Imagine a simple hike in a grassy part of South America. You hear a rattle and feel a quick stab of pain as fangs sink into your leg. Toxins in the snake venom travel through your blood vessels and penetrate your skin. If the snake is a South American rattlesnake, Crotalus terrific duressis, one of those toxins will be a phospholipase. Phospholipases attack cell and mitochondrial membranes destroying nerve and muscle function. Without quick treatment, a snakebite victim may be die or suffer permanent damage (1, 2).
The phospholipase from the South American rattlesnake is called ... Read more
When finding a female scientists' data turns into an archeological treasure hunt.
A few months ago, I decided it would be interesting to celebrate various scientific contributions by making images of chemical / molecular structures in the Molecule World iPad app and posting them on Twitter (@MoleculeWorld). Whenever I can, I like to ... Read more
On pinene and inhibiting enzymes. 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. Crystallography365, aka @Crystal_in_city had a couple of fun blog posts about pinene, ... Read more
It's a long, long, weekend; perfect for going outside and doing a few loud, messy experiments. Cooking-intensive holidays always remind me how much fun it is to do a bit of chemistry, especially when it comes to food.
If you watched the video that I posted on Thanksgiving, you've probably been itching to try one of these experiments yourself.
Some chemistry experiments are better in ... Read more
If you're not cooking today, why not experiment? Here's something fun you can do with Mentos and Diet Coke - and for those of you who think these experiments are too messy, you can still watch the movie.
Enjoy the music in the video, then go outside, and enjoy the show. Later, go to EepyBird.com and learn about the science behind the fountain effect. ... Read more
Our household is very excited about Thanksgiving.
That's because this Thanksgiving, my husband is cooking a turkey in an egg. A big green egg.
Check back later today, about 5:30 pm, Pacific Standard Time, to see a picture of the turkey. In the meantime, here are some other items that were cooked in the egg.
Want to learn more about Parkinson's disease? See why a single nucleotide mutation messes up the function of a protein?
I have a short activity that uses Cn3D (a molecular viewing program from the NCBI) to look at a protein that seems to be involved in a rare form of Parkinson's disease and I could sure use beta testers.
If you'd like to do this, I need you to follow the directions below and afterwards, go to a web form and answer a few questions. Don't worry about getting the wrong answers. I won't know who ... Read more
The Periodic Table of Videos from the University of Nottingham has 118 short YouTube clips about the elements. Wired Campus recommended the Sodium clip (below). I liked it, too. It's not quite as funny as Mentos in Diet Coke, and but it's still cute and the narrator has a haircut like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein.
Instead of enjoying a sunny summer day today, or partying with SciBlings in New York, I'm staring out my window watching the rain. Inspiration hit! What about searching for August?
Folks, meet the HFQ protein from E. coli. I found this lovely molecule by doing a multi-database search at the NCBI with the term 'August'.
HFQ is a lovely protein with ... Read more