School lockers

Our Genes are Not Our Destiny: “Smart Genes” have Tiny Effect on Schooling

Headlines touting a recently discovered link between particular snippets of DNA and academic success skew a complicated (and fascinating) story that’s hidden in our genes. As described in Nature, a team of researchers from all over the world studied the genomes of hundreds of thousands of people and found a correlation between “educational attainment” and specific genetic variations.  This technique, called a genome-wide association study, … Continue reading Our Genes are Not Our Destiny: “Smart Genes” have Tiny Effect on Schooling

Planets found by the Kepler that are in their star's “habitable zone." Earth, Venus and Mars are included for comparison. (Credit: NASA Ames, Image obtained under Creative Commons License)

NASA’s Kepler Discovers over 1000 New Planets

Recently, the Kepler mission announced the discovery of 1,284 new planets. The announcement represents the most planets ever discovered at a single time, and more than doubles the total number of planets discovered by the Kepler telescope. Launched into space by NASA in 2009, Kepler’s goal is to determine how many Earth-sized planets reside in or near habitable zones, and estimate how many of such planets might exist … Continue reading NASA’s Kepler Discovers over 1000 New Planets

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Diversity in Chemical Synthesis Leads to New Antibiotics

Over 300 new macrolide compounds were synthesized by a team of scientists in the Myers lab at Harvard. Macrolides are a class of organic compounds with antibiotic properties that are used to treat a wide variety of infections, from pneumonia to chlamydia. Over time however, bacteria develop resistances to currently prescribed antibiotics, so scientists must continue to create new compounds to treat infections. The compounds … Continue reading Diversity in Chemical Synthesis Leads to New Antibiotics

Bacterial superpowers

Irresistible: Stopping bacteria from acquiring evil superpowers

The news is filled with stories of bacteria beating antibiotics – over time, bacteria can become resistant to drugs that are used to fight them. Unfortunately, this means that the “wonder drug” you thought could cure your infection may eventually be outsmarted by the bacteria it was designed to treat. In order to tackle bacterial resistance, scientists have devoted substantial effort to understanding how bacteria … Continue reading Irresistible: Stopping bacteria from acquiring evil superpowers

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Sit’N Listen! Episode 6: (S&S Edition 1) Communicating Science

SIT’N Listen! Presents its first episode in a recurring series of podcasts on Science and Society, where graduate students and other experts across various disciplines- science, public policy, design, history, you name it- discuss a wide range of topics- from gender to climate change. After all, these are topics scholars in many disciplines are contributing to. This series is largely a collaboration between Science in … Continue reading Sit’N Listen! Episode 6: (S&S Edition 1) Communicating Science

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Preventing Broken Hearts: The science behind cardiovascular disease

presented by Mary Gearing Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s leading cause of death. This disease is often called “the silent killer” because it develops slowly over time without obvious symptoms. In this talk, I’ll explain how CVD develops and why it’s so dangerous. I’ll also discuss standard treatments as well as new and exciting research in the field. Lecture Continue reading Preventing Broken Hearts: The science behind cardiovascular disease

Large rhodolith beds on the Abrolhos shelf on the east coast of Brazil.

Not Your Average Coral Reef

Scientists recently discovered a coral reef in an unexpected place: where the Amazon River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The reef lives on the shallow seafloor off the coast of Brazil, which is host to six previously known large reefs, all rich in species. Why is the new finding surprising? That’s because the conditions where rivers outlet into the ocean are not known to support reefs. … Continue reading Not Your Average Coral Reef