Computational Biomedicine: How data can revolutionize the patient experience

by Aparna Nathan Hospitals are churning out medical data at an unprecedented rate. 153 billion gigabytes of health care data were produced in 2013, and we’re expected to reach 2300 billion gigabytes per year by 2020. That’s almost 9 billion MacBooks’ worth of storage each year, not even counting the hundreds of thousands of genomes sequenced each year. It’s more than a human can process … Continue reading Computational Biomedicine: How data can revolutionize the patient experience

Retrofitting a Cleaner Future: How technology can counteract the negatives of coal-fired power plants

by Cheng-Kuan Lin figures by Sean Wilson President Trump has repeatedly promised to bring coal back to the US, but most experts believe coal-mining jobs will continue to disappear.  Natural gas plants are replacing coal power plants due to decreased costs and more stringent environmental regulations. Unfortunately, this trend does not hold true worldwide. In most countries, especially developing ones such as China and India, … Continue reading Retrofitting a Cleaner Future: How technology can counteract the negatives of coal-fired power plants

Cellular Secrets: Getting a look at how cells repair DNA

Before cells divide, they have to unwind their chromosomes, copy of all of their DNA, and then wrap the DNA backup into chromosomes. When this process happens, cells often lose a little bit of DNA from the tips of their chromosomes. An enzyme, called telomerase, can help repair chromosomes by adding that DNA back onto the ends. Scientists are interested in telomerase because inhibiting it … Continue reading Cellular Secrets: Getting a look at how cells repair DNA

Building the Smallest Chemical Beaker

Typically, if you want to understand the foundation of something, building from the ground up sounds like a sensible approach. However, researchers in Dr. Ni’s group at Harvard have taken this idea a step further by building molecules one atom at a time. The group’s goal is to better understand the minimal requirements and exact properties of chemical reactions. For comparison, while every chemistry class … Continue reading Building the Smallest Chemical Beaker

The FDA Approves the First Non-Opioid Drug to Ease Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

It is 2018, and we are well on our way towards curing cancer. Yet, as we look around, we find another nightmare haunting our society that is as formidable, if not more so, as it has been for centuries. That nightmare is opioid addiction.  Overcoming opioid addiction is notoriously difficult, because of the excruciating symptoms associated with the withdrawal process, during which the only aid … Continue reading The FDA Approves the First Non-Opioid Drug to Ease Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

You Asked: If you were able to talk on another planet, how would you sound?

by Katherine J. Wu In space, no one would hear you scream. But make a quick detour down to the surface of Venus, and all bets are off. Because even if you scream on another planet with no one else around to hear it, you’ll certainly make a sound – just not quite the one you’d make on Earth. And with that cliffhanger, let’s tap … Continue reading You Asked: If you were able to talk on another planet, how would you sound?

Never Tell Me the Odds: A first-hand account of blood stem cell donation

by Christopher Gerry figures by Abagail Burrus A few weeks ago, a nurse took six gallons of blood out of my left arm; my body only holds about a gallon and a half of blood, so I wouldn’t be here if she had decided to keep it. The blood that was continuously returning to my right arm, however, was missing an important ingredient: peripheral blood … Continue reading Never Tell Me the Odds: A first-hand account of blood stem cell donation

Successful treatment of a rare genetic disorder in the womb

For the first time, an inherited disorder has been reversed in babies before birth. “There are a number of conditions for which we would seek treatment in utero, but traditionally these have been non-genetic, non-inherited conditions,” Dr. Maisa Feghali, an assistant professor of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, who was not involved in this study, told STAT. The disease, X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal … Continue reading Successful treatment of a rare genetic disorder in the womb

Shark and camel blood contains small disease-fighting molecules

Bleeding sharks for science? That’s commonplace for Helen Dooley, a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Over the past decade, investigators have come to realize the value of shark, llama, and camel blood. Blood from these animals contains molecules called antibodies that can specifically recognize and destroy foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. While human blood, and blood from … Continue reading Shark and camel blood contains small disease-fighting molecules

Disease Never Sleeps: Yellow fever and the importance of vaccine stockpiles in emergency epidemic prevention

by Fernanda Ferreira figures by Daniel Utter There are tens of thousands of buildings in São Paulo, the largest city in the Western hemisphere and Brazil’s financial center. From the sky, São Paulo looks like a fossilized forest of concrete trees. From the ground, it’s a pulsing behemoth, every avenue crammed with cars and people. The urban sprawl of Metropolitan São Paulo engulfs 39 municipalities … Continue reading Disease Never Sleeps: Yellow fever and the importance of vaccine stockpiles in emergency epidemic prevention