Xiaomeng Han is a graduate student in the Harvard Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience. She uses electron microscopy to study neuronal connectivity. Cover image by Angelo Rosa from Pixabay This biography is part of our “Picture a Scientist” initiative. To learn more about the amazing men and women who paved the way for modern scientific discovery, check out our homepage. Continue reading Youyou Tu — An Exceptional Nobel Laureate
by Xiaomeng Han Malaria has been a life-threatening infectious disease since ancient times. It is transmitted through the bite of mosquitos, making it widespread in tropical and subtropical areas of our planet. The world saw countless deaths caused by malaria until a Chinese pharmaceutical scientist, Youyou Tu, discovered a very effective drug called Qinghaosu (aka artemisinin) from the plant Qinghao (aka artemisia). Youyou’s work won … Continue reading Youyou Tu — An Exceptional Nobel Laureate
by Tess Whitwam figures by Daniel Utter Imagine for a moment that you’re at a concert, standing close to a large loudspeaker—you can feel the vibrations from the loud music coursing through your body. Then, your friend behind you taps your shoulder, so you turn around, just as someone walks by and steps on your foot, causing you to jump back in pain. All the while, … Continue reading Force for a Cure: How sensing pressure could protect you against malaria
While you are likely familiar with the annoying experience of being a mosquito’s ‘meal of the day’, more is going on behind the scenes of that insect bite than meets the eye. Mosquitoes, which are drawn to human scent and breath, require proteins from the blood of their victims to develop their eggs and reproduce. This sounds harmless enough, but mosquitoes also excel at picking … Continue reading New Drug May Prevent Mosquitoes From Wanting to Bite You
Infectious diseases — including HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria — are a leading cause of death worldwide, particularly in low income countries and among young children. A new study found that the vaccines aimed to prevent many of the world’s most deadly diseases may not be developed any time soon. The study, funded by the Gates Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, focused on 538 … Continue reading Vaccines for World’s Most Deadly Infectious Diseases Unlikely
Carrying diseases such as malaria, West Nile virus and yellow fever, a few species of mosquitoes are responsible for more than one million deaths each year. Certain species of mosquitoes actually prefer feeding on humans, and even show preferences between people. A common wives’ tale suggests to kids that mosquitoes prefer sweeter blood (“eat more veggies!”). However, there is no scientific evidence supporting changing your … Continue reading Why Mosquitoes Like You The Most
by Jessalyn Ubellacker figure by Jovana Andrejevic Between September 1999 and June 2000, the first human genome was sequenced. Since then, scientists have learned not only to read the human genome, but also to manipulate it, offering unprecedented opportunities to improve human health through genetic alterations. One example of this is gene drive technology, which circumvents classical inheritance patterns to ‘drive’ the presence of particular … Continue reading Buckle Up for Gene Drives of the Future!
As mosquitoes develop resistance to insecticides used to control their populations, scientists have been developing new tools. The latest idea: infecting mosquitoes with a fungus genetically engineered to produce arachnid toxins. After infecting the mosquitoes with fungal spores, the bugs showed increase mortality within 2.5 days after exposure and fed less in the days before their death, compared to their healthy counterparts. Continue reading The war on malaria gets a new weapon: a toxic fungus
With the warm weather of summer quickly approaching, a common enemy known as the mosquito will soon make a reappearance. Mosquitoes are more than just an irritation. In many areas of the world, mosquitoes are also carriers of infectious diseases such as malaria and the Zika virus. While the mosquito is a major problem to many, scientists at Microsoft Research are attempting to exploit some … Continue reading Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology
While there’s been much debate in the media about the causes and effects of climate change, many scientists agree that changes in climate will impact our lives. However, demonstrating such impact is scientifically challenging because of the many different factors that are involved and the difficulty of making predictions about the future, as well as politically charged because of the implications any findings will have … Continue reading Malaria in a warming world: How high will it go?