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

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

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

Reframing Opioid Addiction Treatment: What is harm reduction all about?

by Lauren Granatafigures by Xiaomeng Han As Covid-19-related deaths overwhelmed the country in 2020, drug overdose deaths furtively took their own toll. The opioid epidemic is still surging, but a new Rhode Island law aims to combat the problem through harm reduction. Instead of fixating on sobriety-centered treatment, the primary function of the new law is to protect people from infection and overdose. What are … Continue reading Reframing Opioid Addiction Treatment: What is harm reduction all about?