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

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: A lesson in communication from bacteria

by Molly Sargen figures by Molly Sargen and Aparna Nathan Despite the apprehension one may feel about working in groups, it’s hard to deny that groups are able to do some things individuals cannot. Hundreds of studies have found that working in groups has many benefits, including increased creativity and productivity. Many other studies have aimed to determine optimal conditions for group work. Importantly, most … Continue reading Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: A lesson in communication from bacteria

Bilingualism: Start early, and earn all your benefits!

by Ji Wook Kim figures by Abagail Burrus While 92% of primary and secondary students in Europe learn a foreign language, only 20% of primary and secondary school students in the U.S. study a foreign language. In an ever more international era, these numbers are shocking. There is a debate whether foreign language education is beneficial, but many would agree that bilingualism helps individuals communicate … Continue reading Bilingualism: Start early, and earn all your benefits!

Searching in the Darkness, Scientists Shed Light on Oceans Beyond Earth

by Izzy Baker figures by Sean Wilson In the quiet darkness of night, a ship gently rocks back and forth on calm waters. An exhausted first mate peers out over the expansive seascape, seeing the ocean twinkle as it reflects the stars shining down from up above. The vastness of our oceans, she ponders, can only be outmatched by the very cosmos that they reflect; … Continue reading Searching in the Darkness, Scientists Shed Light on Oceans Beyond Earth

Virtual Clinical Trials: Testing new drugs from afar

by Isabella Grabski figures by Jovana Andrejevic Clinical trials are critical to study the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, but they are no small endeavor. The cost of a clinical trial can range anywhere from $7 million to over $50 million, and they can take up to a decade to fully complete. Not only can this represent a substantial strain on a pharmaceutical company, it also … Continue reading Virtual Clinical Trials: Testing new drugs from afar

Racial Minorities’ Trouble with Stem Cell Transplants: a dearth of donors

by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Nicholas Lue Desimond Viray is a Californian in his early ‘30s. He works in IT support for Jelly Belly Candy Company and lives with his wife and four children. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Each year, nearly 9000 new cases of CML arise in the U.S. While Viray — … Continue reading Racial Minorities’ Trouble with Stem Cell Transplants: a dearth of donors

The Neuroscience of Thirst: How your brain tells you to look for water

by Michelle Frank figures by Jovana Andrejevic You’ve undoubtedly experienced the feeling of thirst: it’s a slight itch in the back of your throat, a distracting urge to turn away from whatever you’re doing and find something to drink. It drives you to guzzle water on hot days and to drink something along with your meals. Our need for water is as omnipresent and critical … Continue reading The Neuroscience of Thirst: How your brain tells you to look for water

The Microplastics Crisis–You are the first responder

by Kevin Dervishi Imagine you’re outside running errands, and you see a jogger trip over a sneaky curb. A bad situation becomes worse when that jogger hits their head on the way down (that mailbox just had to be there) and they’re lying unconscious at your feet. Although there are other people out and about, you’re the only one in the immediate vicinity. Your heart … Continue reading The Microplastics Crisis–You are the first responder

The Next Gold Rush: Mining in the deep sea

by Isabella Grabski figures by Abagail Burrus Your next smartphone might be made of materials from an unlikely source: the deep sea. Our current manufacturing practices are depleting terrestrial deposits of important metals like copper, aluminum, and manganese, but the demand for these materials shows no sign of slowing down. They’re not only useful for emails and Instagram – these metals also play a key role … Continue reading The Next Gold Rush: Mining in the deep sea