Science Blog: Tube-ular cell research

As I labeled my 180th microcentrifuge tube of the morning, I wondered what the scene looked like to anyone passing by. It might have resembled another one of those images of a person in a lab coat surrounded by unfamiliar lab equipment doing some sort of tedious task. I’d like to tell you the story of my own experience in research in my three years in science at Carleton to hopefully flesh out this picture a bit more. Over the past three years, I have learned a great deal about the fascinating biological processes that govern our lives. Two summer research grants have given me an opportunity to extend my knowledge beyond the classroom in an immunology lab. Immunology is […]

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Carleton prof investigates caterpillar sounds

Over a span of five years, Jayne Yack, a biology professor at Carleton, and a team of researchers discovered various species of caterpillars make distinct sounds to defend themselves against predators. During trips to Costa Rica and Ecuador, Yack and her team found four distinct sounds that the caterpillars can make: whistling, chirping, clicking, and vocalizing. The sounds are audible only as vibrations, not as sounds in the air. “We’re starting to look into how effective the sounds are,” Yack said.  “The sounds are very effective, especially the whistling sound . . .  some of these sounds freak birds out.” According to Yack, whistling occurs through the caterpillar’s air holes, while chirping happens when the caterpillar grinds their mandibles together. […]

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Researchers crowdfund for peanut allergy study

Carleton researchers are raising money to investigate a possible connection between disruptions in gut bacteria and the rise of peanut allergies in North America. The research could provide insight into the causes of the peanut allergy epidemic and lead to developments that could help hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have a peanut allergy, an ailment that currently has no cure, according to Rozlyn Boutin, the biology student leading the project. To conduct the study, researchers will feed antibiotics to pregnant mice, and will raise the baby mice on antibiotics for six weeks, she said. “Our hypothesis is that antibiotic administration immediately following birth disrupts the normal development of gut microbes and increases the likelihood of peanut allergies developing,” Boutin […]

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Carleton master’s students can now study data science

This year, for the first time, Faculty of Science master’s students in certain programs have the option to specialize in data science. Students who are already enrolled in master’s programs such as biology, computer science, economics, electrical engineering, computer engineering, biomedical engineering, and geography are eligible to apply for a specialization in data science, according to Carleton’s website. Frank Dehne, a professor in computer science at Carleton, said the program is very popular. “Some students are already coming to my office, just because they heard about the program through the grapevine even though the program isn’t announced yet,” he said. The program was expected to be approved in April 2014, according to Dehne, but was only recently approved in mid-August. The […]

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Carleton student Thomas Sorensen passes away

Carleton student Thomas Sorensen passed away Sept. 1 due to complications of a rare form of muscular dystrophy. Sorensen, a first-year biology student, was surrounded by his family and best friend when he died in a Calgary hospital. Kathy Sorensen, his mother, said he loved biology. “It had been his passion for years. When he was younger, he thought he wanted to be a marine biologist and work with turtles,” she said. Later Thomas changed his mind and decided to work with viral vectors to find cures for diseases such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. She said Thomas chose Carleton because of its care program and fully-accessible campus. Sorensen said she can remember when her son told her he wanted […]

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