(Meat) pie in the sky? – When will our appetite for lab-grown meat be satisfied?

by Insa Mohrfigures by Jovana Andrejevic Reading about cultured meat can be confusing. While many major companies claim to have found the holy grail, some academic experts go to the lengths of calling it a scam. But what does the science and market reality really tell us about the progress and potential of cultured meat? A review. Introduction It has been almost 10 years since … Continue reading (Meat) pie in the sky? – When will our appetite for lab-grown meat be satisfied?

Mapping Individual Microbes among the Multitudes 

by Sophia Swartzfigures by Jasmin Joseph-Chazan If you put all of the living things on Earth in a box–from humans to anteaters to teeny-tiny tardigrades–and then plucked one of these organisms out at random, it is very, very likely that you just found yourself a microbe. Microbes, although too small to be seen with the naked eye, are some of the most common forms of … Continue reading Mapping Individual Microbes among the Multitudes 

Sensitization: Why everything might hurt when it looks like nothing is wrong

by Beatrice Awasthifigures by Allie Elchert Millions of Americans struggle with chronic pain. While the pain sometimes has a clear source—for instance, an arthritic joint or a damaged tendon—oftentimes, people feel pain without any obvious signs of damage at all. This can be extremely distressing, as such patients may deal with stigmatization or invalidation of their pain by others who suggest that the pain is … Continue reading Sensitization: Why everything might hurt when it looks like nothing is wrong

Life as We Know Itch: How our body creates this irritating sensation 

by Garrett Dunlapfigures by Xiaomeng Han What do a homemade sweater, a new laundry detergent, and a mosquito all have in common? All of these things have the potential to cause the uncomfortable, and sometimes maddening, sensation of itch. In fact, itching can be the result of many different things, including allergies, insect bites, illness, medication, and dry skin. But what exactly is an itch, … Continue reading Life as We Know Itch: How our body creates this irritating sensation 

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?