Newsletter Glossary

Abstract  An abstract is a written summary of a scientific manuscript, clinical trial, or project. Most scientific and medical journals, conferences, and symposiums require a researcher to submit and abstract; it is from this that a determination is made whether or not to allow the work to be presented.
Archaebacteria Microorganisms that are similar to bacteria in size and simplicity of structure but radically different in molecular organization. They are now believed to constitute an ancient intermediate group between the bacteria and eukaryotes.
Aromatase inhibitors A class of drugs used in the treatment of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women. AIs may also be used off-label to treat or prevent gynaecomastia in men. Aromatase is the enzyme that synthesizes estrogen.
Asanas a body position, typically associated with the practice of Yoga, originally identified as a mastery of sitting still.
Ashtanga Yoga a system of yoga popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois, and which is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga.  Ashtanga Yoga is different from many yoga classes in the west in that the order of asanas is completely predefined. A practice will comprise four main parts: an “opening sequence,” one of the six main “series”, a back-bending sequence, and a set of inverted asanas, referred to as the “happy ending” or “finishing sequence.”
Benign Breast Disease a common condition marked by benign (noncancerous) changes in breast tissue. These changes may include irregular lumps or cysts, breast discomfort, sensitive nipples, and itching.
Biomarker a distinct biochemical, genetic, or molecular characteristic or substance that is an indicator of a particular biological condition or process.
Biospecimen A specimen of biological material, such as urine, blood, tissue, cells, DNA, RNA, and protein, to be stored in a biorepository for future research.
Cell Line(s) A permanently established cell culture (the procedure of growing or maintining cells in a laboratory) that will proliferate indefinitely given appropriate fresh medium (the nutrient solution in which cells or organs are grown) and space.
Characterize (cells) Identification of cells as those of a particular type.
Chromatin the material of which the chromosomes of organisms other than bacteria (i.e., eukaryotes) are composed. It consists of protein, RNA, and DNA.
Circadian noting or pertaining to shythmic biological cycles rucurring at approximately 24-hour intervals.
Contributed Paper A contributed paper is a research paper; a manuscript; a fleshed-out, fully referenced version of the ideas to which the abstract refers.
Control Tissue A control group is the experimental group tested without changing the variable (a defined, changeable factor.)
DNA A self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes (threadlike structures of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, carrying genetic information in the form of genes.) DNA is the carrier of genetic information. 
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) The most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. Ductal means that the cancer starts inside the milk ducts, carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues (including breast tissue) that cover or line the internal organs, and in situ means “in its original place.”
Epidemiology The branch of medicine that deals with the study of the causes, distribution, and control of disease in populations.
Epithelial Relating to the epithelium, the outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body.
 Eubacteria bacteria of a large group typically having simple cells with rigid cell walls and often flagella for movement. The group comprises the “true” bacteria and cyanobacteria, as distinct from archaebacteria.
Eukaryote an organism consisting of a cell or cells in which the genetic material is DNA in the form of chromosomes contained within a distinct nucleus. Eukaryotes include all living organisms other than the eubacteria and archaebacteria
Estrogen Female hormone produced by the ovaries and released by the follicles as they mature. Responsible for female sexual characteristics, estrogen stimulates and triggers a response from at least 300 tissues, and may help some types of breast cancer to grow. After menopause, the production of the hormone gradually stops.
Estrogen Receptors a group of proteins found inside cells. They are receptors that are activated by the hormone estrogen.
Expression - The genetic code stored in DNA is “interpreted” by gene expression, and the properties of the expression give rise to the organism’s phenotype (the observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism.)
Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue Tissue which is first separated from a specimen animal by disection or biopsy. This tissue is “fixed” with formaline in order to prevent it from decay or degeneration and to be able to examine it clearly under a microscope for histological, pathological or cytological studies. The fixed tissue is then embedded in wax, cut into fine sections, and stained with Hemotoxylin and Eosin Stain (see glossary entry for H&E Stain.)
Gene Regulation Regulation of gene expression (or gene regulation) includes the processes that cells and viruses use to turn the information in genes into gene products (the biochemical material, either RNA or protein, resulting from expression of a gene.)
Genomics The study of genes and their function.
H&E Stain (hematoxylin and eosin stain) is a popular staining method in histology (see glossary entry.) [Note: Biological tissue has little inherent contrast in either the light or electron microscope. Staining is employed to both give contrast to the tissue and highlight particular features of interest.]
Heterogeneity The quality of being diverse and not comparable in kind.
Histology The study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals.
Homogeneous Of uniform quality, composition, or structure.
In situ situated in the original, natural, or existing place or position.
Investigator (Clinical or Scientific) An investigator is responsible for ensuring that an investigation (research or experiment) is conducted according to the attending protocol.
Lobular Involution Refers to the decrease in size and complexity of the breast ducts which is a result of a gradual loss of breast ductal tissue that occurs as a woman ages. This loss is pronounced as she enters the perimenopausal period.
Micrometer A unit of length; one-millionth of a meter. Symbol isµm, which is sometimes written as um.
Morphology The branch of biology that deals with the forms of living organisms, and with relationships between their structures.
Normal Breast Breast tissue which is absent of cancer or pre-malignancy and demonstrates appropriate hormonal changes throughout the stages of a woman’s lifespan.
Nulliparity The condition of not having borne a child.
Overexpress To produce in excess, as does the genetic material of cancer cells.
Parity The state or fact of having borne children.
Parous Having given birth one or more times.
Plenary Carrying a general connotation of fullness.  A plenary session or meeting is the part of a conference when all members of all parties are in attendance.
Poster A research poster is exactly that – a giant “science fair” – like poster containing background information, important data, and images or slides of the researcher’s project or experiment. A poster is one presentation option, along with a contributed paper, a poster discussion, or a full presentation, for which an abstract can be chosen.
Poster Discussion A poster discussion is a panel-type discussion, led by moderators in front of an audience, and carried by the authors of (usually) several accepted posters at a conference or symposium.
Precursor A person or thing that comes before another of the same kind;  a forerunner.
Predisposition An increased vulnerability to a particular disease based on genetic factors or the existence of certain underlying conditions not yet active or revealed.
Principal Investigator A (the) lead scientist on a project or clinical trial.
Processor The part of a computer that interprets and executes instructions.
Progenitor A parent or ancestor.
Progesterone A hormone naturally secreted by the ovary, or manufactured synthetically, that prepares the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg.
Proteome the full complement of proteins that occur within a cell, tissue, or organism
Protocol In the natural sciences a protocol is a predefined written procedural method in the design and implementation of experiments. Protocols are written whenever it is desirable to standardize a laboratory method to ensure successful replication of results by others in the same laboratory or by other laboratories. Detailed protocols also facilitate the assessment of results through peer review.
Server A computer system that provides essential services across a network, to private users inside a large organization or to public users in the internet.
Subset A part of a larger group of related things.
Symposium A formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics.
Tamoxifen Treats advanced breast cancer in men and women, and early breast cancer in women. Also may prevent breast cancer in women who are at a high risk because of age, family history, or other factors.
Terminal Duct Lobular Unit The structures responsible for milk production in lactating women, and the predominant structures from which breast cancer arises.
Tissue An aggregate (collection) of cells in an organism that have similar structure and function.
Transcriptional Control Control of gene expression by controlling the number of rNA transcripts of a region of dNA. A major regulatory mechanism for differential control of protein synthesis in both pro and eukaryotic cells.
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer a subtype of breast cancer which is clinically characterized as more aggressive and less responsive to standard treatment and is associated with poorer overall patient prognosis.
Virtual Tissue Bank A tissue bank wherein the materials and samples are held (stored) at the local institutions until needed, and then shared through the internet according to the local ethical guidelines.
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