You vs. Your Grocery

by Jeongmin Lee NO CHOLESTEROL! ZERO TRANS FAT! ALL NATURAL! Hundreds of labels bombard consumers in the grocery store, vying for their wallets and claiming to offer health benefits. It would take only a quick glimpse to notice recurring slogans, many of which use terminology unfamiliar to the general public. The “Gluten-free!” sign may indicate … Continue reading You vs. Your Grocery

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Bio-Inspired Slippery Surface Technology Repels Fouling Agents

by Serena Blacklow A start-up launched late in 2014 from our own Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is working to commercialize ‘SLIPS’ technology. SLIPS Technologies’ mission is to customize super-repellent surfaces for whatever application under demand. Slippery lubricant-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) can be formulated to repel water, bacteria, and oil, among other “fouling agents”. … Continue reading Bio-Inspired Slippery Surface Technology Repels Fouling Agents

Tuberculosis Declines in the US but Remains a Global Health Threat

by Jacqueline Epstein By the beginning of the 19th century, tuberculosis (TB) had killed one in seven people who ever lived.1 The disease is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread through the air from one person to another. While not every single person infected by the bacterium contracts the disease, people … Continue reading Tuberculosis Declines in the US but Remains a Global Health Threat

Treatment as Prevention: Updates on Efforts to Combat the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

by Elliot Eton The target is 2030. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has ambitiously set 2030 as the year by which we should achieve the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has claimed the lives of 39 million people globally since the first cases were reported in 1981.1 This past year, to … Continue reading Treatment as Prevention: Updates on Efforts to Combat the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Citizen Science and Sudden Oak Death

by Sophia Emmons-Bell Driving down California’s Highway 101, hugging the coast and cutting through the state’s most famous nature reserves, you will pass by hundreds of diseased tanoaks, bay laurels, and California black oaks. These trees, sick with Sudden Oak Death (SOD), are bruised with red and black splotches and bleed sap from cankers on … Continue reading Citizen Science and Sudden Oak Death

Skin Regeneration in Wound Repair

by Madeline Bradley Unlike some lower invertebrates, like fish and amphibians, which can regenerate all the skin layers and appendages (epidermis, dermis, hair follicles, sebaceous glands, etc.) perfectly, human skin often forms thin scar tissue lacking in appendages.1 The deformed appearance alone can take a serious toll on the quality of life for burn patients … Continue reading Skin Regeneration in Wound Repair

G(ut)enetics: The Genetic Influence of Our Internal Symbionts

by Austin Valido The human body is crowded. From the surface of our skin to the depths of our intestines, we are inundated with microscopic bacterium that aid with everything from defense to digestion. Large-scale scientific endeavors, headlined by the Human Microbiome project, have catalogued millions of species of bacteria and are just beginning to … Continue reading G(ut)enetics: The Genetic Influence of Our Internal Symbionts

A Watchful Eye over Wildlife: Drone Technology & Conservation

by Caitlin Andrews When we think of field biologists, most of us imagine scientists trekking through uncharted rainforests or across endless savannas, armed with only a notebook and a pair of binoculars. These intrepid heroes, such as Jane Goodall, have shown us how much there is to be learned when we leave behind the comforts … Continue reading A Watchful Eye over Wildlife: Drone Technology & Conservation

Genome Editing: Is CRISPR/Cas the Answer?

by Jackson Allen For roughly the last 60 years, the focus of molecular biology and genetics has been to better understand the microscopic machinery that regulates the genome of every organism. Such scientists as Matthew Meselson, Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, and Francis Crick helped pave the way for contemporary understanding of molecular genetics. These scientists … Continue reading Genome Editing: Is CRISPR/Cas the Answer?

Astromycology: The “Fungal” Frontier

by Tristan Wang Hollywood movies and horror novels have painted extraterrestrial life as green monsters, scouring the barren grounds of Mars and shooting any intruder with photon lasers. These disturbing imaginations, while far-fetched, do hold some truth about frightening outer space life forms, but not in the ways we imagine. During its orbit as the … Continue reading Astromycology: The “Fungal” Frontier

A Winning Combination Against Drug Resistance

  by Ryan Chow Earlier this year, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. Proclaiming that the initiative would “lay the foundation for a new generation of lifesaving discoveries,” the President proposed setting aside $215 million to expedite the clinical translation of personalized genetics research.1 The initiative specifically highlights the development of patient-specific cancer therapies … Continue reading A Winning Combination Against Drug Resistance

Mapping the Nervous System: Tracing Neural Circuits with Color Changing Proteins

by Christine Zhang Stepping out the front door of my dorm, I am frequently greeted by a sharp gust of wind that convinces me to turn back and grab a coat. The reaction is almost instantaneous. But in that split-second, the action of turning around requires 100 billion action potentials and the signal transmits over … Continue reading Mapping the Nervous System: Tracing Neural Circuits with Color Changing Proteins

Precision Medicine: Revamping the “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach to Healthcare

by Eleni Apostolatos “There's no gene for fate,” declares Vincent, the main character of the 1997 science fiction thriller, GATTACA, after he decides to disguise his imperfect DNA and assume the genetic identity of Jerome Morrow—a man whose flawless genetic makeup makes him apt for space travel. While Vincent’s argument that genes do not necessarily … Continue reading Precision Medicine: Revamping the “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach to Healthcare

A Watchful Eye over Wildlife: Drone Technology & Conservation

by Caitlin Andrews When we think of field biologists, most of us imagine scientists trekking through uncharted rainforests or across endless savannas, armed with only a notebook and a pair of binoculars. These intrepid heroes, such as Jane Goodall, have shown us how much there is to be learned when we leave behind the comforts … Continue reading A Watchful Eye over Wildlife: Drone Technology & Conservation

Genome Editing: Is CRISPR/Cas the Answer?

by Jackson Allen For roughly the last 60 years, the focus of molecular biology and genetics has been to better understand the microscopic machinery that regulates the genome of every organism. Such scientists as Matthew Meselson, Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, and Francis Crick helped pave the way for contemporary understanding of molecular genetics. These scientists … Continue reading Genome Editing: Is CRISPR/Cas the Answer?

Astromycology: The “Fungal” Frontier

by Tristan Wang Hollywood movies and horror novels have painted extraterrestrial life as green monsters, scouring the barren grounds of Mars and shooting any intruder with photon lasers. These disturbing imaginations, while far-fetched, do hold some truth about frightening outer space life forms, but not in the ways we imagine. During its orbit as the … Continue reading Astromycology: The “Fungal” Frontier

A Winning Combination Against Drug Resistance

  by Ryan Chow Earlier this year, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. Proclaiming that the initiative would “lay the foundation for a new generation of lifesaving discoveries,” the President proposed setting aside $215 million to expedite the clinical translation of personalized genetics research.1 The initiative specifically highlights the development of patient-specific cancer therapies … Continue reading A Winning Combination Against Drug Resistance

Mapping the Nervous System: Tracing Neural Circuits with Color Changing Proteins

by Christine Zhang Stepping out the front door of my dorm, I am frequently greeted by a sharp gust of wind that convinces me to turn back and grab a coat. The reaction is almost instantaneous. But in that split-second, the action of turning around requires 100 billion action potentials and the signal transmits over … Continue reading Mapping the Nervous System: Tracing Neural Circuits with Color Changing Proteins

Slime Mold: The Small, Ugly, and Extraordinary

by Tristan Wang Slime molds are some of the world’s ancient mysteries. From the independent unicellular amoeba to the cooperation of many individuals, these globs of ooze share biological functions that few other species or even kingdoms exhibit. Even though they are not seen conspicuously in our day-to-day lives, slime molds may hold the key … Continue reading Slime Mold: The Small, Ugly, and Extraordinary

Fear vs. Fact: The Modern Anti-Vaccination Movement

by Brendan Pease “It just seemed like it was impossible,” said Kathryn Riffenburg, a resident of nearby Chicopee, Massachusetts. “We went from sitting in the hospital day by day, waiting for him to get better for almost two weeks, to doctors telling us we had a 50/50 chance he was going to make it.” Two … Continue reading Fear vs. Fact: The Modern Anti-Vaccination Movement

Mortality and Morality: The Ethics of Ebola

by Jackson Allen If not controlled within sixty days, the United Nations warned recently, the current Ebola outbreak will lead to an unprecedented and unplanned situation (1). Over the past year, the epidemic has been building in three countries in West Africa: Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Outside of public health circles, the outbreak remained … Continue reading Mortality and Morality: The Ethics of Ebola

Monarch Butterflies and the Plight of Migratory Species

by Caitlin Andrews Each year, on the last day of October, people in Mexico honor their ancestors and deceased loved ones during the holiday of Day of the Dead. Over three days of celebration, they march in parades wearing colorful masks and costumes, build ornate altars, and decorate gravestones with orange marigolds—gifts to the departed. … Continue reading Monarch Butterflies and the Plight of Migratory Species

Shale Gas: The Future of Energy Production?

by Eleni Apostolatos Science classes introduce us to the rather abstract concept of energy—a system’s ability to do work. The world’s current energy dependency proves the basis of this physical fact; from charging our phones to powering our hospitals, energy drives humans’ daily activities. Regardless of where in the globe we stand, we all need … Continue reading Shale Gas: The Future of Energy Production?

Chimeras and the Making of Human Organs

by Francisco Galdos For centuries, humans have marveled at the ancient myths of chimeras—from Homeric references to half lion-half goat beasts, to Kafka’s frightening tale of the metamorphosis of a man into an insect, and to the ancient Greek legend of the horse Pegasus, whose winged horse body allowed the hero Bellerophon to kill the … Continue reading Chimeras and the Making of Human Organs

To Infinity and Beyond: The Launch of SpaceX’s First Reusable Rocket

by Shree Bose In a generation where rapid innovations have reshaped the way we interact, learn, and work, Silicon Valley technologist, Elon Musk, is attempting to revolutionize a field out of this world - the way we explore space. Since the 1950s, with international tensions soaring high, space has been a stage for national competition, … Continue reading To Infinity and Beyond: The Launch of SpaceX’s First Reusable Rocket

Humans Computers And Everything in Between: Towards Synthetic Telepathy

by Linda Xu When you imagine telepathy, your mind probably jumps immediately to science fiction: the Vulcans of Star Trek, Legilimency in Harry Potter, or the huge variety of superheroes and super-villains who possess powers of telekinesis or mind control. Twenty years ago, these concepts would have been mere fictional speculation, but today, in neuroscience … Continue reading Humans Computers And Everything in Between: Towards Synthetic Telepathy

A Commentary on Medical Education

by Lauren Claus The practice of medicine is filled with intimate and delicate moments; physicians are entrusted with tasks such as delivering a painful diagnosis, encouraging a patient to embark on a weight loss program, or calming the anxieties of new parents-to-be. These situations all require strong interpersonal skills, a comforting demeanor, and a deep … Continue reading A Commentary on Medical Education

Overstepping your Passion? The Science of Obsession

by Carrie Sha The famous late nineteenth-century writer Franz Kafka once counseled, “Follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” Although his advice seems to be a simple call for following our passions, it can easily lead us astray. After all, Shakespeare’s Hamlet was haunted by “what dreams may come after we have shuffled off this mortal … Continue reading Overstepping your Passion? The Science of Obsession

Psychoactive Fungi: The World Before and After Psilocybin

by Tristan Wang In 1960, on a summer day in Cuernavaca, Mexico, Harvard psychology professor Timothy Leary and several friends ingested a bowlful of psilocybin mushrooms, an experience that Leary later described as “the deepest religious experience of my life.” Upon returning to Harvard, Leary and his associate, Richard Alpert, immediately formed the “Harvard Psilocybin … Continue reading Psychoactive Fungi: The World Before and After Psilocybin

Politics of HIV/AIDS and the Singing Brain

by Quang Nguyen Globally, over 35 million people were living with HIV in 2012 (1). In addition to severe physical and immunological deterioration associated with the progression of the illness, HIV/AIDS also creates a significant neuropsychological burden on those infected and their social networks. This additional suffering contributes to the decreases in medical adherence, increases … Continue reading Politics of HIV/AIDS and the Singing Brain

International Collegiate Science Journal (ICSJ)

We are very excited to announce a new initiative that HSR is a founding member of: the International Collegiate Science Journal (ICSJ). Together with 8 other universities, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, Berkeley, Rice, WashU, Cambridge, and Oxford, we are launching this international group of science journals that have come together to form a collaborative journal and organization … Continue reading International Collegiate Science Journal (ICSJ)