Home Decor and the Hippocampus: How environmental enrichment can enhance brain function  

by Ariel Hairstonfigures by MacKenzie Mauger Our lives are stuffed with opportunities for excitement and stimulation. You might wake up in the morning and find yourself staring at your modest collection of succulents, or that small oil painting you bought at a flea market. The first moments of your day might be spent taking a walk around the block, the smell of tree bark hanging … Continue reading Home Decor and the Hippocampus: How environmental enrichment can enhance brain function  

The Human-Tuberculosis Arms Race

by Sanjana Kulkarnifigures by Corena Loeb The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) has been infecting humans for thousands of years. Today, TB, which is thought to have originated in Africa and evolved alongside human hosts, is found across the globe and causes 1-2 million deaths annually, making it the second leading infectious disease killer after COVID-19. As new COVID-19 variants keep emerging, we can observe the … Continue reading The Human-Tuberculosis Arms Race

Exercise in a bottle? How transferable exercise factors may promote brain health

by Ryan Camirefigures by Shreya Mantri Many of us exercise and push ourselves to new limits without a specific goal; we lace up our sneakers and don our neon running shorts for the purest of intentions – to ‘stay healthy’. But what exactly does this mean? Most of us think only of the physical benefits reaped by our hardworking muscles. Exercise can help improve heart … Continue reading Exercise in a bottle? How transferable exercise factors may promote brain health

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