Biomimicry: The Nature of Design

“Learning about the natural world is one thing. Learning from the natural world – that’s the switch. That’s the profound switch.” – Janine Benyus From the development of agriculture, to the invention of the combustion engine, to the growth of sprawling modern cityscapes – we enjoy the fruits of human ingenuity in every aspect of our lives. Human design has enabled the advancement of modern civilization, but as our society grows more complex, so too…

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An Ode To Animal Models

From Rise of The Planet of the Apes to The Amazing Spider-man to Jurassic Park, the use of animals in scientific research has been a hot topic in more ways than one. However, despite the starring roles that these animals are often given in fiction, real-life animal research has a complicated and sometimes fraught history. The use of animal models in research is so ubiquitous that it is used in every scientific field, from immunology…

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The Trappings of Traditional Medicine

Science starts with an observation of a curious phenomenon. Stubbed your toe on the edge of the bed? Rubbing it seems to help? Well, turns out nerves activated by touch can inhibit the transmission of pain from nociceptors. But back before we had the kind of technology to easily connect those dots, the importance of making these inferences themselves was vital for the healthcare of communities. In fact, numerous ancient societies did just that; they…

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Issue 3, 2020 – Cover

Since ancient times, the understanding of our environment has been crucial for our survival as a species and our development as a civilization. When we started to comprehend the biology of different species, we also started to better understand our own and take advantage of that knowledge to increase our life expectancy and health. We have made great strides in the medical field, and now we are capable of preventing and curing diseases that 100…

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Letter from the Editors – Volume 8, Issue 3

As this issue marks the end of not only an unpredictable and turbulent year but also the end of a decade, we believe it is important to reflect on our values both as individuals and as a collective. This year in particular has propelled into the limelight the highs and lows of what it means to be human. As a collective, we should be proud to have developed multiple vaccines to a novel virus within…

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Letter from the Chair – Volume 8, Issue 3

It was about eight years ago, January 2013, that the very first issue of IMMpress Magazine was published. The theme was “Evolution of the Immune System”, and since their momentous start, editorial teams of IMMpress, ever changing, evolving one might say, have continued to produce thoughtful and engaging issues. The current issue’s theme is on the use of animals in research, biomimicry, and our co-evolution. Several important topics are covered relating to our field’s dependency…

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Diving into Immune System Development: An Interview with Dr. Jonathan Rast

Dr. Jonathan Rast is currently a senior scientist at Emory University studying immune development in lamprey and sea urchin models. Jonathan completed doctorate studies at the University of South Florida studying the evolution of immunoglobulin genes and T cell receptors using genomics in sharks. This led to his subsequent post-doctoral work at the California Institute of Technology studying gene regulatory networks controlling development using sea urchins. Jonathan’s research interests regarding the development of immune gene…

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Embracing Emotions Across the Animal Kingdom: A Book Review of Frans de Waal’s Mama’s Last Hug

The dying chimp lies curled and motionless, refusing her keepers’ offers of food and water. Not until the old man enters the old ape’s pen does she look up, breaking into a wide smile and reaching up to embrace him. Without context, this video, seen more than 11 million times on YouTube, may seem like any other animal clip one might find on the Internet, but the true story is much more special. This is…

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Starving for Change: Microbiome Manipulation in the fight against Child Malnutrition

Natacha is a single mother, with three children, a farm, and a modest plot of land. It has been months since the last harvest of millet, and millet is all that grows in her field. Even on the best of days, life was never easy in her village. Natacha was always short on food for her children, with little more than millet to feed them. More nutritious – and more expensive – food is simply…

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