Extracellular DNA, in Plant Health and Hardship

by Sophia Swartz figures by Abagail Burrus It was only three weeks into the fall semester, and I was starting to sniffle. When I had woken up that morning with a tell-tale tickle in the back of my throat, I had tried to deny the obvious. However, by the end of the day, sneezing and sore, I surrendered to my cold and trudged to my local CVS. … Continue reading Extracellular DNA, in Plant Health and Hardship

New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

While you are likely familiar with the annoying experience of being a mosquito’s ‘meal of the day’, more is going on behind the scenes of that insect bite than meets the eye.  Mosquitoes, which are drawn to human scent and breath, require proteins from the blood of their victims to develop their eggs and reproduce. This sounds harmless enough, but mosquitoes also excel at picking … Continue reading New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You

Digging through history: Theorists use old LHC data to search for new particles

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, is the largest and most energetic particle collider in the world. Since it was activated in 2008, it has collided nearly a quadrillion protons. When particles collide they shatter, annihilate, and completely reorganize into a firework of new particles flying out in all directions, producing hundreds of millions of gigabytes of data. Physicists have used this data … Continue reading Digging through history: Theorists use old LHC data to search for new particles

The Big Eater: How the immune system alters the pancreas during obesity

by Lara Roach figures by Rebecca Senft In Greek, macrophage means “big eater,” and that is exactly their job. Like a growing teenager or athlete after a big game, macrophages are activated immune cells whose primary focus is to “eat.” But instead of, say, a plate of pasta, macrophages take in and digest pathogenic microbes, unhealthy molecules, and even other cells in the body when they … Continue reading The Big Eater: How the immune system alters the pancreas during obesity

Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

In December 2018, a Chinese researcher, He Jiankui, shocked the world when he revealed the birth of the world’s first genetically edited babies. While it is clear that Jiankui egregiously violated university regulations and ethical standards, his announcement has since ignited a heated international dialogue about the permissibility of human embryonic gene editing. Currently, there are scientists in the United States working in university laboratories, … Continue reading Genetic editing of human embryos in the United States ignites debate

Scientists identify brain patterns associated with consciousness

Lying down after a long day, your head hits the pillow and your eyes close. The next minute you wake up with no recollection of the past several hours. Consciousness is an elusive concept – it is temporarily lost when we sleep, altered by drugs, and can be permanently lost with brain damage. It is a state of self-awareness that emerges from a network of … Continue reading Scientists identify brain patterns associated with consciousness

E-Cigarettes Over Conventional Nicotine Replacement

A year-long study from the United Kingdom suggests that electronic cigarettes are nearly twice as effective as conventional nicotine replacement strategies at helping to quit smoking and aid in reducing symptoms of withdrawal. However, the long-term effects of e-cigarette use have yet to be completely uncovered, and it is unknown if these results will generalize to other people and countries. Continue reading E-Cigarettes Over Conventional Nicotine Replacement

Bee Parasite Munches On Fat, Not Blood

You may think of honey bees as yellow and black-striped harbingers of spring, destined to flit between flowers and produce sweet honey. Their impact is far greater than the honey they produce, however; honey bees directly or indirectly produce one out of every three foods. It is therefore very concerning that bee populations have been declining—entire hives have been dying without any obvious explanation. One … Continue reading Bee Parasite Munches On Fat, Not Blood

Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

The concept of mind control sounds like something that only exists in sci-fi movies. Until now. Recent work from Zhejiang University on developing a system appears to allow human mind control over the rat’s movements. This “brain-to-brain interface”, or BBI, is achieved by wirelessly coupling the brains of a human operator and a “rat cyborg” and transmitting brain activity in real time. Brain cells communicate … Continue reading Scientists control rat’s movements with their minds

Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. It progressively worsens multiple aspects of health over time, from short-term memory loss to behavioral changes to loss of bodily functions. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s is currently unknown. One widely-accepted hypothesis proposes that Alzheimer’s is caused by the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain. Unfortunately, many drugs targeting misfolded proteins perform poorly in clinical trials, … Continue reading Oral bacteria may be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease