Doctors Use a Naked Darth Vader to Explain This Very Cool Scientific Discovery

Doctors Use a Naked Darth Vader to Explain This Very Cool Scientific Discovery

Aug 24, 2012

Never underestimate the importance of a good headline. It's the first and perhaps only impression writers, editors and marketing folks have to make on prospective readers. There's a fine line between link baiting and communicating the gist of a story in a unique way. We'll let you be the judge of a recent headline we came across, via website io9. "'Naked Darth Vader' approach could tame antibiotic resistant superbugs," reads a press release from the University of Montreal. Well played, academics — you have our attention.

The actual title of the paper? "Identification of the Binding Site of Brucella VirB8 Interaction Inhibitors." What reads like Martian to us, had us waiting with bated breath to find out, "Where the Star Wars at?!" The write-up basically digs into ways of making drug-resistant bacteria susceptible to the body's immune system, but researchers looked to Lucas' galaxy far, far away to make an analogy that the average Joe and Jane could comprehend. This is how they did it:

"To understand this strategy one could imagine harmful bacteria being like Darth Vader, and the anti-virulence drug would take away his armor and lightsaber," said Dr. Christian Baron, the study's lead author and professor at the Department of Biochemistry. "A naked Darth Vader would be an easy target and similarly, pathogenic bacteria without their virulence factors would be rendered harmless and eliminated by our immune system.
 
[...] "As if we were pulling on a loose thread in Darth Vader's cape, we have found a way to unravel the molecular details of the binding of these molecules to a target protein known as VirB8, a key part of the virulence mechanism of human and animal pathogenic Brucella species of bacteria," said Baron.
 
Science is awesome, and we learned something today, so we're happy to entertain the idea of a naked Darth Vader in the name of education. Can you appreciate the parallel, Star Wars fans, or is this just another way people are legitimately… ravishing geek culture? 
 

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