It’s Not All about Microbes: Genetics and susceptibility to infections

by Aleks Procherafigures by Shreya Mantri  The past year and a half have been a time of profound uncertainty. We all wish we could gaze into a COVID crystal ball and get answers to our burning questions. Some of us would want to know how long the pandemic will last. Others, however, especially those who have never received a positive result, would likely seek an … Continue reading It’s Not All about Microbes: Genetics and susceptibility to infections

Treating Osteoarthritis the Smart Way

by Beatrice Awasthifigures by Aparna Nathan Every day, our joints successfully bear huge amounts of force as we move about. For example, jogging and stumbling produce forces of up to 550% of a person’s body weight, respectively. Even walking generates forces as high as 480% of the body’s weight!  To successfully bear these massive forces without pain, joints must be healthy and intact. Deterioration of … Continue reading Treating Osteoarthritis the Smart Way

Mutation Madness: How and why SARS-CoV-2 keeps changing

by Sophia Swartzfigures by Shreya Mantri The first reports of a mysterious, pneumonia-like illness surfaced in early December 2019. Fast-forward to 2021, and the culprit—SARS-CoV-2, a virus a thousand times smaller than a speck of dust—has sickened more than 111 million people, infected all seven continents, and killed approximately 2.5 million.  The toll of COVID-19 is heart-wrenching and borders on dystopian. Our pandemic present is … Continue reading Mutation Madness: How and why SARS-CoV-2 keeps changing

The “Covidization” of Science: Short-Term Necessity or Problematic Over-Reaction?

by Christopher Rotafigures by Daniel Utter The COVID-19 pandemic has touched every corner of American society, including the lives of scientists. The past year has seen many researchers dramatically shift the focus of their work, as experts from across different disciplines came together to study this novel disease and develop potential therapies. The National Institutes of Health, the United States’ foremost public biomedical research agency, … Continue reading The “Covidization” of Science: Short-Term Necessity or Problematic Over-Reaction?

The Challenges of Large-Scale COVID-19 Testing

by Jaclyn Long figures by Tal Scully A year into the pandemic, many people still struggle to get tested for COVID-19. By some estimates, asymptomatic transmission can account for up to 50% of all new cases, making regular testing of people who don’t yet (or might never) show symptoms a key part of a public health strategy to control the virus. Despite the effectiveness of mass … Continue reading The Challenges of Large-Scale COVID-19 Testing

The Mental Health Crisis in Science

by Wei Lifigures by Wei Wu Trigger warning: this article contains mentions of suicide. What do the lead scientists behind the COVID-19 vaccine, the current first lady of the United States, and the students at Science in the News have in common? They all did (or are currently doing) academic research in graduate schools.  Academic research is undeniably important to society. For example, much of … Continue reading The Mental Health Crisis in Science

What Does an Astronomer Do?

How do you introduce yourself, scientifically? I generally say that I’m an astronomer. More specifically, I’m an exoplanet astronomer, meaning I study planets that exist around other stars. In our solar system, all the planets orbit the Sun. I’m looking at planets in other stellar systems, orbiting stars much further away than the Sun. What are the implications or broader impacts of your work?  This is … Continue reading What Does an Astronomer Do?

How COVID-19 is Shaping Antibiotic Resistance

by Molly Sargenfigures by Molly Sargen, Buse Aktaş, and Aparna Nathan COVID-19 is unarguably devastating from any perspective. Even as we struggle to overcome the present challenges of the pandemic, COVID-19 is paving the way for other infectious agents to cause damage in the future. Although SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that cannot be treated with antibiotics, antibiotic usage has significantly increased throughout the pandemic. With … Continue reading How COVID-19 is Shaping Antibiotic Resistance

A Near Perfect Solution to a Decades-Old Biology Problem

by Sebastian Rowefigures by Jovana Andrejevic First conceptualized in the 1960s, the protein folding problem – how to predict a protein’s structure from its sequence – has been one of the main concerns of structural biologists worldwide. Last year Google’s DeepMind, a team of programmers studying artificial intelligence, claimed to have the solution; much in the same way they solved the board game Go in … Continue reading A Near Perfect Solution to a Decades-Old Biology Problem

What Does A Theoretical Physicist Do?

How do you introduce yourself, scientifically? My name is David Kolchmeyer and I am a theoretical physicist. I’m interested in quantum gravity, which is a theory of gravity that obeys the rules of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the fundamental framework upon which much of my field is built. I’m most interested in the properties of black holes, which are a good system for studying quantum gravity. … Continue reading What Does A Theoretical Physicist Do?