Category: Diseases

mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Explanation

  Pretty excited about this coronavirus vaccine, and not only because it’s gonna get me back at the dinner table having awkward small talk with my family, but because this vaccine and the way that it works is really cool, instead of injecting you with like dead pieces of...

How do Coronaviruses work?

     Let’s talk about Coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are a whole family of viruses, and they cause all kinds of diseases in chickens, pigs, cows, and many other animals. They’ve also infected humans. There was the SARS coronavirus outbreak in 2002-2003, the MERS coronavirus in 2012-2014 and the newest coronavirus...

Buzzing about Modified Mosquito Behavior

You know that characteristic buzzing and that itchy feeling that comes with a mosquito bite.  As you scratch your new bite, you may wonder exactly why mosquitoes are so attracted to you in the first place.  The female Aedes aegypti mosquito needs protein from blood to lay her eggs....

How the Tick Immune System Works

What’s up with Ticks? Ticks transmit more than 10 different human diseases. The most common is Lyme disease. It’s estimated that bites mostly from the blacklegged or deer tick cause about 329,000 cases of Lyme disease per year. That’s a little less than half the population of Boston. Lyme...

Flesh-Eating Disease is Worse than it Sounds

Necrotizing Fasciitis or, as it is more commonly known, flesh-eating disease is a rare but deadly infection of the skin and soft tissues. It infects around 200,000 people a year with a mortality rate of about 30%. That’s like losing 10 chapters worth of words out of the final...

The Genetic Origins of Cancer

In 2016, an estimated 595,690 people died from cancer in the United States. That’s a little less than the population of Boston. New advancements in treatment have lowered the cancer death toll, but we still have a long way to go. Part of what makes cancer so hard to...

The Trouble with Genetic Diversity – Part 2 – Cancer!

In 2016, over 1.5M cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States and about 600,000 people died from the disease. To put that into perspective, 600,000 is the number of people that would fit in 6.5 Rose Bowl Football Stadiums at capacity.  There are a lot of factors that...

How to Make the Flu Vaccine Better

Have you ever gotten the flu vaccine but still gotten the flu? We make about 160 million vaccine doses every year in the US, but they vary in effectiveness from year to year. In this video I discuss the yearly difference, but I also talk about a bigger problem. A...

Is There Already a Zika Treatment?

Humans contract zika via mosquito or through sexual contact. While most people recover from infection, it can have some intense side-effects for pregnant women. We know that infection during pregnancy comes with an increased risk of microcephaly, where a child is born with a smaller than average head which causes brain...

Can We Cure Autoimmune Diseases?

What do you do when your illness isn't caused by bacteria or viruses, but is instead caused by your own immune system? Researchers are developing new technologies that could help cure autoimmune diseases....