Day Eleven


After the last of the morning activities, Peter Waterhouse presented his second, fascinating lecture on gene silencing. He explained the function of proteins called argonauts and dicers, and how they help to fight against viruses. Waterhouse then went on to explain how the use of such proteins can cause the suppresion of an organism's own genes and how this can be important for the development of an organism.

Alaina Ammit presented her lecture after lunch, on asthma and developments that could lead to a cure, or at least decrease the severity of asthma in patients. She explained that asthma is often caused by a hypersensitivity to allergens and that this hypersensitivity leads to a remodelling of the airway to make asthma more prevailent. Ammit then went on to explain that targeting specific proteins can reduce airway remodelling and thus make asthma less severe.

Students went on their last activities in the afternoon, before hurrying back to the college to prepare for the Galaxy Quest talent contest. The entire performance was brilliant, with too many amazing acts to mention them all. Of particular note however, were the barbershop sextet, who performed the most beatiful rendition of Pythagoras' theorem I have ever heard, and of course Kenta's truly amazing magic show. Thanks go to the three judges Trevor Danos, Adam Selinger and lecturer Charles Lineweaver.

After the truly wonderful performances the scholars went begrudgingly to bed to get ready for the last day of ISS2009.


Lecture 14: Gene Silencing II Gene regulationby Professor Peter Waterhouse

"In my first chapter, I described how the existence of a virus protection mechanism in plants was discovered, how it operates, and how the mechanism has been exploited in biotechnology applications.

In this second chapter, I continue the story about this RNA degradation mechanism - of which has some even more unexpected twists to come."

Lecture 15: Asthma and Airway Remodellingby Associate Professor Alaina Ammit

Asthma is a widespread chronic health problem. Airway remodelling underlies asthma, but unfortunately, the pharmacotherapy currently available for combating remodelling has had limited success. We need to understand how to control airway remodelling to be able to improve treatments for asthma. With our work we will increase our knowledge of the mechanistic basis of asthma.

It is our hope that the elucidation of novel molecular strategies and drug candidates will serve as a future pharmacotherapeutic approach to treating and preventing airway remodelling.

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