Science Diplomacy: Collaboration in a rapidly changing world

by Trevor Haynes figures by Daniel Utter “Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.” – Louis Pasteur Today’s world is extremely interconnected. Most of us take this fact for granted, but its implications cannot be overstated. The rate at which information, resources, and people are able to move from one part of the world to another … Continue reading Science Diplomacy: Collaboration in a rapidly changing world

The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

It’s that time of year – Nobel Prize season! This year, the Chemistry Nobel prize was awarded to three scientists: one half to Frances Arnold “for the directed evolution of enzymes,” and the other half to George Smith and Sir Gregory Winter “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.” What exactly are these award-winning technologies and how have they impacted society? ‘Directed evolution of … Continue reading The Chemistry Nobel: Evolving proteins into better medicines and biofuels

Breaking Gad

The Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) is an area of the brain that is part of the Basal Ganglia system. It is divided into two subregions: the core and the shell. As you can imagine, the core region is nested within the shell. The NAc is primarily composed of neurons that contain GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. These neurons make up ~95% of NAc neurons and contain … Continue reading Breaking Gad

Sleepless Flies Lead Normal Lives

by Jamilla Akhund-Zade figures by Rebecca Senft Anyone who has had the misfortune of missing a night of sleep would not need convincing that sleep is important for well-being. Decades of studies concur with what is already commonly known – sleep is vital for the health of the body and the brain, and lack of sleep can be deadly. Yet contrary to our current understanding, … Continue reading Sleepless Flies Lead Normal Lives

A Fly’s Favorite Color

by Michelle Frank figures by Abagail Burrus It’s a classic kindergarten icebreaker: which do you like better, blue or green? Would you rather wear pink or orange? What’s your favorite color? While these preferences might seem like markers of human personality, Homo sapiens aren’t the only animal to have a preferred hue. When given a choice, even insects show a preference for one shade of … Continue reading A Fly’s Favorite Color

It Takes Two: Twins may be the key to understanding human biology in space

by Aparna Nathan Graphics by Nicholas Lue Space: It has been the final frontier ever since Captain Kirk and Starfleet shot into space at warp speed in the 1960s. But are humans really made for space? We did not evolve for the environment of space and we don’t know how space travels affects our biology. Now, NASA has a powerful new tool to tease out … Continue reading It Takes Two: Twins may be the key to understanding human biology in space

Transposons: Your DNA that’s on the go

by Francesca Tomasi figures by Olivia Foster Rhoades Argonaut. Idéfix. Flamenco. These words invoke movement: the ancient Greek Argonauts were a band of adventurous sailors famous for their epic quests. Meanwhile, Idéfix is the name of an adventure-loving dog in the French Astérix comic book series. And finally, flamenco conjures images of vivacious dancers. You would think the similarities between Greek mythology, French comic books, and … Continue reading Transposons: Your DNA that’s on the go

Orange Crush

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem that contains the largest number of serotonin containing (serotonergic) neurons in the brain. Serotonin participates in mood setting, sleep, social behavior, and many other things. Another cell type in this area are neurons that contain Glutamate Decarboxylase 1 (Gad1), which helps produce gamma-aminobutyeric acid (GABA), the … Continue reading Orange Crush