by Olivia Woodford-Berry, '19
For many geological and environmental scientists, the inauguration of President Trump came with a wave of apprehension. The conflict between industry and environmental research continues to play out in political dialogues, and many scientists fear that the government will push science out of the budgets.
by Rahul Jayaraman '19
In 1916, Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity, which posits that spacetime can be thought of as an infinite fabric that is disrupted by the presence of massive objects. When two of these massive objects interact through the gravitational force, Einstein predicted that they send out little ripples in the fabric of spacetime (similar to waves on the ocean). These ripples are known as “gravitational waves, and they can be felt across the universe, up to billions of years after they were generated -- helping us study conditions in the infant cosmos.
by Navya Baranwal '20
Are you feeling a little sick? Let’s check your tattoo!
Lying at the intersection of self-expression and art, tattoos evoke certain ideas and pieces of one’s identity. While tattoos have long belonged in the art arena for several years now, current research is showing that tattoos may have scientific applications--they can tell us about our health.
Adrienne Parsons, PhD '21
In 2015, Sandra was granted freedom from unlawful imprisonment. Having ancestral roots in Sumatra and Borneo, being born in Germany, and being held captive in Argentina, Sandra did not speak the language of her captors and was unable to advocate for herself during her twenty-year confinement. Luckily, a landmark appeals case successfully argued for Sandra’s freedom by invoking her human right of habeas corpus. The catch? Sandra is an orangutan.
by Claire Bekker '21
How can ecosystems affect human health? How could forests prevent childhood disease? Researchers are investigating these connections in the context of climate change and environmental degradation. Especially in developing countries, there is a clear connection between ecosystem loss and infectious disease. Up to 24% of the global burden of disease (GBD) can be attributed to poor environmental quality . Diseases that disproportionately affect children, such as malaria, respiratory infections, and diarrheal diseases, are often linked to poor environmental health. In fact, diarrheal disease, which is caused by contaminated surface water, is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five . This led researchers to investigate the link between diarrheal disease and the environment.
by Rahul Jayaram '21
Of all the organs in the body, the brain is undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic. Today, there is still so much that is unknown in the field of neuroscience, and one can never predict when new discoveries will be made. The mechanisms behind how our brain maintains cellular health were always believed to be in a separate realm from the rest of our body. Just days ago, scientists discovered a game-changing facet about how the brain functions that has the potential to change the future of neuroscience research.
Sumaiya Sayeed '20
by Mitchell Yeary '19
For a lot of people, genetically engineering humans are a possibility only in Gattica. Yet there are more and more technologies coming out that put us closer to that reality. One of the most recent technologies, CRISPR, emerged a few years ago as an improved way to deactivate certain genes in cells, or create “knock-out” lines (a line of cells with certain genes that don’t function). Here, I will briefly explain CRISPR and its different applications as a genomic engineering technology.
Starting with the basics, CRISPR-Cas9 as a potential genome editing system was put forth four or five years ago and was quickly leveraged so that we could start to target specific genes in the genome. There are two parts to this system. There first part is the CRISPR portion, which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, essentially the type of DNA sequence that is recognized by the second part, a protein. When used as a genome editing technology, guide RNAs, which can bind to DNA, are built so that they match a section of whatever gene is being edited, and these are the CRISPR portion of the technology. The other necessary part of the guide RNA, is a loop on the end that forms beacon for Cas9, which is recruited to the site. Cas9, the second element in the system, ends up binding and then cutting the portion of the DNA that the guide RNA bound to in the beginning. By using guide RNA to selecting critical points in a gene, researchers can introduce mutations, and disable different genes.
By Olivia Woodford-Berry, '19
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a condition characterized by cognitive impairment and continuous neurodegeneration, has left many researchers in the scientific community hanging in the lurch. While AD treatments are on the forefront of medical research, crucial gaps rooted in our incomplete understanding of the human mind still remain in our understanding of the disease. The constraints of modern neuroscience and modern medicine have made it difficult to develop a treatment that can address the elusive cause of this condition. However, in discovering the molecular processes that cause the degradation of neural cells, scientists also gain a more comprehensive picture of how these pathways work normally. Recent studies involving potential vaccines against AD are beginning to illuminate the molecular pathways of the disease and the possibility of reshaping its progression.
By Iman Iqbal '20
Energy healing is another one of those contemplative practices that many believe is simply unreal. It is, however, a practice that has been around for centuries and is becoming more and more prevalent today.
Energy healing falls under the broad umbrella term, energy medicine. It is a form of therapy that manipulates the energy circuits within and around us in order to help one regain balance and heal from within. It encompasses a wide variety of practices from all over the world including acupuncture, chakra balancing, reiki, crystal healing, and a myriad of other therapeutic modalities.