Science Policy Challenges, Part Four: Information Overload Science Policy Technology 

Science Policy Challenges, Part Four: Information Overload

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic This is the fourth in a series of four articles by Dr. Jonathan Trinastic in our new Science Policy section. In 2002, human civilization duplicated or recorded 23 exabytes of data (that’s 23 followed by 18 zeros, or 23 billion gigabytes). That may sound like a lot, but fast-forward to 2017, and we are manipulating this much data in just one week. The amount of information at our fingertips is staggering, whether it be about Stephen Curry’s clutch 3-point field goal percentage at home against winning…

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The Art of Scientific Illustration Animals Paleontology Science & Art 

The Art of Scientific Illustration

By Shayna Keyles Twitter @shaynakeyles Instagram @shaynakeyles Scientific illustration is more than just cool artwork. It’s a way of conveying technical detail that other tools can’t provide; of capturing the complexities of organisms or fabrications that are too small, too far away, too extinct, or too difficult to dissect; of sharing intimate research in a globally understood language. Pictures of discovery Illustrations have always been used to track observations and inform others. There are drawings of animals in the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc caves in France that date back 30,000 years and are…

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Spinach, iron, and fiber Biology Health 

Stopping Bacteria from Stealing Our Iron

By Ada Hagan @adahagan As we discussed last time, bacteria that infect the human body face a major challenge, iron, which is essential for bacterial growth, is hard to obtain from human tissues.  Many pathogenic bacteria solve this problem by deploying “stealth siderophores,” which steal iron from human iron-binding proteins while evading our defenses. In the battle between humans and pathogenic bacteria, our best weapons—antibiotics—are being weakened by widespread resistance. Is there a way to use bacteria’s need for iron against them? Researchers have pursued the answer to this question…

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Komodo Dragon Blood Inspires Alternative Antibiotic Biology Health 

Komodo Dragon Blood Inspires Alternative Antibiotic

By Katherine Lindemann In light of growing concerns about antibiotic resistance, the search is on for alternatives to existing antibiotics. Peptides, small protein-like molecules that sometimes have antimicrobial properties, are one promising avenue. In a new study, researchers modeled a synthetic peptide after one that occurs naturally in the blood of Komodo dragons, protecting the reptiles from infection. They found that it helped heal infected wounds in mice. The peptide, called DRGN-1, works by increasing the permeability of bacterial membranes. It also promotes the migration of skin cells to the…

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Spinach and Siderophores: The Bacterial Battle for Iron Biology Health 

Spinach and Siderophores: The Bacterial Battle for Iron

By Ada Hagan @adahagan Many remember the boisterous, muscle-bound, tattooed sailor Popeye and the thin-as-a-rail Olive Oyl from Saturday morning cartoons. In times of need, such as when his rival Bluto abducted Olive Oyl for the 50th time, Popeye would squeeze open a tin can of spinach. Eating the spinach, sometimes miraculously through his corn-cob pipe, gave Popeye that extra boost of energy needed to escape his bonds and rescue Olive Oyl. What was so special about spinach that gave Popeye his superpower? Iron. Or so I thought. It’s popularly…

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Flow Cytometry Going With the Flow Biology Technology 

Flow Cytometry: Going with the Flow

By Cathy Seiler @cyc55 Sara Bowen, PhD, is a biochemist with what can only be described as a giddy excitement for her job. She runs the flow cytometry facility at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona, and she positively lights up when talking about “flow” and her lasers. An analogy to understand flow cytometry is to think about a stream filled with lots of different fish: big fish and small fish, black fish and white fish. To better understand the characteristics of the fish in the stream,…

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Science of Skateboarding, Halfpipe Physics Physics 

Science of Skateboarding: Half-Pipe Physics

By Kate Stone and Jonathan Trinastic Skateboarders might seem to defy gravity as they soar high above a half-pipe, but they are actually taking advantage of specific physics principles that help them reach such heights. GotScience interviews physicist Jonathan Trinastic to learn more. GotScience: As a physicist, what do you see happening in these photos? Dr. Jonathan Trinastic: Skateboarders on a half-pipe take advantage of two primary physics conservation principles: conservation of energy and angular momentum. Let’s start with conservation of energy. Energy can be broken down into two main…

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GMOs and the Risk to Our Genetic Heritage Biology Environment 

GMOs and the Risk to Our Genetic Heritage

By Alex Taylor In 2001, high in the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca mountains of southern Mexico, UC Berkeley graduate student David Quist hiked along some of the world’s oldest cornfields. Quist was sampling cobs for DNA testing, and what he found kicked off a scientific firestorm and brought attention to a subtle threat to the future of global agriculture. In those ancient Mexican corn varieties, Quist detected the DNA signature of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A living genetic repository Hike down those Oaxacan mountains and into village marketplaces, and you…

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Biology Health Science Policy 

Science Policy Challenges, Part Three: The Aging Brain

By Jonathan Trinastic @jptrinastic This is the third in a series of four articles by Dr. Jonathan Trinastic in our new Science Policy section. In 2014, 46.2 million people over the age of 65 lived in the United States. By 2060, this number will skyrocket to around 98 million, increasing the percentage of older adults from 14 to 22 percent. As our population becomes older on average, later-life diseases will strike with more frequency. By 2025, more than seven million Americans will likely suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a specific type…

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