Whale

Marine Memorial Established Off New England Coast

President Obama has recently established the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off of the coast of New England. The monument is the first in the Atlantic Ocean and measures in at 4,913 square miles, roughly the size of Connecticut. This move comes a month after President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii by 442,781 square miles. In total, President Obama … Continue reading Marine Memorial Established Off New England Coast

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More Than Just a Sugar Pill: Why the placebo effect is real

by Benika Pinch figures by Kaitlyn Choi If you watched the Rio Olympics, you probably noticed that several athletes, including swimmer Michael Phelps, were covered in bizarre circular marks. These bruises were caused by cupping, a therapy that uses suction to pull skin upwards into a circular cup, with the intent of increasing blood flow and reducing muscle tension. While athletes maintain that they benefited … Continue reading More Than Just a Sugar Pill: Why the placebo effect is real

Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli

Shrink to grow: on the road towards a 57-codon bacterium

“Shrink to grow” is a two-pronged business strategy where a company gets rid of unprofitable brands (“shrink”) to focus its resources on a few remaining or new brands (“grow”). Companies like P&G and Microsoft have used it, and a similar idea to “shrink to grow” is behind the George Church lab’s ongoing development of the synthetic bacteria rEcoli57. But while the executives at P&G were … Continue reading Shrink to grow: on the road towards a 57-codon bacterium

LIGO Hanford

How the Quest for Gravitational Waves Pushes the Boundaries of Quantum Optics

by Michael Goldman figures by Michael Gerhardt LIGO’s observation of gravitational waves was perhaps the most stunning physics discovery of the past several years. Two black holes, each 20 to 30 times as massive as the sun, collided in an event of unimaginable violence and shook the very fabric of the space around them. About 1.4 billion years later, in February of this year, the … Continue reading How the Quest for Gravitational Waves Pushes the Boundaries of Quantum Optics

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Resetting the Aging Clock: The science of age reversal

by Gabriel Filsinger figures by Anna Maurer Can biological aging be slowed or reversed? Time is constantly passing. Given enough time, we change as people and move between stages of life, transforming from children into young adults and evolving from parents into elderly grandparents. Although we may not notice it explicitly, time continually and unrelentingly propels us forward into the future. To us, time and … Continue reading Resetting the Aging Clock: The science of age reversal

FlyNeuromuscularJunction

Branched synaptic arbor in fillet

The Drosophila neuromuscular junction is a beautiful and yet powerful model synapse for in vivo studies of development, physiology, cell biology and plasticity. This illustration by Saskia Van Vactor shows a field of ventral longitudinal body wall muscles in red, as if stained with phalloidin to highlight filamentous actin, the main protein building block of muscle. Against this background, several branches of intersegmental nerve extend … Continue reading Branched synaptic arbor in fillet

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A Second Brain: How microbes in your gut may affect your body and mind

by Jess Kanwal figures by Shannon McArdel Would you be willing to pop “freeze-dried-poop” pills for a chance to slim down? While this weight-loss strategy certainly doesn’t sound appetizing, scientists are currently embarking on a clinical trial to find out whether such a method could be a new treatment for obesity. Researchers are collecting fecal samples from lean, healthy donors, freeze-drying their stool and packaging … Continue reading A Second Brain: How microbes in your gut may affect your body and mind