Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine have developed a system capable of sustaining certain aspects of brain function for several hours, even if the host animal has been dead for up to four hours beforehand. While this by no means suggests that complete restoration of neurological function is on the horizon, it reveals the surprising resilience of post-mortem brain tissue, introduces a promising technique that could allow scientists to study certain biological functions outside of live animals, and highlights the important ethical considerations that must be discussed before any potential complete resuscitation of neurological activity is achieved. Continue reading Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Foxy Behavior: how a Russian fox farm uncovered the basis of canine domestication

by Drew Drabek figures by Nicholas Lue Foxes are not dogs. As a rule, dogs are docile and foxes are feral. You could say it’s in their DNA. But there are exceptions to every rule. A fox raised in captivity might learn to be gentle. A dog who was abused might lash out. Behavior: it’s complicated. There has been great interest in the selective breeding of … Continue reading Foxy Behavior: how a Russian fox farm uncovered the basis of canine domestication

Checks and Balances: “Unblocking” the fight against cancer

by Apurva Govande figures by Rebecca Clements The single greatest challenge of fighting cancer is that cancerous cells come from our body’s own cells. Because cancer cells are similar to healthy cells, successfully and specifically targeting cancerous cells with minimal damage to healthy cells and tissue is difficult. A major advance against cancer in the past decade, cancer immunotherapy is a therapeutic treatment that helps our own … Continue reading Checks and Balances: “Unblocking” the fight against cancer

Force for a Cure: How sensing pressure could protect you against malaria

by Tess Whitwam figures by Daniel Utter Imagine for a moment that you’re at a concert, standing close to a large loudspeaker—you can feel the vibrations from the loud music coursing through your body. Then, your friend behind you taps your shoulder, so you turn around, just as someone walks by and steps on your foot, causing you to jump back in pain. All the while, … Continue reading Force for a Cure: How sensing pressure could protect you against malaria

Exploring The Underground Network of Trees – The Nervous System of the Forest

by Valentina Lagomarsino figures by Hannah Zucker When scientists first studied the structure of nerve cells that comprise the human brain, they noted their strong resemblance to trees. In fact, dendrites, the term to describe projections from a nerve cell, comes from the Greek word Dendron, for “tree.” While the connection in the appearance of nerve cells was made to trees, the comparison may have been more … Continue reading Exploring The Underground Network of Trees – The Nervous System of the Forest

Read My Mind: An Implant That Translates Brain Activity into Speech

For those who lose or lack the ability to speak, communication can be slow and painstaking. For example, towards the end of his life famed cosmologist Stephen Hawking communicated solely through the movement of a single cheek muscle as a result of his motor neuron disease (ASL). With the aim of finding a solution to this problem, a team at University of California have coupled … Continue reading Read My Mind: An Implant That Translates Brain Activity into Speech

When conservation isn’t enough: rewilding lost ecosystems

Last week, a new study reported that the Antarctic’s second largest colony of emperor penguins continues to decline, after warming weather and high winds led to the loss of over 15,000 eggs in 2016. With reports like these becoming depressingly commonplace, environmental biologists are thinking of out-of-the-box solutions to fight the destruction of ecosystems around the world. One popular solution: Rewilding. Rewilding involves active and … Continue reading When conservation isn’t enough: rewilding lost ecosystems

River Dolphins Have a Surprisingly Large Vocabulary

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is home to a dizzying array of life, from colorful poisonous frogs to deadly jaguars. One resident is the Araguaian river dolphin, which was only recently discovered by scientists in 2014. Unlike playful ocean dolphins, the Araguaian river dolphin is relatively solitary. Mother dolphins interact frequently with their baby calves, but rarely do adults interact with each other. Because of the river … Continue reading River Dolphins Have a Surprisingly Large Vocabulary

The Computer Science behind DNA Sequencing

by Alex Cabral figures by Sean Wilson In 2003, with the completion of the Human Genome Project, the entire human genome was sequenced for the first time. The sequencing cost nearly $1 billion and took 13 years to complete. Today, the human genome can be sequenced for about $1000 in less than two days. Industry leaders hope to bring that cost down to just $100 within … Continue reading The Computer Science behind DNA Sequencing