Microglia: The protectors of the brain

by Muhammet M. Ozturkfigures by Wei Wu For decades, scientists have been intrigued by how the brain controls the body. This curiosity led them to discover neurons, the brain’s messenger cells. Neurons, which receive, transmit, and process information, are arguably the most famous cells in our brain. The attention they get might suggest that the brain is only made up of neurons. However, about half … Continue reading Microglia: The protectors of the brain

Finding Life in Space: Why are we so special?

by Wei Lifigures by Catherine Ding The universe is massive, with an estimated 70 quintillion planets—that is 70 followed by an additional 18 zeros. In the Milky Way alone, where we reside, there are billions of planets. With these huge numbers, Earth seems very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This raises the question: are we truly alone in this vast space of the … Continue reading Finding Life in Space: Why are we so special?

Grand Evolutionary Transitions: The eruption of multicellularity

by Piyush Nandafigures by Corena Loeb Around 600 million years ago, single-celled life transitioned to multicellular life forms, begetting a paradigm shift in the definition of life on earth. This was an event so remarkable in earth’s timeline that it would set the stage for the evolution of complex organisms, from sponges to the human body we each reside in. These complex life forms eventually … Continue reading Grand Evolutionary Transitions: The eruption of multicellularity

Reversing Climate Change with Geoengineering

by Sanjana Kulkarnifigures by Jovana Andrejevic The average global temperature is increasing faster now than at any time in the last 2 million years. This has fueled record-breaking droughts, heat waves, and wildfires, and has intensified weather patterns, causing more extreme and damaging hurricanes and rainfall. Human activity is driving this change, primarily through the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, which … Continue reading Reversing Climate Change with Geoengineering

Mining DNA for Disease Prediction: The polygenic risk score

by Alex Yenkinfigures by Allie Elchert Long before the completion of the Human Genome Project, scientists knew that many common diseases had a genetic component. However, there was debate about the architecture of these genetic effects: were there a few high-effect mutations or thousands of tiny effect mutations spread throughout the genome? Now, in the full swing of the genomics revolution, we can see that … Continue reading Mining DNA for Disease Prediction: The polygenic risk score