The Big Question with Sara Del Valle

Sara Del Valle is a computational epidemiologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who uses mathematical models to predict the spread of diseases. What is the biggest question facing your field?  The next frontier in epidemiology is forecasting diseases. We’ve spent the last several decades working to understand disease dynamics—what causes them, how they’re transmitted, how … Continue reading The Big Question with Sara Del Valle

Conversations with Bert Wuyts: Deforestation and Amazon resilience

Deforestation is a worldwide problem that is particularly acute in tropical regions. Causes include urbanization, conversion to farmland, or even fuel insecurity which causes a population to turn to wood as the primary means of cooking and heating. Meanwhile, negative effects include soil erosion, desertification, and changes to climactic conditions. In the case of Amazon … Continue reading Conversations with Bert Wuyts: Deforestation and Amazon resilience

Conversations with Nishimura Yoshiki: Chloroplasts and Hollidays

Chloroplasts are essential to plant life. They are found in every plant cell. Photosynthesis occurs within the organelles’ interior, converting sunlight into usable energy stored in the form of ATP and NADP. That energy gradually makes its way through the entire food chain. To say that understanding and possibly manipulating chloroplasts is important is an … Continue reading Conversations with Nishimura Yoshiki: Chloroplasts and Hollidays

There’s lots of life in sewers, just not alligators 

Scientists from the BOREA Biology of Aquatic Organisms and Ecosystems research unit (CNRS / MNHN / IRD / UPMC / University of Caen / Université des Antilles)--together with a colleague from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany--have shown that Parisian street gutters are oases of microscopic life, home to microalgae, fungi, … Continue reading There’s lots of life in sewers, just not alligators 

The evolutionary history of East Asians is complex, study 

The biological makeup of humans in East Asia is shaping up to be a very complex story, with greater diversity and more distant contacts than previously known, according to a new study in Current Biology analyzing the genome of a man that died in the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China 40,000 years ago. His bones … Continue reading The evolutionary history of East Asians is complex, study 

Model predicts E. coli response to mutations and temperature fluctuations 

Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a genome-scale model that can accurately predict how E. coli bacteria respond to temperature changes and genetic mutations. The work is aimed at providing a comprehensive, systems-level understanding of how cells adapt under environmental stress. The work has applications in precision medicine, where adaptive cell … Continue reading Model predicts E. coli response to mutations and temperature fluctuations 

Psychoactive mushrooms show promise in treating depression 

Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a 'reset' of their brain activity. The findings come from a study in which researchers from Imperial College London used psilocybin - the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms - to treat a small number of patients with depression in … Continue reading Psychoactive mushrooms show promise in treating depression 

Noroviruses evade immune responses by hiding out in gut cells

Noroviruses are the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and are estimated to cause 267 million infections and 20,000 deaths each year. This virus causes severe diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. Although often referred to as the "cruise ship" virus in the United States, noroviruses are an expensive and serious public health problem … Continue reading Noroviruses evade immune responses by hiding out in gut cells

Wagyu beef’s smell plays key role in its allure

Renowned for its soft texture and characteristic flavor, Wagyu beef -- often referred to as Kobe beef in the U.S. -- has become one of the world's most sought-after meats. Now in a study appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that they have detected several key odorants that contribute to … Continue reading Wagyu beef’s smell plays key role in its allure

Developed countries have higher cancer rates than other countries 

The world's "better" countries, with greater access to healthcare, experience much higher rates of cancer incidence than the world's "worse off" countries, according to new research from the University of Adelaide. Researchers say this is the result of relaxed "natural selection", because modern medicine is enabling people to survive cancers, and their genetic backgrounds are … Continue reading Developed countries have higher cancer rates than other countries 

Pitting bacteria against bacteria in the name of antibiotics 

In 2016 the World Health Organization named antibiotic resistance as "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." The announcement cited a growing list of infections, such as tuberculosis and gonorrhea, that are becoming more difficult to treat each year as resistance to current antibiotic treatments increases. Yet antibiotics are … Continue reading Pitting bacteria against bacteria in the name of antibiotics