posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 04:23 PM
I came upon this article
in The Week
a Research Center in NYC which was horribly affected by Hurricane Sandy. The article is entitled "How Hurricane Sandy destroyed years of medical
The so-called Frankenstorm knocked out power to the hospital. When the storm's record-breaking tides flooded the basement, where many of the
research specimens were kept, the backup generators failed, leaving the 13-story research center in the dark. The mice were inundated. Other cells,
tissues, and animals used for medical research died slowly in idle refrigerators, freezers, and incubators. Precious enzymes, antibodies, and DNA
strands generated by scientists and stored at temperatures as cold as -80 degrees were also almost surely destroyed.
The facility houses labs dedicated to research on heart disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
As I was reading this, I couldn't help but feel overwhelming sadness for the animals who died in the most horrific ways, but as I read the last line,
the hair on my arms stood on end. "DNA strands generated by scientists"??? Exactly what type of research was taking place at this facility? So I
googled the facility and was directed to their website here
and took a look at their Program
Descriptions and what some of their recent employment opportunities have been
. A few sub-specialties jumped out at me
(1) Experimental Pathology; (2) Genetics / Genomics / Proteomics; (3) Medicine: Infectious Diseases; and, (4) Microbial Pathogenesis
According to WikiPedia:
Experimental pathology, also known as investigative pathology is the scientific study of disease processes through the microscopic or molecular
examination of organs, tissues, cells, or body fluids from diseased organisms. It is closely related, both historically and in modern academic
settings, to the medical field of pathology.
OK - that makes sense...
Genetics deals with the molecular structure and function of genes, gene behavior in context of a cell or organism (e.g. dominance and
epigenetics), patterns of inheritance from parent to offspring, and gene distribution, variation and change in populations, such as through
Genome-Wide Association Studies. Given that genes are universal to living organisms, genetics can be applied to the study of all living systems, from
viruses and bacteria, through plants and domestic animals, to humans (as in medical genetics).
Genomics is a discipline in genetics concerned with the study of the genomes of organisms. The field includes efforts to determine the entire DNA
sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping. The field also includes studies of intragenomic phenomena such as heterosis, epistasis,
pleiotropy and other interactions between loci and alleles within the genome. In contrast, the investigation of the roles and functions of single
genes is a primary focus of molecular biology or genetics and is a common topic of modern medical and biological research. Research of single genes
does not fall into the definition of genomics unless the aim of this genetic, pathway, and functional information analysis is to elucidate its effect
on, place in, and response to the entire genome's networks.
Proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins, particularly their structures and functions. Proteins are vital parts of living organisms,
as they are the main components of the physiological metabolic pathways of cells. The term "proteomics" was first coined in 1997 to make an analogy
with genomics, the study of the genes. The word "proteome" is a blend of "protein" and "genome", and was coined by Marc Wilkins in 1994 while working
on the concept as a PhD student. The proteome is the entire complement of proteins, including the modifications made to a particular set of
proteins, produced by an organism or system. This will vary with time and distinct requirements, or stresses, that a cell or organism
This all seems to tie in too, but then...
Medicine - Infectious Disease:
Infectious diseases, also known as transmissible diseases or communicable diseases comprise clinically evident illness (i.e., characteristic
medical signs and/or symptoms of disease) resulting from the infection, presence and growth of pathogenic biological agents in an individual host
Infectious pathogens include some viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, multicellular parasites, and aberrant proteins known as prions. These
pathogens are the cause of disease epidemics, in the sense that without the pathogen, no infectious epidemic occurs.
The term infectivity describes the ability of an organism to enter, survive and multiply in the host, while the infectiousness of a disease
indicates the comparative ease with which the disease is transmitted to other hosts. Transmission of pathogen can occur in various ways including
physical contact, contaminated food, body fluids, objects, airborne inhalation, or through vector organisms.
Infectious diseases are sometimes called "contagious" when they are easily transmitted by contact with an ill person or their secretions (e.g.,
influenza). Thus, a contagious disease is a subset of infectious disease that is especially infective or easily transmitted. Other types of
infectious/transmissible/communicable diseases with more specialized routes of infection, such as vector transmission or sexual transmission, are
usually not regarded as "contagious," and often do not require medical isolation (sometimes loosely called quarantine) of victims. However, this
specialized connotation of the word "contagious" and "contagious disease" (easy transmissibility) is not always respected in popular use.
Huh??? What does infectious diseases have to do with heart disease, neurodegeneration or cancer?
Lastly, from Yale Univ, Microbial Pathogenesis:
The scientific focus of the Department is to study microbial pathogens through multidisciplinary approaches. Understanding the mechanisms by which
microbial pathogens cause disease requires an understanding of the pathogenic microorganisms themselves as well as the cellular and immune responses
they stimulate in the host. In the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis we are researching these interactions for a wide variety of important viral,
bacterial, and parasitic pathogens.
This gives me the downright willies...
For some reason, the combination of these areas of interest leads me to wonder if there might have been more going on here than research into heart
disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer. It begs the question, what other nasties might have been compromised when the facility's protection systems
This is the type of stuff that makes me shudder...
edit on 11/2/2012 by timidgal because: (no reason given)