Author Archives: Ra'eesah Shaikh

Vaccinated against cancer?


Did you know that one of the first lines of defence against cancer is your own immune system? So that got me thinking, why do we not treat cancer in the same way as we treat infections – with vaccines! Vaccination and antibody-based therapies would be a lot more specific than traditional chemotherapy and radiotherapy […]

“Jumping Genes” in the Human Genome


In 1983, Barbara McClintock was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for her discovery of mobile elements in the genome capable of undergoing transposition – which she termed “jumping genes”. McClintock was a key leader in the early field of cytogenetics, and first used cytogenetic methods to study maize chromosomes. She first came […]

Three months in a structural biology laboratory.


As part of our final year, Biological Sciences students at the University of Leicester have the option to either do a experimental project or a literature based project. We are then expected to write a final dissertation based on this project. Owing to my dreams of one day doing my own research, I was really […]

How does the ER ensure proteins are correctly folded?


What is the ER Quality Control Mechanism? Chaperone proteins are involved in assisting protein translocation, retaining unfolded proteins in the ER, and mediating the unfolded protein response. There are 3 main ER Chaperone proteins involved:         I.            BIP Binds to exposed amino acid sequences that are normally buried in the interior of a […]

P Elements of Drosophila Melanogaster


What are P Elements? P elements are DNA transposable elements, that carry genes required for transposase activity and genes that encode a repressor that prevents expression of transposase. P elements have a characteristic 31bp inverted repeat at both ends of the element. P elements can be either full length or short length. The full length […]

Lambda Phage Replication: Lysis or Lysogeny?


Lambda Phage Replication Expression of Early Genes upon Phage Entry Upon entry of the phage genome into a cell, the phage genome circularises by joining together of the cos sites. Host RNA polymerases begin transcription from PL and PR,however due to rho-dependant termination signals, transcription of PL is stopped after the N protein has been […]

A Brief Introduction to Senescence and Cancer


What is Senescence? Senescence is “the biological process of ageing”. Therefore, it is the driving force behind wrinkling of the skin, whitening of the hair and many other things people try to avoid by spending millions of pounds per year on age-defying beauty treatments, creams and ointments. Phenomenally, though, understanding senescence may bring us closer […]