The Disappearing Recycling Bins: Recent disruption of the US recycling industry and the path ahead

by Zhen Dai figures by Sean Wilson and Zhen Dai A deep ripple It was a typical lab day earlier this year. I planned to install an equipment component that had just arrived in the mail. I unpacked the component and proceeded to recycle the packaging. As I searched through the lab, though, I noticed that our blue recycling bins were nowhere to be found. … Continue reading The Disappearing Recycling Bins: Recent disruption of the US recycling industry and the path ahead

Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

by Julian Segert figures by Aparna Nathan In Mountain View, California, near the headquarters of Facebook and Google, lies 23andMe, a company that set out to make genetic testing approachable and affordable for the general public. The company started with the goal of providing risk assessments for genetic diseases, but has recently gained more popularity by offering insights into geographical ancestry. 23andMe is unique among … Continue reading Understanding Ownership and Privacy of Genetic Data

The Plastic in our Oceans

by Jordan Wilkerson figures by Rebecca Senft The blue, glimmering Pacific Ocean. On his 1997 trip from Hawaii back to the US mainland, Captain Charles Moore expected captivating views of its pristine waters. After all, he’d be sailing across one of the most remote regions of the ocean, one of Earth’s few oases untouched by industrialization. But the waters weren’t pristine. Instead, the captain and … Continue reading The Plastic in our Oceans

Gamers and scientists work together to conquer a cancer-causing menace

A unique partnership between academic laboratories, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO), and Mars, Incorporated hopes to leverage the power of crowdsourced science to develop new protein structures that can degrade the aflatoxin poison. Aflatoxin, produced by certain fungi, is a potent cancer-causing poison estimated to contribute to up to 28% of liver cancer cases globally. This toxin can contaminate crops in the … Continue reading Gamers and scientists work together to conquer a cancer-causing menace

Refugees’ Gut Bacteria Become Westernized After Moving to the US

In each human gut, a community of trillions of bacteria help digest food and make certain nutrients. Some of these bacteria are associated with disease such as diabetes and Crohn’s, while some prevent disease. The composition of bacteria varies from one person to another, with diet and geographical location contributing to the diversity. In modern times, where millions of people migrate around the globe, their … Continue reading Refugees’ Gut Bacteria Become Westernized After Moving to the US

Expanding Scientific Research to “All of Us”

by Luli Zou figures by Olivia Foster Who benefits from medical research? We would like to think that everyone, regardless of background, has access to new discoveries and therapies. In reality, much of our knowledge about disease and treatment originates from research that does not reflect the diversity of all individuals with the disease. This imbalance stems from a variety of factors, including the same … Continue reading Expanding Scientific Research to “All of Us”

Next Generation Forensics: Changing the role DNA plays in the justice system

by Mary May figures by Rebecca Clements As anyone who has watched an episode of CSI can attest, catching a killer is only a DNA sample away. Due to advances in DNA testing technology and its omnipresence in forensics (as portrayed on TV and in pop culture), the public has come to expect and trust genetic testing as evidence in criminal trials. As these methods … Continue reading Next Generation Forensics: Changing the role DNA plays in the justice system

When Everything Hurts: The story of a grad student trying to rise above chronic pain and depression

Note to the Reader: The following article discusses material of a potentially upsetting nature. While the narrative details are fictional, the ideas and themes—both scientific and personal—are real. Information regarding resources for those in crisis can be found at the end of this article. by Emily Orwell figures by Sean Wilson I’m having one of those days. You know, the type where I accidentally slice my … Continue reading When Everything Hurts: The story of a grad student trying to rise above chronic pain and depression

Probing Probiotics: the scientific process behind the hype

by Ilia Gelfat figures by Nicholas Lue Whether you are perusing the aisles of your local grocery store or scrolling through news articles, there’s a term that has been hard to miss in the past few years – probiotics. You might know it has something to do with bacteria helping digestion, but this broad view of the concept might leave you fuzzy on some of … Continue reading Probing Probiotics: the scientific process behind the hype