2019 News & Careers
Most spinal cord injuries have an almost immediate and devastating effect on the person’s motor control. These severe impairments result from the interrupted communication between the brain and spinal cord, which deprives the spinal cord below the injury of instructions from the higher-level executive functions in the body. Without the essential sources of direction and excitement from the brain, the parts coordinated below the injury on the spinal cord face severe motor deficits – often complete or partial paralysis.
Glycation is the process whereby an enzyme catalyzes the bonding of a sugar molecule to another molecule, which can alter and inhibit cancer cell growth. Dr. Chan-Sik Kim from the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine concluded in 2017 that preventing the glycation process and removing glycation products from the human body slows down aging.
With eight ingredients, twenty years of work, and one billion euros, scientists have tested the boundaries of existence, paving the way to creating life from scratch. Dr. Petra Schwille of Germany’s Max Planck Institute led a team with a mission to assemble biomolecules under specific conditions to simulate aspects of life.
Dr. Alan Darvill is Regents Professor and Director of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC). His research focuses on the structural characterization of plant carbohydrates and determining complex structures in plants. Dr. Peter Albersheim and Dr. Alan Darvill established the CCRC as directors in 1985 along with their 16-member research team. Since then, they have found many revolutionary discoveries about various carbohydrate structure and function in the plant cell.
Vasileia Karasavva’s paper, “The implication of the corticotropin releasing factor in nicotine dependence and what this means for pharmacotherapy in smoking cessation,” published in the March 2019 issue of the Journal of Young Investigators, highlights the need for more efficient, effective treatments and methods for quitting smoking.
Dr. Ravi Rajani is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He is certified in General Surgery, Surgical Critical Care, and Vascular Surgery. Some of his clinical interests include vascular trauma, carotid artery disease, and lower extremity limb salvage. Having served as the principal investigator for multiple trauma-specific clinical trials, Dr. Rajani’s research interests include incorporation of endovascular techniques for the management of vascular trauma.
Starfish can regrow limbs, some arthropods can regrow appendages, and certain worms can regenerate after being cut in half. Since humans share thousands of genes with these animals, it seems reasonable to look for evolutionary conservation in regeneration. Studying organ regeneration in animals to find solutions for humans is an important potential avenue for improving health and quality of life through better medical care, which has become a central quest in modern medicine as longevity has increased.
Sea ice has become an important index of Arctic health in the midst of a warming regional climate. Its prominence is due in part to its visibility: there are few pieces of evidence as straightforward and convincing to the general public as satellite images displaying dwindling ice from year to year. There is also sound scientific support for the ice’s importance: sea ice and climate exist in a careful balance, each one impacting—while simultaneously being impacted by—the other.
Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is a powerful flavor enhancer. The flavor produced by MSG is termed “umami,” a Japanese expression roughly translating to “tastiness.” As a flavor enhancer, MSG increases the total taste of food, boosts certain flavor characteristics in meat and poultry such as saltiness, and emits no secondary aroma.
There is hardly anything under the sea as simultaneously simple and confusing as the hagfish. The pink, tubular fish has four hearts but no eyes, stomach or taste buds. Hagfish are one of the jawless fishes that comprise the superclass Cyclostomata.
Brain ischemia, more commonly known as a stroke, occurs when blood stops flowing to the brain. This stoppage results in the death of brain cells. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly 15 million people suffer a stroke each year, making stroke the second most common cause of death.
If given an image of someone’s face, what features would you hone-in on? Many people focus on the eyes since they provide more social information than other facial features according to a study published in Social Cognition on impressions from facial appearance. This research implies that humans have evolved to consider the nose and mouth too, as these “important details” can be used to understand their environments.
“I’ve never had a day that I don’t want to go to work. I’m so lucky to get to learn something new every single day.” - Jeremy Day, the Principal Investigator of the Day Lab, a neurobiology lab located in Birmingham, Alabama. Day grew up in Huntsville, Alabama with the initial goal of becoming an architect.
Dr. Amanda Freise is a professor and lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (MIMG). She and her students are involved in the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) national virology research program, which enables undergraduates nationwide to conduct studies on newly-discovered viruses.
Characterized by a lack of empathy and increased antisocial and risk-taking behavior, psychopathy is a personality disorder that afflicts less than one percent of the general population. However, among adult offenders, psychopathy afflicts approximately 10 to 25 percent of adult offenders .
Attempts to understand the phases of matter and their implications for application in the technological industry illustrate the current understanding of modern quantum mechanics and how it may pave the way for societal advancement.
Becoming a licensed medical practitioner requires a grueling amount of schooling that can leave many individuals burnt out before they even become a practicing physician. The path to becoming a board-certified physician in North America requires an undergraduate degree (about 4 years), a medical degree (another 4 years), and residency as a specialist (which takes anywhere from 3 to 8 years).
What if computers could decode what people think and dream? Recent studies and advancements in artificial intelligence suggest that soon, computers may be able to do just that. In a 2014 study, Dr. Rajesh Rao, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, and Dr. Jeff Ojemann, a neurosurgeon at the University of Washington Medical Center, asked seven people with severe epilepsy to watch images on a screen after surgical implantation of electrodes in their temporal lobes (the region of the brain that coordinates sensory input and recognition). Patients with epilepsy were used for the study because they had already had electrodes implanted for doctors to observe the place of origin of seizures within their temporal lobes.
If a scientist flips a coin 10 times and it lands heads-up every time, intuition suggests that the coin is weighted. Indeed, the probability that a fair coin lands heads-up 10 times in a row is (0.5)^10, or about 0.1 percent. It’s a small, but nonetheless non-zero, number. How should the scientist responsibly report these results? Does it suffice to say that the coin is maybe, possibly, probably weighted according to intuition?
For half a century, game theory and quantum mechanics were two academic disciplines that were entirely dissociated from each other. Twenty years ago, however, scientists began to speculate that the same principles governing the tiniest particles in the universe may be useful in playing games. Today this unlikely union is a fruitful area of research known as quantum game theory.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable and interesting evolutionary adaptations is flight. Long before humans cracked the code to heavier-than-air locomotion, however, another peculiar mammal mastered the air: bats. Bats share few characteristics with other flying organisms such as birds. Unlike birds and flying insects which rely on eyesight, bats count on echolocation to navigate and hunt. Just as unique as bat’s physical differences is its ecological niche. Bat populations target insects and agricultural pests, disperse seeds, and pollinate plants.
Affecting over 35 million people a year, the number of infected individuals continues to grow because there is currently no cure to eliminate HIV. Two scientists at Temple Health have manipulated mouse genomes to display human immunity and the effect of two different treatments on the mice after HIV is injected into the rodents. They have found promising results in ridding the mouse cells of any traces of inducible HIV DNA, are looking to further their research in hopes of soon using human subjects.