How Molecular Motors Harness the Power of Thermodynamic Fluctuations

By Mara Casebeer Just like a city has highways to transport goods and people from one area to another, your cells have their own set of highways to transport important components like proteins and genetic material. These cellular highways are called microtubules, and they are traversed not by trucks and cars, but by molecular motors – proteins that can carry cargo and step along microtubules … Continue reading How Molecular Motors Harness the Power of Thermodynamic Fluctuations

The Secret to a Spider’s Superpowered Silk

If you have ever swatted a spider web away from a dusty corner of the house, congratulations—you have unknowingly dismantled one of the toughest materials known to man. The silk which spiders use to spin their webs and capture prey is five times stronger than steel, yet lightweight and more flexible than rubber. Because of these remarkable properties, scientists have been trying for years to … Continue reading The Secret to a Spider’s Superpowered Silk


Gene therapy is an approach to treating genetic diseases by re-introducing a functional copy of a gene into cells to replace the mutated, disease-causing gene. To get these genes into the cells, scientists create a vector by packaging the DNA encoding the correct gene into the outer shell–called the capsid–of a virus. A vector retains the ability of the virus to enter human cells and … Continue reading Masquerade


Zebrabow embryos express random combinations of red, green, and blue fluorescent proteins, revealing a spectrum of unique hues. These same hues can be used to ‘barcode’ individual stem cells to track their birth and contribution to tissues as the embryo grows–all cells of the same hue were produced from one stem cell’s divisions. The Zebrabow system allows for long-term tissue lineage analysis, because the fluorescent proteins will … Continue reading Zebrabow