A few years ago, when the iPhone first came out, I fell in love with an app called "Molecules." It was easy to use, the images were lovely, and I thought manipulating molecules by touch could help solve some of the problems my students had with using Cn3D.
I was all set to switch.
But I couldn't. When it came to teaching, I needed features that Molecules just didn't have.
To make a long story short, we had an SBIR grant from National Science Foundation and the good fortune to work with Molecules' developer and another brilliant ... Read more
"By night all cats are gray" - Miguel Cervantes in Don Quixote
I've always liked Siamese cats. Students do, too. "Why Siamese cats wear masks" is always a favorite story in genetics class. So, when I opened my January copy of The Science Teacher, I was thrilled to see an article on Siamese cat colors and proteins AND molecular genetics (1). In the article, the authors (Todd and Kenyon) provide some background information on the enzymatic activity of tyrosinase and compare it to the catechol oxidase that ... Read more
When my parents were young, summer made cities a scary place for young families. My mother tells me children were often sent away from their homes to relatives in the country, if possible, and swimming pools were definitely off limits. The disease they feared, poliomyelitis, and the havoc it wrecked were the stuff of nightmares. Children could wake up with a headache and end up a few hours later, in an iron lung, struggling to breathe.
We feel interesting and sometimes painful sensations when capsaicin, from chilis, and the allyl isothiocyantes from wasabi,bind to receptors in our mouths. In this article, we look at the structures that communicate information to the cell. How do they tell the cell that capsaicin or wasabi compounds are bound? Read more
People of a certain age may remember a series of really funny commercials featuring Euell Gibbons and his famous question about whether you've ever eaten a pine tree. " Some parts are edible " said Euell.
Perhaps some parts are, but other pine tree products aren't so nourishing. Read more
In my last post, I wrote about insulin and interesting features of the insulin structure . Some of the things I learned were really surprising. For example, I was surprised to learn how similar pig and human insulin are. I hadn't considered this before, but this made me wonder about the human insulin we used to give to one of our cats. How do cat and human insulin compare?
It turns out, that all vertebrates produce insulin, even ... Read more