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To Eat or Not to Eat? Miniature Livers Used in Safety Studies

Since food tasters have fallen out of fashion, scientists have had to devise new ways to check the safety of food and drugs that humans put in their mouths.  In the pharmaceutical industry for example, animals like mice and dogs are often used to predict if a drug candidate will be harmful to people.  If this seems strange to you, an unassuming Hershey bar should … Continue reading To Eat or Not to Eat? Miniature Livers Used in Safety Studies

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Shining A Light in the Brain: Optogenetics as a “guiding light” for deep brain stimulation

by Trevor Haynes In the late 18th century a particularly resourceful experimenter, Giovanni Aldini, saw scientific opportunity in the increasingly prevalent public executions being performed across Europe at the time. Using the corpse of a recently deceased prisoner, Aldini electrically stimulated the prisoner’s exposed brain causing his eyes to open and his face to contort and twitch, thus putting his uncle’s theory of bioelectricity to … Continue reading Shining A Light in the Brain: Optogenetics as a “guiding light” for deep brain stimulation

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Why Scientists Need to be Better Communicators

by Marina Watanabe I once attended a lecture by a famed physicist, and left convinced that physics was the biggest sham in the universe (or multiverse, if you believe him). At one point, the professor answered an audience member’s question by “clarifying” that if you were on the inside (of what?!) looking out (to where?!), time was time. However, if you were on the outside … Continue reading Why Scientists Need to be Better Communicators

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Mixed Emotions on the March for Science and the Consequences of Getting it Wrong

by Dana Boebinger figures by Tito Adhikary I’ve had many conversations over the past several weeks – with scientists and non-scientists alike – about the possible outcomes of this weekend’s March for Science. Some people are excited about this opportunity to make a strong show of support for scientific research and evidence-based policymaking. Others don’t think a march is necessary. But in the days leading … Continue reading Mixed Emotions on the March for Science and the Consequences of Getting it Wrong

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Using your own DNA against you: Bio-control of coral reef pest might be possible

Crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) are decimating coral populations along the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists have sequenced COTS genomes in the hopes of turning their own biology against them. Researchers think they have found the peptides the COTS use to communicate with each other. These peptides are released into the water to help the starfish aggregate before spawning events. If true, it’s possible to use these peptides to build several mechanisms for controlling the COTS pests. Continue reading Using your own DNA against you: Bio-control of coral reef pest might be possible

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How Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century

by Vivian Chou figures by Daniel Utter Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the United States has been marked by the brewing storms of racial conflicts. A rise in racial incidents ensued in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s victory in November 2016. Since the beginning of 2017, over 100 bomb threats have been made against Jewish community centers and schools. Trump’s travel ban, signed in … Continue reading How Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century

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Scientists: Why they should run for office and why we should vote for them

by Garrett Dunlap figures by Daniel Utter Two. Two is the number of current members of Congress that hold PhDs in a STEM field. Representative Bill Foster of Illinois holds a PhD in physics and Representative Jerry McNerney of California holds a PhD in math. In comparison, this is dwarfed by the number of congressmembers with law degrees (222) and those holding just high school … Continue reading Scientists: Why they should run for office and why we should vote for them