Gene therapy is an approach to treating genetic diseases by re-introducing a functional copy of a gene into cells to replace the mutated, disease-causing gene. To get these genes into the cells, scientists create a vector by packaging the DNA encoding the correct gene into the outer shell–called the capsid–of a virus. A vector retains the ability of the virus to enter human cells and … Continue reading Masquerade

The Climate Challenges of Developing Nations

Imagine you have a stream running through your property where your family regularly swims and fishes, but one day the fish and plants begin dying because of toxic waste dumping upstream.  Even if the power plant eventually pays reparation costs, the damage will have been done to the stream’s ecosystem, at least in the short-term, and your family and neighbors may be faced with serious … Continue reading The Climate Challenges of Developing Nations

Pausing to Talk About Climate Change

You might have heard something in the news recently about climate change ‘pausing’, ‘stopping’ or ‘slowing down’. While there is some truth to the phrase ‘global warming hiatus’, the issue is in fact a complex one. The hiatus represents an interesting example of an unexpected event which science cannot yet fully explain, despite taking place during a time in which our knowledge about the climate … Continue reading Pausing to Talk About Climate Change

Warmer Climates Not Cool For Migratory Birds

Global warming is certainly one of the hottest issues in today’s world, and it is a phenomenon that shows no signs of cooling down. According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, average temperatures around the world have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degree Celsius) since 1880, with most of this increase only occurring in recent decades due to excessive carbon pollution [1]. Our planet’s … Continue reading Warmer Climates Not Cool For Migratory Birds

Is Global Warming Over?

In the typical story of climate change, greenhouse gases – predominantly from emissions associated with burning fossil fuels – are released into the atmosphere and warm the earth. As we continue to emit more greenhouse gases, Earth’s average surface temperature should increase. But over the past decade, global surface temperatures have plateaued even as greenhouse gases have continued to increase [1]. How should we interpret … Continue reading Is Global Warming Over?

Earth’s Climate: Stable up to a (Tipping) Point

On the scale of a human lifetime the Earth’s climate appears to be relatively stable and predictable: we plant in the spring, we harvest in the fall, and if we are fortunate, we might vacation in the winter someplace warm.  We understand that Earth’s climate does change over time, but think that these changes will be noticeable only over many generations.  The Earth has warmed, … Continue reading Earth’s Climate: Stable up to a (Tipping) Point

Beyond the Ivory Tower: How Scientists Talk About Climate Change

Scientific conclusions about climate change have moved beyond the realm of pure science and begun to percolate into social policy and political decisions. As a result, many non-scientists are interested in the latest news about climate change, from companies in the energy sector to government officials across the globe. Interest groups and policymakers participate in matters ranging from validating scientific data to interpreting the impact … Continue reading Beyond the Ivory Tower: How Scientists Talk About Climate Change