COVID-19 infection during pregnancy increases severe maternal morbidity and death. In particular, pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection are at increased risk of respiratory problems and admission to the intensive care unit . Moreover, their babies can be born before the term and admitted to neonatal intensive care unit more frequently than babies from pregnancies without COVID-19. There has been interesting evidence about a possible relationship between pre-eclampsia and COVID-19 infection in pregnancy. However, the type of relationship between them is still unclear. I would like to summarize what we have learnt so far from the literature.
Hi, it's iPLACENTA project manager Mirren writing here. I have just witnessed the six teams in our Enterprising Skills Training Programme deliver their end-of-programme business pitches and wow, I was impressed.
Infertility is at its all-time high with one in six couples in Europe unable to conceive naturally. Some researchers suggest that by the year 2050 most couples would need to resort to IVF assisted pregnancies. So, what exactly is infertility and how are we disrupting fertility?
It’s been a while since I wrote an article for the blog, and maybe because I am feeling a little cheesy, a little homesick and the weather has gone back to winter even though we are in the middle of spring... I have decided to get personal, and share some of the “workings of my heart” (“Emma”, 2009, BBC TV serial).
This time I would like to introduce you to one of the tools we use to assess the well-being of babies in the womb. As many of you know, ultrasound gives us a lot of useful information about the baby, for example, the estimated fetal weight, the amount of amniotic fluid, detection of malformations, etc. But today I would like to explain, above all, how we get information about the placenta and whether the fetus is receiving enough nutrients, among other parameters that I will explain below.
(c) Artwork by Audrey Bell
How are living beings created? Where is all this diversity coming from? Proteins are the building blocks of living organisms. Those small molecules have their own specific function, and work together in a well-orchestrated way to ensure that we can grow, breathe, and keep healthy at all times. In order to function properly, we require a massive number of proteins: one human alone can produce up to 400 000 different types! And yet, our DNA only contains an average of 20 000 to 25 000 genes. It means that genes alone do not account for the diversity of proteins created: the “1 gene -> 1 protein” model we are generally taught is actually a very simplistic representation of a more complex reality. Alternative splicing is one of the twists and turns happening on the journey from a gene to a protein, enabling the creation of several types of proteins from a single gene. What is behind this very science-y term? How does this crucial process work, and why is it so important?
I would like to introduce you to epigenetics. This very fancy word caught my attention while I was in undergraduate school and later on during my MSc. Probably the discovery of this part of molecular biology led me to pursue a PhD in epigenetics, as Steve Jobs would have said... connecting dots!
When I was in undergrad school, suddenly a very naive question popped out in my head: all cells in our body have the same DNA... however, the cells present in the brain and the cells in the skin are very very different... How is this possible?? It is almost the same as asking... how do genetically identical twins show a wide variety of differences?
Camilla Soragni and Gwenaëlle Rabussier are Early Stage Researchers located at MIMETAS, Netherlands. Read their previous blog post here.
By definition, 3D modelling is the process of creating a three-dimensional model of an object. And what about dimensions? Curious to know how this conceptual representation emerged? Let’s go back approximately 570 BC, to its earliest development in Greek mathematics, with the Pythagoreans and their most famous theorem.
In our blog series “Science Untangled” we intend to explain science in simple words. And as my fellow colleagues already did before me, I will try to give it a go myself. I am currently working using mostly bioinformatic approaches – I wrote about how I got there in an earlier blog post. The biological background of my research was already covered in an amazing blog post by Clara. So, the question was: What can I explain? Bioinformatics? The problem is that bioinformatics approaches can vary significantly, the same way biology differs when trying to understand the behavior of fish in the Atlantic or trying to find binding partners of a specific molecule. Well, then where do we start and where do we end?
I decided to go with the basis of bioinformatics, actually of every science in existence: Logic.
About the blog
Being a PhD student in a European training network is a life-changing adventure. Moving to a new country, carrying out a research project, facing scientific (and cultural) challenges, travelling around Europe and beyond… Those 3 years certainly do bring their part of new - sometimes frightening - but always enriching experiences.