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?

Gene Regulatory Networks: From DNA to development

by Samantha Roylefigures by Allie Elchert Have you ever thought about how a single cell can grow into a living, breathing, human? The extraordinary complexity of our thinking brains, wiggling fingers and beating hearts emerges from a single celled zygote, formed from the fusion of egg and sperm. Many of us have heard of DNA, the molecule that contains the instructions for life, but have … Continue reading Gene Regulatory Networks: From DNA to development

A Guide to Networking: Forest Style

by Olivia Foster Rhoades Olivia Foster Rhoades is a seventh-year Ph.D. candidate in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard & is pursuing a concentration in STS at the Harvard Kennedy School. You can find her on Twitter as @transcriptent. Cover image by Picography from Pixabay. This article is part of our special edition on networks. To read more, check out our special edition … Continue reading A Guide to Networking: Forest Style

Understanding Life on the Prairie through Ecological Networks

by Jaclyn Long figures by Wei Wu Grasslands are a type of ecosystem that make up over a quarter of the earth’s land. These habitats are often found in between deserts and forests, and are characterized by low levels of rainfall and regular fires. In North America, grasslands are usually called prairies. The rich soil held in place by grass roots makes them particularly useful for … Continue reading Understanding Life on the Prairie through Ecological Networks

Trps of the Trade: Underneath the efficient biology of the tryptophan operon

by Edward Chenfigures by Corena Loeb Within any biological system, interactions abound. Organisms, cells, and individual molecules all affect the world in their own way, whether that’s caribou grazing, immune cells patrolling, or caffeine binding to neuronal receptors These infinitely many events and processes together form the networks that shape life. Within these networks, the effect of a process sometimes dampens down the process itself—we … Continue reading Trps of the Trade: Underneath the efficient biology of the tryptophan operon

Vaccine hesitancy: More than a pandemic

by Edward Chen Historical evidence shows that developing safe vaccines is necessary to protect the world from deadly diseases. But that’s only one part of the solution. After all, what’s the benefit of having vaccines that people don’t want to use? Enter vaccine hesitancy. Defined by a World Health Organization (WHO) working group as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of … Continue reading Vaccine hesitancy: More than a pandemic

How do COVID-19 vaccines work? Hear from a researcher who helped develop the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

by Edward Chen The COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed rapid technological advancements as scientists and engineers mobilize to combat its toll on human lives. Time is of the essence, and after rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness, there are now 3 vaccines with emergency approval in the United States that are all based on relatively new concepts. Two of the vaccines are based on messenger RNA … Continue reading How do COVID-19 vaccines work? Hear from a researcher who helped develop the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

When Cells Die a Fiery Death: Pyroptosis as a cell’s response to damage and infection

by Haim Mooregraphics by MacKenzie Mauger When you get sick or injured, you will usually notice redness, heat, swelling, and pain. These symptoms are, interestingly, not the result of the pathogen or damage themselves, but rather of the reaction of your own immune system to them. These are typical manifestations of inflammation, the coordinated rush of many different immune cells to the site of injury … Continue reading When Cells Die a Fiery Death: Pyroptosis as a cell’s response to damage and infection

How Our Brains Estimate Time

by Isabella Grabskifigures by Allie Elchert There are many ways in which our brains track, process, and use time to help us function. One mechanism by which they do so is motor timing. Motor timing relates to our ability to carry out any physical task where time estimation, often done unconsciously, is needed to successfully coordinate our movements. Take, for instance, the task of playing a … Continue reading How Our Brains Estimate Time