Can assisted colonization save endangered species?

by Isle Bastillefigures by Allie Elchert In an episode of the BBC show Planet Earth there is a harrowing scene depicting thousands of freshly hatched baby sea turtles scuttling away from the sea towards a busy highway. A somber voice-over relays that the hatchlings are misguided by the nearby city lights. Paradoxically, while this was a human-driven habitat disruption, the turtles will not survive without … Continue reading Can assisted colonization save endangered species?

Assisted Reproductive Technologies for Biodiversity Conservation

by Arianna Lord Earlier this year, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium performed artificial insemination on two of their female polar bears in hopes that the procedure would produce cubs. Polar bears greatly rely on Arctic sea ice for hunting, traveling, mating, and resting. However, because of the continued shrinking of sea ice due to climate change, polar bears have been listed as a threatened species … Continue reading Assisted Reproductive Technologies for Biodiversity Conservation

Rethinking Autism: Neurodiversity and Academic Research

by Rachel Davisfigures by Xiaomeng Han The Academy Award-winning performance of Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant in the movie Rain Man brought the condition of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sharply into the spotlight. While the movie helped raise awareness and research funding for the condition, it also created a misconception that autism is, at its core, tied together with genius. To this day, our … Continue reading Rethinking Autism: Neurodiversity and Academic Research

What it Takes to Make a Brain: Cellular diversity in cortical development

by Olubusola Olukoyafigures by Corena Loeb Our ability to take in information from the world around us, make inferences, and execute appropriate reactions is generated by our brains. The brain, which weighs about 1.5 kilograms in the average adult, takes up 20% of our body’s energy expenditure to power a network of roughly 86 billion cells. Ongoing research in the field of neuroscience utilizes various … Continue reading What it Takes to Make a Brain: Cellular diversity in cortical development

Dissecting cancer complexity across space and time

by Jackson Weirfigures by Jasmin Joseph-Chazan Why is cancer so difficult to cure? Why do available treatments only help a subset of patients? Why are some cancers more aggressive than others? These are questions that clinicians, scientists, and the public have pondered for generations. As it turns out, the answers are complicated because cancer biology is complicated. Luckily, new tools and technologies are helping us … Continue reading Dissecting cancer complexity across space and time

Solving Scientific Problems by Asking Diverse Questions

by Piyush Nandafigures by Shreya Mantri Gravity has been apparent for thousands of years: Aristotle, for example, proposed that objects fall to settle into their natural place in 4th century BC. But it was not until around 1900, when Issac Newton explained gravity using mathematical equations, that we really understood the phenomenon. Why didn’t thinkers before Newton think about gravity the way he did? Scientific … Continue reading Solving Scientific Problems by Asking Diverse Questions

Cooperation vs. Competition: Microbiome Diversity and Interactions

by Wei Lifigures by MacKenzie Mauger Microbial communities, known as microbiomes, are everywhere—on our bodies, in our food, and in the environment—and they are as important as they are prevalent. The gut microbiome interacts with our body and influences our health, the bacteria composition in cheese and other fermented products shapes their taste, and the bacteria in the soil helps plants grow faster.  These microbial … Continue reading Cooperation vs. Competition: Microbiome Diversity and Interactions

Biodiversity Loss Can Increase the Spread of Zoonotic Diseases

by Sanjana Kulkarni SARS-CoV-2 may have spread to humans from an animal host, but it is not the only disease-causing agent (i.e. pathogen) to have done so. Lyme disease, Ebola virus, influenza, HIV, the plague, and rabies virus are just some examples of zoonotic diseases, meaning that they originated in animals and spread (i.e spilled over) to humans.  Many human activities, such as deforestation and … Continue reading Biodiversity Loss Can Increase the Spread of Zoonotic Diseases