Do you feel the burn? The science behind your spice tolerance

The key to enjoying spicy foods? It's all in the attitude

Katherine NicoHeadshot of Katherine Nico
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Contrary to popular belief, you cannot permanently destroy your taste buds. Eating spicy foods can hurt your tongue and make you less able to perceive the spice, but your taste receptors won’t be gone forever— the effects of desensitization only last a few days. Instead, new research shows that genetics and personality play a much bigger role in our spice tolerance than the physical properties of taste receptors on our tongues.

Immune Privilege: The Eyes Have It

How does your immune system protect vulnerable parts of your body like your eyes? It gives these special parts Immune Privilege.

Kelly McGillHeadshot of Kelly McGill
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Immune privilege is an adaptation by our immune system that enables different immune defenses and protection that avoid causing damage and death of bystander cells. This article will focus specifically on the immune privilege of your eyes.

Every Toolbox Needs a Jellyfish

GFP: A Valuable Tool That Resulted From Combining Fascination, Beauty and Science Together

Headshot of Susanna E. Brantley
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The beautiful image above is a glowing green nematode worm, C. elegans. This worm is naturally translucent, not green. To make it glow, the worm was engineered to contain a jellyfish protein called Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) in each of its cells. This addition allowed scientists to capture this glowing image with a fluorescent microscope. Today, GFP is used in labs around the world to study the behavior of cells, organelles (mitochondri anyone?), and proteins in real time. GFP has been adapted to react to changes in a cell’s environment,like pH levels or concentration of specific ions like oxygen or iron. This single protein has provided scientists insight into the mechanisms of cell division, protein dynamics, cell motility, tissue growth, and many other important biological phenomena.

Appendix: What is it good for?

Curious to know what the purpose is of your appendix? Your appendix isn’t just a waste of space. It works with your immune system to keep you healthy and your gut happy

Kelly McGillHeadshot of Kelly McGill
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For many years, scientists and doctors alike weren’t sure if the appendix actually had a purpose(1). The fact that many animals have an appendix, including rodents, rabbits, some primates, and humans, seemed to suggest the appendix did have a purpose, whether or not the purpose was still useful(1). Some scientists believed that the appendix was a left-over part of a digestive tract that was used to digest cellulose (found in foods like broccoli, cauliflower, kale) when our diets had more greens than meat(2). It wasn’t until we realized that we need bacteria in our gut to survive that other theories for the appendix’s function emerged(1).