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Basophil degranulation experiments

What is this project about?

The basophil degranulation experiments have a long history in homeopathic research ever since the original experiments by Benveniste in 1988 (Nature 333,816- 819), with similar experiments being undertaken over 20 times (Review by Witt, CTM, 2007, 15,128-138). The basophil degranulation process (part of the allergic response in mammals) has proved to be highly sensitive not only to ponderal doses of allergens but also to homeopathic preparations. Also, a natural inhibitor of this process, Histamine has also been shown to have effects in homeopathic form. As this assay uses standard quantitative techniques such as flowcytometry and is relatively fast to undertake (compared to experiments on plants or animals) it has attracted a lot of attention and holds a lot of promise as a potentially stable system to investigate homeopathic preparations. The aim of this project is to restart such investigations in collaboration with the Hiscia Institute. Currently the team is investigating the feasibility of such a study, investigating accessibility and sensitivity of the blood samples and different reagents required to perform these experiments.

Lead researcher

Alexander Tournier BSc DIC MASt Cantab PhD
Scientific Collaborator
Institute for Research into Complementary Medicines (IKIM)

Dr Tournier studied physics at Imperial College, London, and theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge. He wrote his PhD on the biophysics of water-protein interactions at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He worked for 10 years he has been conducting interdisciplinary research at the boundaries between mathematics, physics and biology, as an independent researcher for Cancer Research UK (5th institute worldwide for molecular biology).

Dr Tournier relocated to Switzerland in 2021 to continue his fundamental research at the Institute for Research into Complementary Medicines (IKIM)

Author publicationsLess

Matrix geometry determines optimal cancer cell migration strategy and modulates response to interventions
Tozluoğlu M, Tournier AL, Jenkins RP, Hooper S, Bates PA, Sahai E
Nature Cell Biology. 2013, 15(7):751-62

Differential proliferation rates generate patterns of mechanical tension that orient tissue growth
Mao Y, Tournier AL, Hoppe A, Kester L, Thompson BJ, Tapon N
EMBO J. 2013, 32(21):2790-803

Planar polarization of the atypical myosin Dachs orients cell divisions in Drosophila
Mao Y, Tournier AL, Bates PA, Gale JE, Tapon N, Thompson BJ
Genes Dev. 2011, 25(2):131-6

Mathematical modeling identifies Smad nucleocytoplasmic shuttling as a dynamic signal-interpreting system
Schmierer B, Tournier AL, Bates PA, Hill CS
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008; 105(18):6608-13

Temperature and timescale dependence of protein dynamics in methanol : water mixtures
Tournier AL, Réat V, Dunn R, Daniel R, Smith JC, Finney J
Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2005, B(7):1388-93

Principal components of the protein dynamical transition
Tournier AL, Smith JC
Phys Rev Lett. 2003; 91(20):208106

Translational hydration water dynamics drives the protein glass transition
Tournier AL, Xu J, Smith JC
Biophys J. 2003, 85(3):1871


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