Quick reference for some of the science terms you may find on this site!
Antibody: a protein produced by certain types of immune cells, called differentiated B cells, that bind to a particular antigen. Also called immunoglobulin.
Antigen: a substance that elicits an immune response by binding to the receptors on immune cells or antibodies.
Boiling point: the temperature at which a compound changes state from liquid to gas.
Boiling point elevation: an example of a colligative property. The boiling point of a solvent becomes higher when solutes are added to it.
Colligative property: a physical property of a chemical (solvent) that is altered when adding a solute; only dependent on the AMOUNT of solute added, not the type of solute added.
Endocrine gland: a ductless gland that secretes hormones directly into the fluid between cells, from which the hormones can then diffuse into the bloodstream.
Endocrine system: the internal system of communication involving hormones, the ductless glands that secrete hormones, and the molecular receptors on or in target cells that respond to hormones; functions in concert with the nervous system to effet internal regulation of the body.
Freezing point (aka melting point): the temperature at which a compound changes state from liquid to solid.
Freezing point depression: an example of a colligative property. The freezing point of a solvent decreases when solute is added to it.
Gel electrophoresis: a technique that uses a high-voltage electric current passing through a polymeric gel, such as agarose, to separate nucleic acids and proteins based on their mass and charge.
Genetic profile: an individual’s unique set of genetic markers.
Genome: the genetic material of an organism; the entire compliment of an organism’s DNA, both the coding and non-coding regions.
Glass transition temperature (Tg): the temperature at which a polymer goes from a flexible, rubbery type polymer to a hard, glassy type polymer.
Hormones: chemicals secreted by an organism’s body to act on different parts of the body. Long distance signalers.
Immune cells: the cell types that make up an animal body’s immune system.
Immune system: an animal body’s system of defenses against agents that cause disease.
Lymphocyte: a type of white blood cell that mediates immune responses. The two main classes are B cells and T cells.
Macrophage: a cell that destroys microbes.
Mitochondrial DNA: DNA found in the cell organelles, mitochondria. This is inherited matrilineally.
Pharmacodynamics: how a drug interacts with the target; how and where does a drug work in the body.
Pharmacokinetics: how does the body impact the drug; how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolised, and excreted.
Plasma: the liquid part of the blood in which all of the blood cells are suspended.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): a technique used to amplify DNA.
Red blood cells: the cells in the blood that transport oxygen to body tissues.
Short tandem repeats (STR): Simple sequences of DNA containing multiple tandemly repeated units of two to five nucleotides. Variations act as genetic markers for genetic profiling.
Solution: a homogenous mixture made of only one phase.
Solute: the dissolved substance in any solution
Solvent: the substance that does the dissolving in a solution. Usually a liquid, but can also be solid or gas.
White blood cells: immune cells