Figure 1: The RNA Polymerase II molecule is an important enzyme involved in the transcription process of DNA to mRNA.

Circular RNAs Have Protein Coding Potential

Gene Yang ‘19 Although the RNA molecules involved in protein synthesis have been extensively studied, other novel types of RNA are still relatively unknown and continue being researched. One such novel type of RNA is circular RNA (circRNA), an endogenous and diverse class of molecules that is present in most eukaryotic cells. Circular RNAs are…

Figure 1. Downtown Manhattan, New York City, where high population density makes infectious disease spread easily.

Predicting Flu With Mobility Behaviors

Gene Yang ‘19 In the mathematical modeling of infectious disease, determining the mobility of infectious diseases as well as the mobility patterns of individuals in a population is crucial to predicting the spatial and temporal diffusion of such illnesses. Researchers from the University of Trento gathered two types of data, mobility data and self-reported health…

Shrinking Salt Lakes

Gene Yang ‘19 Representing nearly half of the volume and a quarter of the area of all lakes in the world, saline lakes are a significant part of the regional ecosystem. However, as a result of human consumptive water use from these lakes in recent decades, many large saline lakes have been desiccating at a…

Figure 1. Researchers explore the impact of a highly concentrated salt solution, mimicking liquid found on Mars, on the structure of water

Investigating Water on Mars

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Since the discovery of perchlorates in soil acquired from Mars using the Pheonix Lander, researchers have been wondering how a liquid such as this can exist in the extreme cold temperatures found on the planet. A solution of perchlorate at 44% by weight can cause the freezing temperature of water to…

Figure 1. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania investigate the loci responsible for the wide variation of skin pigmentation by studying the genomes of African populations.

Genetics of Skin Pigmentation

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Currently, our understanding of the genes behind skin pigmentation in humans is limited, especially for those of African heritage. Researchers led by Nicholas Crawford, PhD from the University of Pennsylvania investigated the genetic variants behind a wider range of skin colors provided from diverse African populations. Melanin is the pigment that…

Figure 1. Researchers developed a programmable synthetic tissue that mimics the adaptable structure of cephalopod papillae.

Octopus Inspired Synthetic Tissue

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 One of the most notable features of cephalopods like octopus and cuttlefish is their ability to quickly camouflage with the environment by changing the color and texture of their skin. They are able to dynamically adapt the textures of their skin by contracting muscular hydrostat structures referred to as papillae. Researchers,…