I’ve previously mentioned rational drug design on this site and I would like to take a moment to expand on this concept and current applications of this technology. In essence, rational drug design targets specific steps in the known biological processes of pathogens that are distinct from normal host functions. A great example of this idea are the new protease inhibitors for Hepatitis C, Boceprevir (Merck) and Telaprevir (Vertex). These agents target a specific function of the HCV serine protease (NS3/4A), rendering it non-functional. When this protease is active it shuts down the antiviral signaling and response in infected host cells1. By blocking this function the cell can once again sense HCV replication and activate multiple antiviral responses to limit and clear the infection, thereby allowing your own body to mount an effective defense against this virus. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: July 2012
Recently, there have been a rash of stories in the news covering a mysterious disease that has appeared in Cambodia, killing over 50 children in the last few months. Currently, there is evidence that this disease is caused by enterovirus 71, a causative agent of hand, foot, mouth disease. What is interesting is that these children are presenting with symptoms more severe than foot-and-mouth that include encephalitis, high fever, difficulty breathing, and eventual destruction of the alveoli of the lungs leading to death. This is an unusual presentation of enterovirus infection, as this usually causes a mild illness that does not result in hospitalization. However, EV71 has been known to cause neurological disease in the past and would explain the symptoms experienced by patients in this outbreak.
So why did this outbreak start? Why would a virus that normally causes a mild disease kill so many children? Continue reading
I’m happy to say that this week an article I wrote was featured on the Gradhacker website. This is a great site with a wealth of resources for graduate students ranging from how to navigate conferences successfully to how to de-stress and maintain your sanity during graduate school.
So, if you wish to get some basic guidelines on how to transition from an undergraduate to a graduate wardrobe please check out my article Dressing for Battle: Academic Armaments over at Gradhacker.