CARTA Glossary

Displaying 401 - 500 of 840 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Immune Cells

Cells that are part of the immune system. Most develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and become different types of white blood cells (the microglia of the brain originate in the yolk sack during embryonic development). Immune cells are broadly classified into innate and adaptive immune cells. Innate immune cells include neutrophils, basophils, mast cells, monocytes and eosinophils, dendritic cells, and macrophages. Adaptive immune cells include B-cells and T-cells. T-Cells and Natural Killer T-cells mediate important dialogues between innate (rapid) and adaptive (slower) immune responses. B-cells and T-cells can form long- term immunological memory.

Immune system

The biological defense system of an organism that protects against disease.

Immunity

The capability of multicellular organisms to resist harmful microorganisms from entering it and compromising its biological systems. The balanced state of adequate biological defenses to fight infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion, while having adequate tolerance to avoid allergy, and autoimmune diseases. It critically relies on recognition of both self and non-self.

Immunoglobulin domain/fold (Ig)

A type of region (domain) present in many different proteins that is self-stabilizing and folds independently.

Immunoglobulins

A type of protein that forms antibodies and other receptors both on cell surfaces and as soluble proteins of vertebrates. Comprised of a massive superfamily, immunoglobulins perform many different functions, including recognition, binding, or adhesion processes of cells.

Immunology

The branch of biology and biomedicine concerned with the study of immune systems.

Immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)

A highly conserved region in the cytoplasmic domain of signaling chains of adapter proteins and receptors and typically result in activation of inflammatory responses.

Immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM)

A conserved sequence of amino acids, including phosphorylated tyrosine, that is found intracellularly in the cytoplasmic domains of many inhibitory receptors.

IncRNA

Long non-coding microRNA

Indel

An insertion or deletion of a DNA sequence.

Index

A sign that depends for its reference on the physical presence of the thing that it refers (its “referent”) to at some point in space and time (e.g. smoke, a weather vane, a bullet hole, your index finger) (Kluender, 2020).

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)

Somatic (body) cells that are artificially reprogrammed to an embryonic-like stem cell state and differentiated into other types of cells.

Industrial revolution

The transition from agrarian and handcraft manufacture of goods to large scale industrial production starting 1760 in Great Britain and the United States.

Infection

The invasion of an organism’s organs or tissues by pathogens, their multiplication, and the reaction of the host tissues to the pathogens.

Infectious (disease)

The capability of producing infection or spreading disease to others. Synonymous with communicable and transmissible.

Inferior Frontal Gyrus (Brain)

The lowest positioned gyrus of the frontal gyri, of the frontal lobe, and is part of the prefrontal cortex. It is located in Broca’s area, which is involved in language processing and speech production.

Inferior Temporal Cortex (Brain)

The cerebral cortex on the inferior convexity of the temporal lobe in primates, including humans and is It is crucial for visual object recognition.

Inflammation

An often-painful localized redness, swelling, and heat that is the body’s response to an injury or infection. While uncomfortable, it indicates that your body is working hard to repair itself or to defend against infection.

Influenza

Often referred to as “flu,” this is a highly contagious viral respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, severe body aches, and catarrh. Because it is so contagious, influenza often produces epidemics. There are several influenza viruses that affect humans (A, B, C) - all enveloped RNA viruses.

Inhibitory neurotransmitter

A chemical messenger that decreases the likelihood that the neuron will fire an electrical signal called an action potential (see also excitatory neurotransmitter).

Intentionality

The power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs. Refers to the ability of the mind to form representations and should not be confused with intention. Beliefs about others’ beliefs display what is sometimes known as “higher-order intentionality.”

Inter-birth intervals

The time span between live births.

Interactive synchrony

Temporal coordination of behavior, physiology, neural activity, and/or mental representations between individuals.

Internal model

A simulation of a system’s response to events or states. In motor control, forward models use motor commands to predict sensory consequences whereas inverse models use intended sensory consequences to generate appropriate motor commands.

Intersectional neuroscience framework

A research framework that adapts procedures to be more inclusive of underrepresented groups through community engagement with diverse participants and individualized methods to accommodate neural diversity.

Intracellular Signaling Cascade

The series of sequential events that transmit signals received at the surface of a neuron to internal regulatory molecules, which are then modified by the signal. These pathways allow external signals from the environment to regulate gene expression.

Intrauterine Life

The interval of life between conception and birth.

Introgression

Transfer of alleles between species.

Introns

Sequences between eons, don't encode proteins

Intuition

A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.

Invasive species

A non-indigenous organism that can destabilize ecosystems when introduced.

Isoflurane

A potent inhalational anesthetic used for induction and maintenance of general anesthesia. Works via GABA receptors.

Isotope

Each of two or more forms of the same element that contain equal numbers of protons but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei, and hence differ in relative atomic mass but not in chemical properties; in particular, a radioactive form of an element.

Isotopic Signature

The ratio of non-radiogenic “stable isotopes,” stable radiogenic isotopes, or unstable radioactive isotopes of particular elements in an investigated material.

Japanese Encephalitis

An infection of the central nervous system caused by the Japanese Encephalitis Virus. Most infections are benign but occasionally can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), headaches, vomiting, fever, confusion and seizures.

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

A RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus that causes Japanese Encephalitis and is generally spread by mosquitoes, such as Aedes mosquitos. JEV is prevalent in much of Asia and the Western Pacific. Pigs and wild birds serve as a reservoir for the virus.

Jaundice

A yellowing of the eyes and skin due to rapid breakdown of red blood cells (RBCs) and release of degraded hemoglobin.

Jebel Irhoud hominins

The oldest known “early” human fossils discovered, dating to roughly 300 kya from an archaeological site in Morocco. The location of this discovery suggests a “pan-African” origin of humans, with a dispersed interbreeding population, likely aided by climactic factors.

John Ssebunya of Uganda

In 1989, at age 4-5, he witnessed his father murder his mother and subsequently fled into the Ugandan jungle. He was accepted as a peripheral member of a group of vervet monkeys who cared for and nourished him for a period of two years. He was found and captured in 1991.

Karyotype

Chromosome number in the cell nucleus.

Kessler Syndrome

A state in which the accumulation of space-debris in low Earth orbit causes a cascade of collisions with space vehicles and other orbital objects (satellites) results in more space debris, rendering parts of space unusable for human purposes. Proposed by Donald J. Kessler in 1978.

Kinematics

A description of the motion of objects; how the limbs and joints, or combinations of these bodies, move during a particular type of locomotion.

Kinetics

A description of the forces acting on a body; the forces the body exerts (or resists) during locomotion.

Klasies-River

A river and cave system in the Tsitsikamma coast, Humansdorp district, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Evidence for middle stone age-associated human habitation has been found in the nearby cave system dating to ~125 kya.

Konso-Gardula

A palaeoanthropological area in the southern Main Ethiopian Rift that was discovered 1991 The Konso-Gardula sediments span ~ 1.9 mya to 1.3 mya. Early Homo fossils and Acheulean stone tools have been found here. 

KYA

Thousand years ago.

Lactobacillus

A genus of Gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria that convert sugars to lactic acid. In humans, they are a significant component of the microbiome and can survive in the harsh pH conditions of the digestive and genital systems. Lactobacillus species are normally a major part of the vaginal microbiota. While receiving nutrients from their human host, Lactobacilli protect the host against certain pathogens, even helping to treat diarrhea, vaginal infections, and skin disorders such as eczema. Lactobacillus is the most common probiotic, perhaps most notable for its use in yogurt.

Lactobacillus crispatus

A common genus of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria that produces hydrogen peroxide (H202) and is found in the vagina and gastrointestinal system.

Lactobacillus iners

A common genus of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria that normally inhabits the lower reproductive system and vagina of healthy women.

Language (Human)

A structured system of communication that is generative (combine words/symbols to convey an infinite number of ideas), recursive (builds upon itself without limit), and has displaced reference (describe things not present).

Large quantity discrimination (LQD)

The rough discrimination of collections of discrete items above the subitizing range, whose numerosities usually differ by a substantial amount.

Late Bloomers

Individuals from high-risk backgrounds who begin to manifest resilience later in adolescence or adulthood following a period of maladjustment or problems.

Late-night wake therapy (LWT)

A sleep schedule therapy hypothesized to relieve peripartum depression by altering melatonin and sleep timing (sleep from 9:00 pm - 01:00 am).

Lectin

A protein that can bind to a glycan without catalyzing a modification of the glycan.

Legumes

Plants in the Fabaceae family that include beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, lentils, alfalfa, and clover, to name a few. Many legumes have a symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. They also tend to have large, protein-rich seeds.

Levallois Technique (prepared core)

A method of creating stone tools by first striking flakes off the stone, or core, along the edges to create the prepared core and then striking the prepared core in such a way that the intended tool is flaked off with all of its edges pre-sharpened.

Lexical semantics

Word meanings.

Life History

The schedule of life, including birth to sexual maturity, duration of the reproductive period, duration of the post-reproductive period (if there is one), and mortality rate at each stage.

Ligand

A molecule specifically recognized by another molecule and involved in specific interactions.

Limbic System (Brain)

Structures of the brain that deal with emotions and memory.

Limited Bedding and Nesting

A paradigm used in the laboratory to model scarcity of resources. Mothers (rats/mice) are not given enough nesting materials to build a nest for their infants and neglect/maltreatment occurs as a result.

Limiting nutrient

A chemical compound that causes a plant to grow faster when it is added. Biologically available nitrogen is a limiting nutrient for plants in almost all terrestrial ecosystems that have been studied. Other soil nutrients that are limiting include calcium, phosphate, magnesium and potassium.

LINE1 Retrotransposons

Long interspersed nuclear elements class 1 (LINE1) is a type of transposable element, or “jumping gene,” that randomly copies and inserts itself into different genomic locations through reverse transcription (conversion of RNA into DNA). These active LINE1s can interrupt the genome through insertions, deletions, rearrangements, and copy number variations. LINE1 activity has contributed to the instability and evolution of genomes. As such, they are tightly regulated in the germline, however, they are controlled differently in apes and humans. LINE1 retrotransposons make up to ~17% of the human genome. While the majority are inactive in the human genome, there are roughly 80-100 that have retained the ability to retrotranspose with considerable variation between individuals.

Linkage Disequilibrium

Non-random inheritance of alleles at different loci (due to low recombination).

Lipid

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. A fatty or waxy organic compound involved in important cellular activities like storing energy, as a component of the cell membrane, and signaling within and between other cells.

Locomotion

Movement causing a person or animal to get from point A to point B.

Locus (pl. loci)

A unique physical position on a chromosome.

Lomekwian Technology

The oldest known stone tools consisting of 150 artifacts found in Lomekwi, Kenya, close to Lake Turkana. ~3.3 mya.

Longevity

Typical length of life.

Lower Paleolithic

The first subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age. ~3.4 mya- 300 ky.

Lymphatic vessels

Thin-walled vessels (tubes) of the lymphatic system that are complementary to the cardiovascular system and are devoted to the movement of lymphatic fluid.

Macronutrient

A substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms: Fats, proteins, carbohydrates in an animal diet or chemical elements such as potassium, magnesium, calcium as required by plants.

Macrophages

Specialized immune cells involved in the detection, phagocytosis and destruction of bacteria and other harmful organisms. In addition, they can also present antigens to T cells and initiate inflammation by releasing molecules.

Maintenance and Defense

An organism’s way of maintaining its body and physiological homeostasis while also defending against parasites, pathogens, and internal crises (e.g. cancer).

Major depression (clinical depression)

A severe and persistent low mood, profound sadness, or a sense of despair lasting at least two weeks but usually much longer.

Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)

A set of closely linked polymorphic genes that code for cell surface proteins (MHC molecules) that assist the adaptive immune system in detection of foreign molecules.

Maladaptation

A genotypic or phenotypic trait that is (or has become) more harmful than helpful in determining survival and reproductive success (in contrast to an adaptation, which is more helpful than harmful).

Malaria

An infectious disease that affects humans and other animals and caused by single-celled organisms belonging to genus Plasmodium and transmitted by mosquitos (commonly female Anopheles mosquitos). Initial symptoms are flu-
like and may include headache, fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, anemia, jaundice, hemoglobin in the urine, retinal damage, and convulsions. The classic symptom of malaria is a cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness and shivering and then fever and sweating. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the equator. In 2018, there were 228 million cases of malaria worldwide resulting in an estimated 405,000 deaths. The high levels of mortality caused by malaria has repeatedly placed selective pressure on the human genome, resulting in several genetic factors (including Sickle Cell Trait) that mediate its effect to some degree.

Malignant neoplasm

A cancerous growth capable of invading normal tissues and growing in otherwise hostile environments.

Marrow

The soft fatty substance in the cavities of bones that produces red and white blood cells and platelets.

Mass extinction

The widespread and rapid loss of biodiversity. Five mass extinctions have been documented and human activity is causing the sixth.

Mate guarding (humans)

The retention of exclusive reproductive access to a mate by attempting to restrict the access of others and discouraging the mate from seeking other sexual opportunities.

Maternal Separation

An experimental paradigm in which the experimenter separates a mother rat or mouse from her offspring for some period of time (minutes to hours) to study the effects of maternal deprivation on offspring development.

Mating Effort

The sex with the higher potential rate of reproduction invests more in mating effort than in parental effort. Greater mating effort is associated with faster life history strategy.

Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR)

A protein kinase, which in humans is encoded by the MTOR gene.

Medial Preoptic Area (MPOA)

A region of the brain located in the anterior part of the hypothalamus that critically regulates care giving behavior.

Medium Spiny Neurons

A special type of GABAergic inhibitory cell representing 95% of neurons within the human striatum, a basal ganglia structure.

Melanin

For most organisms, it is the pigment in skin and hair, but is also found in the iris of the eye, the inner ear, and some parts of the brain. Melanin is produced as three basic types: eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. The melanin in the skin is produced by melanocytes, which exist across human populations in similar concentration in their skin. However, the melanocytes in some populations produce variable amounts of melanin. This variation is likely due to the melanin’s property to absorb and dissipate UV radiation, protecting skin from harmful damage. UV exposure is associated with increased risk of malignant melanoma, a cancer of melanocytes.

Memory

The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.

Meningitis

An inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Meningococcus (Neisseria meningitidis)

A bacterium that can cause meningitis and meningococcemia, a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream (sepsis).

Menopause

The time of life when female menstruation naturally and permanently ceases.

Mentalizing

The process of representing and reasoning about the mental states, thought, and feelings of the self and others. Also known as Theory of Mind.

Mescaline

A potent psychedelic found in the peyote cactus. Structurally similar to dopamine and norepinephrine and also activates serotonin receptors.

Mesoderm

The middle of the three primary germ layers formed in embryonic development and develops into the muscles of the cardiac and skeletal systems, the skeleton and connective tissue, blood vessels and cells, and some other internal organs such as the kidneys and gonads.

Metabolic rate

The rate at which fuels (such as sugars or fats) are broken down for the production of cellular energy.

Metabolism

The conversion of food into energy and the chemical building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, and glycans as well as the elimination of metabolic wastes.

Microbial systems

The process of using systems biology to understand microbes and their environment.

Microbiome

The totality of all organisms (microbes) that live on and in the body.

Microglia

A type of glia that functions as the primary innate immune cells of the central nervous system and are involved in brain development and maintenance. These cells are not of neuronal origin but rather migrate from the yolk sac to the brain during embryogenesis.

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