COVID-19: from treatment to prevention

by Apurva Govande figures by Tal Scully COVID-19, the disease caused by the newly discovered virus SARS-CoV-2, is a national emergency. We need a vaccine to prevent severe outcomes of disease, to successfully combat future outbreaks of this virus, and to ensure that businesses and schools can safely reopen. Until one is available, healthcare professionals can mitigate symptoms while deploying existing drugs that may show … Continue reading COVID-19: from treatment to prevention

3D printed corals grow algae that photosynthesize more efficiently

Central to coral reefs around the world is the deeply interdependent relationship between corals and algae. This interconnection is responsible for algae’s protected habitat, corals’ bright colors, and the mutual exchange of nutrients for photosynthesis. Algae growth is modulated by a process called self-shading, decreasing exposure to light. In an artificial setup, however, this process prevents researchers from growing coral quickly. To prevent this light … Continue reading 3D printed corals grow algae that photosynthesize more efficiently

Cancers Evolve – Tagging and Tracking Can Help Us Understand How

by Catherine Gutierrez figures by Aparna Nathan Forty-nine years ago, President Richard Nixon launched a “War on Cancer”. That war has not ended—it rages on today, with cancer right behind heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 1.8 million new cases of cancer are expected in 2020 in the U.S. alone, and rising rates of cancer risk factors such … Continue reading Cancers Evolve – Tagging and Tracking Can Help Us Understand How

Why Drugs Tested in Mice Fail in Human Clinical Trials

by Sam Zimmerman  figures by Hannah Zucker If we were all mice, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and most inherited disorders would be a thing of the past. We could nibble on as much cheese as we wanted without fear of heart disease and run around our favorite wheel for hours on end without knee pain because all these ailments have been cured in mice. Unfortunately, … Continue reading Why Drugs Tested in Mice Fail in Human Clinical Trials

What can we learn from a genetic test?

by Sydney Sherman figures by Aparna Nathan More likely than not, you or someone you know has taken a genetic test. Whether they are curious about their ethnic roots and family tree or want to determine their risk for developing a certain disease, consumers have access to genetic testing as a simple “spit-and-send” process. We use the technology and rely on the results, but how … Continue reading What can we learn from a genetic test?

Digging for DNA: Ancient genomes can illuminate the past and reframe the present

by Aparna Nathan figures by Abagail Burrus Superheroes aren’t the only ones with riveting origin stories. As humans, where did we come from? How did we populate six continents? For hundreds of years, archaeology has tried to provide the answers by digging up artifacts and piecing together their histories. However, shovels and brushes are now joining forces with test tubes and lab coats. Within the … Continue reading Digging for DNA: Ancient genomes can illuminate the past and reframe the present