Twyman Research Management
Specialist consultants in
scientific project development,
management and presentation
to Twyman Research Management
Twyman Research Management Ltd is a UK company that specializes in scientific project development, management and presentation, including the preparation of research proposals, project management and reporting, project dissemination and complementary activities, and expert assistance with the preparation, editing and revision of scientific manuscripts.
We have been working for more than 20 years to develop and manage research projects and improve the quality of scientific publications.
Article of the Month
COVID-19 has placed extreme pressure on healthcare systems around the world, leading to shortages of ventilators, personal protective equipment and intensive care beds. One of the issues facing governments trying to deal with the pandemic is that a permanent state of preparedness would be wasteful, with equipment, personnel and facilities standing idle most of the time. This would be especially challenging for reagents with a limited shelf life, such as testing kits. August's article of the month is a correspondence article in Nature Biotechnology, coauthored by Steven Webb (Global Institute for Food Security), Richard Twyman (TRM Ltd) and Maurice Moloney (AgritecKnowledge LLC). The authors argue that the pandemic response can be addressed by using agricultural technology as an emergency resource. The technology routinely used for crop breeding, seed testing and disease monitoring in agriculture is very similar to that used for medical diagnostics and tracing. With appropriate training, agtech laboratories already accustomed to handling hundreds of samples per day could switch to medical tests in a future pandemic scenario.
Article details: Webb SR, Twyman RM & Moloney M (2020) Agtech infrastructure for pandemic preparedness. Nature Biotechnol (online first, 6/8/2020).
Image shows a nasopharyngeal swab test.
Image credit: Nature Biotechnology
Checkpoint inhibitor therapy is a type of cancer treatment that blocks the ability of tumors to suppress the immune system. If successful, checkpoint inhibitors allow the immune system to produce active T cells that attack and destroy the tumor. However, this approach only works if the tumor expresses checkpoint regulators such as CTLA4, PD-1 or PD-L1. In July's article of the month, Wang & Steinmetz show that the injection of Cowpea mosaic virus into tumors increases the expression of checkpoint regulators and therefore makes checkpoint inhibitor therapy more successful. They prolonged the survival of three mouse cancer models, as well as protecting them against subsequent tumors. In the future, plant viruses could be tested for their ability to stimulate the tumor environment and thus enhance checkpoint inhibitor therapy in humans.
Article details: Wang C & Steinmetz NF (2020) A combination of Cowpea mosaic virus and immune checkpoint therapy synergistically improves therapeutic efficacy in three tumor models. Adv Funct Mater 30 (27) 2002299.
Image shows a cancer drug target trapped in an inactive state by a small-molecule inhibitor
Image credit: NCI/Sriram Subramaniam.
Parasitoid wasps lay their eggs in or on other insects, providing a source of food for the developing larvae. Some allow the host insect to continue developing, but others, known as idiobionts, arrest the development of the host and sabotage its immune system. It is not clear how this is achieved. In June's article of the month, Özbek et al. show that the parasitoid wasp Pimpla turionellae takes control of host gene expression, switching off genes related to two important developmental hormones as well as those involved in host immunity and defense responses. The reprogramming of host gene expression is controlled epigenetically, by disrupting normal DNA methylation, histone acetylation and miRNA expression. Parasitoid wasps therefore appear to promote the survival of their offspring by hijacking the key mechanisms of gene regulation in the host to interfere with immunity and development.
Article details: Özbek R et al. (2020) Reprograming of epigenetic mechanisms controlling host insect immunity and development in response to egg-laying by a parasitoid wasp. Proc Biol Sci 287 (1928) 20200704.