Understanding Suicide Risk: How language, emotion, and pain influence self-harm

Suicide is a troubling, yet surprisingly common phenomenon, claiming the lives of over 42,000 Americans annually. This lecture will explore the intersecting topics of language, pain, and emotion regulation, and address how research in these fields can provide insight into suicide risk and prevention.   Continue reading Understanding Suicide Risk: How language, emotion, and pain influence self-harm

Lakes formed from glacial melting may cause havoc on local communities

Glacier meltwater provides a steady source of water for communities that would otherwise lack access during the dry season, but melting glaciers can cause problems beyond raising the sea level and endangering coastal communities. Meltwater forms lakes below the glaciers, and this water is often held in place by natural dams. Rock slides or avalanches can weaken or destroy these dams, causing the lakes to … Continue reading Lakes formed from glacial melting may cause havoc on local communities

The importance of basic research and the Nobel Prize in Medicine

The importance of basic research has been highlighted this year by Yoshinori Ohsumi receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on the process of autophagy. Autophagy—literally “self-eating”—is a fundamental cellular process that degrades and recycles cellular components. During autophagy, fatty capsules, or vesicles, form around internal components of a cell (autophagosomes), are fused with a lysosome, an acidic cellular compartment that breaks down its … Continue reading The importance of basic research and the Nobel Prize in Medicine

The Music of Medicine: Tuning the body to light and sound

The wealth of information contained in light and sound is staggering, as can be seen in 8th century Asian Ink drawings and the vibrating pollination technique used by the bumblebee. And the ways we process light and sound are equally complex, it turns out–join us on an exploration of human auditory and visual systems, as we talk about Night Shift, fire alarms, and medical applications … Continue reading The Music of Medicine: Tuning the body to light and sound

Bypassing infertility: directed sex cell development in a dish

The inability to produce health sperms and eggs has hindered many people’s dream of having children. Though many other alternatives such as adoption can get around this problem, infertility is still a serious medical issue. A recently published research from a group in Japan indicated possibility of producing healthy mouse sex cells (sperm and egg) from normal mouse body cells in a dish. Sex cells were not derived … Continue reading Bypassing infertility: directed sex cell development in a dish

Seaweed May Cut Cows Methane Production

A team of Australian scientists lead by Rocky De Nys (James Cook University) discovered that a certain type of red seaweed, called Asparagopsis taxiformis, can decrease the amount of methane produced by the bacteria found in a cow’s stomach. Lauren Kuntz explains that methane is a very potent but short-lived greenhouse gas. Limiting methane produced by livestock, a major source of the gas, could help … Continue reading Seaweed May Cut Cows Methane Production

Galactic Rotation Curves Revisited: A Surprise For Dark Matter

Historically, galactic rotation curves have suggested that galaxies are surrounded by a vast amount of invisible matter, otherwise known as a dark matter halo. A few weeks ago, a team of astrophysicists published a result that completely contradicts these halo models and could even change the popular understanding of dark matter. The team found that galactic rotation curves can be calculated explicitly from a simple … Continue reading Galactic Rotation Curves Revisited: A Surprise For Dark Matter

Charting the Hidden World of the Brain: A tale of lasers, magnets, and fish

Recent advances in biology and physics have enabled the creation of exquisitely detailed maps of the brain that describe the structure and function of specific brain regions or even individual cells. We will discuss the technologies behind these maps as well as the insights they have revealed about how complex phenomena like behaviors and emotions can emerge from a squishy glob of cells.   Continue reading Charting the Hidden World of the Brain: A tale of lasers, magnets, and fish

Episode 9: When is an animal not a human: aka an episode on animal models (Part 1)

Written by Michelle Frank, Alexandra Schnell, Mashaal Sohail, and Amy Gilson Part One (Listen to Part Two here) Rebecca Hi Amy Amy Hi Becky. Or, do you want me to call you Rebecca for this podcast? Rebecca Probably Rebecca. Amy Okay, Hi Rebecca Rebecca Hello Amy! Amy Can you explain who you are and why you’re here? Rebecca I’m a graduate student at Washington University, … Continue reading Episode 9: When is an animal not a human: aka an episode on animal models (Part 1)

It’s a boy! Baby is born with DNA from three “parents”

  A now five-month-old boy was the first child to be born via spindle nuclear transfer, a controversial fertilization procedure that incorporates genetic material from three different people.  Most of our genes are located in the DNA found in a cell’s nucleus, but a few reside in tiny compartments called mitochondria.  While rare, mutations in mitochondrial DNA can result in devastating disorders that often cannot … Continue reading It’s a boy! Baby is born with DNA from three “parents”