Long term thinking and the antibiotic resistance crisis


Adapted from a photo by Fredrik Rubensson

There was the email: I would like to invite you to our July event Getting Cozy with Catastrophe: Superbugs, Drug Resistance … When I received an invitation to a talk on antibiotic resistance, I have to admit, I was initially a little bit uninspired by the topic. If you’ve been in a biological field for long enough, you kinda know the antibiotic resistance story. But then I looked a little closer at the write-up. Superbugs, Drug Resistanceand the Power of Long Term Thinking. “Ah,” I thought. “Maybe there will be something new to bring to the table.” And so it was that when on July 5th, Women in Tech Cape Town hosted a TechTalk with drug resistance scientist Dr Imogen Wright as the speaker, I was sitting in the audience, with my pen at the ready. Continue reading


There’s science in your mug – it must be teatime!

A bit of a frivolous post, as I take a teatime break, and muse at the science of everyday. cropped-tea-2238290_1920.jpgMilk first? Milk at all? Sugar? How long should I leave the tea-bag in for? Green or black or red or white? Herbal – does that still class as tea? The science of tea is clearly important to our everyday lives. However you take your tea, the evidence points in favour of the humble tea break! Continue reading

White hat hacking to combat disease

white hat hacking to combat disease (2)Information can be hacked – unfortunate as it is, it’s true. And interestingly, hacking can take place not only on the internet, but also within your very cells. Viruses use our genetic information against us to make more of themselves – a form of molecular hacking. However, hacking doesn’t always imply something bad. Just as there are white hat hackers, there is also good molecular hacking. Continue reading

Difficult conditions can be difficult to study: the journey of a little white pill


The problems with human subjects
Credit: xkcd

It all starts with a cause. Of course it does. Be it malaria, Alzheimer’s or something else – there is a reason to start looking for a cure. Sometimes, it’s easy. Traditional healing plants are obvious avenues for drug discovery. Sometimes, it’s hard. What do you do when bacteria become resistant to all known drugs? Or if you just don’t understand a disease enough to develop something that will target the underlying cause rather than just the symptoms. Whatever road is taken, drug development has to tick certain boxes, and contend with certain politics, before a pill ends up in your bathroom cabinet. Continue reading

Crowd sourcing science

cropped-citizen-science-2.jpgCrowd funding projects has become a common phenomenon in today’s world, but crowd sourced science? What does that even mean?! This means that the public can contribute to scientific research – through the form of both data and ideas for advancements. It is commonly called citizen science, with the people doing it dubbed citizen scientists. With the rise of technological advancements, this is becoming more prevalent in our world today, and will likely play an integral role in the way that science progresses in the future. Continue reading

Bacteria antibiotic resistance, and a possible solution – Part 2

cropped-bacteria-426997_1920.jpgThe danger with writing “Part 1” at the end of any post title is the fact that you have to follow up on your threat… I mean, promise. Last time we looked at how bacterial antibiotic resistance can occur. Antibiotic resistance poses a huge public health problem, with notable diseases, such as tuberculosis, being resistant to multiple drugs. Which is obviously REALLY BAD! So what do we do about it? Continue reading

Bacteria antibiotic resistance, and a possible solution – Part 1

cropped-bacteria-426997_1920.jpgIt’s been a while since I wrote. Life has been crazy, as life sometimes is. But I came across a cool video clip a little while ago, and then an amazing discovery which just happened to tie in with this video appeared. I’ll look at this in two posts, so that it’s not too much to digest (or write!) at once. So let’s talk about bacterial antibiotic resistance. Continue reading