Category Archives: Blogs

BrianTalk – Pilot

I started this site in April hoping to accomplish a few things: to inform the public of scientific advances, to answer a question you got stuck in your head, and to tell you what I did in the lab. I have already started on the first two goals. And now comes the last aim: talk about my research (and also my life outside of the lab – which is not really a typical one cause’ lab work doesn’t leave much room for having a life).

 

I am the only one in my family working in the Science sector. So, whenever my parent or my sister comes across the news about a deadly disease or a science question, I am the one who gets the phone call. Just yesterday, my sister called and asked, “why is the surgery room so cold?”. We both came up with a few guesses: limit microbial growth, prevent infection, and maybe easier to perform surgery (ie. for the drugs). It turns out we were both wrong. The optimal operating room is kept at 18C for the surgeon and his/her team, cause’ working under stress is often associated with increased body temperature. What an interesting question, eh? Yep.  My family is #1 cause’ they are curious like little kids about science, and I can tell how hard they try to concentrate when I explain what I am working on.

 

I am working on a viral model of multiple sclerosis. A particular strain of the virus induces demyelination at 6 weeks post infection, while other strain doesn’t cause demyelination but fatal brain inflammation within days. We know a viral protein, called leader, is important in causing demyelination. Previous studies had shown that if you take leader from the strain that doesn’t cause demyelination to substitute the leader in the demyelinating strain, you don’t get demyelination but the infection is not fatal. So now, I am trying to make expression vectors: #1: take leader from demyelinating strain and substitute that with leader from non-demeylinating strain, and #2: pretty much the opposite of #1 – take leader from non-demyelinating strain and substitute that with leader. 

 

To be continued…