Threatened mangrove forests can regenerate carbon stocks to defer climate change

Joyce Chen ’23 Shrimp is currently in high demand and is the most-consumed seafood in the United States. However, farming shrimp comes with a large sacrifice. Shrimp are found in shrimp ponds, which are converted from mangrove forests; these forests are known for sequestering, or storing, carbon, thereby delaying global warming. With the expansion of shrimp aquaculture, mangrove forests have depleted significantly, losing up to … Continue reading Threatened mangrove forests can regenerate carbon stocks to defer climate change

21st Century Mind: The Effects of Blue-Light on the Brain, Retinas, and Rate of Aging

Mariam Malik ‘22 Blue light from electronic devices, such as smartphones and laptops, is of shorter wavelength on the light spectrum, thereby giving off higher amounts of energy. The harmful effects of absorbing too many light rays, such as UV and micro, have been researched and known. However, a recent study at Oregon State University on Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, shows the damaging … Continue reading 21st Century Mind: The Effects of Blue-Light on the Brain, Retinas, and Rate of Aging

Biodiversity Offers Insight into the Ecosystem of Liver Cancer

Priyanshi Patel ’22 Liver cancer is the second most lethal malignancy in the world and includes mainly hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA). HCC is the most common type of primary liver cancer and often occurs in people with chronic liver diseases. iCCA is also a cancer that develops within the bile duct, whereas HCC occurs among alcoholics or those with fat accumulation in … Continue reading Biodiversity Offers Insight into the Ecosystem of Liver Cancer

Ecological Dynamics of Coastal Plants, Birds, and Herbivores

Fatin Chowdhury ’20 In a recent paper, scientists from the University of Irvine examined the resistance of shrub plants to herbivory, as enabled by plant morphology or the presence of avian species. The scientists studied both direct and indirect defenses in nature and assessed these mechanisms in the context of energetic trade-offs. Characteristics that were already known to directly lower the success rate of herbivory … Continue reading Ecological Dynamics of Coastal Plants, Birds, and Herbivores

Interactions between a Tree Exudate and a Loquat-Seed Starch

Fatin Chowdhury ’20 As naturally derived ingredients become more sought after in manufacturing and other areas, the science behind biodegradable material continues to expand. Recently, in order to better understand the chemical dynamics of different ingredients in biomaterials and explore the possibility of developing an edible film, a pair of scientists located in South Korea investigated the interactions of a tree-based gum with loquat-seed derived … Continue reading Interactions between a Tree Exudate and a Loquat-Seed Starch

Figure 1. Scientists from UCLA controlled expression of genes Drp1 and Atg1 in fruit flies to promote breakdown and removal of damaged mitochondria.

Controlling Mitochondria to Stop the Clocks

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 The respiratory function of the mitochondrion, the energy producing organelle found in the cell, can decline over time. This is because of how the mitochondrion enlarge and assume a more elongated shape. Typically, that mitochondrion will eventually break down and get removed processes called mitochondrial fission and mitophagy respectively. Accumulation of the ineffective mitochondria and inability to remove them are major … Continue reading Controlling Mitochondria to Stop the Clocks

Figure 1. Cardiac imaging techniques, such as echocardiograms and cardiac MRI, allow us to view the structure of the heart in order to diagnose and monitor heart disease.

New Model Predicts How Genetics Affects Heart Structure

By Gene Yang ’19 Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the world. This broad group of genetic conditions affect the heart’s structure and function in different ways, with symptoms ranging from harmless to fatal. However, very little is known about how a human’s genetic makeup affects cardiovascular development. A recent study, which constructed a model that predicts correlations between genetics and … Continue reading New Model Predicts How Genetics Affects Heart Structure

Figure 1. Enzyme that plays a role in memory loss can be inhibited to treat Alzheimer’s disease

Disrupting Enzyme To Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 From histone modifications to DNA alterations, epigenetic processes play a major role in various physiological systems. Histones are proteins in eukaryotic cells that package DNA strands into nucleosomes. Gene regulation processes include histone acetylation, whereby an acetyl group is transferred from one molecule to another. This eventually removes the positive charge on the histones, giving nucleosomes a relaxed structure and allowing … Continue reading Disrupting Enzyme To Tackle Alzheimer’s Disease

Figure 1. Human gut microbe, P. histicola has therapeutic effects against Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Gut microbe as Potential Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 The human gut is colonized by many microorganisms and each of them plays a role in maintaining various physiological functions, such as regulating digestion and fat absorption. It has been found that a vast number of inflammatory diseases around the world are associated with an instability of the gut microbiome. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic and University of Iowa suggest that … Continue reading Gut microbe as Potential Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Figure 1. Zika vaccine developed from Nicotiana benthamiana plant extract

Improved Zika Vaccine Produced by Tobacco Plant extract

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a deadly virus transmitted through mosquito bites that at its climax has infected more than 1.5 million people in Brazil in 2015. The virus continues to spread with approximately 200 ZIKV cases reported in the United States this year. In order to combat the epidemic, new ZIKV vaccines have been developed to inactivate the virus. However, … Continue reading Improved Zika Vaccine Produced by Tobacco Plant extract

Figure 1: The auditory cortex of the brain highlighted with mapping of sound frequencies.

Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Being able to form, maintain, and strengthen neural connections within the auditory cortex is an important part of language acquisition. Neural plasticity, or the ability of the brain to establish new connections, is especially high in childhood, but decreases with age. A discovery made by Dr. Jay Blundon and his colleagues at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the potential … Continue reading Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

Figure 3. Slow wave activity and low quality sleep affect levels of amyloid beta and tau levels respectively which are linked to Alzheimer’s.

Sleep and Its Impact on Alzheimer’s Disease

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 A good night’s rest is hard to come by these days, however a study led by Yo-El S. Ju MD from Washington University suggests that it is more important than one may realize. They found that inadequate sleep causes the Alzheimer’s related protein, amyloid beta, to increase. They tested the amyloid beta levels from the cerebral spinal fluid of 22 middle … Continue reading Sleep and Its Impact on Alzheimer’s Disease