Black Hole Burps: Particle Absorption and Emission in Supermassive Black Holes

Black holes are fascinating objects to study because we can use them to learn more about about astronomy, cosmology, and gravity. Black holes are super-massive and super-dense objects in the universe. Because of these properties, they produce strong gravitational and electromagnetic forces that suck nearby objects in. After ‘eating’ all this extraneous matter, the black hole has energy to spare and then ‘burps’, emitting high-energy … Continue reading Black Hole Burps: Particle Absorption and Emission in Supermassive Black Holes

Fighting the Opioid Addiction Crisis: Can scientists cure it?

by Mary May figures by Neal Akatsuka An estimated 59,000 to 65,000 Americans died due to drug overdoses last year, which is more than the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS at the peak of the epidemic in 1995 and more than the total number of American deaths in the Vietnam War. The over-prescription of pain-relieving opioid drugs like morphine and oxycodone has created another epidemic … Continue reading Fighting the Opioid Addiction Crisis: Can scientists cure it?

Can we locate bacteria by listening to them?

An ultrasound is probably most popularly recognized as a doctor’s tool to peer into the womb and take a look at a growing fetus during a woman’s pregnancy. But what if sound could be used to take a look at even smaller things – like the microorganisms in your gut? Mikhail Shapiro’s research group at the California Institute of Technology has been able to track … Continue reading Can we locate bacteria by listening to them?

The Science behind Keeping your Resolutions

We all want to start the year right, but making a change is hard. Luckily, behavioral scientists have found ways to form new, healthy habits, so that maintaining a resolution is easier than ever. Is it better to start slowly or with a bang? Two economists offered 3 groups of 40 people monetary incentives to exercise for a month. The groups were characterized by how … Continue reading The Science behind Keeping your Resolutions

Viruses, not all are bad for you

When you think of viruses, the yearly flu or even the Ebola or Swine flu outbreaks may come to mind. However, not all viruses cause disease – some even provide cures! Adeno-associated virus (AAV) can infect humans, but is not known to cause disease. In other words, this virus is good at getting its genetic information (genes) into human cells. What if its genes were … Continue reading Viruses, not all are bad for you

Risky Business: The far-reaching consequences of slashing the orphan drug tax credit

by Christopher Gerry The routes that lead to a career in biomedicine are as diverse as they are plentiful, but one of my colleagues has taken a particularly unorthodox path. Sonia had just graduated from law school when she learned of a “typo” in her genetic code that will almost certainly induce a fatal and untreatable brain disorder called prion disease. She and her husband, … Continue reading Risky Business: The far-reaching consequences of slashing the orphan drug tax credit