Cell Biology

Studying the building blocks of life

All organisms are composed of one or more cells. Although most living things we see are multicellular (made up of many cells) these are only a small fraction of all organisms on Earth. The vast majority of organisms are unicellular (only one cell), like the bacteria in your gut or the yeast that brew your beer. We humans are multicellular organisms made up of 3 trillion cells with more than 200 different cell types! The cost of this complexity is that when one or more cell types fail to do their job we get sick.

Cell biology seeks to understand how cells work and what happens when something goes wrong in a cell. By identifying what is causing a cell to not do its job, scientists can get a better idea about the inner life of the cell. They can also identify targets for therapies to fix what is wrong with the cell. These articles encompass the study of everything from tiny cellular machines to entire organs.

Morning Bird or Night Owl?

The science and genetics of sleep preferences

Jenny HsuHeadshot of Jenny Hsu
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We each have a powerful alarm clock in our cells that tells us when to sleep and when to be active – our circadian rhythm – and it’s wound differently for each person. In this article you’ll learn how circadian rhythm controls sleep, how a greatly altered circadian rhythm leads to sleep disorders, and the latest research on the genetics of sleep preferences.

Seeing is Believing: Fluorescence

How can we tell one cell from another?

Bryan XieHeadshot of Bryan Xie
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Fluorescence generates vibrant colors that allows us to tell one cell from another, and even one biomolecule from another. This has led to great advances in our understanding of immunology by allowing us a peek into biological interactions at the cellular level.