Posts tagged with "Mina Tocalini"

Nutrition article illustration by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE

BAKING GOODNESS AND WELLNESS IN THE NEW YEAR

Susan Bowerman, Herbalife Nutrition, Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Last year brought a convergence of trends. Consumers sought food and beverage products that tasted great and delivered nutritional benefits. A growing number of people took to making muffins, cakes and even pancake cereal – and social media was filled with images of these beautiful but often calorie-laden creations. With so many people enjoying baking while at the same time concerned about their wellbeing, there was a growing demand for healthy and delicious ways to make these recipes at home.

As a global nutrition company, we love to see our distributors’ and consumers’ creations made with our products, including baked goods, that allow them to enjoy the benefits of Herbalife Nutrition throughout the day. Witnessing the demand to satisfy cravings for nutritious baked items using our products, Herbalife Nutrition introduces Protein Baked Goods Mix. When combined with Herbalife Formula 1 and water, the mix can be used to create mouth-watering and nutritious, high protein muffins, pancakes, waffles, and donuts in minutes.

Globally, consumers are seeking foods that are high in protein – especially plant-based proteins – to help maintain a healthy diet. Protein options throughout the day help keep our diets balanced.  Protein Baked Goods Mix offers a new way for consumers to add protein to their diet throughout the day to help satisfy hunger and keep weight-management goals on track. While some may not consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day, breakfast foods remain enormously popular. According to one study, half (46%) of consumers enjoy eating breakfast foods at non-traditional times, especially at dinner (56%). The popularity of breakfast foods may be tied to increasing protein-rich options and snacking occasions among millennial consumers.

When combined with Formula 1, Protein Baked Goods Mix will make a nutrient dense meal with protein and other key nutrients to help satisfy people’s hunger in a nutritious and delicious way. The Mix is gluten-free and low glycemic [i], and is suitable for vegetarians [ii] and diabetics [iii].

To make a protein muffin, just combine a serving of Protein Baked Goods Mix with a serving of Formula 1 Shake Mix and water, put it in a mug, and microwave for 3 minutes. The result is a warm, tasty, filling, high-protein meal with 24grams of protein, 190 calories, 21 vitamins and minerals, and 5 g of fiber. No eggs, no milk needed.

As a nutritionist, one of the top questions I get from consumers worldwide is how to add more protein to their diet. They love our shakes – but want new ways to enjoy our high protein products. With the addition of our Protein Baked Goods Mix, we are unleashing people’s creativity to enjoy a range of options – from muffins to pancakes and waffles – that will make a healthy, satisfying and delicious addition to a healthy diet.


[i] When combined with Formula 1 that is made with no artificial sweeteners, is Gluten-Free and Low GI.

[ii] Products do not contain any meat, poultry, fish, seafood, or insects.

[iii] Herbalife products do not treat diabetes, but diabetics can use them. When prepared with Formula 1.

DJ illustration by Mina tocalini for 360 magazine

Three Ways To Amp up Your Home Entertainment

Your home should be the place you are most comfortable. On top of that, if you’re the kind of person who loves to entertain guests, you want your home to be a place where others can not only be comfortable but have a memorable experience. Here are three things you can do to create a home where you can maximize entertaining others or simply allow yourself to really unwind. 

1. Audio Is Everything 

When you think of an entertaining event, is it possible to think of one that’s totally silent? One reason people love seeing movies in theaters is because the surround-sound audio seems larger than life. When you attend concerts, nothing gets your blood pumping quite like feel the bass resonating in your chest cavity. Whether you aim to entertain with a great home theater or with quality parties, your home audio Nashville must be top-notch. Watching movies is one thing; experiencing them is another. 

2. Drinks Must Be on-Hand

Any good event has interesting drinks available. That doesn’t even mean they have to be alcoholic — having a unique craft soda available can add a unique element to a get-together. Make sure the space you’re hosting parties in has drinks nearby. You might want to have a mini-fridge stocked in the basement, or you could even use an everyday cooler. However it’s done, the point is to make sure nobody has to ask for a drink or question where they might be. 

3. Lighting Is the Cherry on Top 

Going to a friend’s house for some drinks is a party, and parties are great. However, the difference between a party and an event is the ambiance. Imagine going to the exact same event, but their living room has been rearranged and they’ve hung up some interesting lights to create a completely different atmosphere. You are bound to remember that event more than the other everyday parties you’ve attended recently. 

You can accomplish unique lighting in many different ways, and most of them are very simple. The easiest is to buy some string lights that simply plug into your outlets. They can easily be hung temporarily and stored for later use — it shouldn’t take any longer than 10 minutes to set them up every time. You can even experiment with using various colored bulbs in your existing fixtures. You don’t have to go crazy, but just doing something a little different will make a big difference. 

It doesn’t take much to make a party stand out. If you have a quality sound system, you’ll already be leaps and bounds above the average event that has TV speakers or a run-of-the-mill stereo. Just like going out to eat, your friends will be happy if they never have to ask for a refill on their beverage, and you can really make the event memorable by changing the atmosphere. Don’t think you have to do all of this for other people, though — doing all of these same things for yourself will make for an incredibly relaxing night in. 

Valentine Image by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

2021 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, the team at 360 Magazine has come together to share their favorite gift ideas that your loved ones are sure to cherish. When getting that special someone a gift, it’s important that it’s romantic as well as useful and these gifts encompass these qualities. 

ArT Wine Preserver®

More people are finding reasons to enjoy a glass of wine at home these days. In some areas, the bars still aren’t open. As kids go back to school, parents are finding themselves needing an extra glass of wine or two, especially with homeschooling and distance learning this year. What’s a better gift for Valentine’s Day than a tool to preserve this romantic beverage.

Most opened bottles of wine go to waste and an estimated  $1.5 billion worth of wine is poured out every year due to oxidation. ArT Wine Preserver® wants to change this wasteful drinking habit. At the same time, it’s promoting moderation drinking in a sustainable way. This made in the USA, recyclable wine saver uses pure argon gas to displace oxygen. Argon gas is the preferred method by winemakers to prevent oxidation in wine.

Argon is a natural atmospheric gas that’s non-toxic and non-reactive. It makes the perfect wine preserver because it doesn’t react with your wine flavors or aromas, it simply displaces the oxygen. It also, keeps wine fresh 7 to 30 day, preserves up to 40 bottles per can and takes two seconds to use.

ArT Wine Preserver – Starting at $14.99

ArT Wine Preserver for 360 Magazine

Patrick Mahomes II Signature Series

Oakley® and Patrick Mahomes II recently launched the Patrick Mahomes II Signature Series. Dreamt up by the reigning Super Bowl Champion and MVP, the debut sunglass of his Signature Series is a fresh and unexpected take on the all-new Sutro Lite. The stylish and functional frame features discoverable details throughout to honor the unconventional talent who is shaping the future of the sport. These are the perfect gift for the athlete in your life. 

The frame features a red color theme for the quarterback’s teams: Kansas City Chiefs and Texas Tech, an etched lens with II for Mahomes, and a unique print that nods to the MVP’s nicknames “Showtime” and “2 PM.” Each frame is also equipped with Oakley’s Prizm™ Lens Technology, designed to enhance color and contrast to see more detail, and a custom microbag that features his signature.

“When I first joined Team Oakley, I was instantly drawn to the Sutro family – a bold and sleek performance frame that is style driven for life off-the-field,” said Mahomes. “Now today, to have the opportunity to launch my own Signature Series that represents who I am as an athlete has been an honor.”

Patrick Mahomes II Signature Series – Starting at $196

Sutro Lite Patrick Mahomes II Collection Photo

David Beckham Sports NEQI Mask

David Beckham, known for his high-quality performance and superiority in the world of Professional Soccer, is known to dress as equally well as he plays. The greatest soccer player of our time spares no details, especially when it comes to wearing a mask, and is among the latest celebrities to wear superior face covering, NEQI Reusable Mask!

Stay safe (and soft) with NEQI, the UK brand that specializes in keeping you clean and safe, which has now made its way to the USA via Amazon.com. Natives of the Earth standing for Quality and Innovation, is the motto that NEQI embodies. Founded in 2020, NEQI focuses on producing premium face coverings, disinfecting sprays, and hand cleansing gel products. NEQI believes good health belongs to everyone and stands behind quality. 

The design affordable, reusable, sustainable face masks are lightweight, ultra-breathable and easy to style. Designed with comfort in mind to ensure we are protecting our environment as well as ourselves. Masks come in 3 colors and multiple sizes, all perfectly pocket-size for on-the-go storage. No one imagined face masks would be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, but in 2021, nothing says I love you like protection from Covid. The masks come in two colors and sizes and there is also a children’s option. 

NEQI Face Covering – Starting at $10.99

David Beckham Illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Fine Jewelry from The House of Luxury

Nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like exquisite jewelry for that special someone. Jewelry has always been a classic gift for Valentine’s Day and The House of Luxury will ensure you pick the right piece. For Valentine’s Day The House of Luxury has created a beautiful selection of fine jewelry  from their leading designers Alessa JeweleryTabbahAisha BakerTerzihanYEPREM and Dreamboule

From a Y-NOT Necklace by YEPREM in 18K White Gold in Diamonds to Fizzy: Red Enamel Square Earring by Terzihan in 18K Rose Gold with Diamonds and Red Enamel, these superb selections are sure to be a hit with any woman in your life. 

A variety of pieces and styles – Starting at $1,700

Heart necklace from the house of luxury

The “Don’t Block Your Blessings” Festival

Give your loved ones the gift of blessings and mental health as we navigate what holidays look like through Covid-19.  We have loved watching the  Don’t Block Your Blessings  movement develop . They have announced a one of a  kind live-stream festival featuring musicians, artists, and some of the most innovative minds in self-growth and healing. The DBYB Festival boasts  three interactive rooms  on an exclusive virtual platform allowing festival goers to jump from room to room attending talks and  sessions, accessing musical performances, and viewing live art as its created.

Produced by Erez Safar, whose first live-stream festival, Lo-Freq Fest, was featured in Billboard, and shared around the globe. The debut DBYB festival featured over 40+ world-wide presenters with 25,774 viewers.

The next festival will be free to participate in and free to attend virtually, and is set to take place on Valentine’s (Sunday February 14th), between 6-9pm PST.

RSVP Now by going to www.dontblockyourblessings.org/fest.

Virtual Festival – Free

Don't block your blessings festival for 360 magazine

The GMWB5000RD-4

Casio has recently introduced an all-new timepiece to G-SHOCK’s premium Full Metal Series, the GMWB5000RD-4. The new model is constructed with a tough yet fashionable exterior that boasts an eye-catching red stainless-steel case and solid stainless steel band.

The latest Full Metal 5000 model carries on the tradition of the original G-SHOCK DW-5000C with its classic square case shape and digital display. The GMWB5000RD-4 also features a band created with a bold red IP finish, and a screw back with a diamond-like carbon finish for outstanding wear resistance. This is sure to be a show-stopping gift for anyone in your life.

In addition to an updated look, the new Full Metal timepiece comes equipped with several of G-SHOCK’s new and most premium technical features, including Bluetooth Connectivity via the G-SHOCK Connected app, and Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping for self-adjusting and accurate hour / date display virtually anywhere on the globe. It also boasts a STN-LCD digital display that makes the watch easy to read from any angle, as well as Tough Solar Technology, making it capable of self-charging even with low sun exposure.

The GMWB5000RD-4 will retail for $600 and be available for purchase starting January 20th  at select Jewelers, the G-SHOCK Soho Store, and gshock.com.

The GMWB5000RD-4 – $600

G-Shock RED STAINLESS STEEL CASE

Samsung Galaxy S21 Accessories

New accessories from ZAGG Brands that support the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra have just been announced and they would be the perfect gift for any Samsung Galaxy User. 

The line consists of two screen protectors as well as a variety of cases in four different colors. The GlassFusion VisionGuard+ with D3O is a hybrid screen protector that is engineered to be unbreakable and features an Eyesafe® technology layer that blocks HEV blue light without distorting the color performance of the smartphone screen. It also contains anti-microbial properties that protect the screen protector by inhibiting the growth of odor-causing bacteria. The GlassFusion+ with D3O, is a slightly cheaper model without VisionGuard+. 

The phone cases include the Havana , the Crystal Palace, the Copenhagen, and the Denali, all priced reasonably starting at $29.99. The cases are slim, stylish and protective, everything you could want from a phone case. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Accessories – Starting at $29.99

PUMA x Michael Lau Collection

This new unisex collection consists of footwear, apparel and accessories that features hand-drawn pencil graphics, graph paper textures and other playful design references with a hand-made inspired look and feel. Key footwear styles include bold iterations of the Mirage Mox, Ralph Sampson Mid, Ralph Sampson Lo and RS-2K. Additional items from the pack include the Two-Face track jacket which features a unique print with a pencil mark graphics, a reversible style and a tall collar, a Flat Brim Cap with a detachable “PUMA SAMPLE STUFF” graphic and a Tote Bag that comes with unique graphic prints.

The PUMA x Michael Lau collection will be available on PUMA.com, PUMA stores and select retailers starting Friday, January 22, just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

PUMA x Michael Lau Collection – Beginning at $40

Sperry Men’s Bahama II Sneaker

Sperry has always been a classic shoe perfect for the summer. With a timeless style this shoe is 50 percent boat shoe and 50 percent sneaker which makes this boat-sneaker hybrid come with double the wearability.

It has a canvas upper featuring rawhide laces and uses Sperry’s 360° Lacing System™ for a customized fit. The shoe also features a non-marking flexible rubber outsole with molded Wave-Siping™ which provides the ultimate no-slip traction so these shoes can handle any slippery terrain. Sperry has a large selection of shoes for men, women and children which makes them the perfect gift for anyone. 

Sperry Men’s Bahama II Sneaker – Starting at $59.95

Sperry illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine
Tree illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

USDA Forest Service Reflects on 2020

Despite challenges posed by the pandemic, the USDA Forest Service today announced it surpassed goals and set records in 2020.

“2020 was a challenging year, with record wildland fire activity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the Forest Service, we have risen above these challenges and set our minds, hands and hearts to carrying out our mission to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen.

The Forest Service relied on its strong science, innovation and partnerships to overcome this year’s challenges as the agency found new solutions to serve the public during a time of unprecedented need.

Creating healthy, productive forests and supporting rural economies

In 2020, the Forest Service provided jobs and stability for local economies through a year of historic timber production, selling more than 3.2 billion board feet of timber, the second-highest level in 20 years. The agency also improved forest conditions and reduced wildfire risk on over 2.65 million acres, removing hazardous fuels like dead and downed trees, and combating disease, insect and invasive species infestations.

The Forest Service undertook a suite of regulatory reforms to meet the goals of the Secretarial Memorandum to the Chief of the Forest Service modernize and align agency directives with new legislative authorities and reduce regulatory burdens. By the end of December 2020, the Forest Service will have nearly completed all guidance to implement new legislative authorities in the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition, Forest officials quickly began implementing President Trump’s Great American Outdoors Act to increase access to national forests and grasslands and make progress towards reducing the agency’s $5 billion infrastructure backlog.

Managing wildfire, and providing for health and safety

The Forest Service was successful in prioritizing early suppression of wildfire ignitions while facing a record-breaking fire year, with the most acres burned on national forests since 1910. The agency’s modeling research on how COVID-19 may spread between firefighters or in communities during response efforts led to new interagency safety protocols to better support fire camp management.  The protocols not only successfully minimized the spread of COVID-19 among the agency’s 10,000 firefighters, but early learning suggests the safety measures resulted in additional health benefits to fire crews, reducing ailments common in fire camps, which translated to a healthier and more resilient firefighting workforce available to protect lives, homes, and communities threatened by wildfire.

Sharing stewardship responsibilities and being better neighbors

The Forest Service made significant strides toward Shared Stewardship this year, working more closely than ever with Tribes, States, and local partners to make sure the right work happens in the right place at the right time. So far, 44 states and territories are now involved in a Stewardship Agreement. The agreements allow the Forest Service to employ the latest tools and share decision making on the highest priorities to improve forest conditions across broad landscapes. These new agreements have resulted in increasing resiliency of forests, protection of communities and reduction of wildfire risks. They have also produced jobs and stabilize economies.

Increasing access and improving recreation experiences

This year, Americans sought out their public lands in tremendous numbers, finding relief in the Great Outdoors, showing us once again how public lands unite our nation. In response, the Forest Service generated solutions to ensure visitors had every opportunity to safely use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands during the pandemic. The Forest Service welcomed record-breaking numbers of visitors, many of whom were first time users, with 95% expressing satisfaction with their experiences.

“Next year, we will continue to build on these successes to improve conditions on America’s national forests and grasslands to ensure they are healthier, more resilient and more productive,” added Chief Christiansen. We will keep building on the partnerships that make these successes possible and commit to increasing access to better connect people to their natural resources, so these national treasures endure for generations to come.”

For more information about the Forest Service visit www.fs.usda.gov

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

Covid Risk Increases During Holidays

By Hannah DiPilato

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Covid cases are skyrocketing all over the country and officials are advising people to social distance this holiday season.

According to CNN, more than 12 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and over 260,000 people have died. With those that are elderly or immune-compromised, the risk of complications due to COVID-19 is higher.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated the safety guidelines for traveling. “CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period,” Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, said in a conference call.

“Right now, especially as we are seeing exponential growth in cases and the opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time,” Walke continued.

The CDC has also recommended people stay in their immediate households for the holiday season. Even without traveling across the country, seeing those you don’t usually see can lead to a breakout of coronavirus.

Walke said he does not plan to visit his own family for the holiday season. “I haven’t seen my parents since January. I’m staying home and that’s been difficult as I have older parents who would like to see me and who would like to see my children as well,” he said.

“It’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months now, and people are tired. And we understand that and people want to see their relatives and their friends in the way they’ve always done it,” he continued, “But this year, particularly, we’re asking people to be as safe as possible and limit their travel.”

If you plan to gather with those outside of your immediate household, there are important precautions to take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. First, keep gatherings as small as possible. Many states have restrictions in place which limit the number of people allowed to gather inside. Check your local and state regulations to ensure your gathering is following the laws.

The CDC’s Dr. Erin Sauber-Schatz said, “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household.”

If possible, move your Thanksgiving dinner outside. Coronavirus is less likely to spread outside where there is better ventilation than indoors. Although many places are getting cold, tell your guests to load up with blankets and winter gear. If it’s too cold for an outside gathering, keep the windows open to ventilate the area.

One of the most important and simplest things you can do to stop the spread of Covid is to wear a mask. In many states, masks are required in public places and Thanksgiving dinner should be no exception. Keep your mask on unless eating and remain six feet away from other guests.

It is also recommended that guests handle making their own food and bringing their own utensils to Thanksgiving dinner this year. This prevents the spread of germs as well as cross-contamination between households. Remember to frequently wash your hands when cooking, eating and generally to stop the spread of germs.

Covid cases are rising in communities as well as healthcare networks which is making the virus even harder to handle. Many more people are becoming hospitalized due to the virus and healthcare workings are at risk.

According to the Associated Press, 905 staff members at The Mayo Clinic Health System have been infected with coronavirus in the last two weeks. The Mayo Clinic Health System is a network of clinics and hospitals in the midwest that are run by Mayo Clinic.

Executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice, Dr. Amy Williams, said that most cases came from exposure within the community and not from work. “It shows how widely spread this is in our communities and how easy it is to get COVID-19 in the communities here in the Midwest,” she said.

If a virtual gathering isn’t in your Thanksgiving plans this year and you will be seeing people outside of your family in person, consider isolating yourself beforehand. Since the incubation period of the virus is 14 days, a negative test result doesn’t necessarily mean a person does not carry the virus. Although a negative test result for coronavirus isn’t a sure sign of safety, it is an extra precaution everyone should add before mingling this holiday season.

Besides getting a coronavirus test, people should also consider a 14-day quarantine before seeing loved ones, or afterward. Isolating before seeing family will decrease the risk of spreading the disease within your holiday circle. If you plan on traveling for the holiday, consider isolating yourself after returning to prevent the spread of covid in your community.

The CDC has predicted this will be a dark winter and although a vaccine is in the works, it likely won’t be ready for mass distribution for a few more weeks. The holiday season will only lead to more cases with an increase in travel and group gatherings. As the weather in many places gets colder, inside gatherings are more likely to occur.

The CDC also recommends everyone get their flu shot for the upcoming flu season. By protecting yourself from the flu, you can help the healthcare system more easily manage the large influx of people going to the hospital.

In all states except Hawaii, Maine and Vermont, there is an active or imminent outbreak of coronavirus according to Covid Act Now. Even these three states are at risk for an outbreak. Currently, North Dakota has the highest number of new daily cases per 100,000 people with 159.6 cases. Wyoming and New Mexico follow closely behind.

Many states have separated their cities and counties into different zones depending on the number of Covid cases present. The restrictions in place for these areas are then determined by the number of cases.

New York City is starting to enforce tighter restrictions as cases start to rise. “In the next week or two we should see some substantial restrictions,” said Mayor, Bill de Blasio. “I think indoor dining will be closed, gyms will be closed.  I’m not happy about it. No one is happy about it but that’s what’s coming.” There is currently a 10 person gathering limit and a curfew for nonessential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Similarly, in Boston, Governor Charlie Baker has released a stay-at-home advisory for the same time frame. People are urged to only go out between these hours for essentials. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people while outdoor gatherings should be capped at 25 people.

Things on the west coast seem just as bleak. According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, restaurants, bars, wineries and breweries will be closed for dine-in services for at least three weeks. People in Los Angeles are being advised to stay home and have a similar curfew to Boston and New York City.

In some cities where cases are skyrocketing, restrictions are not being put in place as heavily as in California and New York. In Miami, restaurants are able to be open to 100% capacity and seat 10 people per table. Most things in Miami are reopened, but with restrictions such as requiring masks.

It is crucial for everyone to work together to bring covid cases back down over the coming weeks. As cases spike, it is important to remember that each state has precautions in place for a reason. Although many states won’t fully shut down, you can decide to continue social distancing and only going out for essentials.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, COVID-19

New Possible Key for Targeting Viruses

“Position 4” didn’t seem important until researchers took a long look at a particular peptide. That part of the peptide drawn from a SARS-CoV virus turned out to have an unexpected but significant influence on how it stably binds with a receptor central to the immune system’s ability to attack diseased cells. 

In a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Rice University’s Brown School of Engineering and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center revealed models at an atomic resolution that detail not only the binding but also, for the first time, the unbinding mechanisms that underlie a key component of the immune system. 

They say a better understanding of the entire mechanism could lead to advancements in immunotherapy that boost the body’s ability to fight disease. 

Rice computer scientist Lydia Kavraki, alumnus Jayvee Abella and postdoctoral researcher Dinler Antunes, led the study.

“Finding good targets to trigger a protective immune response is very challenging, especially in cancer research,” Antunes said. “The fact that this particular peptide was predicted not to bind to HLAs (human leukocyte antigens) by sequence-based methods highlights a blind spot in our current prediction capacity.”

“By incorporating structural analysis, we can detect the contribution of these secondary interactions to peptide binding and stability, hopefully enabling us to find better targets for antiviral vaccine development and T-cell-based cancer immunotherapy,” he said.

The researchers used their simulations to illuminate details of how the intracellular SARS peptide, QFKDNVILL, binds to an MHC receptor protein known as HLA-A24:02, primarily at dominant anchors on both ends of the peptide (at positions 2 and 9) and presents them for inspection to the immune system’s T cells. 

Stable binding of a peptide and MHC is a prerequisite to the activation of T cells, which look for peptides not normally found in healthy cells. If the peptide and protein don’t bind, the T cell is not prompted to attack. 

“That much was known from previous studies of the bound and unbound states of many such complexes,” Kavraki said. “What they didn’t capture was the intermediate states and the transitions that lead from one state to another, especially the unbinding.

“I think this is the only analysis that shows the unbinding of peptides from the MHC with atomic resolution,” Kavraki said. “Other peptides have similar characteristics and we think they would have similar behaviors.”

All of these interactions were revealed in great detail through Markov state models that analyze how systems change over time. In this case, the models revealed the importance of secondary sites that support the peptide’s primary anchors. That’s where position 4 stood out.

“There are the main, canonical anchors that people know, but there are these secondary interactions that contribute to the binding and the stability,” Antunes said. “These are harder to capture, but in this study, it seems that position 4 plays a very important role. When you mutate it, it affects the behavior of the peptide as it unbinds from the molecule.”

The researchers modeled mutations of the MHC to see how they would influence binding and found they supported the importance of position 4 to the stability of the complex.

“Our computational approach was able to make predictions on the effect of mutations that are then experimentally verified,” said co-author Cecilia Clementi, a former Rice professor who recently became Einstein Professor of Physics at the Free University of Berlin. 

The researchers developed a two-stage process to simplify the computational complexity of atom-scale analysis of large molecules. The first stage used a technique called umbrella sampling to accelerate the initial exploration of the molecules. The second, exploratory stage used adaptive sampling, in which simulations are driven to accelerate the construction of the Markov model.  

“The challenge is that these MHCs are pretty large systems for computational chemists to simulate,” said Abella, whose research on the topic formed much of his doctoral thesis. “We had to make some approximations and leverage advances in these classes of methods to move forward.”

“We’re not the first one to study unbinding, but what characterizes our work over others is that we keep full atomic resolution in our simulations,” he said. “Other works use a technique known as a Markov chain Monte Carlo, whereas we use molecular dynamics, which lets us incorporate time into our computation to capture the kinetics.”

Their methods can be applied to other peptide-MHC complexes with existing 3D models. “This was, in some sense, a feasibility study to show we can use molecular dynamics and build a Markov state model of a system this size,” Abella said. 

The researchers also noted the study’s relevance to the current fight against COVID-19, as the SARS peptide they viewed, QFKDNVILL, is highly similar to the NFKDQVILL peptide in SARS-CoV-2, with the same binding pockets in positions 2, 4 and 9.

“These results suggest that both peptides can bind to HLA-A*2402 and provide targets for anti-viral T-cell responses, which are of great interest in light of the current pandemic,” said co-author Gregory Lizée, a professor in the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology at MD Anderson. “But these results also shed light on many other potential immune targets, including those of other viruses and even human cancers.”

Kavraki noted that experimental work by long-term collaborator Lizée and Kyle Jackson, a graduate research assistant at Lizée’s lab who produced the mutant proteins, were critical to validate their simulations. Kavraki’s own lab won a National Science Foundation (NSF) Rapid Response Research grant to help identify fragments of SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins as possible targets for vaccine development. 

Kavraki is the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and a professor of bioengineering, mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering. 

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, the Gulf Coast Consortia, the NSF, the Einstein Foundation Berlin and the Welch Foundation supported the research.

Easing Back into Exercise

A message from our Fitness Editor, Kupah James.

Let’s be honest, the COVID 15lb weight gain is a real thing. Lately, there has been a huge increase in people seeking out the next best fitness trend to try and shed their stay-at-home fluff and get back into shape. Diving into the fitness lifestyle can be a little overwhelming if you do not know exactly where to start. Luckily, we’re here to pave the way and help you find the best routine for YOU.

If you think you have to run a marathon or join a CrossFit gym to get back into your healthy routine, think again. Sometimes setting an unrealistic goal or diving into a workout style you don’t love can be the most detrimental decision of the process. It can be easy to follow social trends and check out the latest HIIT class near you, but what if it’s not exactly your style? I teamed up with fit-pro Chelle Mahoney and laid out the most important steps to ensure longevity and effective workout habits!

Play to Your Strengths

If you absolutely hate to box, don’t pick up boxing. Same goes for yoga, CrossFit, running etc. The biggest feedback we hear in the fitness industry when people stop their chosen workout is, “I didn’t like it” and that’s OK! Pilates is not everyone’s jam but find what is. If you grew up on a bike, pick up spinning. If you absolutely love to be in the water, start swimming laps. Find what you’re good at and go be great at it. Then step by step you will start implementing other forms of fitness into your routine to compliment your workout.

Quality and Consistency

Make a plan and stick to it. It truly is that simple. Whether you work a 9-5 or travel for a living, creating a workout schedule ahead of time sets you up for success. Our best advice is plan a month ahead. Break out the calendar, set aside times for yourself to sweat and stick to it. Write it down, sweat it out, reap the benefits, repeat.

Steady State Cardio

Have you ever been to a class where the instructor is screaming at you to run faster, spin harder or max out your heart rate. Yeah, we’ve all been there. HIIT training is a hot commodity these days and is more popular than ever. However, HIIT is only sustainable for so long. How about revisiting your steady state cardio days? This is the true sneak attack for fat loss. So how do we do it? Most simply put, create lower intensity forms of cardio for longer amounts of time. This can be anything from a brisk walk to a longer endurance style jog. The trick is to not max out your heart rate so you have to stop the exercise. Combining lower intensity with longer holds creates a cardio lifestyle built around lasting longevity.

Importance of Community

Yes, we get it, sometimes it sucks waking up at 6 am to fit your workout in before heading to the office. The best life hack we have for this problem; find your workout partner. This can be anyone including, but not limited to, a best friend, co-worker, sibling, neighbor etc. Having an accountability partner creates healthy habits for you to get after together! Knowing you have someone to sweat with makes it much less likely to hit snooze and skip your workout. Adhere to your schedule together and #MakeMoves.

Before you tune out and stop reading, allow us to wrap this up now that we’ve listed some easy steps for you to create and start implementing workouts into your new routine. With this new stay at home lifestyle, long term wellness is the goal. Make a schedule and stay consistent. Not every workout has to be all-out max effort, steady state is the fat loss key. Find your workout buddy and stay accountable. Lastly, find your groove and what makes you smile as you sweat. These are the simple steps to make your sweat schedule a consistent habit. If you are dreading your training it will have an expiration, and we’re in this for the long haul baby.

Will Smith illustration for 360 Magazine by Mina Tocalini

30th Anniversary Fresh Prince Collection

By Hannah DiPilato

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the beloved classic, is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary with a fresh new line of streetwear. The collection includes clothing that showcases the nostalgic era of the nineties with bold and colorful designs. Inspired by the show, this collection will transport you back in time. 

This unisex collection offers a variety of shirts, pants, jackets, and accessories all with different fun and unique patterns. You can even get your hands on a Fresh Prince facemask to stay safe in style – which is one of 360 MAGAZINE’s favorites in the line. The clothing and accessories range from $15 to $200 so everyone can find something fresh to rock. 

Some highlights of the line include a bright, blue varsity jacket that says “Fresh” across the front, perfect for channeling the energy of the Bel-Air Academy halls. There is also a color block t-shirt and sweatpant set that combines the fashion of the ‘90s with a common 2020 streetwear style. 

There is even a limited edition crate series for $55 that comes with a ‘90s graphic tee, a pair of logo socks, a graffiti print beach towel, an exclusive air freshener, and a license plate enamel pin. You can choose the three crate option to get two more crates of similar goods to be shipped in October and December. If you buy the three crate plan you receive a free ornament to keep the swag going into the holiday season. 

This “Who God Da Jazz?” collection was inspired by the prince, Will Smith, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, his music partner. This is the second collection featured on the website, the first being “Frressh Essentials.”

DJ Jazzy Jeff commented on the excitement of the collection in a press release by Chantel Muentes at Berk Communications. “Very rarely do television programs have such a significant cultural impact 30 years after its release, but to generate this type of excitement in 2020 is really a testament to the fans,” Jeff said. “This is really a celebration of a legacy and it’s incredible watching the series evolve into a fashion brand and influence an entirely new generation.” 

Along with the clothing collection, Will Smith announced on his Instagram that a “real Banks family reunion is comin’ soon” and will be available on the new streaming service HBO Max.

This reunion isn’t the only premiere fans are anticipating. According to a youtube video posted by Smith he “closed the deal with Peacock with an unprecedented two-season order” that will reboot “Fresh Prince.” A fan of the show, Morgan Cooper, created a viral video in 2019 that showed the potential of a reboot. He will write and direct the reboot and Smith will be present as an executive producer along with a few others.

This line is perfect to get a fresh style just in time for fall. With the release of both the reunion and reboot coming soon, this is the perfect time to splurge on merchandise and channel your inner fresh prince. Although the style of the ‘90s has never truly faded from fashion, it’s making a full-force comeback with these unique streetwear styles. 

Kamala Harris illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Win With Black Women

Back in 2016, while campaigning for the office of President of the United States, Donald Trump asked black voters, “What do you have to lose?”

He asked in reference to generations of oppression, violence and inequality, saying, “You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth is unemployed.”

The obvious implication is that things couldn’t possibly get worse for black voters, and Trump thought he had a chance to be the solution to the problem.

Well, in Sept. 2020, it seems that President Trump has his answer, and it comes in the form of a letter penned by Win With Black Women and co-signed by over 1,000 black female leaders.

The letter opens with a direct response to the question posed by Trump.

“Our answer, evidenced by increasingly poor economic outcomes, high racial tensions and hate incidents, the coronavirus, and an overall lack of dignity and respect in the White House, is a lot. And for Black women in particular, it’s too much,” the letter said.

It went on to discuss “sycophantic rhetoric” at the RNC that would lead watchers to believe that black life in America is in a healthier place now than it was prior to Trump’s election. Furthermore, the letter said that rhetoric insisted that anyone challenging that notion was brainwashed.

To refute the points set forth at the RNC, the letter cited the State of Black America, saying black households bring in 41% less than white households, and 60% of the black population lives below the poverty line. The letter also said that black unemployment is double the percentage of white unemployment.

The letter covered the cause of the recent protests throughout the country, saying, “Our lives are in constant threat under your Administration. If you are Black in America, you are three times more likely to be shot by the police,” going on to name Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Jacob Blake as evidence that justice has gone unserved.

It also mentioned that black people are dying disproportionally from COVID-19 while black women, specifically, “lag behind in life expectancy, and maternal and infant mortality.”

Win With Black Women finished by saying that they will fight against attacks on Kamala Harris and proposed a call to action.

“We call on voters, no matter their background, to join us in setting the record straight and to reject your distracting antics, lies and attacks. We call on you and the GOP to focus on the crises afflicting the American people and not to insult every American with petty diversions, outright lies, and by sweeping problems under the rug.  We call on voters to stand in solidarity with Black women and reject your derogatory sexist, racist rhetoric aimed at undermining our credibility, our character, and our achievements,” the letter said.

Before closing the letter, Win With Black Women said they “vow to continue to uplift the issues most important to our families and our communities, keep our eyes and ears open, and to work to restore what is true, just, and decent to this election and to this monumental time in history.”

Win With Black Women has published the letter on Change.org, asking signees of the petition to stand with them in unity. To sign the letter and to see a complete list of co-signing leaders, you can click right here.

Community illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Alt-Right Billboard Petition

The internet has given everyone a voice, and Change.org has become one of the most popular platforms for using that voice.

One of the site’s petitions that seems to be picking up steam, almost reaching 100,000 signatures, is a petition to remove a billboard advertising WhitePrideRadio.com and AltRightTV.com.

According to the post on Change.org, Harrison Sign Co., a sign company based out of Harrison, Arkansas, has posted several racist billboards over the past few years.

“The billboards have done tremendous damage to our community by giving the impression that our citizens support their messages and don’t object to their presence,” the post said.

The post also said that the community has worked to remove previous billboards found to be equally offensive, but this one still stands.

Commenters and residents have also taken to Change.org to express their discontent with the billboard.

One commenter by the name of Amber Harris said, “This sign is an embarrassment to our community and a stain on our town. Our community deserves better. Our minorities deserve better.”

Another commenter, John Henderson, said, “This does not represent the view of the people of Harrison. It is bad for the reputation and economy of the town.”

The petition has a goal of 150,000 signatures. If you’d like to help by adding your signature, you can click right here.