synapses this week so here’s a recap!

  • Soma (cell body) contains the nucleus which produces RNA to support cell functions, + organelles surrounding the nucleus which are mostly made of up endoplasmic reticulum. Supports and maintains the functioning of the neuron.
  • Dendrites - cellular extensions with many branches ‘dendritic tree’. majority of input occurs via the dendritic spine. The sum of all excitatory (neuron fires) or inhibitory (prevents firing) signals determines whether the neuron fires or not. If firing the action potential is transmitted down the axon.
  • Axon - fine, cable-like projection that can extend thousands of times the diameter of the soma in length. The axon carries nerve signals away from the soma (and also carries some types of information back to it). Can undergo branching - communication with target cells. 
  • Axon hillock - where the axon emerges from the soma. the part of the neuron that has the greatest density of voltage-dependent sodium channels - therefore the most easily excited part of the neuron and the spike initiation zone for the axon - most negative action potential threshold. Can also receive input from other neurons.
  • Axon terminal where neurotransmitters are released into the synaptic cleft to signal the next neuron

Myelin sheath

Myelin is a fatty material that wraps around axons and increases the speed of electrical transmission between neurons. It is broken up by nodes of Ranvier, between which electrical impulses jump. Myelin is produced by schwann cells in the PNS and oligodendrocytes in the CNS.

Classes of neurons

Sensory neurons bring information into the CNS so it can be processed.

Motor neurons get information from other neurons and convey commands to  muscles, organs and glands.

Interneurons,found only in the CNS, connect one neuron to another. 

Types of neuron

Multipolar neurons have one axon and many dendritic branches. These carry signals from the central nervous system to other parts of the body eg muscles and glands.

Unipolar neurons are also known as sensory neurons. They have one axon and one dendrite with branches. Pass signals from the outside of the body, such as touch, along to the central nervous system.

Bipolar neurons have one axon and one dendrite branch. They pass signals from one neuron to the next inside the central nervous system.

Pyramidal neurons have one axon and two main dendrite branches. These cells pass signals inside the brain and tell the muscles to move.

Purkinje neurons are found in the cerebellum, controlling balance, coordination, and timing of actions. They have one axon and a dense and complicated dendrite arrangement.

Humans are Weird: Seasons

I was thinking about how Earth is probably one of the rare planets with seasonal climates, due to its wonky tilted axis. So Earth has a crazy variety of climates and weather patterns, and humans have just learned how to deal, much to the confusion of everybody else. 

This was turning into a headcanon about how humans are bizarrely prepared for anything, and then I had a thought- Space Cruises

Keep reading

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Arches National Park, Utah

Antibodies (Human)

  • The ‘foot’ (bottom) of the antibody is known as the Fc fragment - binds to cells, binds to complement = effector function (kills or removes antigen)
  • The top (antigen binding) is the Fab fragment
  • Chains are held together with disulphide binds
  • Associated molecules allow intracellular signalling 
  • Normally 3X constant heavy chain domains per chain and a hinge region (except μ and ε which have 4 and no hinge region)

Classes of Immunoglobulins

The five primary classes of immunoglobulins are IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD and IgE,  distinguished by the type of heavy chain found in the molecule. 

  • IgG - gamma-chains
  • IgMs - mu-chains
  • IgAs - alpha-chains
  • IgEs - epsilon-chains
  • IgDs - delta-chains.

Differences in heavy chain polypeptides allow different types of immune responses. The differences are found primarily in the Fc fragment. There are only two main types of light chains: kappa (κ) and lambda (λ), and any antibody can have any combination of these 2 (variation).

IgG 

  • monomer
  • Gamma chains
  • 70-85% of Ig in human serum. 
  • secondary immune response 
  • only class that can cross the placenta - protection of the newborn during first 6 months of life
  • principle antibody used in immunological research and clinical diagnostics
  • 21 day half life
  • Hinge region (allows it to make Y and T shapes - increasing chance of being able to bind to more than one site)
  • Fc strongly binds to Fcγ receptor on phagocyte - opsono-phagocytosis
  • Activates complement pathway

IgM

  • Serum = pentamer 
  • Primary immune responses - first Ig to be synthesised
  • complement fixing 
  • 10% of serum Ig 
  • also expressed on the plasma membrane of B lymphocytes as a monomer - B cell antigen receptor
  • H chains each contain an additional hydrophobic domain for anchoring in the membrane
  • Monomers are bound together by disulfide bonds and a joining (J) chain.
  • Each of the five monomers = two light chains (either kappa or lambda) and two mu heavy chains.
  • heavy chain = one variable and four constant regions (no hinge region)
  • can cause cell agglutination as a result of recognition of epitopes on invading microorganisms. This antibody-antigen immune complex is then destroyed by complement fixation or receptor mediated endocytosis by macrophages.

In humans there are four subclasses of IgG: IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 and IgG4. IgG1 and IgG3 activate complement.


IgD 

  • B cell receptor
  • <1% of blood serum Ig
  • has tail pieces that anchor it across B cell membrane
  • forms an antigen specific receptor on mature B cells - consequently has no known effector function (don’t kill antigens, purely a receptor) (IgM as a monomer can also do this)

IgE 

  • Extra rigid central domain
  • has the most carbohydrates
  • IgE primarily defends against parasitic invasion and is responsible for allergic reactions.
  • basophils and tissue mast cells express very high affinity Fc receptors for IgE - mast cells then release histamine
  • so high that almost all IgE is bound
  • sensitizes (activates) mucosal cells and tissues 
  • protects against helminth parasites

IgE’s main purpose is to protect against parasites but due to improved sanitation these are no longer a prevalent issue across most of the world. Consequently it is thought that they become over activated and over sensitive while looking for parasites and start reacting to eg pollen and causing allergies.

IgA

  • Exists in serum in both monomeric (IgA1) and dimeric (IgA2) forms (dimeric when 2 Fcs bind via secretory complex)
  • 15% of the total serum Ig.
  • 4-7 day half life
  • Secretory IgA2 (dimer) = primary defense against some local infections
  • Secreted as a dimer in mucous (e.g., saliva, tears)
  • prevents passage of foreign substances into the circulatory system


Isotype: class of antibody (IgD, IgM etc)

Allotype: person specific alleles 

Idiotype: (hyper) variable region - antibody specificity 

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“first and foremost, I urge you to stay on the path you’ve chosen, and travel on it as far as you can”

Letters to a young scientist by Edward O.Wilson, gives me so so much motivation to keep studying science. I highly recommend anyone who isn’t sure if science is for them to read this book someday. You won’t regret it 📚🔬

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2/12/17 *:・゚✧

finished all of my homework before 3pm on sunday for once!  (▰˘◡˘▰) [*edit: I do realize I made a few mistakes on the map of biomes]

It’s You That I Hold Onto (Newt Scamander x Reader)

Originally posted by sweetly87

✩ prompt: a lovely anon message a few posts back :) includes a jelly reader and an overprotective thunderbird

✩ word count: a fair amount idk man

✩ warnings: so sweet u could possibly get a toothache :(

It’s You That I Hold Onto

It’s a typical Saturday evening in the Goldstein residence (plus a few), Queenie and Jacob waltzing to sleepy crackling records, dappled golden mid-winter light on the wallpaper, the smell of something delicious wafting from the kitchen. 

Everything seems perfect to Y/N as she makes her way to the living room, her brilliant crimson skirt swishing rather gracefully about her waist, her hair (for once!) cooperating falling over her shoulders smoothly.

Queenie smiles at her, elegantly breaking away from Jacob to switch which record is playing, new music erupting from the golden phonograph.

“Would ya’ care to dance?” Jacob asks, giving her a rather sloppy grin and holding out his hand.

Y/N nods gleefully, enjoying the time with one of her best friends as the stout man spins her about the room, Queenie clapping to the music.

Newt’s eyes flick to the duo dancing gleefully through the living room, his gaze caught on the pretty woman in his arms. How that skirt shows off her hips-

He looks away immediately, blushing and mentally kicking himself for being “an absolute bloody creep.”

Keep reading

Antimicrobial Agents - Inhibition of DNA and Protein Synthesis

Bacterial chromosome replication

DNA replication

Bacterial Topoisomerases 

  • maintain DNA in appropriate state of supercoiling 
  • cut and reseal DNA
  • DNA gyrase (topoisomerase II) introduces negative supercoils 
  • Topoisomerase IV decatenates circular chromosomes 
  • these are the targets of the quinolone antibacterial agents 

Quinolones

  • bind to bacterial DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV after DNA strand breakage 
  • prevent resealing of DNA 
  • disrupt DNA replication and repair 
  • bactericidal (kill bacteria)

Fluoroquinolone is particularly useful against

  • Gram +ves: Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci 
  • Gram -ves: Enterobacteriacea; Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
  • Anaerobes: e.g. Bacteroides fragilis 
  • many applications e.g. UTIs, prostatitis, gastroenteritis, STIs 

Adverse effects

  • Relatively well tolerated
  • GI upset in ~ 5% of patients 
  • allergic reactions (rash, photosensitivity) in 1 - 2% of patients 

Inhibition of Bacterial Protein Synthesis 

Macrolides 

  • in 1952: Erythromycin was isolated as the first macrolide (Streptomyces erythreus) 
  • Newer macrolides: clarithromycin, azithromycin 
  • Structurally they consist of a lactone ring (14- to 16-membered) + two attached deoxy sugars 

Mode of action 

  • bind reversibly to bacterial 50S ribosomal subunit 
  • causes growing peptide chain to dissociate from ribosome → inhibiting protein synthesis 
  • bacteriostatic (stops reproduction)

Macrolides’ spectrum of activity

  • good antistaphylococcal and antistreptococcal activity 
  • treatment of respiratory & soft tissue infections and sensitive intracellular pathogens • e.g. Chlamydia, Legionella 

Adverse effects

  • Generally well tolerated
  • nausea 
  • vomiting 
  • diarrhoea 
  • rash 

Aminoglycosides

  • large family of antibiotics produced by various species of Streptomyces (“mycin”) and Micromonospora (“micin”) 
  • include: streptomycin, neomycin, kanamycin, gentamicins, tobramycin 
  • Structure = linked ring system composed of aminosugars and an aminosubstituted cyclic polyalcohol 

Mode of action of aminoglycosides

  • Bind irreversibly to 30S ribosomal subunit 
  • disrupt elongation of nascent peptide chain 
  • translational inaccuracy → defective proteins 
  • bactericidal 

Spectrum of activity 

  • broad spectrum; mainly aerobic G-ve bacilli (e.g. P. aeruginosa) 
  • used to treat serious nosocomial infections (hospital acquired infections)
  • First TB antibiotic
  • Used for cystic fibrosis 

Adverse effects

  • all aminoglycosides have low Therapeutic Index (only a small amount needed to become toxic)
  • renal damage, ototoxicity, loss of balance, nausea 
Pokémon in our Biomes pt. 20: Coral Reefs (2 of 2)

“I’ve recently decided to make a series of posts with hypothetical thinking and analyzing of what Pokémon species could potentially be found in the world’s biomes. Not at all relative to the games, I will be focusing primarily of the elements, design, and relativity to real life flora and fauna of Pokémon to depict where different species would roam on our big blue marble.”

This is the first biome post that I have made in over a year, so I’m really excited for this post! I’m sorry for the inactivity, but I’m back, so here we go!

This is actually the second coral reefs post, and you can find the first one here, and that post was uploaded two years ago today! In the last post, I had mentioned how there are four main types of coral reefs: fringing, barrier, atolls, and patch reefs. Since this is my first post since Sun and Moon was released I am going to try to focus my analysis more on the fringing coral reefs around Hawaii, the region that Alola is based off of.

The Hawaiian coral reefs stretch for 2000 km, and account for more than 85% of the reef systems in the United States. With more than a quarter of all of the fish, plant, and invertebrate species in the Hawaiian coral reefs being endemic to Hawaii, there is a huge diversity of life that can’t be found anywhere else. This may explain the unusual designs that many Alolan Pokémon have, and maybe I can shed some light on how their morphological and anatomical traits have evolved to help them in Alola, like so many species in Hawaii have traits that help them survive.

Let’s get started!

Keep reading

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Hey! I just recently remembered that I recorded myself doing some of my work on last year’s Earth Day 2016 Doodles. The first two GIFs are me figuring out the color keys for the Aquatic and Grassland biomes; the third is the final painting process for the Forest. I’ve included the final Doodles for comparison.

For the Aquatic color key, I started off envisioning a daytime coral color scheme, but while feeling out the key, I felt drawn to darker colors and it turned into a dramatic night scene. The color key has a lot more bright cyan around the octopus, but in the final I kept its environment fairly dark to help it pop more.

The Grasslands key was fairly straightforward - I had a specific type of vibrant sunset in mind. Originally the featured animal was gazelles, but when moving into final paint, it became an elephant.

Painting the Forest doodle was super fun. I started with the fox since I knew it would be the center of attention and all the subsequent color and paint had to support its presence. 

I’m by no means an expert but I hope you’ll find this interesting!