AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: tsiamine

Can Biohackers Change the Human Lifestyle?

In an article written on the BBC News website, the effects and new technologies of biohackers were explored. Biohackers are people who use science and natural remedies to further better brain and body function and overall motion. For example, Liviu Babitz created a gadget in his chest where the chip in his body vibrates every time he faces north. Babitz asks the question, if some animals can already sense direction, why shouldn’t we?”


This is an image of DNA as a double helix. Many of these biohackers are attempting to change and modify human genes using biomedical technologies.


A more controversial and modern biomedical technology is CRISPR. Rich Lee, a cabinet maker and one who does extreme body modifications, is currently attempting to used CRISPR to modify his own genes. He reveals the dangers of this by showing his scars from his legs. This exploration of biohacking is extremely dangerous as well. However, Lee states, “I want to see a biologically fluid society where people can just augment these things.”

Another example of a biohacker is Corina Ingram-Noehr, an event organizer. She has created a routine that includes technologies and over twenty different supplements to support her physique.

Corina Ingram-Noehr uses cryotherapy where she can walk around in the freezing cold with shorts. She states, “Biohacking for me is taking control of your own biology. It’s taking shortcuts to get to a place that you want to be – so shortcutting your health. That’s kind of how I think of it at least.”

Biohacking is on the horizon for medicine and will most likely be used on a bigger scale in this upcoming decade.


The Making of the Largest Human Microbiome Database

Scientists from all over the world, including China, Denmark and Sweden are planning to design a microbiome map of the human body. These scientists will be be analyzing over one million microbial samples from the mouth, skin, reproductive tract and the intestines to complete their goal. This article states that in order to provide a baseline of micro ecology research on a very large population sample, the scientists will explore and use Mouse Genome Informatics to draw their map.


Dr. Liu Ruixin from the Shanghai National Clinical Research says, “By studying the changes in the human microbiome between the normal and pathological states, before and after treatment in larger metagenomics datasets, and analyzing its effects on human metabolism and health, in the future we will provide more possibilities for new therapies in many fields such as metabolic diseases, cancer, reproductive health and newborn health.”

So far, scientists have analyzed over 10,000 samples of metagenomic sequencings.

This research will be important for future studies, projects and treatments because it will provide context and specific information about the human microbiome.


This photo captures the structure of DNA that will aid the scientists in developing the map.

Is Graphene the New Mosquito Repellent?

     This article focuses on graphene as a use of mosquito repellent. After a research study at Brown University, scientists discovered that the graphene material makes humans invisible to mosquitoes. The researchers conducted an experiment with Aedes aegypti female mosquitos and displayed human skin in a closed area for a couple of minutes at a time. The dry graphene oxide covered skin proved to be a reliable repellent to stop mosquito bites. The research conducted by the scientists at Brown University showed that on a dry surface the graphene oxide covered skin did not receive any mosquito bites. However, the graphene-oxide material’s reliance decreased when water was added to the skin. 

     Furthermore, the scientists were not very surprised by these results. This is perhaps due to the already vast amount of research done with a graphene based material. As the article states, “These materials have already been used in water filtration, for encapsulation, and to lace plastics and metals as a means to enhance overall mechanical strength. “ 

     Overall, the graphene-oxide material is a reliable repellent for mosquito bites. I chose this topic because as a person who travels a lot, I often have to purchase mosquito repellent sprays to protect myself. I was interested in learning more about a possible material that could be used to prevent such bites from occurring. After reading this article, I believe the research that Brown University conducted provided a good grasp on graphene based repellent. 

This photo shows a mosquito on wooden surface.


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