Donate Your Body, Donate Knowledge

anatomy

By: Kristy Pugh, 1st year graduate student in the Anatomy Program

8313620499_38971b9463_oWe sometimes hear people talk about “donating their bodies to science.”

But what happens to these bodies, and why would anyone choose to give their body away?

This past year, as a first-year graduate student, I had the opportunity to find the answers to these questions firsthand.

Our Gross Anatomy class was a 12-week course and involved a full cadaver dissection.

DNA and Epigenetics: Understanding the Blueprint of Life (Part 2)

Biomedical Sciences

By: Patrick Brown, 2nd year PhD candidate in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

miceIn Part I of my discussion of DNA and epigenetics, I described how DNA is first converted into mRNA via transcription, then mRNA is translated into protein. Once proteins are made from this genetic code, they can begin doing work in cells.

I ended the last article with the question: how does the body choose which genes are expressed in which cells? Here I will discuss the concept of epigenetics and its role in shaping protein expression.

We can see the effects of epigenetics all around us. Many proteins are expressed differently between males and females – these proteins are under epigenetic control. If epigenetic marks are abnormal, then certain cancers become more prevalent. The most visible difference in epigenetic marks is seen in the coat color of the agouti mouse. Each mouse pictured (above) is genetically identical, but contains different amounts of a specific epigenetic mark. How can they have the same genes, but have different coat colors?

Shedding Light on Vision

Neuroscience

By: Andrew Huhn, 2nd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program

eyeHave you ever had an overly philosophical conversation with a friend where you ask, “Do you think the color blue I see is the same color blue that you see?”  There is no right way to answer this—because who knows, right?  It’s interesting to think about how we interact with the world, and particularly how we interact with the visual world.

How does our eye perceive color, and is this perception the same for everyone?

Why Do People Sleep? Surprisingly, Nobody Knows

Neuroscience

By: Jordan Gaines, 2nd year PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program

SleepWhy do people eat?

The answer is obvious: to convert food into energy for us to do work. We wouldn’t be able to move or think otherwise, and lack of food would eventually starve us to death.

Now consider: why do people sleep?

According to William C. Dement, renowned sleep researcher and founder of the U.S.’s first sleep laboratory, “the only reason we need to sleep that is really, really solid is because we get sleepy.”

In other words, after decades of research—nobody quite knows.