November 14 – Brains and Bodies: How to Make Smart Robots

Time: 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, November 14th Location: Armenise Amphitheater at Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston (link to directions) Speakers: Buse Aktaṣ and Julia Ebert Graphics: Elayne Fivenson From Roomba to Mars rovers, robots perform a wide range of tasks from cleaning your living room to exploring the solar system. And with every new model, we expect them to be able to accomplish more with less of … Continue reading November 14 – Brains and Bodies: How to Make Smart Robots

What Pelvis Shape Can Teach Us About Human Evolution

If you are looking for an interesting case study on human evolution, look no further than the female pelvis. The shape of the pelvis is thought to be a compromise between two opposing evolutionary pressures. On one hand, a narrow pelvis is ideal for walking on two feet, a trait that gives us a competitive edge over other species. On the other hand, a wide … Continue reading What Pelvis Shape Can Teach Us About Human Evolution

November 7 – Fighting Back Against Climate Change: Altering Earth’s Atmosphere

Time: 7-9 p.m., Wednesday, November 7th Location: Armenise Amphitheater at Harvard Medical School, 200 Longwood Avenue, Boston (link to directions) Speakers: Zhen Dai and Colleen Golja Graphics: Abby Knecht Solar geoengineering, the large-scale deliberate manipulation of Earth’s incoming radiation, is a contentious idea proposed as a tool to help fight the impacts of climate change. In this lecture we seek to highlight how the world is currently fighting … Continue reading November 7 – Fighting Back Against Climate Change: Altering Earth’s Atmosphere

Liverwort as an alternative to medical cannabis

Cannabinoids are a family of chemical compounds that bind to cannabinoid receptors found on various cell types in the body, and alter the release of neurotransmitters. Endocannabinoids are produced naturally in our bodies (e.g. anandamide is associated with the euphoria of a “runner’s high”). On the other hand, phytocannabinoids are found in plants – of course, the most well-known phytocannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is responsible … Continue reading Liverwort as an alternative to medical cannabis

An effort to make moral machines finds cultural differences in human morality

A driverless car is speeding down a road and can’t stop. Either it hits an elderly woman crossing the street, or it swerves out of the way and kills its passenger, a young child. Whose life should be spared? As driverless cars become a reality, the answer to the famed “Trolley problem” becomes increasingly pressing. Unlike humans, self-driving cars don’t have an internal moral code; … Continue reading An effort to make moral machines finds cultural differences in human morality

Treating Men and Women Differently: Sex differences in the basis of disease

by Nathan Huey figures by Daniel Utter Sex is one of the most obvious candidates for a first step towards individualized healthcare. It is both unambiguous in the majority of cases as well as a significant factor in the development and progression of a host of diseases. Today, many medical professionals feel that first honing in on sex-specific treatment options is the most productive way … Continue reading Treating Men and Women Differently: Sex differences in the basis of disease

Safe Transfusions: Enzymes that can convert blood to type O

Imagine you are rushed to the hospital after an injury and need an emergency blood transfusion. If there is no time to test your own blood type, the hospital may give you type O blood. This is because type O is a “universal type.” Blood types A and B each have distinct sugars attached to the red blood cells (type AB has both types of … Continue reading Safe Transfusions: Enzymes that can convert blood to type O

Probiotics prevents dangerous pathogen infection by making the bacteria ‘deaf’

If you’ve visited a supermarket recently, you might have noticed that yogurts and kombucha are taking up more shelf space. These products are two popular examples of probiotics: living bacteria touted to provide human health benefits. It’s not just a millennial fad – the probiotics market is projected to be over $60 billion by 2023. The accepted belief is that good bacteria drive out bad … Continue reading Probiotics prevents dangerous pathogen infection by making the bacteria ‘deaf’

Using Satellites to Protect Shark Sanctuaries

Sharks play an important and often overlooked role in the ocean ecosystem. As apex predators, or predators at the top of their food chain, sharks regulate the diversity and diets of species below them, ensuring a healthy ocean habitat. For instance, the decline of sharks in many areas has been shown to directly correlate with the demise of coral reefs and seagrass beds. Despite their … Continue reading Using Satellites to Protect Shark Sanctuaries

Facing Facts: Why a transmissible facial cancer is decimating Tasmanian devil populations

by Garrett Dunlap figures by Aparna Nathan Perhaps no animal is better suited to its name than the Tasmanian devil. While it might look cute and cuddly, in reality this animal is quite the opposite. With the strongest bite of any mammal and an infamous blood-curdling scream, the Tasmanian devil is a fierce and formidable creature known to attack animals many times its size. But … Continue reading Facing Facts: Why a transmissible facial cancer is decimating Tasmanian devil populations