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Archive for the ‘Female Genetics’ Category

President Biden, stop working to reverse the rights of half of America – msnNOW

Provided by Washington Examiner

President Biden ushered in his presidency alongside Americas first female vice president, pledging a message of unity and womens advancement. Yet, with a simple pen stroke, Biden set women back and effectively crippled the rights and dreams of millions of women and girls.

How? By signing an executive order to allow biological males to compete in female athletics. By siding with the few, Biden is decimating womens rights and their futures.

He need not look further than what this policy has already done to girls at the state level, and he should reverse course on this injustice rather than bringing it to the federal level.

Simply put, the policy he champions hurts Americas girls. Female athletes in Connecticut have been forced to face this sad reality for years. Just ask Selina Soule and Alanna Smith. Soule and Smith are two student athletes who, like many, dreamed of achieving success in sports. In 2017, after years of grueling practices and long nights, their goals finally seemed within reach.

Then the finish line was moved in the name of equity.

When these women took their spots at the starting line, they were lined up next to two biological males who identify as females. No matter their identity, the facts remain: Their genetics and physical bodies are equipped with athletic abilities unachievable to women. Unsurprisingly, these males defeated Soule and Smith and their dreams in the process.

This all began when the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference started accepting boys who identify as female in its competitions. The results have predictably been disastrous for the state of female sports.

These male athletes have gone on to claim 15 womens track championship titles in two years. And theyre not alone. Currently, 16 states allow full transgender participation in high school athletics, while an additional 10 states require medical documentation to participate.

In these female competitions, who won 15 titles? The boys.

Who set 13 individual track meet records? The boys.

Who lost out on their goals and dreams? The girls.

Fast forward to 2021, and our new administration is dead set on taking this injustice to the next level. Bidens nationwide inclusion mandate seeks to damage the very rights his party claims to champion.

This has gone on long enough.

As someone who enjoyed playing in sports in high school and coaching high school track for many years, I am well aware of the damage this executive order places on current and future generations of women. Sadly, this action by Biden will water down our hard-fought rights and protections while effectively denying female athletes fair competition.

When we misconstrue Title IX rules and morph them into an alternate reality, our girls are the ones who end up losing. This is unacceptable.

For our society to grow stronger, we need to build up the traits that make each of us unique, not walk back decades of female victories in order to minimize our differences. Americas girls deserve better than to become victims of political correctness.

Biden said, I will be a president for all Americans. If thats the case, he should stop working to reverse the rights of half of them.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler represents Missouri's 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tags: Opinion, Op-Eds, Transgender Issues, Sports, Gender Issues, Joe Biden, Capitol Views

Original Author: Rep. Vicky Hartzler

Original Location: President Biden, stop working to reverse the rights of half of America

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President Biden, stop working to reverse the rights of half of America - msnNOW

Noninvasive probe monitors health of ‘friendly’ gut bacteria – Medical News Today

The gut microbiota is the community of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that make their home in the human digestive tract.

In recent years, scientists have discovered an astonishing range of interactions between the gut microbiota and human health. These include effects on mood, eating disorders, and immunity.

A recent study reported by Medical News Today also found associations between particular bacterial species and the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Bacteria in the gut produce an enzyme called bile salt hydrolase (BSH) that may be essential to many of their beneficial effects.

For example, scientists have linked high BSH activity to decreased inflammation, reduced blood cholesterol levels, and protection against colon cancer and urinary tract infections.

Scientists still know surprisingly little about the complex interactions between the diet, the gut microbiota, and BSH activity.

Recently, an international team of researchers set out to study the effects of prebiotics insoluble dietary fibers that promote the growth of friendly bacteria on the activity of BSH.

They also wanted to develop a clinical test for assessing the enzymes activity in people with inflammatory bowel disease.

Microbiologists currently use indirect techniques to gauge the enzymes activity, for example by analyzing fecal samples or culturing bacteria in the lab. But these efforts do not reflect the diversity of bacteria and the chemical complexity of their natural environment, which varies according to where they live in the gastrointestinal tract.

So the team, led by researchers at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Lausanne, developed a noninvasive chemical probe that measures the activity of BSH along the entire length of the gut.

They have published their findings in the journal Science Advances.

The probe relies on a natural compound called luciferin, which emits light in the presence of oxygen, and the enzyme luciferase, which originates in fireflies.

To create the probe, the researchers chemically caged the luciferin by combining it with a small molecule that shields it from luciferase.

They designed the cage so that only the enzyme BSH can liberate the luciferin molecule from the probe. As a result, the amount of light that a fecal sample produces in the presence of luciferase is proportional to the amount of BSH along the length of the gut.

The scientists first tested their probe on samples in the lab. A female volunteer then swallowed two capsules containing the probe, and these successfully measured the enzymes activity as they passed through her gut.

Until now, we have not had any ways to noninvasively monitor activity in the intact gastrointestinal tract, given the unique chemical environment, variable distribution, and highly dynamic nature of the gut microbiota, says Dr. Elena Goun, an associate professor in the universitys department of chemistry and the senior author of the paper.

In another experiment, in mice, the team used the probe to test the ability of different types of prebiotic supplement inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (FOSs) to boost the production of BSH.

They discovered that inulin produced no significant change in BSH levels in the animals guts, but FOSs doubled these levels.

Dr. Goun explains the significance of her teams results:

Prebiotics are often used in combination with probiotics to enhance their functions in the body. [] We show, for the first time, that certain types of prebiotics alone are capable of increasing [BSH] activity of the gut microbiota, which, among other health benefits, has been shown to decrease inflammation, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and protect against colon cancer and urinary tract infections.

The senior researcher adds that there could also be important cost benefits, as prebiotics are less expensive to produce and store than probiotics.

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Noninvasive probe monitors health of 'friendly' gut bacteria - Medical News Today

Suza: Self-reflection strengthens diversity and inclusion | Opinion | – Iowa State Daily

Columnist Walter Suza encourages to strengthen diversity and inclusion in institutions by beginning at an individual level.

There will be progress. Like after the Obama administrations effort to make college more affordable and accessible to low-income students and students of color.

There will be setbacks. Like after Trumps executive order threatened diversity training in U.S. colleges.

The impact of such external factors is hard to miss. Yet its internal factors that can escape our attention because theyre deeply ingrained in our normal way of operating.

Imagine a stellar high school student with a dream of attending her favorite university, which is predominantly white. The aspiring student visits the university and hears more about various great programs and activities. The visit seals the deal.

The student enrolls as an undeclared major.

A class in philosophy introduces the student to George Berkeley, who tried to put God in the center of philosophy, and Immanuel Kant, who believed that moral principles must be followed unconditionally.

Martin Heidegger also captures the students attention with his idea that: We do not experience mere sensations abstracted from the real objects of the world; rather, our experiences are of everyday objects in all their richness and complexity.

From Heidegger's thinking, the student recognizes that theres complexity in our humanness, and richness in our cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

Yet upon looking around the department, the student sees more vividly that the department is homogeneously white. The student wonders: How can I experience the richness and complexity of a professor of color if I dont interact with such a professor?

The student looks white and also is Jewish, and upon further research she learns that Heidegger was supportive of the Nazis. The student wonders: Why was this not mentioned in class?

Unfortunately, what was also left out in the discussion was the fact that modern philosophy has ties to racism and bigotry. Upon this realization, the student decides to take a course in genetics.

In genetics she learns about the amazing work of James Watson and Francis Crick to unravel the structure of the genetic code. The student is elated that knowledge of the genetic code made it possible to create the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.

Upon further research the student finds out that Watson and Crick relied on the work of a female scientist, Rosalind Franklin, yet Franklin wasnt considered for the Nobel Prize. Another student whos Black shares that Watson was stripped of his numerous accolades because of his racist views against Black people. The students wonder: Why were these things not acknowledged in class?

In the genetics class, the students read research papers on bone development and biological networks and are upset to discover that the terms master and slave are used with impunity in biology and computer science.

The Black student raises more concern about the term breeding used in crop and animal science. The term breeding reminds the students of a dark past in America involving the creation of slave breeding farms to supply Black slaves to plantations. The students wonder: Why is the term breeding still used to describe improvement of the genetics of animals and crop plants?

The students browse the internet and learn that in French, Spanish and Portuguese languages, the term breeding is not used, instead, the term improvement of plants is used.

The students meet at a coffee shop with other concerned students to discuss the use of offensive terms in courses. They also discuss circulation of hate speech on social media.

A student from journalism warns the group that controversial social media posts are protected by the First Amendment. The Black and Jewish students are appalled by this and ask: How about the protection of those affected by hate speech?

A professor in agronomy who happens to be at the coffee shop overhears the conversation and approaches the students and says:

I am sorry for the hurtful experiences you have endured in our institution. I have also been complicit in this. I was educated and Im working in the area we call plant breeding. I also use the term "breeding" in my teaching and research. Now I see better and I want to do something about this. I am sorry for perpetuating the pain.

The Black student turns to the professor and says: Imagine having a guest in our home. If we are good hosts, we would prepare a room for our guest, we would make sure our guest has food to eat, we would spend time with our guest, we would show that were interested in their well-being, we would make sure our guest feels safe in our home.

There is a lot of work to be done in academic institutions such as this one to make the learning environment safe.

The work starts at the individual level.

First by imagining being in the underrepresented and having to deal with racism. This will help us become aware of beliefs and stereotypes about those different from us.

Next, by looking inward for our own unconscious biases because learning that we have unconscious bias can help us to develop compassion.

Compassion helps us gain the courage to accept that prejudice lives and breathes in academia.

Compassion helps us become willing to address offensive content in our lectures and speeches.

Compassion helps us become willing to address controversial monuments on our campus.

Compassion helps us realize that we are at our best when we treat others the way we would like them to treat us.

Walter Suza is an adjunct associate professor in the department of agronomy.

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Suza: Self-reflection strengthens diversity and inclusion | Opinion | - Iowa State Daily

[Full text] Extra-Hepatic Hepatoid Carcinomas in Female Reproductive System: Three | CMAR – Dove Medical Press


Extrahepatic hepatoid carcinomas (HCs) are a rare group of aggressive tumors with clinical and pathologic features similar to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ishikura and Scully first proposed the concept of a hepatoid carcinoma in 1987 when they described a case involving the ovary that was immunopositive for -fetoprotein (AFP).1 Positive staining for AFP by immunohistochemistry was considered to be an essential feature of this tumor.2 Another case of AFP-producing endometrial adenocarcinoma was reported in 1988. These tumors can arise in many tissues outside the liver (most commonly in the stomach) but rarely occur in the female reproductive system.35 Here we report 3 such cases that were treated at Qilu Hospital of Shandong University. The patients were aged 48, 56, and 67 years; 2 had hepatoid carcinoma of the ovary (HCO), with negative staining for AFP in 1 case; and the third patient had hepatoid carcinoma of the uterus (HCU).

A 66-year-old postmenopausal female (G2P2L2) was admitted to our hospital with abdominal pain and distension that had persisted for 20 days and emesis that had lasted for 7 days. The patient had a history of bilateral tubal ligation but no family history of gynecologic cancer, hepatitis, or any other hepatopathy, and was negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) at admission. Physical examination revealed a giant (1015 cm) irregular lump in her abdominopelvic cavity but no hepatosplenomegaly or lymphadenopathy. Her cervix uteri was atrophic and the uterus was undetectable to the touch. The shifting dullness test yielded a positive result.

A heterogeneous hypoechoic solid tumor measuring 13128.1 cm with unclear margin was observed in the bottom left area of the abdominal cavity by color Doppler ultrasound. The tumor contained a few liquid dark areas and streaked bloodstream signals. The uterus was contracted to cm. A sonolucent area of fluid was observed in the abdominal cavity at a depth of 7.1 cm, which increased to about 11 cm after 15 days. An enhanced computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen and pelvis revealed multiple masses with heterogeneous density, with the largest measuring 13.8 cm in diameter. The omentum and peritoneum were thickened, but the liver and lymph nodes showed no abnormalities (Figure 1A). Levels of tumor markers were as follows: cancer antigen (CA)125, 795.40 U/mL (normal: <35 U/mL); CA153, 735.52 U/mL (normal: <25 U/mL); CA199, 162.80 U/mL (normal: <39 U/mL); and cytokeratin 19 fragment (CYFRA21-1), 18.54 ng/mL (normal <3.3 ng/mL). Serum AFP level was 2.05 ng/mL, which was within the normal range (<20 ng/mL).

Figure 1 CT and MR images of cases: (A) for CT image of case 1; (B) for CT image of case 2; (C) for MR image of case 2; (D) for CT image of case 2; (E) for MR image of case 3; (F) for MR image of case 3.

The patient was diagnosed with a malignant ovarian tumor and underwent hysterectomy as well as dissection of bilateral adnexa, greater omentum, and metastatic nodules on the mesentery and in the pelvic cavity. About 2 L of pale bloody ascites was removed. Bilateral ovaries were slightly enlarged with cauliflower-like neoplasms on the surface. The right oviduct was thickened but the left oviduct was normal. An enormous cystic solid tumor measuring 15109 cm was found beside the colon sigmoideum that was tightly adhered to the mesentery and had an 8-cm long crevice. A cauliflower-like neoplasm approximately 87 cm in size was observed near the splenic flexure of the colon, but excision was not attempted because of its tight adhesion to the spleen and transverse colon. Numerous tumor nodules were present on the omentum majus, with the largest one approximately 56 cm in diameter in the omental bursa. Friable cauliflower-like neoplasms of variable size were observed on the peritoneum and mesentery. The gall bladder was enlarged to about 55 cm and the vermiform appendix was tortuous and thickened. No abnormalities were observed in the liver. Histopathologic analysis of frozen sections strongly suggested the possibility of sex cord stromal tumors. The final diagnosis was stage IIIC HCO.

The patient completed 1 cycle of carboplatin (450 mg) and docetaxel (90 mg) but refused additional cycles of chemotherapy because of serious side effects. The patient died 3 months after her surgery. The pathologic findings are shown in Figure 2 and supplementary Figure 1.

Figure 2 Pathological findings for case 1: (A) (H&E100), (B) (H&E200), Microscopically, tumor cells are large and polygonal, with abundant and eosinophilic cytoplasm. The nuclei were lightly stained and appeared round or ovoid, some cells were binucleated, the nucleoli were obvious, mild atypia, and mitotic figures were seen. The nuclei are lightly stained, round or ovoid, with obvious nucleoli, and some of the cells are binucleate. Slight atypia and mitotic figures are visible. The tumor has an infiltrative growth and is poorly demarcated from normal tissue. (C) negative stain for AFP(100). (D) partial positive stain for Hepatocyte-paraffin 1(100). Besides, we got immunohistochemical analysis as follows: PAX8(-), P53(-), P16(-), ER(-), PR(-).

A 48-year-old postmenopausal female (G5P2A3L2) was admitted to our hospital with a left lower abdominal mass with tenderness that had persisted for 5 days. The patient had a history of Budd-Chiari syndrome and no family history of gynecologic tumors. She had no history of hepatitis or any other hepatopathy, and was negative for HBsAg at admission. Physical examination revealed a hard 8910 cm mass in the left adnexa area along with tenderness. No abnormality was found in the right adnexa or uterus.

Ultrasonography showed a 10.38.6 cm solid mass in the left adnexa area. High blood flow signals were observed and the depth of the sonolucent area of fluid in the abdominal cavity was about 4.0 cm. There was no significant abnormality in the liver. The enhanced CT scan revealed a lesion in the subcapsular area of the right lobe of the liver that was highly suggestive of a metastatic tumor (Figure 1B). Enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed circular T1 and T2 signals and an annular high diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) signal in the subcapsular area of the right lobe of the liver, with uneven annular enhancement and a diameter of about 2.2 cm that supported the possibility of a metastatic tumor (Figure 1C). Portal hypertension and cholecystitis were observed. In the left adnexa area, there was a round cystic mass about 9.58.8 cm in size with uneven density, unclear boundary, and uneven slight enhancement (Figure 1D). The tumor was considered as originating in the ovary. The density of fat space in the peritoneal cavity around the tumor was increased, and the boundary between the colon and surroundings was unclear. There were no enlarged lymph nodes in the pelvic cavity. Serum levels of biochemical markers were as follows: CA125, 81.95 U/mL (normal: <35 U/mL); CA724, 8.73 U/mL (normal: <6.9 U/mL); and anti-Mllerian hormone, 0.01 U/mL (normal: 0.052.06 ng/mL). Serum AFP was extremely elevated at >24,200.00 ng/mL, which decreased to 3334.00 ng/mL 12 days after the surgery.

The patient underwent exploratory laparotomy. There was cystic enlargement of the left ovary, which was about 886 cm with an incomplete capsule and anabrotic surface. No obvious abnormalities were found in the appearance of the right adnexa and uterus, and there were no visible tumors or other abnormalities in the liver and intestines.

Frozen sections from the left adnexectomy showed poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma. The patient underwent extrafascial hysterectomy, bilateral bilateral adnexectomy, greater omentum resection, pelvic lymph node dissection, para-aortic lymph node sampling, and appendectomy.

The final pathologic diagnosis was stage IC2 HCO. Tumor cells were large and polygonal with cytoplasm ranging from pink and granular to clear. Nuclei are round to oval with distinct nucleoli. The cells resembled those of HCC. Immunostaining results were as follows: AFP(+), arginase (Arg)-1(+), glypican (GP)3(+), hepatocyte paraffin 1 (+), cytokeratin (CK)8/18(+), Sal-like protein (SALL)4(), cluster of differentiation (CD)117(), CD30(), AFP(+), -inhibin(), CK(), CK7(), octamer-binding protein (OCT)4(), chromogranin (Cg)A (), synaptophysin (Syn)(), paired-box (PAX)8(), estrogen receptor (ER)(), progesterone receptor (PR)(), Wilms tumor (WT)(), and Ki67(40%+).

The patient completed 6 cycles of intravenous chemotherapy with paclitaxel liposome (270 mg) plus carboplatin (600 mg). Serum AFP level decreased to 127.00 ng/mL after the first cycle and was normal after the second cycle. The enhanced CT scan showed a small liver-occupying lesion and enlarged retroperitoneal lymph nodes 4 months after the operation. After consulting with the surgeon, the lesion was determined to be metastatic disease. The patient underwent radiofrequency ablation of the lesion and is alive over 22 months later. At the most recent physical re-examination, no obvious abnormality was found in her pelvic cavity. The pathologic findings are shown in Figure 3 and supplementary Figure 2.

Figure 3 Pathological findings for case 2: (A) (H&E100), (B) (H&E200),Microscopically, tumor cells are large and polygonal, with abundant and eosinophilic cytoplasm. The nuclei lightly stained are round, elliptic or irregular in shape, with inconspicuous nucleoli. Some of the nuclei are vacuolated with chromatin squeezed under the thickened nuclear membrane. The nuclei are highly heteromorphic, with active mitoses and some of the cells are binuclear or multinucleate. The tumor has an infiltrative growth and is poorly demarcated from normal tissue. (C) positive stain for AFP(100). (D) positive stain for Hepatocyte-paraffin 1(100). (E) negative stain for SALL-4(100). Besides, we got immunohistochemical analysis as follows: PAX8(-), P53(-), P16(-), ER(-), PR(-).

A 48-year-old premenopausal female (G3P2A1L2) was admitted with menostaxis and menorrhagia. The patient had a history of bilateral tubal ligation and no family history of gynecologic malignancies. She had no history of hepatitis or any other hepatopathy and was negative for HBsAg at admission. Physical examination revealed a tumor in the external cervix about 4.5 cm in diameter with an ulcerated surface that bled on contact. Her uterus size was equivalent to about 2 months of pregnancy, with regular shape, good movement, and mild tenderness. Ultrasonography showed that the size of the uterus was increased to cm, with a regular shape and a 2.92.6-cm low-echo area whose pedicle was connected to the uterine cavity. The liquid dark area in the abdominal cavity had a depth of 7.1 cm that increased to about 11 cm after 15 days. An enhanced MRI scan of the pelvis and abdomen revealed an irregular mass in the uterine cavity near the uterine isthmus with a clear boundary and a size of about 32.52.6 cm, showing a high DWI signal with the same degree of enhancement as the myometrium (Figure 1E). No abnormal signals were found in bilateral adnexa and rectum, and multiple small lymph nodes <1 cm in diameter were present in the pelvic cavity. The signal of the liver parenchyma was nonhomogeneous (suggesting fibrosis), and no abnormal enhancement was observed in any phase of the enhanced scan (Figure 1F). There were no abnormalities in the intra- and extrahepatic bile ducts or gallbladder and no obvious enlargement of lymph nodes in the abdominal cavity and retroperitoneum. Serum levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CA125, CA153, CA199, CA724, and a CYFRA21-1 were within normal ranges. Two months before admission, the patients serum AFP level was 1210 ng/mL (normal: <20 ng/mL), and the maximum level before surgery was 8191 U/l.

The patient had been treated by curettage at a local hospital, and pathologic analysis of the biopsy indicated a malignant tumor. Pathologic findings from another hospital suggested the possibility of metastatic HCC, while primary hepatoid yolk sac tumor (HYST) could not be excluded. A tentative diagnosis of placental site trophoblastic tumor with focal infiltration of muscle tissue was made after 1 week based on the following immunohistochemistry results: CK(+), AFP(+),human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)(), human placental lactogen (hPL)(), smooth muscle actin (SMA)(),-inhibin (), hepatocyte paraffin 1 (-), and GP3(). Clinical examination was necessary in order to exclude liver cancer metastasis. Histopathologic examination at our hospital revealed epithelioid cells with abundant cytoplasm in the endometrial tissues, and hepatoid adenocarcinoma was considered based on immunohistochemical analysis at our hospital, which yielded the following results: CK(+), AFP(+), epithelial membrane antigen (EMA)(+), vimentin(), OCT4(), 1 antitrypsin(), hepatocyte paraffin 1(-), and GPC3().

The patient was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and underwent modified radical hysterectomy, bilateral adnexectomy, pelvic lymph node dissection, and anterior sacral lymph node resection. Bilateral adnexa appeared normal, and there were several enlarged lymph nodes in the pelvic cavity. By dissecting the uterus, a dark purple neoplasm about 433 cm in size was found in the upper part of the uterine cavity near the fundus that had invaded the superficial muscle layer and caused local necrosis, with no obvious abnormalities in the cervix. Frozen sections showed localized endometrial carcinoma infiltrating into the superficial muscle layer. The final pathologic diagnosis was stage IA HCU.

The patients serum AFP level gradually decreased to 4212 ng/mL on the second day after the operation and to 680.6 ng/mL 7 days later. She received 6 cycles of intravenous chemotherapy with taxol (240 mg) and carboplatin (600 mg). After the first cycle, serum AFP decreased and after the second cycle, the level was below the normal range. There were no abnormalities in serum AFP level or by liver imaging during follow-up, and the patient remains alive over 63 months later. Pathologic findings are shown in Figure 4 and supplementary Figure 3.

Figure 4 Pathological findings for case 3: (A) (H&E100), (B) (H&E200),Microscopically, tumor cells are large and polygonal, with abundant and eosinophilic cytoplasm. The nuclei were round or oval in shape, varied in size, and some cells were binucleate. The nuclear membrane was thickened, the nucleus was pale stained, the nucleolus was obvious, atypia was not obvious, and mitotic figures were seen. The tumor tissue is poorly defined from normal tissue and shows infiltrative growth. (C) positive stain for AFP(100). (D) negative stain for Hepatocyte-paraffin 1(100). Besides, we got immunohistochemical analysis as follows: PAX8(-), P53(-), P16(-), ER(-), PR(-).

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common gynecological malignancies, accounting for 2.5% of all female cancers and 21% of malignancies of the female genital tract. It is often diagnosed in the late stages and has poor prognosis, with a low cure rate (<40%) and accounting for 5% of total cancer deaths in women in the United States.6 Five subtypes of ovarian carcinoma that together account for over 95% of cases have been distinguished based on histopathologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular genetic featuresnamely, high-grade serous (70%), endometrioid (10%), clear cell (10%), mucinous (3%), and low-grade serous (<5%) carcinoma.7 Primary HCO is a rare, aggressive tumor that shares clinical and pathologic features with HCC and is thought to have 2 histogenic originsie, superficial epithelium and germ cells, although neither of these are supported by conclusive evidence.8 This tumor type was labeled as HC because it lacked an adenocarcinomatous component,1 until the possibility of a surface epithelial origin was suggested.9,10

Only 39 cases of HCO have been reported to date; most patients have been postmenopausal females ranging in age from 27 to 78 years, with a median age of 55 years. Most cases were diagnosed at a late clinical stage and presented with abdominal distension and lower abdominal pain with rapid progression of the disease. Primary HCU is also rare, with only 11 cases reported in the literature. Most patients were postmenopausal women except for our 48-year-old patient, with an average age of 64 years. The adenocarcinomatous component coexisted in all cases, and sarcomatous components were observed in 2 cases. HCU has very poor prognosis, with the majority of patients experiencing tumor recurrence or death within 12 months of diagnosis (Tables 1 and 2).

Table 1 Clinical Features, Treatment, and Outcomes of HCO

Table 2 Clinical Features, Treatment, and Outcomes of HCU

Most HCO patients have a higher-than-normal serum AFP level, with only 3 recorded cases of normal AFP levels. CA-125 levels were also higher than normal in most patients. CT and ultrasound imaging showed a unilateral (occasionally bilateral) mass that was generally solid or accompanied by partial cystic components. Both of our HCO patients had solid pelvic masses that were partially cystic with abundant blood flow signals by ultrasound examination. Microscopically, primary HCO behaves like HCC, with tumor cells arranged in sheets, cords, or trabeculae, sometimes with glandular and papillary structures. Cells usually have an eosinophilic cytoplasm with large and irregular nuclei that show high mitotic activity. Both of our patients showed typical pathologic manifestations. AFP is the most commonly used biochemical marker for HCO and is negative in rare cases. Despite negative immunostaining for AFP, these carcinomas with typical histologic features of a HC have been classified as HC1 as was undifferentiated carcinoma with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and immunonegativity for AFP.2 In our patient who was negative for AFP by immunohistochemistry, the tumor consisted of solid sheets of cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, distinct cell borders, and centrally located nuclei with prominent nucleoli, which is a typical histologic feature of HC. AFP production is closely coupled to cell division and the degree of cell differentiation; neoplastic cells only transiently produce AFP, leading to negative AFP staining. Thus, AFP immunopositivity is not essential for diagnosing AFP-secreting tumors such as HCO.2

HYST is another ovarian tumor characterized by hepatoid differentiation and AFP production that should be distinguished from HCO, which is relatively straightforward.12 HCO can be distinguished from HCC based on detection of hepatocyte paraffin 1 and the presence of bile, microscopic findings, and immunonegativity for CA125.46 In addition to hepatocyte paraffin 1, HCC is positive for SALL4, a frequently used marker of germ cell tumors.47 We consider that diffuse positivity for SALL4 is suggestive of HYST rather than HCO, especially in women of childbearing age. However, immunopositivity for SALL4 has been reported in HCO cases. Our case 2 was negative for SALL4. The presence of a surface epithelial carcinoma component strongly favors a diagnosis of HC over HYST.11 One study suggested that immunohistochemical detection of hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4 may be helpful in distinguishing between hepatoid adenocarcinoma and the solid component of high-grade endometrioid adenocarcinomas, because all examined cases of endometrioid adenocarcinoma were negative for HNF-4; these authors speculated that liver-enriched nuclear factors such as HNF-4 may be involved in hepatic differentiation of the tumor,8 although the underlying molecular mechanism is unclear.

According to our review, survival time in patients with HCO ranged from 1 month to 5 years (2- and 5-year survival rates <50% and <10%, respectively). The prognosis of patients with HCU is equally poor, with only one patient (our case 3) surviving >5 years. The optimal treatment for HCO remains to be determined. Most cases are treated as ovarian-like cancerie, with surgery plus chemotherapy (carboplatin plus paclitaxel). The tyrosine kinase inhibitor sorafenib has been used as a second-line treatment but its efficacy is undetermined; in one study, second-line sorafenib was discontinued because AFP level increased and the disease progressed,12 and in another study the patients condition deteriorated after 2 months of treatment and the chemotherapy regimen was switched to carboplatin plus paclitaxel.13 However, one case treated with sorafenib achieved a progression-free survival of 7 months.48 All of our patients underwent cytoreductive surgery for their tumor and received postoperative chemotherapy with carboplatin/docetaxel and carboplatin/paclitaxel liposome. The patient with HCU who was treated with carboplatin plus paclitaxel liposome responded well to this regimen and achieved a progression-free survival >56 months. Hysterectomy and bilateral adnexectomy were performed in all cases of HCU reported to date and most patients received adjuvant chemotherapy while some were treated with radiotherapy. Two of our patients were treated with 6 cycles of chemotherapy and did not receive radiotherapy; our case 3 was diagnosed with stage IA HCU and achieved a good clinical outcome after treatment.

Based on our 3 cases and review of the literature, we conclude that first-line treatment for both HCO and HCU should be staging surgery followed by platinum-based chemotherapy.

All patients (or next of kin for the deceased patient) provided written informed consent for the case details and images to be published. This research was conducted according to the guidelines put forth in the Declaration of Helsinki. Institutional approval to publish the case details is exempt.

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

1. Ishikura H, Scully RE. Hepatoid carcinoma of the ovary - a newly described tumor. Cancer. 1987;60(11):27752784. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19871201)60:11<2775::AID-CNCR2820601130>3.0.CO;2-S

2. Nishida T, Sugiyama T, Kataoka A, et al. Ovarian hepatoid carcinoma without staining for alpha-fetoprotein in the primary site. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 1995;5(4):314318. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1438.1995.05040314.x

3. Young RH, Gersell DJ, Clement PB, Scully RE. Hepatocellular-carcinoma metastatic to the ovary - a report of 3 cases discovered during life with discussion of the differential-diagnosis of hepatoid tumors of the ovary. Hum Pathol. 1992;23(5):574580. doi:10.1016/0046-8177(92)90136-Q

4. Su J-S, Chen Y-T, Wang R-C, Wu C-Y, Lee S-W, Lee T-Y. Clinicopathological characteristics in the differential diagnosis of hepatoid adenocarcinoma: a literature review. World J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(3):321327. doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i3.321

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38. Kato K, Suzuka K, Osaki T, Itami M, Tanaka N. Primary hepatoid adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2007;17(5):11501154. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1438.2007.00901.x

39. Takano M, Shibasaki T, Sato K, Aida S, Kikuchi Y. Malignant mixed Mullerian tumor of the uterine corpus with alpha-fetoprotein-producing hepatoid adenocarcinoma component. Gynecol Oncol. 2003;91(2):444448. doi:10.1016/S0090-8258(03)00512-2

40. Takahashi Y, Inoue T. Hepatoid carcinoma of the uterus that collided with carcinosarcoma. Pathol Int. 2003;53(5):323326. doi:10.1046/j.1440-1827.2003.01467.x

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[Full text] Extra-Hepatic Hepatoid Carcinomas in Female Reproductive System: Three | CMAR - Dove Medical Press

The Importance of Seed Banks for Our Future – Agweb Powered by Farm Journal

Today, three major food crops--corn, rice, and wheat--provide more than 60 percent of the calories consumed by the more than seven billion people around the world on a daily basis, according to the UNs Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Just 15 crop plants provide 90 percent of the world's food energy intake, including some crops that many Americans have never heard of, such as teff, millet, plantains, and cassava, which are all staple crops in parts of Africa. Most agricultural research funding, especially in the private sector, focuses on the top six or so food crops, as those are the ones they see the opportunity to gain profits from selling farmers improved versions of those seeds. In order to conduct effective research on all domesticated crops, scientists need access to germplasm from a wide variety of cultivars with various characteristics, so as to be able to select the best of the traits they are seeking to introduce or enhance. A common source of that germplasm is seed banks, which are generally publicly funded and operated, to preserve a variety of seeds from both well-known and obscure plants.

Botanic gardens in Europe collected seeds from plants with medicinal properties as early as the 16th century. Some of them, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew in southwest London, were established by grants from royal or noble families, while several were associated with European universities such as the University of Leiden in the Netherlands.

One of the first known broad-based seed banks was established in Leningrad in what was then the Soviet Union in 1917 by botanist Nikolai Vavilov and his colleagues, who traveled around the world collecting a wide variety of seeds. The original institution, the Bureau of Plant Botany, was established under the Russian Empire in 1894, but their work originally focused largely on collecting seeds from within the country. Vavilov was sentenced to death in July 1941 by Russian dictator Josef Stalin, who had embraced the false theory of plant genetics promulgated by Vavilovs former student, Trofim Lysenko. Vavilovs sentence was commuted but he died in prison in 1943. His colleagues protected the seed collection during the 28-month long siege of Leningrad by the German army during World War II, even as nine of them died of starvation.

The first U.S. seed bank was established at a USDA facility in Ames, IA in 1947. That facility, still operated by the Agricultural Research Service, maintains a collection of more than 53,000 unique accessions of 1,400 distinct crop species. It is one of 20 gene banks in operation in this country, including a back-up collection at the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, CO.

Scientists began to raise concerns about the limited genetic diversity of major food crops about fifty years ago, after a major crop failure in the United States was determined to have resulted from the fact that most public corn breeders of the era used a single parental type of corn, known as Texas cytoplasmic male sterile (Tcms), to conduct their breeding practices. This variety had been favored by crop breeders because production of such corn seed did not require the labor of large numbers of young people to detasslefemale corn plants. In 1970, a disease that became known as Southern corn leaf blight (SCLB) caused by the fungus Bipolaris maydis that had been viewed previously as only a minor pathogen affecting corn grown in Southern states swept across the country into the Corn Belt region due to the presence of the wet, warm growing conditions in which the fungus thrived. Many cornfields in the South were totally wiped out, while Midwest corn farmers also experienced significant yield losses. It is estimated that the U.S. corn crop was reduced by at least 700 million bushels in that year, which amounted to about a 15 percent decline compared to the 1969 U.S. corn crop. Crop breeders began to respond immediately by using alternative germplasm as the foundation for corn seed sold to U.S. farmers in subsequent years.

There are more than 1,750 seed banks operated around the world, including several associated with member centers of the CGIAR system, such as the International Potato Center (CIF) in Peru and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), headquartered in Nigeria. Transfer of genetic materials held by these facilities is governed by provisions of the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which entered into force in 2004 and now has 148 contracting parties. The United States joined the treaty in March of 2017. The treaty was established in order to ensure the establishment of a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials, and that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.

The most famous seed bank is probably the Svalbard International Seed Vault, also known as the Doomsday Vault, which opened for storage in February 2008. The facility is constructed inside a mountain in Norway which is inside the Arctic Circle, intended as a backup collection in case other facilities are damaged or destroyed as a result of climate change or other catastrophes. The facility was built by the government of Norway and its operations are funded through donations to the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The vault holds varieties of more than 5,000 crop species. In 2020, the Cherokee Nation made a deposit of ancestral varieties of corn, beans, and squash seeds in the facility, to protect their cultural heritage.

One major component of biodiversity that gene banks are often lacking are crop wild relatives the undomesticated, but related, strains of staple food crops like corn and wheat. A recent study conducted by the Crop Trust looked at 1,076 wild relatives related to 81 species of some of the most important staple crops in the world. The researchers found that 70 percent of those wild relatives are insufficiently represented in the worlds gene banks.

As crop breeders search for varieties to help them incorporate drought or salt tolerance in crops to help with adaptation against the effects of climate change, all such samples will become even more important.

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The Importance of Seed Banks for Our Future - Agweb Powered by Farm Journal

Women Changing the Face of Science in the Middle East and North Africa – The Media Line

For International Day of Women and Girls in Science, four inspiring women scientists tell their stories

Despite making up a little more than half of the globes population, women remain underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In fact, a 2017 UNESCO report found that only 35 percent of STEM higher education students globally are women.

However, those numbers are significantly better in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, where women account for nearly 50% of the STEM student population.

To mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science, held annually on February 11, The Media Line reached out to four inspiring women who are changing the face of science in the region.

Making Moroccos First Humanoid Robot

Prof. Hajar Mousannif has the distinction of having helped build the first Moroccan-made humanoid robot.

Mousannif, 39, is a professor and coordinator of the Data Science Masters Program at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco. On the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI), Mousannifs team of researchers last year unveiled Moroccos first robot, called Shama.

Hajar Mousannif is a professor of computer science and data science at Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco. (Courtesy)

In 2020, Mousannif won the WomanTech Global AI Inclusion Award, which honors women around the world who are leaders in AI innovation.

In developing countries especially, its not common to see women excelling in such fields because its usually a male world so [the award] meant a lot to me, Mousannif told The Media Line. It opened the door to fruitful collaborations.

For example, last month the US-based company FotaHub announced that it would invest $100,000 to help with the creation of a more advanced version of Shama.

In addition to her groundbreaking work in robotics, Mousannif is involved in a number of other significant initiatives, including using AI to help health officials craft efficient measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, as well as a project in collaboration with the Moroccan government aimed at improving road safety.

Our team of researchers succeeded in developing algorithms that predict road crashes before they occur just by analyzing driver behavior, she said.

In recent years, a growing number of Moroccan women have entered STEM university programs. In Mousannifs data science masters program, for instance, roughly half of all the students are women.

In Ph.D.s the story is different, Mousannif said. Ph.D. students, she added, are 23 or 24 years old and women prefer to get married and have kids.

Still, Mousannif has taken it upon herself to set an example for female students and encourage them to pursue scientific careers.

Im married and have three kids, she said. I keep inspiring them and telling them that they can be good mothers, organize their time and achieve whatever they want.

Solving the Mystery of Diabetes Prevalence in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates has one of the worlds highest rates of diabetes, according to 2019 data from the International Diabetes Federation, affecting 16.3% of the countrys adult population.

A few years ago, Dr. Habiba Alsafar, director of the Center for Biotechnology at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, led research that found that types of genes commonly found in Emiratis make them more susceptible to the disease.

Dr. Habiba Alsafar, director of Khalifa University Center for Biotechnology in Abu Dhabi, UAE. (Courtesy)

Born in Dubai, Alsafar showed promise in science at a young age and received numerous scholarships to study in the United States. An expert in genetics and molecular biology, her research into the genetic risk factors for Type 2 diabetes was the first of its kind to delve into the genetic makeup of an Arab population in connection to diabetes.

It was one of a kind in the Middle East, Alsafar told The Media Line of the research.

In her role at Khalifa University, Alsafar teaches students biochemistry, chemistry, forensic science and genetics.

I mentor a lot of science and Ph.D. students, she said. We also work on COVID-19: We sequenced the virus and we looked at the different profiles of severity in patients.

Alsafar has helped the UAE government design a response plan to the coronavirus pandemic. For all of her game-changing work, in 2016 she was awarded the International LOral-UNESCO Fellowship for Women in Science, which is presented annually to five outstanding women scientists.

These awards empower women as there are a lot of awards out there for both genders, she said. Women are always doing a lot of multitasking: they are mothers, sisters and daughters. But they can also be very successful scientists that contribute to the development of the economy or the country.

In order to attract women and girls to the STEM field, Alsafar believes that it is very important to have role models. The leadership in the UAE, she added, has encouraged women to pursue scientific careers as well.

In my lab and technology center, 90% are women, Alsafar said. Its not an issue now compared to the past.

Understanding Cancer Genetics in Saudi Arabia

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It may come as somewhat of a surprise, but Saudi women outnumber men in graduating with science degrees, a new report by the kingdoms education ministry revealed.

Dr. Malak Abed AlThagafi is one of the many female scientists in Saudi Arabia leading this charge.

Dr. Malak Abed AlThagafi is an American Board-certified physician-scientist specializing in molecular and cancer genetics. (Courtesy)

An American board-certified molecular neuropathologist and a physician-scientist, AlThagafi is the director of the General Directorate for National RDI Coordination at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) Research Center in Riyadh. She is also the director of Satellite Research Administration at King Fahd Medical City, where she oversees several departments, including genomics, neuroscience research and research collaboration.

With these numerous achievements under her belt, AlThagafi, 39, considers herself a strong advocate of women in science.

She first became interested in becoming a scientist as a young girl in the 1980s, when her parents took her to see a leading genetics specialist in the kingdom after she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. The specialist who treated her was a woman named Nadia Awni Sakati. In Sakati, AlThagafi found a strong role model, she told The Media Line.

We always hear about Western women who did great things but [theyre from] a different background and culture, AlThagafi said. But when you see someone from your own culture its very inspiring and motivating.

Much of AlThagafis research has focused on decoding genetic mutations in tumors. She spent many years in the US completing her clinical training and working at several prestigious universities, among them Johns Hopkins, Harvard and Georgetown. Nevertheless, while the promise of a successful career in America was undoubtedly enticing, five years ago AlThagafi decided to leave it all behind and return to Riyadh. This is where she felt she could make a difference.

Its very enjoyable when you do something for your community, she said. When I came back it was a difficult decision because I was in Harvard and was appointed as junior faculty there. Everybody said: Why did you leave Harvard and come to Riyadh?

Aside from her clinical practice, AlThagafi is also part of the Saudi Human Genome Program, an ambitious national initiative that aims to build a genetic database of the Saudi population in the hope of better understanding and preventing certain genetic diseases.

According to AlThagafi, Saudi society was much more conservative in the late 80s and 90s but the situation for women has improved in recent years.

In terms of undergraduates, up to 60% of medical and health care students are women now, she said, adding that, as in other countries, most leadership and senior positions are still mainly held by men.

In my time [women] only went into biology and health care; now many go into physics and engineering and IT, AlThagafi said. These career options just became available a few years ago in Saudi Arabia for women, she added.

Investing in the Leaders of Tomorrow in Israel

In the world of venture capital firms looking to change the face of health care innovation and entrepreneurship, Dr. Irit Yaniv undoubtedly stands out.

Together with her two business partners Amir Blatt and Tzahi Sultan Yaniv recently founded Almeda Ventures, an equity partnership fund that first went public last October. Almeda Ventures is the first R&D partnership of its kind to focus on life sciences, specifically on medical devices and digital health.

Dr. Irit Yaniv, founding partner and CEO of Almeda Ventures and the co-founder of WE@HealthTech. (Courtesy)

Yaniv, 56, studied medicine at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel and served as a medical doctor in the army for four years. After her initial foray into medicine, she decided to pursue a career path in the private sector, working in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries along the way.

Eight years ago, I decided that I would like to look at the industry from a different angle, Yaniv told The Media Line. I had this feeling that in order to be able to make an impact you also have to understand investments.

So far, Almeda Ventures has invested in five Israeli companies. The most recent is Virility Medical, which is in the process of developing a single-use patch that can help with premature ejaculation.

As a woman in the VC arena, Yaniv is very much in the minority. Last year, Tel Aviv-based firm Qumra Capital found that women make up only 8% of partners in Israeli VC firms.

Being in the VC and upper management side, I find myself most of the time being the only woman in the room, Yaniv said. It became an issue and I wanted to do something about it.

With this in mind, she joined together with other female industry leaders Dorit Sokolov, Yael Gruenbaum-Cohen and Ronit Harpazto establish WE@HealthTech, a program geared toward helping junior female managers get the tools they need to reach more senior positions.

When you look at the life sciences [field], you see many women in junior positions: junior researchers, biology and chemistry graduates, laboratory technicians, clinical managers and so on, Yaniv said. But when you look at the other end management, investors and CEOs you see very few. So somewhere in the middle we are losing them.

The WE@HealthTech program teaches women how to speak, conduct negotiations and improve their business profiles online. It also helps them build up their professional networks and connect to other influential women in Israel and abroad.

Out of 21 participants who recently completed the pilot initiative, five have received promotions at work, Yaniv said. Yaniv, who has two children, believes that many women in STEM simply need a gentle push in the right direction.

Sometimes you need someone else that did it to tell you that this is right and that it is ok to do it, she said. It is ok to split yourself between career and home. You can find a balance between the two without giving up on one of them.

From left, Dorit Sokolov, Yael Gruenbaum-Cohen, Ronit Harpaz and Irit Yaniv, the founders of WE@HeathTech. (Courtesy)

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Women Changing the Face of Science in the Middle East and North Africa - The Media Line

Menstrual cycles and lunar cycles: Is there a link? – Medical News Today

For centuries, scholars and writers have speculated about the possibility of a link between lunar cycles and menses. And in 2021, it seems that the potential synchronicity between the two continues to fascinate.

Menstruation is a cyclical process, as are the phases of the Moon from new moon to waning crescent. Little wonder, then, that poets, philosophers, and scholars have, over the centuries, drawn parallels between the two, suggesting that they might be connected.

The mystique of the Moon and that of female bodies at a time when medicine was in its infancy led Greek philosopher Aristotle to claim, in the 4th century before the common era, that:

[T]he menses tend to occur naturally during the waning moon []. For this time of the month is colder and more humid because of the wasting and disappearance of the Moon.

Age-old parallels between the menstrual cycle and the phases of the moon have likely also led to some females referring to their periods as moon cycles to this day.

Is there really a link between lunar cycles and menstrual cycles? In this Special Feature, we investigate.

Popular belief and many works of literature suggest that there may be some synchronicity between menses and the phases of the Moon.

That may be based on the similarity of duration between menstrual cycles and lunar cycles.

One full revolution of the Moon around the Earth takes 27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes. A moon phase cycle, during which the amount of Moon surface that we are able to see from Earth waxes and wanes, takes 29.5 days.

The length of menstrual cycles can be in the range of 2530 days, with the median duration of a menstrual cycle being 28 days.

One 1986 study which Sung Ping Law, from the Department of Gynecology at the Canton Traditional Chinese Medical College in Guangzhou, conducted did seem to find a link between menstrual and lunar cycles.

The research, which appears in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, studied the cycles of 826 female participants, aged 1625 years, over 4 lunar months in different seasons.

The study concept, the author writes, was based on the concept of traditional Chinese medicine that human physiological rhythms display synergism with other natural rhythms.

Law found that, in the study cohort, a large proportion of menstruations occurred around the new moon. This led the researcher to deduce that ovulation periods tended to coincide with the full moon.

However, more recent research contradicts the notion that menstrual cycles often synch with moon phases.

For example, a year-long retrospective study from 2013 which appears in the journal Endocrine Regulations found no synchrony of lunar phases with the menstrual cycle.

This study monitored 980 menstrual cycles in 74 females of reproductive age over a calendar year. The authors say that the findings came in defiance of traditional beliefs.

A more recent study, which the company who program the period tracking app Clue commissioned in 2016, also concludes that synchrony between menstrual and moon cycles is a myth.

This research, which analyzed over 7.5 million menstrual cycles, suggests that periods most likely do not sync with the lunar cycle.

The researchers collected data on menstrual patterns from 1.5 million Clue users. Clue data scientist Dr. Marija Vlajic Wheeler analyzed them.

Looking at the data, we saw that period start dates fall randomly throughout the month, regardless of the lunar phase, says Dr. Wheeler.

Clues raw data and subsequent analysis are not available to the public.

A new study in the journal Science Advances, however, suggests that there may be more to the idea of synchrony between lunar phases and menstrual cycles than previous research may have indicated.

This small-scale study analyzed the menstrual patterns of 22 participants who had kept track of their period onset for up to 32 years.

Together, we had recordings of 15 women aged [35 years and younger] and of 17 women aged [over] 35 years, the researchers write.

Their study found that those whose menstrual cycles were longer than 27 days had intermittent synchrony with two of the Moons cycles: the luminance cycle and the gravimetric cycle.

The luminance cycle refers to the Moons different light intensity as its position in relation to the Sun changes and it passes through its different phases, from new moon to full moon.

The gravimetric cycle refers to the cyclical difference of the Moons pull on the Earth as it orbits around our planet. Since the Moons orbit is elliptical, sometimes it is more distant from the Earth, and sometimes it comes closer.

Its cycle from perigee (when it is closest to the Earth) to apogee (when it is farthest from the Earth) lasts 27.5 days. Depending on where it is in its orbit, the Moon exerts a different gravitational pull on different parts of the Earth.

A third lunar cycle the tropical month, or the mean time of the Moons revolution from any one point in its orbit back to that same point also seemed to be linked to period onset, though to a lesser degree, according to the study authors.

The team also notes that, while menstrual cycles intermittently synched with the Moon cycles, the likelihood of synchrony faded as the participants got older.

Overall, the researchers observed that the Moons light intensity cycle seemed to be the most influential lunar cycle in terms of its effect on menses onset.

We hypothesize that in ancient times, human reproductive behavior was synchronous with the Moon but that our modern lifestyle, notably our increasing exposure to artificial light, has changed this relation, they explain.

Medical News Today spoke to first study author Prof. Charlotte Frster, from the Neurobiology and Genetics Biocenter at the Julius-Maximilians University of Wrzburg in Germany.

We asked her what spurred her research interest in the possible synchrony between moon cycles and the menses.

As a chronobiologist, I am interested in all kind[s] of rhythms, and I was always fascinated by the coincidence of the lunar cycle length and the menstruation cycle length, she told us.

At the same time, she went on, it was very clear that most women appear not to be in synchrony with the moon at least not permanently. This brought me to the idea to investigate whether menses onset couples intermittently to the moon, and I started to ask women about long-term records of their menses onset.

Although her and her colleagues study may be small-scale, sourcing the necessary data to conduct it was no mean feat.

It took more than 10 years until I had collected the data from these 22 women, Prof. Frster explained.

Their study taps into much debated questions regarding how and to what extent human circadian rhythms or our body clocks, which regulate our biological patterns relate to cycles from our natural environment.

Previous studies, including a recent one in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, have looked at fluctuations in melatonin levels in the blood throughout the menstrual cycle.

These have shown that levels of melatonin which is a hormone key to regulating circadian rhythms, and especially the sleep-wake cycle peak just before the onset of menses and decline, overall, the closer a female gets to menopause.

There is also some evidence to suggest that a full moon influences sleep, essentially disrupting sleep duration and quality. One 2013 study in the journal Current Biology suggests that participants slept less on a full moon night, and their melatonin levels also decreased.

Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that artificial light can disrupt sleep-wake cycles and have a negative impact on sleep duration and quality.

However, is there any evidence in support of Prof. Frster and colleagues hypothesis that exposure to artificial light has affected females natural synchronicity with lunar cycles over time?

Why and how might exposure to artificial light affect menstrual cycles? MNT asked Prof. Frster. This is a difficult question, and I cannot answer it yet, she replied.

Despite existing evidence that suggests that artificial light affects various aspects of circadian rhythms, research into how it might interfere with menstrual cycles is lacking, she explained.

What we know from circadian rhythms is that their period is strongly affected by light. Depending on the species, [this] period becomes shorter or longer with increasing light intensity. Obviously, this also applies to monthly rhythms, such as the menstruation cycle. In circadian rhythms, light interferes with the molecular mechanisms that generate them. For monthly rhythms, the molecular mechanisms are not yet known. Therefore, I also dont know the mechanisms [underlying] how light affects them.

Prof. Charlotte Frster

The intermittent synchrony between menstrual cycles and lunar cycles is not coincidental, though, the researcher maintains. We performed sophisticated statistical tests that revealed that the intermittent synchrony does not occur by chance, she told us.

Although this new study may have opened up new avenues for research into menstrual patterns, much more work is necessary to confirm whether or not there is a synchrony with moon cycles and, if so, what biological mechanisms might be at play.

Further research should include a larger and more inclusive cohort, the investigators note in their study paper. Aside from the limited number of participants in the recent study, there was also a dearth of variance in participant diversity.

This cohort is not at all representative of the global female population, because the majority of women are white and stem from Europe, Prof. Frster told MNT.

Using a more diverse cohort is important, as previous research has suggested that menstrual cycle length may vary by race or ethnicity.

Prof. Frster believes that learning more about the environmental factors that may influence menstrual cycles could come in handy under certain circumstances.

What applications might this and further studies on this topic have, in the context of womens health? we asked her.

I think that it is still too early to [draw] conclusions. There are so many factors that influence health, and the absence of a synchronization with the moon is for sure a minor contributor to health problems, she told us.

Nevertheless, women who have difficulties [in getting] pregnant and could exclude all other medical reasons might wish to consider a more natural life without too much artificial light at night, she suggested.

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Menstrual cycles and lunar cycles: Is there a link? - Medical News Today

A new candidate vaccine for human brucellosis based on influenza viral vectors: a preliminary investigation for the development of an immunization…

To our knowledge, this study is the first trial conducted in guinea pigs to evaluate the protective properties of a new candidate for vector vaccine against human brucellosis. This phase in vaccine trials is an important step in making an experimental vaccine a promising candidate for further human clinical trials to determine its effectiveness. In this study, double i.n. immunization with a vector vaccine based on influenza viral vectors expressing the immunodominant brucellosis proteins Omp16, L7/L12, Omp19 and CuZn SOD at a dose of 106 EID50 ensured protection against B. melitensis 16M infection comparable to the effect of commercial B. melitensis Rev.1 vaccine.

The choice of guinea pigs as model animals for evaluation of body gain changes and vaccine candidate protection was determined by their natural resistance to influenza infection in comparison with laboratory mice. In this case, the use of a more resistant model animal seemed to be a key condition in the study of protection, since, in the long run, the vaccine is designed for humans.

The previous success of using IVV in the development of the anti-brucellosis vaccine Flu-BA for cattle [12], which is now at the stage of commercialization in Kazakhstan, served as the basis for this study. The idea of developing an anti-brucellosis human vaccine is that the high efficacy of the vaccine is achieved in cattle which naturally resistant to influenza infection (i.e., as a non-replicable viral vector), and, in our opinion, should be even more pronounced in humans. This assumption is based on the fact that humans are a natural host for the influenza virus (Influenza A), including the influenza viral vectors we use.

It should be noted that we used an influenza viral vector (IVV) of the H5N1 subtype, because there is no immune background to this type of pathogen [22] in the human population and IVV of the H5N1 subtype has a greater potential as a vaccine vector.

We began the process of creating an effective anti-brucellosis vector vaccine for humans with the formation of requirements for the developed product, production technology and methods of its application and testing in healthcare practice. To this end, we have accumulated the existing experience in the development of vector vaccines for public health, have chosen the most generally accepted requirements for such vaccines and their manufacturing technologies, the method and frequency of their use and have developed criteria for assessing the effectiveness and safety of vaccine candidates.

An analysis of the compliance of the developed vaccine with the above requirements (which are more general in nature than specific) showed that the viral vectors we selected, as well as the method for preparing and using the vaccine, correspond to them. In particular, we use non-pathogenic influenza viral vectors, the general safety of which has been confirmed by studies on guinea pigs with various ways of administering and dose of immunization.

In order to obtain influenza viral vectors (IVV), we used A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (H1N1) with a length-modified NS1-80 gene encoding 80 amino acids in the N-terminal region of the protein as the initial strain. The surface genes of hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) were taken from A/chicken/Astana/6/05 strains (H5N1, with the HA cleavage site preliminary removed). The safety or attenuation of IVV is ensured by the truncated NS1 protein (interferon antagonist), which results in their limited replicative capabilities (they make one cycle of reproduction in the cell and do not leave it) [14]. It is known that the degree of IVV attenuation is directly dependent on the length of the NS1 protein [23]. We have an IVV with NS1 length in 80 amino acid. NS1-124 was used to create a veterinary brucellosis vaccine as it for use in cattle a more aggressive IVV was required. As for humans, far preferable may be IVV with NS1-80. With IVV subtype H5N1 (a pathogenic variety of influenza virus), the attenuation was additionally achieved by removing the proteolytic cleavage site in the HA protein, that is, double attenuation was performed. During repeated re-inoculation in chick embryos, IVV retained all their basic biological properties, including signs of attenuation, and did not lose the brucellosis insertion segment [14], which indicates their genetic stability. In addition, the influenza viral vectors we use are RNA-containing viruses that are limited to cytoplasmic replication, thus eliminating the risk of integration and long-term persistence.

The next important phase of our research was devoted to the study of the general safety control of the vaccine candidate at the early stage with different ways of administration and dose of use in guinea pigs. The vaccine has been found to be safe for guinea pigs when administered c., i.n. and s.l. The experimental animals did not show death or signs of any disease; by the end of observation (on day 14 after the prime-boost vaccinations), the body weight gain in guinea pigs was observed both after prime and after boost immunization. At the same time, the increase in body weight of guinea pigs in the experimental groups was comparable to the control group of animals that were injected with PBS. As a result of this work, the vaccine was recognized as a safe drug and was used in the future to assess its protectiveness depending on the immunization schedule.

Further assessment of the effectiveness of the vaccine with different routes of administration to mucosal areas was determined using c., i.n. and s.l. methods of vaccine immunization in prime-boost mode. Since the influenza virus has a tropism for mucosal surfaces, it was assumed that the optimal way to administer a vaccine based on an influenza viral vector would be one of the tested mucosal routes. Since Brucella should be considered as a mucosal pathogen penetrating mucous surfaces, the gates of infection are the mucosal surfaces of the nose or mouth. Consequently, mucosal vaccination is capable to generate protective responses against pathogens at the site of the infection gate [24]. Our bacteriological study demonstrated that significant protection of guinea pigs after challenging with virulent strain of B. melitensis 16M infection was achieved through i.n. administration of the vaccine in comparison with other methods of application.

The next important step in our study was devoted to the choice of the vaccination dose and, at the same time, the frequency of vaccination, where the study of the protection and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate was evaluated in animals by the ability to retain bacteria in organs and lymph nodes after animal infection with standard methods. Another distinctive feature of our studies was that the vaccine protection was assessed not only by the Brucella culture isolation from the tissues of vaccinated and unvaccinated animals, but also by such aspects as vaccination efficiency and infection index. It is believed that these indicators jointly provide a more complete and objective characterization of the vaccine protection. The new vaccine induced significant protection in response to B. melitensis 16M infection within a range of 6080% when administered i.n. in a double vaccination mode for all tested doses, and it was not inferior in efficiency to B. melitensis Rev.1, which is currently used in veterinary practice as the most immunogenic brucellosis vaccine. The level of protection of the B. melitensis Rev.1 vaccine obtained in our studies corresponds to the science literature data [25]. At the same time, it was found that the new vaccine candidate does not possess protection after primary vaccination, regardless of the dose. When choosing an immunizing dose of the vaccine, it is recommended to use a vaccination dose of 106 EID50, since the protection at the 106 EID50 dose (80% efficiency) was higher than 105 EID50 (60% efficiency) and similar to 107 EID50 (80% efficiency). The choice of an immunizing dose of 106 EID50 is determined by the reduction of possible adverse effect of vaccination and the cost of the production process of the vaccine. The vaccine is targeted at a specific risk grouplaboratory scientists working with the pathogen, veterinarians, slaughterhouse workers and people involved in animal care industry. The next step in the further vaccine development will be devoted to the preclinical studies where will be evaluated the safety, immunogenicity and protectiveness of a new human vaccine candidate against brucellosis.

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A new candidate vaccine for human brucellosis based on influenza viral vectors: a preliminary investigation for the development of an immunization...

Gene editing to enhance production in developing nations – Poultry World

Poultry production in low to middle income nations could substantially benefit from transferring beneficial genes between breeds to produce offspring with useful characteristics, researchers claim.

Sterile male and female chicken eggs have been implanted with reproductive cells from donor birds with the resulting chickens mated together to produce chicks of the donor breed. The chicks showed characteristics inherited from their real patents, the donor birds, along with the edited change to their DNA, rather than their surrogate parents. The gene editing outcome demonstrates an efficient way to introduce beneficial characteristics, the scientists claim, such as tolerance for warm climates or disease resistance.

Poultry production in low to middle income nations could benefit from gene editing, researchers claim. Photo: Mark Pasveer

Beneficial genes can be transferred from one breed into another via gene editing of embryos, in a single generation, and the method to control the reproductive genes can be carried by both parents known as Sire Dam Surrogate (SDS) mating can ensure that offspring will inherit a desired gene from both parents, and exhibit the characteristic associated with that gene. Commercial partner Cobb-Europe worked with a team from the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health and the Roslin Institute to demonstrate their approach by using sterile male and female chickens, known as empty nest chickens, to transfer feather characteristics between breeds.

They removed reproductive stem cells (i.e. early stage cells that later develop into sperm and eggs) from chicken embryos using gene-editing technology, and used the same technology to introduce gene-edits into these reproductive cells from another breed. The altered reproductive cells were then implanted into surrogate parents the embryos of chicks and cockerels that were bred to be sterile. These surrogates were then hatched and mated with one another. Resulting offspring were of the donor breed and not that of their surrogate parents. They also had the new traits created by the gene-editing.

Researchers demonstrated their approach by repairing a natural generic change that causes distinctive white plumage in the White Leghorn breed. Chicks born to the sterile chickens now had a black plumage. Similarly, the team introduced a distinctive curly feather, which is believed to help Western African breeds cope with hot climates, into chicks bred from Light Sussex chickens a British breed. The concept could allow the transfer of useful traits among the worlds 1,600 chicken breeds and could boost animal productivity and welfare as well as safeguarding against changing environmental conditions.

Welcoming the developments, Professor Appolinaire Dijkeng, director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, said: Poultry is a key livestock animal for millions of smallholder farmers in low- and middle- income countries. Any gains in efficiency, productivity and health from introducing useful traits from other poultry breeds could significantly improve the lives of these farming families through increased food production and income.

Dr. Mike McGrew, one of the scientists who worked on the study, said: The SDS technique is being used now to test genetic variants present in different breeds of chicken and to improve our ability to 'biobank' breeds of chicken. Genome-edited chickens are not allowed in the food chain. However, we can still use the techniques presented in the paper to quickly validate genetic variants which can then be used in conventional breeding programmes. Selective breeding programmes use genotyping data of animals to identify animals and offspring of merit. The idea is to know which genetic sequences are important.

We can inform these breeding programmes that specific DNA sequences in their animals are beneficial and they can then pick the offspring carrying these DNA sequences for their breeding populations."

Heat resistance and disease resistance are the most important traits for our work with the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health. For instance, the Frizzle feather genetic variant or 'trait' is hypothesised to cause the frizzly feather phenotype. Sometimes the background breed genetics of the animal is also important for the trait. We can now test now proven that a genetic variant or DNA sequence is causative for the trait. We have introduced the frizzle feather gene into the Light Sussex chicken and we will test if these chickens thrive at higher temperatures directly compared to Light Sussex chicken without the frizzle feather gene. This will prove that the frizzle feather gene on its own is beneficial for tropical environments.

The study was published in Nature Communications and the work was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office through CTLGH as well as UKRI and Innovate UK.

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Gene editing to enhance production in developing nations - Poultry World

Meet the all-female team at this Dubai school’s science department – Gulf News

At GEMS International School (GIS), the science team is made up of women teachers only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Dubai school has plenty to celebrate this International Day of Women and Girls in Science today. Its science department comprises an all-female teaching staff.

Many people may expect greying men in lab coats tinkering around in the science department, but at GEMS International School (GIS), the science team is made up of women teachers and instructors only. They are led by head-of-the-department Tanja Kolarov, who specialises in biology and integrated sciences.

I fell in love with science

Tanja Kolarov

As a small child, I used to sit on the white desks of my grandfathers pharmaceutical lab and watch him make creams and shampoos for my sister and myself. This is where I fell in love with science. My background is in biochemistry, with a deep interest in genetics. Genetics and the ability to change genetic information fascinate me, said Kolarov, who has been at GIS for four years.

She added that science has always been a male-dominated profession. Women scientists have been around, Kolarov said, but had to work really hard to get acknowledged. Women have to empower other women. My mother always said that if you set your mind to it, you can do anything. With STEM [science, technology, engineering, maths] being an equal-opportunities field, more and more women are joining the science profession and wanting to teach science to promote it amongst girls.

The UAEs Minister of State for Advanced Technology is a young woman, Sarah Al Amiri. Still in her early 30s, Al Amiri is also the chairperson of the UAE Space Agency and credited with leading the countrys Mars mission, which on Tuesday achieved the rare success by inserting the Hope Probe into Martian orbit to study the Red Planets atmosphere in unprecedented detail.

Paradigm shift

Hiba El Majzoub

At GIS, chemistry teacher Hiba El Majzoub has witnessed an exponential increase in girls participation in STEM in recent times. We need to have a paradigm shift as there is a misconception around this career being a mostly male domain of work. Yet, throughout history, numerous female scientists have had valuable contributions to science and to the industry as well, she said.

Once such scientist, her favourite, is Marie Curie, the only woman to win Nobel prizes in two sciences (chemistry and physics). El Majzoubs favourite subject, of course, is chemistry. She said: Chemistry is a central and pivotal experimental science that supports our deeper understanding of our biological systems as well as our physical environment. This is why chemistry is the foundation for many disciplines such as medicine, biological and environmental sciences, engineering, and materials.

Quite debatable

Hoda Alawady

GIS science teacher Hoda Alawady said the lack of female representation in STEM occupations is quite debatable. She explains: Although science is one of the fields that is dominated by males, this is currently changing dramatically. More female students are choosing to study science for many reasons. Young girls are now exposed to STEM subjects and are encouraged to study science in schools and higher education. Teachers strive to create environments that are equally appealing to females and males. With more women in the field, young girls are able to recognise the career opportunities open to them. This encourages girls to earn more college and graduate degrees and pursue a science career.

Welcome dividend

Sangita Thakrar

Fellow science teacher Sangita Thakrar teaches chemistry, biology and physics up to grade 10. She said women have to work hard to fit into all-male or majority-male departments. This extra effort has led to a dividend. Many female scientists have to blaze their own trail and become pioneers in their own field. This does, however, allow for more creativity, said Thakrar. She is currently following the work of Tiera Guinn Fletcher, 22-year-old MIT graduate working for Nasa as a rocket structural analyst. She is a relatable inspiration to all the young aspiring scientists, especially girls, added Thakrar.

Priti Suresh

The GIS science team also includes physics teacher Priti Suresh. Reacting to a query on whether more and more girl students were opting for science studies and also whether more and more women were opting to teach science, Priti said: "It is encouraging to see more women as science educators in recent times.However, a lot of young girls are still reticent to pursue a career in science owing to decades of gender-biased conditioning that a profession in the sciences requires longer work-hours and tougher working conditions. On a positive note, the last few years have seen substantial encouragement from educators across curricula from primary school through high school, in addition to a host of universities offering scholarships and waivers to further the role of women in science."

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Meet the all-female team at this Dubai school's science department - Gulf News

Awards 2020: Pig Farmer of the Year – Farmers Weekly – FarmersWeekly

Charlie Thompson, Bridge House Farm, Long Buckby, Northamptonshire

It is fair to say Bridge House Farm is a global leader when it comes to the use of technology on pig units.

Not only is it one of the first farms to use EID and ultra-high frequency (UHF) tags, it is also using a feed system that individually feeds pigs in pens depending on their sex and size.

Charlie Thomson is the driving force behind the adoption of technology, working with industry leaders to help design a system that means he can record everything from individual birthweights and litter performance to weaning weights, intramuscular fat and conformation traits.

As a purebred herd supplying breeding stock for Genesus Genetics, Charlie is breeding Yorkshire pigs for the damline and Durocs for the sireline.

This makes accurate data vital, with all the information shared with Genesus Genetics, so continual genetic improvements can be made.

EID technology and bulk reading of pigs has made life so much easier for staff, and data capture more accurate especially useful as Charlie has a growing export demand for his pigs in China.

Using UHF tags allows pigs to be read in batches and from a distance, and the installation of fixed EID readers in the corridors means pig/group movements can be tracked between each stage of production.

But the technology does not stop there. has Charlie also invested in a phase feeding system which allows a tailored diet for each pen of pigs.

Pigs are fed on a curve, depending on their sex and breed due to their nutritional differences.

Running over five evenings from 6pm, beginning 7 February, we bring you The Farmers Weekly Awards Show.

Hosted by Adam Henson, the week-long festival of British farming will celebrate farmings successes and tell the story of how farmers kept the nation fed in a year like no other.

Watch the shows

But it is not just the technology that is helping this unit to fly.

The attention to detail across the team is second to none and the fact they are running an indoor intensive unit with pigs kept with entire tails and little tail biting is a testament to their hard work.

They are providing a whole range of environmental enrichment, from bowling balls to rope, wood and plastic, which are rotated daily.

If there are any signs a pig may be attempting to tail bite it is removed immediately from the pen and placed in with Durocs.

Charlie explains: Tail biting is very multi-factorial. However, we rarely see any problems in the Duroc pigs because they are so docile. So, if we see any tail biting in the Yorkshires, we remove the individual and place them in a pen with the Durocs and it calms them down and usually stops. Its like they teach them a lesson.

And it is no wonder the staff are so committed to this unit with facilities many could only dream of.

Significant investment in 2011 was made in a new staff room and separate male and female showering and changing facilities.

Development at Bridge House Farm has been made with biosecurity in mind.

Charlie, who is also a qualified vet, says it has been built like a castle, with an external fence/wall running the entire perimeter and no delivery drivers allowed on to the unit.

The environment is something Charlie is looking at closely to future-proof the farm.

In addition to the solar panels he has installed he is looking at acidifying slurry to make better use of it on the arable unit.

Charlie is an impressive pig producer who is innovative, brave, willing to try new things and has great enthusiasm and drive to further the genetics and his business. He is an advocate for showing high welfare in intensive slatted systems.

Zoe Davis, NPA

Read about the finalists

NSF International work with the food industry to create consumer confidence from farm to food.

We work with farmers to help them demonstrate the quality of what they produce. Farm assurance covers animal welfare, food safety, traceability and provenance and environmental protection so consumers can be confident the food they eat is safe and responsibility produced.

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Awards 2020: Pig Farmer of the Year - Farmers Weekly - FarmersWeekly

Meet the women on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus – Happiful Magazine

Whether youve had the vaccine yet or not, the very fact that we have multiple vaccines against coronavirus already is incredible. But do you know who has been working to make this happen? Ill be honest - I didnt until today.

Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, an awareness day established by the UN General Assembly in 2015. Celebrating womens excellence in science and reminding us that gender equality and science must advance hand-in-hand, the day shouldnt go by unnoticed.

To be truly transformative, gender equality policies and programmes need to eliminate gender stereotypes through education, change social norms, promote positive role models of women scientists and build awareness at the highest levels of decision-making.

We need to ensure that women and girls are not only participating in STEM fields, but are empowered to lead and innovate, and that they are supported by workplace policies and organisational cultures that ensure their safety, consider their needs as parents, and incentivise them to advance and thrive in these careers.

Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO and Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women on this years awareness day.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, it is fitting that this year the awareness day is exploring the theme: Women scientists at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. So who are these women?

Prof Sarah Gilbert is the lead professor behind the Oxford coronavirus vaccine. Working with a team of scientists, she has created a vaccine that is 82.4% effective after two standard doses.

She may only now be getting the attention of those outside the industry, but shes been well-known in science for a long time. Following an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in 2014 Prof Gilbert led the first trial of a vaccine. Shes also helped develop medicine for Mers, a different type of coronavirus and it was this research that helped her and her team develop a vaccine so quickly for the current pandemic.

On top of this, Prof Gilbert is the co-founder of an Oxford University spin-out company called Vaccitech. Here they are conducting clinical studies of viral vectored vaccines which use modified versions of different viruses to deliver instructions to a cell.

Starting work on the Oxford vaccine in January 2020, Prof Green is an associate professor in Chromosome Dynamics at Oxford University. She also heads up the Nuffield Department of Medicine's Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility (CBF), where she specialises in creating vaccines for clinical trials.

Since completing her degree in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge Prof Green has done some incredible things. She has been awarded an Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) scholarship for her doctoral research. After earning her doctorate, Prof Green moved to the Curie Institute to study DNA damage in human cells. She then undertook a role at the University of Cambridge as a Cancer Research UK Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology, before moving to Oxford University in 2012 where she joined the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics.

Dr Corbett is a viral immunologist and research fellow in the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). As a Black female scientist, Dr Corbett made waves on social media after it was announced she would be leading a team of researchers to work on a coronavirus vaccine at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Dr Corbetts love of science began during a summer break from high school where she worked in a chemistry lab at the University of North Carolina. After earning her bachelors degree she became a biological sciences trainer at the NIH working alongside Dr Barney Graham.

In 2014, Dr Corbett became a research fellow, working as a viral immunologist, at the NIH. When the coronavirus pandemic broke, Corbett started work on the vaccine leading a team of researchers and developed a vaccine.

"The vaccine teaches the body how to fend off a virus, because it teaches the body how to look for the virus by basically just showing the body the spike protein of the virus" she explained. "The body then says 'Oh, we've seen this protein before. Let's go fight against it.' That's how it works." Dr Corbett tells CBS news.

Dr Patel is the director for vaccine development and antibody discovery at Novavax, leading an all-female team to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. At Novavax since 2015, she worked as a Scientist and Research Manager at AstraZeneca before that for 25 years.

Her passion for science came from a desire to cure tuberculosis, a disease that affected her father and indeed her career in the US started with her working on a TB vaccination project.

Since the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Patel has said she often works 18 hour-days, People ask me if Im tired, I dont feel tired, my day just doesnt end. And its the same with everyone else here. To me, nothing is impossible. So, having that mindset, nothing stresses me out, being honest."

This is of course just the tip of the iceberg, there are lots of women making incredible things happen in the science world. Today we celebrate and thank them for their tireless work.

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Meet the women on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus - Happiful Magazine

Black Catholic Is Trailblazer in Science; She Has Been Geneticist for 56 Years – The Tablet Catholic Newspaper

Sheila Stiles Jewell, a geneticist marine biologist, is seen at her home in Memphis, Tenn., Dec. 30, 2019. (CNS photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)

By Karen Pulfer Focht

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (CNS) As a child, Sheila Stiles Jewellplayed outside of the public housing where her family lived in Memphis. She felt one with nature weaving clover and catching bumblebees, not realizing that she was really feeding her curiosity forscienceand the natural world.

During the days of segregation, the Catholic Church recruited her family, living at Lemoyne Owen Gardens at the time, to receive a Catholic education. It was a noble act that she credits with much of her success today.

Working into her 70s,Jewellis a research geneticist at the U.S. NOAA Northeast FisheriesScienceCenter in Milford, Connecticut. NOAA Fisheries is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sciencehas made my faith stronger, she said. The DNA structure is amazing. It is beautiful and is evidence of what God can do and has done. Look around you, it is just wonderful!

Women from her generation are underrepresented in the field ofscience.

Jewellwould like to see more African American females enter the field ofscience. She speaks at schools and brings her sea creatures to show the students hoping to spark an interest within them.

My faith has been an important part of how I persisted and persevered. I cant imagine how I could have done it without my faith, she said.Jewellstill comes home often to be with family and together they attend Mass at St. Augustine Church in South Memphis.

She remembers the times as a child in the segregated South, when she went to Mass at a white church, she had to stand in the back, sit in the balcony at the movies, and drink out of separate drinking fountains.

We came from humble beginnings, she recalled. Her mother, a teacher, was her first role model. She instilled inJewellthat an education was the key to a successful life. We couldnt always realize our dreams because of segregation, but that did not keep us from striving to be somebody, she said.

The people in the public housing where she lived always looked out for the children. We were sheltered and protected, it was a village. They were always encouraged to go to church.

Jewellstudiedscienceat Father Bertrand High School, where she was valedictorian. It was there that Sister Mary Kilian, a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, encouraged her to go to college and major in biology.

She attended Xavier University in New Orleans, the only historically Black Catholic university in the U.S., and then accepted an internship in Milford. She was apprehensive about leaving all she knew.

That summer, her advisers convinced her to go on a 30-hour Greyhound bus ride to pursue new opportunities. Because she was Black, she rode in the back of the bus and even though the North was not officially segregated like Memphis at the time, there was nowhere to stay. Housing was not open to Blacks in the 1960s. Her advisers found a family for her to stay with.

She was the first permanent African American female employee in Department of Interior in the Milford marine biological laboratory, where she has had a 56-year career and is still working today.

I had a passion for genetics. Early in my career, there were no role models in this male-dominated field, she said. She studies shellfish, such as oysters, clams, scallops and mussels, and working on restoring this population through genetics and breeding for better survival and growth.

Womens rights and civil rights have helped and brought a lot of improvement, though there are still some barriers today, she said.

She loves working with young people, reaching out and reaching back, she said. If you have a dream, follow it, do what it takes, dont be discouraged, dont give up.

Jewellwas atrailblazer. This past fall she was inducted into the Memphis Catholic High School Hall of Fame.

For so many years, she drew on her faith. If it were not for my faith, I would not have been as successful as I have been. God has been beside me throughout this journey. I could not have made this journey alone. I am so thankful for my faith, my family and my friends.

When it has been difficult to persevere, my faith has made a difference, she added.

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Black Catholic Is Trailblazer in Science; She Has Been Geneticist for 56 Years - The Tablet Catholic Newspaper

Top quality Limousins head to Dungannon – Farming Life

A total of 44 pedigree bulls and 16 pedigree female entries have been received from a strong cohort of vendors and from some of the most successful pedigree herds in Northern Ireland.

Many of these herds have high health accredited status and all animals will be veterinary inspected on the morning of the sale and sold under the auspices of the National Beef Association and BLCS rules.Adhering with Government Regulations regards Covid-19 there will be restrictions and protocols that must be complied with prior to the sale and on the day.

The number of purchasers will be strictly limited to allow for social distancing in the sales ring, therefore ALL purchasers must pre-register with Dungannon Farmers Mart no later than close of day on Saturday, 13th February. Strict viewing will be available to register purchasers between 10am and 11.30am on the morning of sale and restrictions will be in place to allow for social distancing.

Face coverings are mandatory and must always be worn.Online bidding facilities are available at Livestock Live Sales (LSL) for the purchasers that do not wish to attend the sale. If you wish to register as an online purchaser you must do so not later than the Saturday prior to the sale. Contact the Mart Office 028 8772 2727 or Club Secretary, Tara Williamson on 07881435042.

Very much a theme at sales in 2020 has been the focus by purchasers on easy calving genetics, one of the foremost economic traits, and one that the Limousin breed has built its reputation upon. Commercial producers are clearly seeing the advantages of market ready genetics and are confidently investing in Limousin as the go to breed.

This sale will be a good opportunity for commercial producers, existing Limousin breeders and new Limousin breeders to acquire quality bulls and females with dual purpose characteristics which deliver a competitive edge when it comes to profitability.Strabane Mills Ltd will be the sole sponsor of the official BLCS February Sale.

A well established family business with 90 years experience of producing quality feeds, Strabane Mills Ltd were originally oatmeal and provender millers. This small business has thrived amongst its larger competitors as it has successfully adapted to meet the challenges of changing trends in the industry over the years.Strabane Mills Ltd manufacture a high quality range of steam cooked and flaked cereal products including barley maize and peas. They supply customers manufacturing specialist feeds for the livestock sector.The LimSale App provides details of all entries. Catalogues are also available from Dungannon Mart or Online via BLCS website.

Contact Club Secretary, Tara Williamson on 07881435042.

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Top quality Limousins head to Dungannon - Farming Life

[Full text] The Recurrent Liver Disorder of a Pregnant Mother: Intrahepatic Choles | IMCRJ – Dove Medical Press


As described by Ahlfeld (1883), intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), is a frequent jaundice in pregnancy that can be relieved following delivery, it may reoccur in subsequent pregnancies.1 ICP is a common pregnancy-related liver disease seen in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.2 Clinically it characterized by a rash and an itching sensation all over the body, particularly on the hands and feet. Elevated liver enzymes, including serum aminotransferases and/or elevated serum bile acid levels (>or = 10 micromol/L) are usually spontaneously relieved after delivery, and no later than one month post-partum. ICP may reoccur in subsequent pregnancies.3 ICP is a liver disease unique to pregnancy with a global prevalence ranging from 0.3% and 5.6% of pregnancies. Its prevalence differs from one country to the other and is more common in countries like Chile and Bolivia.1,4

Even though, the pathogenesis of ICP is not well defined and its etiology is multifaceted, it is related to abnormal biliary transport across the canalicular membrane. Available literature suggest that genetic, environmental, hormonal, and exogenous factors all play a role in the occurrence of ICP.57 Even though ICP will not usually have severe and complex outcomes, it has been associated mostly with preterm delivery, meconium staining of amniotic fluid, fetal bradycardia, fetal distress and fetal demise.1,3,6,811 The underlying mechanisms associated with poor fetal outcome are largely unknown. Poor fetal outcomes, including asphyxia events and spontaneous preterm delivery, have been shown to be associated with elevated maternal total serum bile acids (TBA) (40 micromole/L) in pregnancy.3,12

It is controversial to set the standardized and the most optimal management for women with ICP.9 But pharmacotherapy, antenatal fetal monitoring, analysis of the bile acid and early elective delivery are the currently proposed management options, so as to reduce poor outcomes for both mother and baby.1,9,11,13

A 31-year-old Gravida III and Para II mother came to the outpatient clinic of the University of Gondar specialized hospital, North West Ethiopia, in January 2019 complaining of pruritus (mainly under the breasts, on the neck, palms of the hands and soles of the feet) along with jaundice at 24 weeks gestational age (GA). She had a history of antenatal care follow up at a nearby health center. She presented to us with singleton and intrauterine pregnancy.

On arrival, she was screened for both subjective and objective data for her current and past obstetric, medical, surgical, gynecological, social, personal and family history. She had a history of early neonatal loss and one living child, her bilirubin value was elevated, she suffered pruritus and hepatomegaly in her previous pregnancies. She had a personal and family history of pruritus during pregnancy. From her previous personal history, she reported a history of similar features that resembled her current clinical presentation. The rest of her laboratory investigations and physical examination results, including vital signs (blood pressure 100/70 mmHg), were in their normal range and she arranged for her next follow up after being provided with an antihistamine drug and offered counseling and health education to ensure the best outcome for her pregnancy. At 30 weeks GA, she was assessed for any complaints, including the worsening of pruritus and underwent liver biochemistry tests. Based on this, her bilirubin total and bilirubin direct tests were 4.52 mg/dl and 3.45 mg/dl respectively. Other complete blood count tests and urinalysis were within the normal range. The progress of the pregnancy was also assessed using ultrasound and showed no any abnormality. At 34 weeks GA her bilirubin values became elevated, whereas her liver function test on both alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) were 83U/L and 75 U/L, respectively. The value of prothrombin time (PT) and partial thromboplastin time (PTT) were 12.2 and 34.6 seconds, respectively. Urine bilirubin, urobilinogen, urine nitrite, and Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBS-antigen) tests were negative. But there was no opportunity for a TBA laboratory test.

As a result of having some abnormally elevated liver biochemistry tests, and the clinical features of the patient's current and past obstetric history, a decision was made to admitthe patient to the obstetric ward after a diagnosis of ICP was made. After admission various checks were carried out, including: weekly fetal surveillance with ultrasound and using a kick chart; administration of four doses of dexamethasone 12 hours apart to accelerate fetal lung maturation at 33 weeks GA; administration of antihistamine drugs to alleviate the suffering from pruritus; and psychological reassurance of the patient. The patient's clinical symptoms were not improved after administering antihistamine drugs and she suffered from severe pruritus following the administration of dexamethasone. At 37 weeks GA, the obstetrician and midwives had a detailed discussion and decided to deliver the baby. Initially the cervix was ripened with a Foley catheter so as to have an acceptable BISHOP score and then induction of labor with oxytocin was carried out. During this time a non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern was detected with a cardiotocograph (CTG) and was confirmed with ultrasound. Finally, a successful caesarean section was done performed to deliver a 2.8 kg live female baby with an APGAR score of 8 and 9 in the 1st and 5th minutes, respectively. Following delivery, the patient remained inhospital for a week and was discharged to home with both mother and baby in stable conditions. The evaluation of the patient during the puerperium two weeks after giving birth was good, with the normalization of the liver biochemistry tests and the disappearance of the pruritus. The bilirubin total, ALT and AST decreased to 1.1 mg/dl, 32 U/L, and 31 U/L respectively. The evaluation of the baby was also good, with normal physical development.

With the unknown etiology of ICP, various factors are indicated to be associated with high prevalence of ICP; these factors include genetics, the environment, coexisting liver and biliary tract conditions or abnormal metabolism of bile acid due to the high secretion of estrogen during pregnancy, hyper emesis gravidarum, multiple pregnancies and over stimulation of ovarian or oral contraception. The most frequent ICP complication to the fetus is preterm delivery.3,8 Especially the risk of preterm delivery is significantly higher for those patients with total bile acids (TBA)>40 mol/l.3 It was found that the mechanism of preterm delivery with ICP is that bile acid activity results in an increased sensitivity of the uterine muscle to oxytocin and in the increased oxytocin receptor expression. Having a TBA >11 mol/L in the third trimester of pregnancy is a direct indicative of ICP. The measurement of bile acid concentration is a basic test aimed at diagnosis and therapy monitoring of the ICP. Meanwhile, the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) isoenzymes could be considered as having a positive interaction in the sera of women with intrahepatic cholestasis14 and having a history of allergic reactions may mean they are more likely to develop ICP15 but for our patient there was no history of allergic reactions. Hence it is better to consider such a test while suspecting and detecting this case. ICP has its own differential diagnoses including fatty liver disease, hepatobiliary disorder, HELLP syndrome, skin disease, renal pruritus and hyper emesis gravidarum. As a result, it is better to consider all these and differing diagnoses while anticipating ICP. In the management of ICP, the major role should be preventing still birth and minimizing the adverse effects of ICP clinical features on the mother. As various literatures suggest,8,11 there is no definitive cure for ICP other than alleviating the suffering from pruritus with drugs like Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA),2 antihistamines and delivering the baby as early as possible (from 3738 weeks GA) as the clinical features of ICP will regress and disappear after delivery.

Finally, ICP is a cholestatic liver disease unique to pregnancy with a variable worldwide prevalence ranging between 0.3% and 5.6% of pregnancies. After confirming the diagnosis of ICP with a liver biochemistry test indicating total serum bile acid and its signs and symptoms as a clinical feature, close follow up of the patient is mandatory so as to prevent and minimize the adverse outcomes of ICP. For our patient after a serial laboratory test and weekly fetal surveillance, a trial of induction with oxytocin was performed and finally an effective cesarean section was carried out to deliver a 2.8 kg living female baby with an indication of non-reassuring fetal heart rate pattern. ICP regressed and disappeared at the three week follow up in the puerperium.

ALT, alanine aminotransferase; AST, aspartate aminotransferase; GA, gestational age; ICP, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy; PT, prothrombin time; PTT, partial thromboplastin time; TBA, total serum bile acid.

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon formal request.

The Ethical clearance letter was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of the University of Gondar. Patient consent was taken with written informed consent form and she was volunteer to participate.

Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images.

We would like to acknowledge University of Gondar Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as school of midwifery for allowing us to report on this case. Our deepest gratitude goes to our patient for her cooperation on revealing both her subjective and objective data, as well as her permission for us to publish this article.

All authors made a significant contribution to the work reported, whether that is in the conception, study design, execution, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation, or in all these areas; took part in drafting, revising or critically reviewing the article; gave final approval of the version to be published; have agreed on the journal to which the article has been submitted; and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

The authors declared that they did not have any competing interest.

1. Ali Aya MK, Shazly SA, Abbas AM, Mohammed SA. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Evid Based Womens Health J. 2013;3(14).

2. Rodrigo Zapata F. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: even today a puzzling disease of pregnancy. 2017.

3. Rook M, Vargas J, Caughey A, Bacchetti P, Rosenthal P, Bull L. Fetal outcomes in pregnancies complicated by intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy in a Northern California cohort. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e28343. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028343

4. Chacko KR, Wolkoff AW. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: new diagnostic insights. Ann Hepatol. 2017;16(2):176178. doi:10.5604/16652681.1231550

5. KondrackiEne JKL, Kupcinskas L. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy current achievements and unsolved problems. World J Gastroenterol. 2006;14(38):57815788. doi:10.3748/wjg.14.5781

6. Shashank Shekhar S, Diddi G. Liver disease in pregnancy. Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2015;54:475482. doi:10.1016/j.tjog.2015.01.004

7. Li M. Recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis pregnancy: a case report. J Clin Obstet Gynecol Infertil. 2017;1(4):1018.

8. Kenyon AP, Piercy CN, Girling J, et al. Obstetric cholestasis, outcome with active management: a series of 70 cases. BJOG. 2002;109:282288. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.01368.x

9. Geenes V, Williamson LC, Chappell LC. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Obstetric Gynaecolog. 2016;18(4):273281. doi:10.1111/tog.12308

10. Grone M AK, Smith JF. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Liver Dis. 2012;13(3).

11. Palmer KR, Xiaohua L, Mol BW. Management of intrahepatic cholestasis in pregnancy. Lancet. 2019;393(10174):853854. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32323-7

12. A G, Marschall HU, Mattsson LA. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: relationships between bile acid levels and fetal complication rates. Hepatology. 2004;40(2):467474. doi:10.1002/hep.20336

13. Guideline RG-t. Obstetric cholestasis. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2011:43.

14. Jelski W, Piechota J, Orywal K, Mroczko B. The alterations in alcohol dehydrogenase activity in the sera of women with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Anticancer Res. 2020;40(4):19972001. doi:10.21873/anticanres.14155

15. Morton A, Laurie J. The biochemical diagnosis of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Obstet Med. 2019;12(2):7678. doi:10.1177/1753495X18795979

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[Full text] The Recurrent Liver Disorder of a Pregnant Mother: Intrahepatic Choles | IMCRJ - Dove Medical Press

In a Weird Twist, Sperm Have Been Caught Poisoning Other Sperm to Get Ahead in Mice – ScienceAlert

When sperm race, it's for keeps. So it comes as little surprise that in some species, the competition over who reaches the egg first can get a little dirty.

A variant in mice genes has been found to give sperm that possess it a clear advantage by poisoning its peers while they're still in development, robbing them of their ability to efficiently sniff their way towards the egg.

In a rather karmic twist, a race consisting only of would-be assassins would be a complete disaster, with researchers finding the genetic variant risks overdosing on its own killer cocktail unless the race is balanced out by its victims.

Geneticists from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin uncovered this rather unique 'cheat code' in mice sperm while investigating the mechanisms male sex cells use to direct their way through the female reproductive system.

"Our data highlight the fact that sperm cells are ruthless competitors," says institute director Bernhard Herrmann.

"Genetic differences can give individual sperm an advantage in the race for life, thus promoting the transmission of particular gene variants to the next generation."

They found a Rho protein switch called RAC1 plays an integral role in keeping sperm on the straight and narrow. Mess this regulator up and sperm will stagger about like it's heading home after closing time on cheap-drinks Tuesday.

But apparently evolution has this all worked out. According to the researchers, a variation in the coding of sequences on chromosome 17 seems to do just this, churning out a product that throws a spanner in the works of RAC1.

This region called a t-variant isn't new to science. In fact this stretch of DNA has stood out as an oddity in Mendelian genetics for close to a century.

Mice heterozygous for the trait (having one t-variant chromosome 17, and a partner chromosome with 'normal' coding) don't father the expected 50-50 ratio of offspring you'd expect. The odds of one of their offspring being born without the t-variant, in fact, are one in a hundred.

Yet if they happen to be homozygous for it with both versions of chromosome 17 containing this aberrant coding then they can kiss fatherhood goodbye. They're completely sterile.

With all of this in mind, the researchers have teased apart exactly what's going on inside those tiny mice testicles by genotyping individual sperm and assessing their motility patterns.

Early in gamete production, inside sperm precursor cells that contain both the t-variant chromosome and a more normal version, the toxic t-coding interferes with the development of RAC1, effectively disabling it.

Once the precursor cells eventually split into their sperm forms, however, they undergo the process of meiosis, divvying up the chromosomes so each sperm only has one of each pair.

This means some sperm now have a t-variant chromosome, and others don't. Here's the truly clever part the t-variants also produce their own remedy, rescuing RAC1 from harm by expressing a special regulating protein.

"Imagine a marathon, in which all participants get poisoned drinking water, but some runners also take an antidote," says Herrmann.

That antidote works well in small enough doses. Unfortunately, an abundance of RAC1 is just as bad as a shortfall. In a marathon packed with poisoners all churning out antidotes, the racers will soon be burdened by excess RAC1.

"The competitiveness of individual sperm seems to depend on an optimal level of active RAC1; both reduced or excessive RAC1 activity interferes with effective forward movement," says the study's lead author Alexandra Amaral.

It's the first time experiments have demonstrated exactly how heterozygous t-variant mice gain an advantage, while affirming the biochemistry of RAC1 in mammalian sperm navigation.

Being observed in mice, the research only has limited relevance to human reproduction. But the more we understand about diverse models of reproductive chemistry across the animal kingdom, the better we understand how ours evolved.

This research was published in PLOS One.

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In a Weird Twist, Sperm Have Been Caught Poisoning Other Sperm to Get Ahead in Mice - ScienceAlert

Veteran Biotechnology Executive Elizabeth Cormier-May Recruited to Lead Women’s Health Startup Mammogen Inc. – PRNewswire

"Providing end-to-end care is good, but we think an end-to-never-end community is better."

"When women think of their physical, mental and emotional health, I want Mammogen to be the first, second, and third thing that comes to mind," said Ms. Cormier-May. "Mammogen is working to detect earlier, diagnose easier, treat better, and to support all women throughout the life-long battle that comes with survivorship. Providing end-to-end care is good, but we think an end-to-never-end community is better."

Mammogen's core technology is a non-invasive screening solution intended for all women, but particularly for the under-40 population who aren't eligible for annual mammography and the 55+ population who are only recommended for mammography every other year. "Mammogen's technology will provide regular and reliable screening and diagnostic tools for tens of millions of women who are grossly underserved by current standards of care," said the incoming CEO. "I am extremely excited to build off of Mammogen's strong scientific foundation and speed this innovation to market, so that we can get more women screened earlier and arm clinicians with actionable insights about their patients."

Ms. Cormier-May brings vast experience within medicinal chemistry, genetics, and both companion and molecular diagnostics while working with companies including Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Myriad Genetics, Qiagen, and Predictive Biosciences. Elizabeth built her career launching and selling diagnostic tests into the women's health, oncology and urology markets. During her tenure as Head of Commercial Operations at Exosome Dx (acquired by Bio-Techne), Elizabeth was responsible for building the infrastructure and defining the launch of the company's flagship diagnostic, ExoDx Prostate(IntelliScore).

"I am humbled by the fact that of all the opportunities in this space, Elizabeth chose Mammogen," stated company Founder and Chairman, Marty Keiser. "Denise (DeeDee) DeMan, the founder and CEO of Bench International, immediately connected with my passion for improving women's health and my vision to build Mammogen as a women-led organization. DeeDee not only brought us a top CEO, but she has also joined our board of directors, bringing extensive experience and connections in the life science community that will continue to add value at every stage of growth for Mammogen."

Mammogen is one of three joint venture companies established between IV BioHoldings (IVBH), a bio innovation studio founded by Keiser, and leadinghealthcare analytics provider, Liquid Biosciences. "When Marty first told me of his plans to apply his unique approach to venture creation to women's health, including finding ways to offer underserved women access to innovative technologies, it was obvious that people would be one of his greatest assets," said Ms. DeMan. "When you combine Elizabeth's experience in liquid biopsies and early-stage diagnostics, her track record in unlocking value for patients, payers and stakeholders, and her courageous and ambitious spirit, there is no question that we found the perfect person to build Mammogen into an industry leader in women's health."

About Mammogen

Mammogen is a female-led biotechnology company focused onmeaningfully improving the detection, diagnosis and treatment of women's health-related diseases, and creating an end-to-never-end community for women around the world. Mammogen's flagship product is a liquid biopsy test that measures novel circulating messenger RNA (mRNA) biomarkers required for the non-invasive detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. The non-invasive test is positioned to unlock regular and reliable screening for millions of women around the world and eliminate many unnecessary biopsy procedures. The company's proprietary multi-gene expression signature for breast cancer detection has been extensively validated in blood, as well as saliva, and has shown statistical significance towards providing measurable improvement upon current standards of care. Mammogen's product pipeline consists of an array of non-invasive prognostics and diagnostics for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis and other diseases that affect some-, mostly-, or only-women. For more information visit

About Bench International

Bench International is the oldest woman-founded executive search firm serving the Life Science and Healthcare sectors. The firm is also one of the most renowned experts in diversity recruitment at the board and executive level, as well as in R&D leadership. Bench's scorecard reflects over $150 billion in successful client exits, a 98% project completion record, with a 75% retention for five or more years. 33% of all leaders placed in Bench's 45+ year history have been gender and ethnically diverse. With headquarters in San Diego, California, and satellite offices in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, Bench is One Global Team, No Borders, No Boundaries and One Global Budget, thus mitigating internally competitive offices. For more information

About IV BioHoldings

IV BioHoldings (IVBH) is an innovation studio that specializes in de novo company creation exclusively within life sciences. The IVBH studio takes a multi-disciplinary approach to building companies; cross-pollinating ideas and experience across a variety of industries, breaking down silos, upending the healthcare R&D process, and rethinking the startup model. The studio uses advanced analytical science to provide greater insight into human biology and radically improve the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. The current IVBH ecosystem comprises three transformative bio startups, including LiquidLung, HepGene and Mammogen, focused on pulmonary disease, metabolic disease, and women's health, respectively. For more information visit

About Liquid Biosciences

Liquid Biosciences (LBS) radically reduces diagnostic and drug development risk, time, and cost, from pre-clinical research through regulatory approval. LBS' Emerge bio-analytics platform agnostically discovers and models the nonlinear dynamics of how biology, behavior, and circumstances interact to drive patient outcomes. Our mathematical evolution technology goes beyond artificial intelligence's capabilities, and has produced superior accuracy, novel insights, and explainability in every head-to-head comparison with other analytic methods. Liquid Biosciences' clients are major biopharma firms, diagnostic companies, and world-class research institutions. We've completed over 165 major analytic projects across 44 diseases, using the full spectrum of clinical trial, real-world, and multi-omics biomarker data. For more information about Liquid Biosciences visit

CONTACT: [emailprotected]

SOURCE Mammogen

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Veteran Biotechnology Executive Elizabeth Cormier-May Recruited to Lead Women's Health Startup Mammogen Inc. - PRNewswire

Purdue trustees ratify faculty positions, approve new degree programs, award posthumous degree, honor friends of the university – Purdue News Service

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Feb. 5) ratified two faculty positions, approved three new degree programs and awarded a posthumous bachelors degree. Trustees also issued resolutions of appreciation for friends of the university.

The ratified faculty positions are Barry Pittendrigh as the John V. Osmun Chair in Urban Entomology and Margo Monteith as a Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences, both on the West Lafayette campus.

Pittendrigh rejoined the Purdue faculty as a tenured full professor of entomology in January, returning to West Lafayette from Michigan State University. His research spans many aspects of insect toxicology, genomics and entomology and has made an impact on insect theoretical genetics, ecology and molecular biology. Pittendrigh previously served as an assistant and associate professor at Purdue from 2000-08, during which time he led the Indiana Center for Insect Genomics and the body louse genome project, an NIH-funded collaboration of over 60 labs. After Purdue, he moved on to the University of Illinois and Michigan State, where he held endowed and named professorships, respectively. He has received over $30 million in grant funding, including two grants in excess of $10 million, and has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications. Pittendrigh leads an innovative program in outreach and public education focused on multilingual tools, and boasts a strong track record as an educator and a student mentor.

Monteith is an internationally renowned expert on diversity, inclusion, stereotyping and prejudice reduction who has served as a full professor at Purdue since 2006. Her pioneering research has investigated the self-regulation of prejudice, strategies and processes of change in implicit stereotyping and prejudice, and effective strategies for confronting prejudice. She has translated her theory to practice by developing interventions to reduce behavioral manifestation of biases and to improve the sense of belonging among marginalized groups. Her research is consistently published in the highest impact journals in her field, and she serves as editor-in-chief of Social Psychological and Personality Science. She also has served on executive committees of professional societies and as president of the Midwestern Psychological Association. She is a Fellow of five professional organizations and has received numerous grants to address pressing social issues, including female underrepresentation in positions of power and leadership, the implications of diversity and inclusion for science and society, and student inclusion on the college campus. Monteith received the College of Health and Human Sciences Research Career Achievement Award in 2019.

In other action, the board approved three new degree programs: Online Master of Nuclear Engineering on the West Lafayette campus, and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and Masters Degree in Music Therapy, both on the Fort Wayne campus beginning in fall 2021. Trustees also approved the restructuring of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies at Fort Wayne.

The Online Master of Nuclear Engineering degree is designed for working engineers and professionals to advance their skills without disrupting their careers, offering flexible plans of study with a format that allows students to study from their location. The School of Nuclear Engineering joins several other schools in the Purdue College of Engineering that offer online masters degree programs, including Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice will allow Purdue Fort Wayne to respond to increased student interest in this important area. The degree is designed to prepare students to work in the major areas of criminal justice including policing, courts and corrections.

The Masters Degree in Music Therapy will prepare students academically and clinically for board certification as a music therapist through the Certification Board for Music Therapists and for entry into the health care field as a clinical music therapist with advanced level clinical skills. Employers are increasingly showing preference for music therapists with a masters degree when hiring.

The restructuring at Fort Wayne results in an academic organization aligned with the separate colleges of science, colleges of liberal arts, and colleges of education at Purdue West Lafayette. The creation of the College of Liberal Arts and College of Science, as well as the elimination of the College of Professional Studies at Purdue Fort Wayne, will result in a structure that students will more easily identify with and that is more robust for future growth and engagement with corporate and community partners.

Trustees awarded a posthumous Bachelor of Science degree in computer graphics technology from Purdue Polytechnic New Albany to Amber Simler. Deceased students who have earned at least 85% of their credit-hour requirements and satisfied most of the requirements for a major may be nominated for a posthumous degree.

Additionally, the board approved resolutions of appreciation for retiring Purdue director of audits Peggy L. Fish and for those who recently contributed $1 million or more to the university. Appreciation goes to David and Bonnie Brunner, to support College of Veterinary Medicine; Joanne Troutner, to support Purdue University, Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies, Purdue Research Foundation, the College of Agriculture, College of Liberal Arts, College of Veterinary Medicine, Convocations and Intercollegiate Athletics; William Phillips, to support the College of Science; Suzanne Robertson, to support the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; David Burow and Suzanne Sweeney, to support the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Valerie McKinney, to support the School of Management; Alexander and Helena Galezewski, to support Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation; Michael and Carol Sohn; to support Purdue Bands & Orchestras and the College of Engineering; the estate of Jon Taenzer, to support the College of Science; and one anonymous gift, to support the College of Health and Human Sciences.

In recognizing these donors, trustees further approved the naming of the forthcoming David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex. The board also approved the naming of Dr. Jon C. Taenzer Floor in the Chaney-Hale Hall of Science. Taenzer received his Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1964.

As construction and fund-raising continues for Marc and Sharon Hagle Hall, trustees approved an increase to the authorized budget for the facility from $20 million to $22 million. The project cost is entirely covered by gift funds.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to todays toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap

Sources: Jay Akridge,

Chris Ruhl,

Mike Cline,

April Heady,

Barry Pittendrigh,

Margo Monteith,

Journalists visiting campus: Journalists should followProtect Purdue protocolsandthe followingguidelines:

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Purdue trustees ratify faculty positions, approve new degree programs, award posthumous degree, honor friends of the university - Purdue News Service

Former WWE Star Tyler Reks Reveals She Is A Woman Named Gabbi Tuft – SEScoops

Gabbi Tuft was formerly known as Tyler Reks while she was a WWE Superstar. A press release was sent out today from Extra TV regarding Gabbi making her long-awaited gender reveal that she is a woman.

Despite his successes during and after hisWWEcareer, Gabe was still wrestling with a secret persona dwelling deep within him, the press release reads. This is a persona he has been hiding in the loud silence of his soul since childhood. Finally, with the blessing of his loving wife Priscilla, Gabe is ready to reveal who he really is. He is now known as She: A beautiful, wise, witty and wonderful woman called Gabbi.

More on Gabbis story will air tomorrow on Extra TV.

This is a story that wrestling and other sports fans, friends and followers must not miss, especially many in theLGBTQcommunity dealing with challenging transgender issues, who Gabbi and Priscilla are willing to help.Airing exclusively on Extraon Friday, Feb.5, 2021.Tune in to your local listingfor this exclusive story.

Gabbi Tufts social media profiles have been counting down to todays announcement:

Gabbi has similar posts going back several days on her account.

Tyler Reks started with WWE in 2007 and asked for her release in 2012. She retired from wrestling although would later team with Curt Hawkins in 2014 on the indie scene for a brief period.

Reks is a former FCW Champion, 2x FCW tag-team champion (1x w/ John Morrions, 1x w/ Curtis Axel).

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[Full text] Association Between the SLC1A1 Glutamate Transporter Gene and Obsessiv | NDT – Dove Medical Press


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental illness with complicated clinical symptoms. The disease is characterized by intrusive unwanted thoughts and repetitive behavior. The lifetime prevalence of patients is between 1% and 3%, and it is listed as one of the ten most disabling diseases in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO).1,2 OCD is often accompanied by other mental illnesses, such as Tourettes syndrome or eating disorders, which makes treatment more difficult.3,4

More and more evidences show that the glutamatergic system plays an important role in the etiology and subsequent treatment of OCD.5 Imaging and biological studies have shown that glutamate dysregulated neurotransmission in special parts of the brain leads to the appearance of OCD symptoms.6 According to multiple independent family-based association studies and a case-control analysis, the SLC1A1 gene is closely related to the occurrence of OCD.79 Studies have pointed out that compared with the control group, the concentration of glutamate in the cerebrospinal fluid of OCD patients is higher.10 And the abnormal glutamatergic transmission in the cortex-striatum-thalamus-cortex (CSTC) circuit plays a certain role in the pathogenesis of OCD.11 In addition, it has been observed that children with OCD a decreased amount of glutamate in the anterior cingulate cortex. In the brain regions of patients with OCD, the level of glutamate receptors is also modified. It has been reported that serotonin can affect dopaminergic activity indirectly through the glutamatergic and GABAergic systems.12 It has been reported that serotonin can influence dopaminergic activity indirectly through the glutamatergic and GABA-ergic systems.13

SLC1A1 is located on chromosome 9p24, which is expressed in brain regions related to OCD,14 including the cerebral cortex, striatum, and thalamus.15 As research into the hereditary pattern of OCD increases, the role of the glutamate transporter gene SLC1A1 in the pathogenesis of the disease has attracted attention.9,1618 The glutamate transporter EAAC1 (EAAT3) is a crucial transporter for mammals. Approximately 3040% of synapses in the mammalian brain are affected by EAAC1, which is encoded by SLC1A1 gene.19 Bellini et al found that mice lacking EAAC1 showed increased anxiety-like and disrupted grooming behaviors, and then they identify new molecular mechanisms by which EAAC1 can shape glutamatergic and dopaminergic signals and control repeated movement execution.20 An important function of EAAC1 is to stop the postsynaptic effects of glutamate as well as to regulate extrasynaptic glutamate levels, thus limiting the activation of extra-synaptic neurotransmitter receptors by rapidly removing released glutamate from the synaptic cleft and so alleviating subsequent excitotoxicity. EAAC1 enables excitatory transmission between synapses to function correctly. The SLC1A1 gene polymorphisms may be factors which contribute to glutamate dysfunction in cases of OCD.

It has been speculated that genetic variation within or near the SLC1A1 gene is associated with OCD in the Chinese Han population. OCD is a complex disease, in which patients with early-onset OCD and patients with late-onset OCD have different genetic foundations and clinical symptoms, which makes their treatment results often different. We classified the onset-age <18 as early-onset and the onset-age18 as late-onset in the present study. We aimed to provide basic evidence for SLC1A1 as a candidate gene for the etiology of OCD in this population. A total of 438 OCD patients and 465 healthy controls were genotyped, and four SNPs (rs10491734, rs3780412, rs301434 and rs3087879) were selected to validate our hypothesis.

A total of 438 OCD patients (mean age, 29.2713.96 years) and 465 controls (mean age, 28.779.25 years) from the Affiliated Hospital of Medical College Qingdao University participated in this study. All subjects provided written informed consent, children in the present study were written and provided by their guardians. The OCD patient group included 260 male patients and 178 female patients, while the control group comprised 276 male subjects and 189 female subjects. We diagnosed patients according to the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) and Obsessive compulsive symptoms of participants were assessed through the YaleBrown Obsessive Compulsive Scale Checklist (YBOCS-CL),21 indicating that all patients were severely affected (26.724.43). YBOCS severity scale scores range from 0 to 40, with a score 16, indicating clinically significant symptoms. A score of16 on the YBOCS severity scale was required for inclusion in this study. Subjects with a diagnosis, according to DSM-IV, of schizophrenia, recurrent major depression, bipolar disorder, mental retardation, alcohol or other substance abuse within the last 6 months or a history of psychosurgery, encephalitis, or significant head trauma were excluded. Subjects showing slight OCD symptoms with serious comorbidity symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and tic, were also excluded. Subjects refusing to participate or permit the extraction of venous blood were excluded.

Healthy control (n=465) subjects were recruited from the Center of Health Examination of the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University Medical College. All controls were included after being interviewed using the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies22 and Family Interview for Genetic Studies (assessing first-degree relatives of control families according to the reports of controls) to confirm the absence of both personal and familial history of OCD and other psychiatric disorders. Two experienced psychiatrists conducted a MINI for each member of the control samples to ensure that none of the controls suffered from any psychiatric disorders before beginning the current study.

The protocol of this study conformed to the ethical guidelines of the 1975 Declaration of Helsinki. This study was approved through the Ethics Committees of Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University Medical College. All subjects provided written informed consent. In particular, the informed consent for children in the present study was written and provided by their guardians.

Genomic DNA was extracted from leukocytes in the peripheral blood using standard methods. DNA amplification was conducted using polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The following PCR primer sequences were used: rs301434 forward, 5-ACGTTGGATGGCCCTGAAAAATCCCTTGAC-3, and rs301434 reverse, 5-ACGTTGGATGCAAGGGCAAGGACTTGTCTC-3; rs3780412 forward, 5-ACGTTGGATGAGCCCCCACAAAATACTCTG-3, and rs3780412 reverse, 5-ACGTTGGATGGAAGAGGTTTTATGTTTGTC-3; rs10491734 forward, 5-ACGTTGGATGGGAGACTTTGACTTTGCCAC-3, and rs10491734 reverse, 5-ACGTTGGATGCTTTTTGTTTCTGAATGCCC-3; rs3087879 forward, 5-ACGTTGGATGTGCAGAGTAAATCCCACGAC-3, and rs3087879 reverse, 5- ACGTTGGATGGGAGGAGACAAGAGTCATAG-3. PCR was performed in a final volume of 5 L containing 1 L of genomic DNA, 0.95 L of H2O, 0.625 L of PCR Buffer (10), 0.325 L of Mg Cl2 (25 mM), 1 L of dNTP (2.5 mM each), 1 L of primer, and 0.1 L of HotStarTaq DNA Polymerase (5 U/L). The following cycling conditions were used: initial denaturation at 94C for 15 min, followed by 45 cycles at 94C for 20 s, 56C for 30 s, and 72C for 1 min, with a final extension at 72C for 3 min and storage at 4C. Subsequently, we added the SAP reaction mix (final volume of 2 L), containing 1.53 L of H2O, 0.17 L of SAP Buffer (10), and 0.3 L of SAP enzyme (1 U/L), to the PCR product. The reaction was initiated at 37C for 40 min, followed by incubation at 85C for 5 min. The reaction was maintained at 4C. iPlex reagent (Sequenom, San Diego, CA) (final volume of 2 L, containing 0.755 L of H2O, 0.2 L of iPlex Buffer (10), 0.2 L of iPlex Termination mix, and 0.041 L of iPlex enzyme) was then added to the reaction product. The following cycling conditions were used: 94C for 30 s, followed by 40 cycles at 94C for 5 s, five cycles at 52C for 5 s, and 80C for 5 s, with a final extension at 72C for 3 min and storage at 4C.

Following purification, the reaction product was analyzed using MassARRAY SpectroCHIP (Sequenom, San Diego, CA). SNPs were detected with a MassARRAY Compact Analyzer (Sequenom, San Diego, CA). Results were analyzed using TYPER software (Sequenom, San Diego, CA) and genotyping data were obtained. Detection accuracy was 99.6%. SNP genotyping was performed at Shanghai Benegene Biotechnologies Co. Ltd., and data analysis was conducted using SPSS software (version 17.0 for Windows; SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). Age comparisons between the OCD and control groups were made with a t-test. Allelic, genotypic and haplotype frequencies between OCD participants and controls, as well as to estimate the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium were established by SHEsis software (

No deviation of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was found in the distribution of the four SNPs among OCD and control groups (P>0.05). We found significant differences in genotype frequencies of rs301434 between all OCD and control groups, while there were significant differences in genotype frequency of rs301434 between early-onset OCD and control groups, late-onset OCD and control groups as well as male OCD and control groups (total 2=9.948, P=0.007; male 2=8.766, P=0.013; female 2=2.331, P=0.311; early-onset 2=8.982, P=0.011; late-onset 2=8.839, P=0.012).

We also found that genotype and allele frequencies of rs3780412 were statistically significant for the late-onset OCD and control groups (genotype 2=7.196, P=0.027; allele 2=5.575, P=0.018). However, we found that genotype and allele frequencies of rs10491734 and rs3087879 were not statistically significant for OCD or control groups.

Four loci haplotypes (rs10491734-rs3780412-rs301434-rs3087879) were found to be associated with OCD. Haplotypes G-A-A-G and G-G-A-G were statistically significant for all OCD and control groups (P=0.033 and 0.030, respectively). Haplotype G-A-G-G was associated with the male OCD group (P=0.010), while G-G-A-G was associated with the female OCD group (P=0.039). Finally, we found that G-A-A-G, G-G-A-G were associated with the late-onset OCD groups (P=0.019 and 0.050, respectively). In addition, our use of haplotype analysis showed that G-A-G-G is a risk factor for male OCD (OR = 1.737, 95% CI: 1.1342.660), while G-G-A-G is a risk factor for total (OR = 1.412, 95% CI: 1.0331.930), female (OR = 1.670, 95% CI: 1.0212.730) and late-onset OCD (OR = 1.469, 95% CI: 0.9972.166).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a complex multifactorial disease, which seems to be affected by environmental and genetic factors. Recent reports indicate that glutamate transporter gene mutations play a role in the etiology of OCD. Our study found significant differences in genotype frequencies of rs301434 between total OCD group and control group. After grouping by gender and age, the results indicate a significant difference in the genotype frequency of rs301434 between early-onset OCD and control groups, late-onset OCD and control groups as well as male OCD and control groups (See Table 2). Arnold et al found that two variants located within a single haplotype block, rs301434 and rs301435, were associated with the transmission of OCD,7 while de Salles Andrade and colleagues found that the A-A-G (rs301434-rs3780412-rs301443) haplotype was twice as common for people with OCD than for controls. Regarding clinical characteristics, the G-A (rs301434-rs3780412) haplotype in patients with OCD seems to be related to the symptoms of hoarding.24 This finding implicated that rs301434 may be an important SNP to OCD in the Han Chinese population. Rs301434 may influence the development of OCD through expression of the neuronal glutamate transporter.

Table 1 The Results of Single-Site Allele Association Analysis for the Overall, Male, Female, Early-Onset, and Late-Onset OCD Samples

Table 2 The Results of Single-Site Genotype Association Analysis for the Overall, Male, Female, Early-Onset, and Late-Onset OCD Samples

Dickel et al found a positive relationship between rs3780412, rs301430 and OCD, where the association is limited to males in rs3780412.8 Wendland et al found three highly significant synthetic markers in haplotype analysis, where rs3087879, rs301430 and rs3858819 were significant in the OCD haplotype test.9 When we tested rs3780412 and rs3087879 in the Han population, we found a significant difference in allele and genotype frequency of rs3780412 between late-onset OCD and control groups. However, genotypes and alleles of rs3087879 were not statistically significant between OCD patients and control groups, nor between the stratified groups (See Tables 1 and 2). The further research significance of dividing OCD into early and late subtypes lies in exploring the genetic and neurobiological determinants of OCD and predicting the best treatment plan. The symptoms of OCD are heterogeneous and are thought to emerge from complex genetic, environmental, and epigenetic interactions. Compared with late-onset OCD, early-onset OCD are more likely to be associated with Tourette syndrome, have greater heritability, and have more difficult treatment. We speculate that late-onset OCD may be related to rs3780412, which may have connection with the influence of psychosocial factors on patients. Certain social factors may have an impact on this SNP, which is expressed in patients with late-onset OCD. We will make further analysis of related influencing factors in future research.

Some authors have found that 3-SNP haplotype rs4740788-rs10491734-rs10491735 was associated with a total sample of OCD patients as well as with male OCD.16 Wu and colleagues found that rs10491734 was significantly associated with early-onset OCD.25 However, we did not reach this conclusion for the Han population (See Tables 1 and 2). This may be due to the polymorphism of the locus.

Although we only found positive results in the two SNPs rs301434 and rs3780412, haplotypes studies found more positive results, which may be due to polymorphisms at multiple loci alleles affect different subtypes of OCD and clinical symptoms (See Table 1). We found that haplotypes of the four SNPs (rs10491734-rs3780412-rs301434-rs3087879) showed significant differences between the OCD and control groups as a whole. After classifying OCD participants on the basis of sex and age, we found significant differences between male OCD and controls, female OCD and controls as well as late-onset OCD and controls. The haplotype G-A-A-G was associated with both total OCD and late-onset OCD. Haplotype G-A-G-G was associated with male OCD and is a risk factor for male OCD. Haplotype G-G-A-G was associated with total OCD, female OCD and late-onset OCD, and is a risk factor for these groups (See Table 3).

Table 3 The Results of the Haplotype Analysis for SNP rs10491734-rs3780412-rs301434-rs3087879 in OCD Patients and Controls

In conclusion, we found that the genotype of SLC1A1 rs301434 is significantly associated with all OCD and control groups, early-onset OCD and control groups, late-onset OCD and control groups as well as male OCD and control groups. The genotype and allele of rs3780412 is significantly associated with late-onset OCD and control groups. The haplotypes (G-A-A-G, G-G-A-G) are associated with total OCD and control groups. Haplotype (G-G-A-G) is associated with female OCD, haplotype (G-A-G-G) is associated with male OCD, and haplotype (G-A-A-G, G-G-A-G) is associated with late-onset OCD. Our findings support the idea that SLC1A1 is a susceptibility gene for OCD, but this study also has limitations, due to the limited sample size, our results need to further increase the sample data for verification.

The authors wish to thank the patients, healthy volunteers, and their family members.

All authors declare no conflicts of interest for this work.

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8. Dickel DE, Veenstra-VanderWeele J, Cox NJ, et al. Association testing of the positional and functional candidate gene SLC1A1/EAAC1 in early-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63(7):778785. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.63.7.778

9. Wendland JR, Moya PR, Timpano KR, et al. A haplotype containing quantitative trait loci for SLC1A1 gene expression and its association with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66(4):408416. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.6

10. Rajendram R, Kronenberg S, Burton CL, Arnold PD. Glutamate genetics in obsessive-compulsive disorder: a review. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2017;26(3):205213.

11. Bhattacharyya S, Khanna S, Chakrabarty K, Mahadevan A, Christopher R, Shankar SK. Anti-brain autoantibodies and altered excitatory neurotransmitters in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2009;34(12):24892496. doi:10.1038/npp.2009.77

12. Nissen JB, Thomsen PH. Clinicians views on clinical examination and treatment of children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A Danish national survey study. Nord J Psychiatry. 2008;62(4):309314. doi:10.1080/08039480801984065

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16. Samuels J, Wang Y, Riddle MA, et al. Comprehensive family-based association study of the glutamate transporter gene SLC1A1 in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2011;156B(4):472477. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.31184

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18. Stewart SE, Fagerness JA, Platko J, et al. Association of the SLC1A1 glutamate transporter gene and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2007;144B(8):10271033. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.30533

19. Nieoullon A, Canolle B, Masmejean F, Guillet B, Pisano P, Lortet S. The neuronal excitatory amino acid transporter EAAC1/EAAT3: does it represent a major actor at the brain excitatory synapse? J Neurochem. 2006;98(4):10071018. doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03978.x

20. Bellini S, Fleming KE. Neuronal glutamate transporters control dopaminergic signaling and compulsive behaviors.. 2018;38(4):937961. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.1906-17.2017

21. Goodman WK, Price LH, Rasmussen SA, et al. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. I. Development, use, and reliability. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(11):10061011. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810110048007

22. Nurnberger JI Jr, Blehar MC, Kaufmann CA, et al. Diagnostic interview for genetic studies. Rationale, unique features, and training. NIMH Genetics Initiative. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1994;51(11):849859; discussion 863844. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1994.03950110009002

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24. de Salles Andrade JB, Giori IG, Melo-Felippe FB, Vieira-Fonseca T, Fontenelle LF, Kohlrausch FB. Glutamate transporter gene polymorphisms and obsessive-compulsive disorder: a case-control association study. J Clin Neurosci. 2019;62:5359. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2019.01.009

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[Full text] Association Between the SLC1A1 Glutamate Transporter Gene and Obsessiv | NDT - Dove Medical Press

Transvection regulates the sex-biased expression of a fly X-linked gene – Science Magazine

Enhancer-gene interactions drive split

In many species across the animal kingdom, male and female phenotypes differ. One such example is the wing spot seen in male Drosophila biarmipes flies but not the female flies. Galouzis and Prud'homme investigate the X-linked yellow gene and its enhancer. Investigating the genetics of the trait, they found evidence that the male-specific phenotype is caused by a trans interaction between the enhancer and gene that silences the gene when it is present in only one copy in the male (which only has a single X chromosome) versus the two copies found in the female. This gene thus appears to be regulated by differing genomic interactions in male and female flies and is an example of the phenomenon known as transvection.

Science, this issue p. 396

Sexual dimorphism in animals results from sex-biased gene expression patterns. These patterns are controlled by genetic sex determination hierarchies that establish the sex of an individual. Here we show that the male-biased wing expression pattern of the Drosophila biarmipes gene yellow, located on the X chromosome, is independent of the fly sex determination hierarchy. Instead, we find that a regulatory interaction between yellow alleles on homologous chromosomes (a process known as transvection) silences the activity of a yellow enhancer functioning in the wing. Therefore, this enhancer can be active in males (XY) but not in females (XX). This transvection-dependent enhancer silencing requires the yellow intron and the chromatin architecture protein Mod(mdg4). Our results suggest that transvection can contribute more generally to the sex-biased expression of X-linked genes.

Transvection regulates the sex-biased expression of a fly X-linked gene - Science Magazine

A growing share of lung cancer is turning up in never-smokers – STAT

Sharon Begley died of complications of lung cancer on Jan. 16, just five days after completing this article. She was a never-smoker.

Breast cancer wouldnt have surprised her; being among the 1 in 8 women who develop it over their lifetime isnt statistically improbable. Neither would have colorectal cancer; knowing the risk, Mandi Pike definitely planned to have colonoscopies as she grew older.

But when a PET scan in November 2019 revealed that Pike, a 33-year-old oil trader, wife, and mother of two in Edmond, Okla., had lung cancer she had been coughing and was initially misdiagnosed with pneumonia her first reaction was, but I never smoked, she said. It all seemed so surreal.


Join the club. Cigarette smoking is still the single greatest cause of lung cancer, which is why screening recommendations apply only to current and former smokers and why84% of U.S. women and 90% of U.S. men with a new diagnosis of lung cancer have ever smoked, according to a study published in December in JAMA Oncology. Still, 12% of U.S. lung cancer patients are never-smokers.

Scientists disagree on whether the absolute number of such patients is increasing, but the proportion who are never-smokers clearly is. Doctors and public health experts have been slow to recognize this trend, however, and now there is growing pressure to understand how never-smokers disease differs from that of smokers, and to review whether screening guidelines need revision.

Since the early 2000s, we have seen what I think is truly an epidemiological shift in lung cancer, said surgeon Andrew Kaufman of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, whose program for never-smokers has treated some 3,800 patients in 10 years. If lung cancer in never-smokers were a separate entity, it would be in the top 10 cancers in the U.S. for both incidence and mortality.


A 2017 study of 12,103 lung cancer patients in three representative U.S. hospitals found that never-smokers were 8% of the total from 1990 to 1995 but 14.9% from 2011 to 2013. The authors ruled out statistical anomalies and concluded that the actual incidence of lung cancer in never smokers is increasing. Another study that same year, of 2,170 patients in the U.K., found an even larger increase: The proportion of lung cancer patients who were never-smokers rose from 13% in 2008 to 28% in 2014.

It is well-documented that approximately 20% of lung cancer cases that occur in women in the U.S. and 9% of cases in men, are diagnosed in never-smokers, Kaufman said.

To a great extent, this is a function of straightforward math, said epidemiologist Ahmedin Jemal of the American Cancer Society. Fewer people smoke today than in previous decades 15% in 2015, 25% in 1995, 30% in 1985, 42% in 1965. Simply because there are fewer smokers in the population, out of every 100 lung cancer patients, fewer will therefore be smokers. And that means more of them will be never-smokers.

There are also hints that the absolute incidence of lung cancer in never-smokers has been rising, said oncologist John Heymach of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Some data say it has, but other data say no. The stumbling block is that old datasets often dont indicate a lung cancer patients smoking status, Heymach said, making it impossible to calculate what percent of never-smokers in past decades developed lung cancer.

Jemal, however, cautions that it is not the case that a never-smoker has a greater chance of developing lung cancer today than never-smokers did in the past.

Current cancer screening guidelines recommend a CT scan for anyone 50 to 80 years old who has smoked at least 20 pack years (the equivalent of one pack a day for 20 years, or two packs a day for 10 years, and so on) and who is still smoking or quit less than 15 years ago. Screening is not recommended for never-smokers because the costs of doing so are deemed greater than the benefits, Jemal said; thousands of never-smokers would have to be screened in any given year to find one lung cancer.

Still, low-dose CT can catch lung cancer in a significant number of never-smokers. A 2019 study in South Korea diagnosed lung cancer in 0.45% of never-smokers, compared to 0.86% of smokers. The researchers urged policymakers to consider the value of using low-dose CT screening in the never-smoker population.

It used to be that the high-risk group for whom CT screening is recommended was the vast majority of lung cancer patients, Heymach said. But now that so many lung cancer cases are in nonsmokers, there is absolutely a need to reevaluate the screening criteria.

Researchers are trying to improve screening by reducing the incidence of false positives when CT finds lung nodules or an old scar that you got 20 years ago, he said. Those dont pose a threat but have to be biopsied to ascertain that. Screening never-smokers would also be more efficient than it is today if we could identify who, among nonsmokers, are at higher risk, he said.

Cancer doctors already know part of the answer: women. Worldwide, 15% of male lung cancer patients are never-smokers. But fully half of female lung cancer patients never smoked. And women never-smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as men who never put a cigarette to their lips.

Beyond sex, nothing stands out as a single large risk factor that, if we only got rid of it, we would solve the problem of lung cancer in never-smokers, said Josephine Feliciano, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. But air pollution, radon, family history of lung cancer, [and] genetic predispositions all play a role. Chronic lung infections and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) also seem to increase risk.

None of those, with the possible exception of genetics and indoor pollution (cooking fires in some low-income countries), affect women more than men. So whats going on?

At least one biotech believes that biological differences between lung cancer in never-smokers and smokers merits a new drug, and one that might be especially effective in women. A different disease needs a different drug, said co-founder and CEO Panna Sharma of Lantern Pharma. In fact Lantern, which is developing a drug for lung cancer in female never-smokers, believes that disease is so different it recently tried to convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to designate it an orphan disease, said Sharma.

Called LP-300, the Lantern drug increased overall survival from 13 months to more than 27, compared to chemotherapy alone, in female nonsmokers, in a small trial. It targets molecular pathways that are more common in female nonsmokers than in any other group, said Sharma, targeting the mutations EGFR, ALK, MET, and ROS1 (common in never-smokers) directly and boosting the efficacy of other drugs that attack them, such as erlotinib and crizotinib. Lantern plans a larger trial this year.

Smokers tumors tend to have more mutations overall, thanks to mutagen-packed cigarette smoke attacking their lungs, but scientists have developed more drugs for never-smokers lung tumors than for smokers. For instance, EGFR and ALK mutations are more common in never-smokers. (Mandi Pike had the EGFR mutation, which was relatively fortunate: A drug targets it, and she has been cancer-free since November.)

The targeted drugs bollix up each mutations cancer-causing effects. KRAS mutations are more common in smokers lung tumors, and there are no KRAS drugs. (A KRAS drug for lung cancer is imminent, though, said thoracic oncologist Ben Creelan of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.)

According to national guidelines, lung cancer in never-smokers should be treated the same as in smokers, said Creelan. But I think we should reconsider this, he said.

Because never-smokers have fewer tumor mutations, its harder to find them. So he said clinicians should be more aggressive about looking for actionable mutations in these patients. I keep looking for a mutation until I find something important, he said, adding that doctors might need better biopsy material or to use a different sequencing method in never-smokers.

In a cruel twist, the breakthrough drugs that take the brakes off immune cells, which then attack the tumor, are less effective in never-smokers lung cancer than in smokers. The reason seems to be that smokers tumors have more mutations, said Mount Sinais Kaufman; the mutations often cause the tumor cells to have molecules on their surface that the immune system perceives as foreign and revs up to attack. Never-smokers tumors have few, if any, of those come and get me molecules. Immune cells therefore ignore them.

In smokers, conversely, with more mutations, there is more for the immune system to recognize as bizarre and foreign, and so to provoke an attack, Creelan said.

In contrast, never-smokers tumors are more likely to respond to targeted drugs, and as a result to be in remission for a long time or even cured. Thats because with fewer mutations, never-smokers tumors are more likely to have an oncogene addiction, Heymach explained: They are propelled by only one mutation. The plethora of mutations in smokers tumors means that there is usually a back-up cancer driver if a targeted drug eliminates cells with only one. When a tumor has more and more mutations, blocking one is less likely to have an impact, Heymach said. But in nonsmokers, it can.

Heymach called for more funding to study lung cancer in never-smokers. It is an area thats underserved and deserves more investment, Heymach said. It should be commensurate with the public health threat it represents.

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A growing share of lung cancer is turning up in never-smokers - STAT

Woodland Park Zoo welcomes their first female Malayan tiger (PHOTOS) | News – Daily Hive

Azul is not a regular tiger, shes a calm tiger.

The female Malayantiger was born on January 5, 2016, in New York Citys Bronx Zoo and recently transferred to the Woodland Park Zoo where she became the zoosfirst female Malayan tiger.

After being hand-raiseddays following herbirthbecause her mother was not providing suitable maternal care, shes taken on an especially calm nature.

Azul has a very mellow personality, explainedAnimal Care Manager KimSzawan, in a press release.Shes taken very well to heranimalkeepers here in her new home at Woodland Park Zoo.

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

The female tiger has already spent 30 days in quarantine under the watch of the zoos veterinary care team and will meet thezoos10-year-oldtiger Bumi when she is ready.

According to the zoo, Bumi and Azul have a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Malayan Tiger Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of tigers.

In the future, the Association is hoping that the two produce a litter of precious Malayan tiger cubs.

Bumis genetics are considered highly valuablein terms of representation in the tiger population, which is why hes been paired with Azul, explained Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Malayan tigers are a bit smaller than Bengal tigers andare found in the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests of the southern tip of Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. There are only about 200 Malayan tigers left in the wild, which is why cubs are especially important to the survival of this species.

The Woodland Park Zoo hasnt had tiger cubs since 2006.

Its always been part of our long-term plan to eventually have tiger cubs again at the zoo, and we are excited to make that goal a reality.

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

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Woodland Park Zoo welcomes their first female Malayan tiger (PHOTOS) | News - Daily Hive

Cannabis Genetics: Study Reveals Genes Related To Sex Modification In Feminized Plants – Benzinga

This article by Camila Ferezin was originally published onThe Green Fund, and appears here with permission.

Cannabis sativaL. (hemp, marijuana) produces male and female inflorescences on different plants that produceunisexual flowers.

In commercial production, marijuana plants are all genetically feminized, as female plants accumulate far larger amounts of several cannabinoids in thetrichomes than male plants, which are often removed or killed. Moreover, the presence of male plants among females often leads to the fecundation of female plants; a fecundated female plant will lead to seed formation, reducing flower quality (as they become hermaphrodites) and buds/cannabinoids yield.

Both genetics and environment play a role in the determination of the sex of a cannabis plant. Many growers focus on the growing conditions to ensure that hermaphroditism (when you have both male and female flowers on the same plant) does not take place, but genetics play just asimportant a role.

Scientists have already identified whichgenes are responsible for flowerformation and sex development in other plants in the past.

For instance, loss or gain of function of those genes, due to environmental conditions or genetic manipulation, can have deleterious effects, including elimination (when the plant doesn't develop any flower) or conversion of floral parts (changes from female to male plants, for example).

As previously mentioned, sex determination in the cannabis flower is controlled primarily at the genetic level. Therefore,mappingthe genes responsible for sex differentiation and understanding the molecular basis of male flower development in cannabis is extremely interesting in a marketing perspective.

Male flower poses a problem for farmers growing drug-type female plants for cannabinoids since male flowers have fewer trichomes and lead to limited amounts of cannabinoids.

Nowadays, the rapidly growinghempfarming industry requires sex determination genetics for seed and fibre quality, as even feminized seeds can develop male flowers due to environmental conditions and mutations in the plant's DNA.

In this study, headed by Soheil S. Mahmoud from The University of British Columbia, feminized plants were treated with silver thiosulfate (Ag2S2O3) complex, a chemical compound capable to induce masculinizing effects and development of male flowers in female plants, and employed a comparative RNA-Seq study (a technique that can examine the quantity and sequences ofRNA, and analyzes the gene of the plant) to identify who are the genes involved in sex modification and flower development.

The investigation highlighted a number of genes with potential roles in floral development and sex determination.

Among these are genes involved in flower development, and plant hormone signalling.

The results suggest that stamen (the pollen-producing part of aflower, usually with a slender filament supporting theanther) development in female cannabis plants can be associated with complex networking of diverse genes involved in floral development, phytohormone signalling, sugar/lipid metabolism and other sex-related pathways.

Although the exact roles of these genes must be further investigated in plants, this study could be useful for the understanding of a plant's predisposition to produce opposite sex flowers and help growers to regulate this trait depending on the purpose of the cropping.

Moreover, this could be one step forward into specifically genetic modified cannabis, in order to manipulate certain features of the plant, such as increasing the percentage of female flowers, complete deletion of male flowers and enhanced trichome production per plant.

But the amazing word ofCannabis Genetic Modificationdoes not stop there, and we may face a steep growth on the field, leading to the development of Cannabis plants that arepest resistant, drought resistance, improved yieldsand withselective phenotypes.

Studies such as this not only produce outstanding knowledge about the plant biology but also creates amazing market opportunities for those seeking for specific traits in their cropping production.

Read the original Article onThe Green Fund.

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Cannabis Genetics: Study Reveals Genes Related To Sex Modification In Feminized Plants - Benzinga

Saudi women making their mark in science – Arab News

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelors in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.Suha KayumResearch engineerWith a career spanning 10 years, Kayum a research engineer with Saudi Aramcos EXPEC Advanced Research Center was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramcos reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.Kayum was a developer for the companys in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf AhmedLab scientistWith a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmeds main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.She later joined the companys Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramcos Research and Development Center.Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham AbuljadayelImmunologistIn what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.Dr. Abeer Al-OlayanPetroleum scientistWith an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramcos EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed AlthagafiPhysician-scientistDiagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-JohaniScientist of physical chemistryHer research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-NumairMolecular bioinformatics scientistDubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.

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Saudi women making their mark in science - Arab News