Min Ya Dicot

Dicot Leaf Epidermis

Lower leaf epidermis of the stonecrop plants showing puzzle shaped epidermal cells with scattered stomata. Stomata (singular: stoma) are like little mouths on the leaf surface, specialized in gas-exchange – CO2 enters a plant through them. The pairs of sausage-shaped cells, like the lips of these mouths, are “guard cells”, which guard the opening and closure of the stomata. In many flowering plants, the stomata … Continue reading Dicot Leaf Epidermis

MY SITN Aquilegia flower

The Birth of a Flower

Unlike animals, plants possess the ability to generate new tissues and organs throughout their entire lifespans due to the activity of stem cells located in specific sites termed meristems. During the reproductive phase, floral meristem (lower right dome-shaped structure) give rise to different floral organ primordia (the series of bulges), which will eventually grow into the sepals, petals, stamens, staminodia, and carpels of a beautiful … Continue reading The Birth of a Flower


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


Recycled Rockets? Company Pioneers the First Reusable Rocket

If you’ve ever watched a rocket launch, you can imagine a familiar picture. The rocket moves slowly upward as it gives off a large gush of smoke. As the rocket speeds up and shoots through the atmosphere, flames trail behind it. Eventually, a part of the rocket falls off, falling back towards the earth. This part of the rocket is called the booster. The booster … Continue reading Recycled Rockets? Company Pioneers the First Reusable Rocket


FDA Approves New Drug for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects over 2 million people worldwide. In patients who suffer from MS, an abnormal immune response causes damage to a fatty substance called myelin. Like the coating around an electrical wire, myelin insulates nerve cells and facilitates neural communication. Symptoms of MS include muscle weakness, fatigue, and impaired speech. On March 28th 2017, the FDA approved Ocrevus, an … Continue reading FDA Approves New Drug for Multiple Sclerosis


Min Ya

My name is Min Ya, or Ya Min, but I go by Minya. I was born and raised in China. Heavily influenced by my botany-enthusiast father, I have been a plant lover since I was very little. Before grad school, I finished my undergrad in China and Japan, and obtained dual Master’s Degree in Sweden and France. Although the subfields of biology varied between my … Continue reading Min Ya


Diamonds in the Leaf

This cross section of an oleander (Nerium oleander) leaf reveals two beautiful mineral crystals inside. Leaf cells are stained red. Adapted to dry conditions, this leaf possess three epidermal layers to prevent water loss, below which there are tightly packed palisade mesophyll cells that are specialized for harvesting light and loosely packed spongy mesophyll cells allowing efficient gas exchange. These calcium oxalate crystals are deposited by specialized … Continue reading Diamonds in the Leaf