Plasma for Fusion: How magnets are paving the way for clean energy

by Brianna Alicofigures by Aparna Nathan The phrase “energy crisis” likely brings to mind rising gas prices, drying up oil reserves, increasing greenhouse gases, climate change, and the like. Scientists, politicians, and civilians alike are working to combat this crisis by creating plans and developing clean energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines, which generate energy with relatively little carbon emission. Currently, wind … Continue reading Plasma for Fusion: How magnets are paving the way for clean energy

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

Green Energy Needs Green Storage

by Apurva Govandefigures by MacKenzie Mauger North Africa’s vast, arid Sahara Desert region covers 3.5 million square miles, which is just about the size of the United States. Sunlight hits the Sahara an average of 3,000 hours every year. Covering less than 1% of the Sahara with solar panels would generate enough energy to power the globe. Some solar energy can be used right away … Continue reading Green Energy Needs Green Storage

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