My name is Ian Hill. I am from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where I was born and raised. My passion for biology began in the gardens of my family members. My grandmother was a passionate flower gardener, the head of a local garden club, and my dad grew some of the best tomatoes I have ever eaten. It wasn’t until my high school chemistry class that … Continue reading Ian Hill
Despite all of the amazing discoveries science has made, we are still trying to understand the human body. For example, this time last year, scientists defined a new human organ, the mesentery. Now, scientists might finally have an answer to why prolonged periods of sitting are linked to increased fat storage. Humans might have a mechanism that acts as internal weight scale. Scientists probed this … Continue reading In a sitting culture, our bones could be responsible for obesity
Take a big inhale and a deep dive. Imagine staying underwater as long as possible. Now imagine a shark approaching, with gleaming teeth, and swimming away as fast as you can. Imagine trying to do both at the same time. You are not alone if you find this confusing. Freeze and flight responses are often mutually exclusive. If you try to do both at once, … Continue reading To Flee or Not to Flee: Narwhals puzzle scientists with their escape heartbeat
A new study has compared the brains of dogs and cats and found cats wanting. Scientists counted the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of brains and found that dogs have more than double the number of neurons of a cat. While this doesn’t immediately rule that dogs are the smarter species, it does suggest they have a higher capacity for learning. Continue reading Dog owners rejoice! Dogs could be smarter than cats
Since the beginning of time, the genetic alphabet in all living things has consisted of 4 letters. Now, scientists have discovered a way to expand the genetic code to store and use orders of magnitude more information than ever before. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the cellular instructions for proteins: little machines in your cells that perform important functions. DNA normally contains 4 nucleotides (A, T, … Continue reading Expanding the genetic alphabet
Ever wonder why we make snot? Mucus lines our respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, acting as a sticky glue that traps unwanted substances before they can get into the body. However, research from Jeremy Barr’s lab in Melbourne, Australia has shown that there might be a lot more to the story of snot. Barr and his team have found that mucus contains a far higher concentration … Continue reading Bacteria-killing viruses: an army of disease-fighters within us?
The world is currently experiencing its sixth mass extinction event. Species are disappearing at an estimated 1000x the expected normal rate of extinction (roughly 5 species per year). Conservation efforts around the world are trying to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, but they are hindered by the lack of hard evidence linking conservation spending to biodiversity improvements. A team led by University of Oxford researchers … Continue reading Conservation spending proven to make a difference