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The Germ Guy: Confessions of a Mercurial Microbiologist

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A Moment That Changed The World…

Late last year, something unbelievable happened. As news spread, the world woke up to a new reality. Nothing would ever be the same again.

Most people were shocked by the revelation, as it was thought to be impossible. Yet a handful of people knew this would occur. Almost no one believed in them but they continued on tirelessly. They did everything they could to skew the odds in their favour. They hacked what was once thought to be an impenetrable defense and used viral tools to ensure success. In the end, their efforts paid off and these once slighted individuals reaped the rewards with almost sinful delight.

If you haven’t already guessed what that event was, I’ll fill you in…

(The Ebola Vaccine was 100% Effective!)

Believe it or not, vaccination proved to be perfect in the most recent clinical trial. For researchers, public health officials, and even the World Health Organization, this was a hallmark moment. It was time for a…

celebration(Celebration!)

If you hadn’t heard of this incredible news, you can’t be blamed.  The article came out right before Christmas. Most people including the media were rightfully focused on the festive season of the Holidays. They also were dealing with the hangover of another world-changing event that happened six weeks earlier…

trump-pres(Which, if you didn’t know, culminates today…)

If you think about it, there were similarities between these two events. The premise of a President Trump or a 100% effective vaccine was considered ludicrous just a year before. Although both had shown themselves to be capable of achieving these heights, few really believed they would succeed. Yet, as the human tallies came in, the picture became clear. At the end of it all, there was only one word to describe what had occurred…

 dali(Surreal…)

But there is one significant difference between these two announcements. One has created a significant amount of debate, backlash, and concern while the other has created a sense of hope not seen since…

hope(Susan Lucci’s Winless Streak Ended…)

Putting the parallels with American politics and daytime soap operas aside, there are three reasons behind the optimism from the Ebola vaccine. The first and most obvious is a future in which epidemics like the one seen in 2014-2016 may never happen again. After everything the people in the West African nations of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia went through (and yes, America), this announcement provides…

relief(Some welcome relief…)

The second has to do with the ability of a vaccine to protect. For what might be the first time, there is an option with 100% effectiveness. This has always been the goal of researchers but until recently, figuring out how to develop the perfect candidate has been nearly impossible. A new benchmark has been set against which future vaccines will be evaluated. Granted, finding a way to protect against Ebola is much easier than say…

flu(A constantly evolving virus…)

Yet even flu researchers are getting closer to a universal vaccine that may one day protect us against all possible variations of this more common – and possibly more troublesome – pathogen.

The final reason deals with the nature of the vaccine. It was made through a combination of different genetic engineering processes. The virus used isn’t even Ebola but one that is harmless to humans. Although it is officially known as a recombinant, some might prefer to call it a…

gmo(Genetically Modified Organism…)

As you probably know, there is a significant amount of debate on GMOs with good reason. These products have entered the agricultural industry and the food marketplace without much consultation or information being given to the public. Not surprisingly, some have reacted quite negatively to this and called for an all out ban on genetic engineering.

But thanks to this vaccine, we can realize not all genetically modified organisms are bad. After all, if you want to look at a GMO, all you need to do is…

timberlake(You are not a clone…)

Perhaps this good news GMO story may balance the scales a little. Maybe those calling for an end to this technique will realize it only can hurt scientific advancement and put other discoveries such as this vaccine in peril.

I hope all people will understand the need for genetic engineering in health and medicine and appreciate the potential it brings. Most importantly, I wish all those who are skeptical of scientific research understand for the most part, the work, while at times seemingly out of touch with reality, ultimately is attempting to improve our world and make it a better place for all.

Okay, I know that may have sounded like an…

inaurgural(Inaugural speech…)

But as this day only comes once every four years, I figured it would be worth the risk.

If you want to read more on the vaccine, you can check out the World Health Organization for more details:  Final trial results confirm Ebola vaccine provides high protection against disease.

A Bacterial Bakery Trick…

It’s a common practice for bakers. They arrive early in the morning, spend hours slaving in the back, and eventually get all the freshly made breads, cakes, pastries and buns organized in displays. Then, when the time is right, they invite the world to enjoy the wares of their labour by…

bakery(Opening The Door…)

If you happen to be walking by at just the right time, the attraction can be almost irresistible. The aroma coming from the freshly baked goods can stop you in your tracks and lead to an unexpected diversion into the store.

Scientifically speaking, this attraction is caused by a phenomenon known as odorant perception. An aromatic molecule called a volatile organic compound enters the nose or the mouth and interacts with the cells resting inside. As this happens, olfactory nerves sense the molecule and send a signal…

aroma(To the brain…)

Here’s where it gets interesting. The scent first is interpreted as either pleasant or repulsive. After the decision is made, a neurological signal is transmitted to the rest of the body to move. Pleasant aromas tell our bodies to get closer to the smell while those considered to be foul force us to move away.

If we rely on instinct alone, our bodies heed the command and we head, if only slightly, in the appropriate direction. If the smell is strong enough, it may even overcome our current mental plans. This is most common in repulsion, when being overtaken by a horrific odour causes us to move away quickly.

But, those clever bakers use the opposite reaction to their advantage. If they can make those wonderful aromas as strong as possible, people will fall victim to instinct and…

bakery2(Pick Up A Few Things…)

Odorant perception isn’t only for humans. Researchers have found other species rely on this phenomenon. Mice have it, fruit flies have, even worms have it. The response to external odours appears to be conserved in evolution…at least in animals. Until recently, no one quite knew if the use of volatile scents could attract or repel bacteria.

A few weeks ago, that changed when a team of researchers from McMaster University discovered a bacterial species capable of using odours to signal other members of the same species. It’s known as Streptomyces and it is the source for many antibiotics – think streptomycin. But the bacterium also has a rather fascinating capability. It can change the way it looks and functions over time…

streptomyces(Here’s the life cycle…)

The bacterium also likes to explore its environment in search of nutrients. However, this is no easy task. Those cells designated with the burden of exploring may encounter a long and arduous trip. They may have to travel great distances (millimetres) from the colony. They may face unspeakable challenges including giant chasms (agar cracks), rushing rivers (condensation), and of course, great mountains…

rock2(…or as we call them, small stones)

Depending on where the new resources are eventually found, these brave bacteria may be isolated in a brand new world without any means to signal the colony.

But thanks to this paper, there really is no reason to fret. We now know Streptomyces can use the same method as bakers to let their colleagues know food has been found and that more cells should come.

Here’s how it works. Upon finding the nutrients, the bacteria create a volatile organic compound – an aroma – that can travel through the air back to the colony. This airborne chemical reaches home base and informs the other members about the new source of food. Other explorers are then sent off like pilgrims to join these brave scouts and ensure the population continues to thrive in this new, rural area of the world.

At the end of the day, the explorers are joined by their peers, the colony extends and much like those who found new food at the bakery…

rock3(Everybody wins!)

There is, however, one particular difference between the lure of the baker and the signal from the explorer cells. That happens to be the nature of the volatile organic compound causing the attraction.

Humans tend to love chemicals such as maltol and methianol, which give off that fresh bread aroma. We simply cannot resist. But the bacteria have no interest in these molecules. For them, nothing is more delightful than trimethylamine. It’s what drives them to explore and is the key to their movement in this paper. For those who are not familiar with this scent, it’s most commonly associated with…

deadfish(Rotting fish…)

Guess it’s true that there are different strokes for different folks…or in this case, bacteria.

If you want to read more on how Streptomyces uses volatiles to communicate, you can read the entire paper. It can be found here:
Streptomyces exploration is triggered by fungal interactions and volatile signals

Three Germy Cheers For The Appendix!

Sometimes a study comes out and you have no option but to get excited because the topic is simply…

frog(Ribbit-ing…)

Okay, so maybe the appendix isn’t exactly what you might consider headline news. After all, it’s long been considered an evolutionary artifact with no real use in humans. Yet, in the city of Glendale, Arizona, a research team at Midwestern University have revealed this tiny organ may indeed serve a valuable purpose.

It may be a safe house for friendly bacteria…

skeptical(Yeah, I know it sounds sketchy…)

This theory has been around for about a decade but no one has ever been able to explain it in a credible manner. Thankfully, that’s what the researchers as Midwestern University set out to do in a very systematic and painstaking way.

They took genomic information from 533 different species, all of which had some indication of an appendix. Some of them were definitive while others were more sketchy in nature. Some of the more obvious ones (and one non-existent one in G) can be seen here…

(Can you guess which animals they are?)

With the species in place, the team then went about organizing them in a timeline of evolution in the hopes of finding some reason for this intestinal tag. They did this by comparing a variety of different gastrointestinal structures, such as the cecum area. Scores were made based on the shape, size, and function of each part of anatomy. Then environmental factors were thrown into the mix, such as latitude and longitude, population density, and diet.

By the time it was all said and done, I’m sure they were not in the mood for….

ribbit2(Singing and Dancing…)

But, the results paid off as they were able to develop several links between evolution and the appendix. Most were anatomical in nature but one significant link got me in the mood for some MALT!

malt2(Not that kind…)

The appendix is rich in two forms of immune tissue, gastrointestinal associated lymphatic tissue (GALT), and mucosal associated lymphatic tissue (MALT).

kermit2(Get it?)

Both these immune types are specifically designed to help us deal with whatever comes into the gastrointestinal tract. Having more GALT & MALT can also be good for our friendly bacteria. The cells in this area help to stimulate the growth of several beneficial species through a variety of chemical cross-talk mechanisms.

In essence, having that appendix might help ensure you have a healthy and diverse microbial population that is…

telus-frog(Sitting Pretty…)

Of course, all of these theories are still up for debate. Even this study suggests there are many questions to be answered before we can truly say the appendix is a microbial safe haven. Yet, this study adds to the theory that as we evolved through time, our bodies learned how microbes are for the most part our friends and wanted to be sure we loved them biologically.

Now if only we could love them emotionally like we do….

frog-kiss(You get the idea…)

For more on the paper, which sadly is not open-access but I felt definitely worth discussing, you can read more at ScienceDaily: Appendix may have important function, new research suggests.

Oh, and as for those intestinal drawings, here are the answers:
(A) Wombat (Vombatus ursinus);
(B) Brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula);
(C) Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus);
(D) North American beaver (Castor canadensis);
(E) Rock hyrax (Procavia habessinica);
(F) Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus);
(G) Bush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa).

 

Have A Happy Holiday Season!

It’s that time of the year again. Everyone is winding down from the year that has been and finding time to relax and wear something a little more comfortable…

christmas-suit(Or stylish…)

However you choose to mark these next few days, with family, friends, or as I have done for many years in the past…

lab(In the lab…)

I wish you – and of course your germs – a most wonderful time.

Oh, and if you do happen to venture out on Monday to take in the madness that is…

(Boxing Day…)

Remember to keep the hand sanitizer close and wear a scarf or necktube (which apparently is also called a neck gaiter). They are your best means for protection against respiratory viruses, which are sure to be as prevalent as the incredible deals.

Happy Holidays everyone!

petri-wishes

Guest Post: We Need To See Shields To Deactivate Them…

It’s been a few days since I made the open call for guest posts and I’ve already heard from some like-minded science communicators…

kermit(Me so happy!)

I have a feeling the coming year will be highlighted with some incredible articles sharing some of the most interesting – and of course, amusing – science out there.

For the first guest post, let me introduce you to…

ben(Dr. Ben Libberton)

For you Bones, fans, Ben might make you think of Dr. Jack Hodgins, better known as…

king-lab(The similarity is uncanny!)

Ben might not be a king but he is a microbiologist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. He also has a passion for science communication. He’s written for some of the highest rated publications including, Nature.

I know…

whoa(He’s king of the lab comms!)

You learn more about Ben at his website: http://www.benlibberton.com/.

When we talked about a guest piece, Ben had a fascinating story from his lab involving helping doctors get a better handle on bacterial infections. It also is rather timely in light of a new movie that happened to come out last week. I won’t give it away but I will suggest you think about this as you read it…

gingerbread (The Win In This One Is Strong…)

And now…here’s Ben Libberton’s guest post…and remember, if you like it, please let him know with a nice comment below.


How can we deactivate the shield generator if we can’t see it?

It’s the story of almost every movie set in space. A plucky band of misfits converges on the giant enemy spaceship. Against all the odds, they pull together and gain a chance of winning the battle. The Captain gives the order to open fire and the first laser cannon discharges its payload. We watch as the laser beam approaches the enemy spaceship. As it gets closer and closer we hold our breath, waiting for an epic explosion.

If you’ve ever seen this type of film, you know what is about to happen. Just before reaching the enemy spaceship, the laser hits an invisible barrier. At the moment of impact, we see that the enemy is actually completely surrounded by a powerful and invisible shield. At this point, someone in the crew yells, “Retreat” or, “It’s a trap!” The once optimistic comrades scatter to avoid total annihilation.

While this scenario is a staple for science fiction, there is a realistic counterpart although instead of a telescope, you need a microscope to see it.   It happens when doctors try to kill certain types of bacteria with antibiotics. Officially, this is known as biofilm-mediated antibiotic resistance but it can be best described as humanity’s worst health nightmare.

When bacteria, such as the foodborne pathogen, Salmonella attach to a surface like a piece of food or a catheter, they start to grow and clump together. Once they have reached a large enough number, they begin building a defensive barrier that will protect them from all kinds of external threats. This structure is called a biofilm.

Researchers have long been able to see the bacteria cells within a biofilm, much like our brave fleet can see the enemy spaceship, however, they find it much more difficult to see the bacterial defenses.  It’s officially called an extracellular matrix  and it’s made of a sticky, jelly-like substance that coats and surrounds each bacterial cell like a slimy coat of armor. This is a serious problem that can extend a person’s fight with the pathogen and could possibly kill them. .

Fortunately, a team of researchers from Karolinksa Institutet in Stockholm have synthesized a new chemical compound that lights up these bacterial defenses. It’s a molecular beacon that can tell scientists exactly what type of biofilm they are dealing with. More importantly, it can help researchers learn how these defenses are made and more importantly, how they can be destroyed.

Imagine before you go into an epic space battle you already know if the enemy had a shield or not. That would be incredibly useful information to have, right? You would know that you had to deactivate the shield before you could attack. Your chances at winning would increase dramatically.

It’s the same with bacteria and antibiotics. If you could see what defenses are present before you write a prescription, you gain the upper hand. You can use appropriate options and reduce the chances for an elongated battle.

The team has recently published this work and you can read all about it here: “Real-time opto-tracing of curli and cellulose into live Salmonella biofilms using luminescent oligothiophenes.”

As for those science-fiction-turned-real battles with biofilms, The researchers from Karolinska foresee that this molecular probe will be used to help other scientists study the bacterial defenses in more detail. The goal will be to find weak points in the shield and then find ways to cause a cascade of biofilm catastrophe. This would eventually turn into a treatment to go along with antibiotics.

For now, however, this technique is destined to be put into hospitals as a way to diagnose more serious infections. While we are not there quite yet, doctors will soon learn the nature of their microbial enemies and gain that winning edge to ride infections and more importantly, save lives.


 

An Open Call For Science Communication…

It’s insane how time flies when you are travelling. One moment it’s the middle of November and next thing you know, it’s almost Christmas…

heywhahappened(You said it…)

Over the last weeks, I have had the honour of attending several conferences. In the middle of November, I was at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego, which attracted over 30,000 people. It was mainly an advocacy trip although I did gain insight into the field. As a microbiology & immunology scientist, my overall impression could be best described as…

fascinating_o_509159(Especially the microbe-gut-brain axis bubble)

From there, I shuffled off to Helsinki, a mere 10 time zones away. Even though I took care of my microbes, there was no way I could prevent the inevitable…

jet-lag(Jet Lag!)

Thankfully, I had a few days to recover before participating in one of the largest conferences in Europe. It’s known as SLUSH and attracts over 17,500 people. It’s also one of the most unique conferences I’ve ever attended. But don’t take my word for it…

slush-header-2(Welcome To SLUSH!)

I had been asked to give a presentation at this incredible conference on the art of science communication. But there were conditions…

  1. It had to be engaging to a wide variety of audiences;
  2. It had to be thought-provoking messages;
  3. It had to have a link back to the conference itself and…
  4. It could only be 16 minutes.

It took several weeks to hone it in collaboration with some of the organizers but eventually, it took shape. I would describe it to you but it’s probably better if you see it for yourself…

(Lab Rats of Disruption!)

As soon as I was off stage, I was sent into a whirlwind of travel as I had to get back to Toronto – via Iceland…HOOH! – and then head up to Ottawa for the next conference, the Society of Toxicology of Canada. I also needed a change of clothes…

stc2016(Why So Serious?)

To be honest, it was anything but serious. The STC team were amazing and we had many a laugh. I even had a chance to present an actual research-focused presentation. It was the first time in years and I have to say, I was more nervous than I was at SLUSH.

Eventually, I made it home although there was no time for…

sleep(Is this TOO cute?)

I had a long list of Emails and other requests in my Inbox. People from all over the world were reaching out to discuss more about the art of science communication and how to share research with the public, policy-makers, and investors. I’ve since set up enough meetings, conferences, and presentations to last until the middle of next year. Let’s just say I’m going to be…

beaver(A Busy Beaver…)

Which brings me to the title of this article. Some of the requests involve practicing science communication with me. People want to be able to find their voice as well as the right format to make science more interesting. While I am happy to help out, I find that giving a bit of a push will increase the chances at success.

In that light, I’ll offer the chance to be a guest contributor on my blog…

maxresdefault(I know…Jackpot, right!)

Okay, maybe it’s not winning a lottery and there is no money involved – I do all of this for free – but it is a chance to work with me and have your article posted on a site where people are truly interested in learning more about science, research, and health. Also, I don’t attract trolls or other unsavoury sorts. Instead, I do my best to ensure a place for honest discussion and of course, a little bit of fun.

As we head into 2017, which I believe will be one of the most critical years for science communication in decades, I hope some of you out there will want to try giving this strange but rewarding occupation a try. I know it’s not for everyone but for anyone who has that inkling, I would love to help you find a voice as unique as your…

fingerprint(You get the idea…)

If you’re interested in posting a piece on this blog, feel free to comment below or, if you wish, send an Email to…

thegermguy@gmail.com

Am I Checking Into A Hotel Horror?

If you travel as much as I do, that moment when you open a hotel room door and drag yourself inside can bring about that feeling of…

relax(Ahhh….)

The journey is over as are the various stresses that come with going from one place to another. You can take a nice, deep breath, turn on the TV, and maybe take a nice hot shower or bath.

But, thanks to a recent article from the website Travelmath.com, you might want to forego all of those activities unless of course, you’re wearing this….

hazmat(Could this look more ominous?)

The site wanted to look at the microbial contamination of hotel rooms and reached out to a testing laboratory to help them find out. A variety of objects were swabbed, such as the remote, the bathroom counter, the desk, and the phone. The swabs were cultured for microbial number and type. Basically it was…

cup(Standard Microbiology…)

The group examined several hotels ranging from three-star to five-star ratings hoping to find differences between the different scales of comfort. When it was all said and done, they reported the results as follows…

(You can see where this is going…)

Not surprisingly, hotel rooms were covered in germs. In some instances, over 1 million were collected per square inch (for you metric folks, that’s about 180,000 per square centimetre). The worst was the bathroom counter but it was closely followed by something almost everyone uses…

remote(The remote control…)

But this wasn’t the biggest shock. That came when the levels of microbes were compared between the different ratings. The cleanest remotes happened to be in three-star hotels. The five-star had well over 2 million bacteria…

jerry
(Yeah, I know…)

Similar differences were seen for other surfaces as well. All things being considered, the numbers suggest a three-star hotel would be better for your health as well as your wallet.

Yet this wasn’t the whole story. When the microbial types were analyzed, the three-star rooms appeared to have more diversity among the lower numbers. As for the five-star, only a few types were isolated but in very high concentrations.

I know what you’re thinking…

farquaad(Or some other reasonable facsimile…)

The answer most likely lies in the difference between the way three-star and five-star hotels are maintained. The lower ratings are usually capable of having fresh air through windows while many five-star hotels only use recirculated air. This would account for the difference in both diversity (open windows) and numbers (higher concentrations in ventilation).

It may seem like a no-win situation leaving anyone checking into a hotel facing what could best be described as a…

crap-shoot(Health crap shoot…)

But don’t start counting your unlucky rolls just yet. While the information does seem to suggest there may be a risk for infection, there was one small, tiny piece of data missing from the study…

scream(ARE THEY INFECTIOUS?)

That question was never answered. However, many of the types mentioned were environmental in nature and thus harmless. Most appeared to be good old-fashioned human bacteria, which pose little threat to others. Any apparent risk was low at best.

There was one saving grace to this article. The site did recommend people wash their hands often and also bring along disinfectant wipes. Both of these suggestions are excellent and should be a part of anyone’s travel activities. I always have wipes, sanitizer, and of course my scarf because…

mask-scarf(It’s fashionable and gets no extra attention at airport security!)

If you happen to be travelling, you might want to make these items a part of your everyday necessities. If you happen to be spending some time waiting, you may also want to have this…

germ-files(You never know when you’ll run into me and I always have my pen)

If you want to read the entire article on hotel germs, you can find it here: What are the germiest surfaces in hotel rooms?

Make Armpits Smell Great Again!

Officially, that crevice between your arms and your torso is known as the axillary region. But to most people, it’s simply known as…

Smell central…

If you have read The Germ Files, you know armpit aroma is caused by the various different types of microbes living on your skin. Depending on the species calling this area home, the scent may be mildly unpleasant to well…

stink2(You get the idea…)

Figuring out how to prevent those egregious emanations can be a challenge. Washing is obviously going to help although the effects may only last a few hours. Deodorants and antiperspirants offer some comfort yet they can falter over time and may end up making the situation worse.

But there may be hope for a sweet-smelling future thanks to a rather odd-sounding technique called…

drarmpit(Microbial Axillary Transplantation)

The concept comes from a researcher named Dr. Chris Callewaert, who is better known as Dr. Armpit (thus the name on the white coat above). Since 2013, he has performed close to 20 such transplants and has had great results in helping people deal with the caustic condition.

The technique is rather simple. Microbes are taken from a person who isn’t guilty of olfactory offenses, and placed into the armpit of another. The bacteria can then annex the axillary and reduce or even remove the fetid fragrance.

At the moment, Dr. Armpit seems to be the only person conducting this type of microbial ministration. But once he publishes his transplant technique in a scientific journal, the practice is sure to spread like…

leonard(Sweat on a stylish shirt…)

After all, we all know the importance of body odour. In our society, having an appropriate scent is both a social and a professional necessity. Not to mention, for those who are commuting to and from work or school…

armpit-worry(It’s common courtesy…)

To learn more about Dr. Armpit and the work he does, you can head over to his website: drarmpit.com. If you wish to get into detail on the procedure, you can read a rather thorough thesis on the topic here: Combatting body odor by the means of microbial transplantations.

 

 

 

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0070538

 

A GIF is worth 5,000 words

I love research papers. But I understand not everyone shares my fascination with the academic form of writing. Some people have told me when they are asked to read a scientific article, they wish they had this…

nope(We could all use the NOPE button)

I hear you. I know it may not be fun reading thousands of words, many of which are acronyms or jargon. Then you have to deal with those tables that seem to go on forever and graphs that look like they were made using…

excel(You get the idea)

Worst of all are methods sections, which are incredibly complex and usually so out of touch with the rest of the world, they are simply skipped. For those who do read them, sometimes they come across the phrase, “as described previously.”  This one line means they have to go back to the cited reference and try to find the protocol in another paper, which, by the way, may also have that same line in the methods…

stress(My reaction when that happens…)

But every now and then, an article comes around that breaks the mold. A few years ago, one such paper was published in the Journal of Immunology. It’s a thorough examination of how certain immune cells target and kill other cells. You can find it and read it here:
Rapid and Unidirectional Perforin Pore Delivery at the Cytotoxic Immune Synapse

But a little advanced warning. The article itself is quite long…about 5,000 words in total. To put that into perspective, my latest book comprised of about…

TGF v5(80,000 words)

As you can imagine, the paper is quite a bit for anyone to take in and I’m sure it doesn’t make as nice a Christmas gift as say, a nice, fresh paperback…

just_sayin(Too obvious?)

All plugs aside, the article does provide an excellent look at how the immune system combats cancer cells in the body. However, because of the length and the content, most people might never know the wonders of immunity in keeping us healthy.

But the authors found a way around this hurdle. Rather than accept the article was doomed to stay on a website unread, they decided to give readers something a little more interesting. They added a video, which has been turned into…

t-cell-killing(A GIF)

Without reading a single word from the paper, you can understand what is going on. It’s incredibly simple and requires no lengthy explanation. Granted, the process happening at the molecular level is quite complex but unless you happen to be an immunologist, the details may not be all that informative.

This example of visualizing research is still considered to be rare among scientific publications, but thanks to the beauty of imagery equipment, we should be seeing far more of these displays in the future. The end result may not be as captivating as this GIF, but I truly believe this path will help inform people in a meaningful way and also, spread the good word of science.

Now if only they could show this with a 360 degree camera…I would love to see this in VR.

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