Exploring the Cell, by Dr. Danielle Hamilton

Next in our weekly series of articles, Dr. Danielle Hamilton, a Research Scientist with the Centre for Chromosome Biology, writes about her work “Exploring the Cell” and how understanding how a cell repairs damage to its DNA may lead to the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Diagram of the internal structures of the cell. (Image credit: https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/science-behind/genetics-overview/)
Diagram of the internal structures of the cell. (Image credit: https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/science-behind/genetics-overview/)

Every living creature is made up of one or more cells, and humans are no exception. These microscopic structures are the building blocks of our bodies and each is programmed to perform a specific function. Cells of the same type are often found clustered together and communicate with each other to form the tissues and organs that make up a functioning organism. Continue reading “Exploring the Cell, by Dr. Danielle Hamilton”

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Medicines, by Dr. Enda O’Connell

In the ninth of our weekly series of articles, I have taken off my ReelLIFE SCIENCE hat and put on my Scientist hat.  Or labcoat, gloves and goggles, to be more precise…  As a Senior Technical Officer in NUI Galway, I support a range of research projects across the campus, from Cancer Biology and Stem Cell Research to Chemistry and Biomaterials.  In this article, I write about ‘Medicines’ and how researchers at NUI Galway are looking for new uses for old drugs.

The History of Medicines

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Chinese Emperor Shennong tasting plants to test their qualities on himself (image from Wikipedia)

The word ‘medicine’ originally comes from the Latin phrase ‘ars medicina’, which translates as the ‘art of healing’, while the Oxford English Dictionary defines medicine (n) as ‘a substance or preparation used in the treatment of illness; a drug’. The earliest medicines were plant extracts, animal parts and minerals, and their use in healing rituals overseen by medicine men and shamans, often involved much more art than science.  Continue reading “Medicines, by Dr. Enda O’Connell”

Exploring the Cell, by Dr. Jessica Hayes

In ‘Exploring the Cell‘, the sixth in our weekly series of articles by NUI Galway researchers, Dr. Jessica Hayes, Research Fellow within the Orthobiologics group in the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), takes us on a journey inside the cell and tells us how stem cells are being used in medicine to encourage the body to repair itself.

Cells – the building blocks of the human body. Here we demonstrate how molecules form cells. Groups of cells in turn form tissue which combines with different tissues to form an organ such as the heart, stomach, brain etc. Several organs that function together form an organ system i.e. cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive systems etc. (Image source: http://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/introduction-to-the-human-body-chapter-1/deck/282266)
Figure 1: Cells – the building blocks of the human body. Here we demonstrate how molecules form cells. Groups of cells in turn form tissue which combines with different tissues to form an organ such as the heart, stomach, brain etc. Several organs that function together form an organ system i.e. cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive systems etc. (Image source: http://www.studyblue.com/notes/note/n/introduction-to-the-human-body-chapter-1/deck/282266)

The Latin phrase ‘Omnis cellula e cellula’ or, all cells come from cells, was made popular by the German pathologist Dr Rudolph Virchow, and it is this concept that forms the basis of regenerative medicine. But what are cells and why are they so important?

Continue reading “Exploring the Cell, by Dr. Jessica Hayes”