Breaking Barriers for DNA Insertion

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Fig. 1: To insert foreign DNA, electroporation is used to form pores on the cell membrane. Genetic engineering involves inserting foreign DNA into cells to perform new functions. In order for DNA to pass the cell membrane, cells are put in a specifically calibrated electric field that opens pores in the membrane in a process called electroporation. Each organism has a … Continue reading Breaking Barriers for DNA Insertion

Graphene Optimization with Common Glass

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Graphene, a material made of a two-dimensional sheet of carbon, is effective in durability and the conductivity of electricity. However, it has had trouble being commercialized. In a process called grapheme doping, chemicals were introduced to improve the electron density of grapheme and it eventually made the material more vulnerable do degradation. In collaboration with researchers from Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven … Continue reading Graphene Optimization with Common Glass

A New View of Cancer Cells

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Most scientists study live cancer cell samples by preparing them on a glass slide and coverslip. However, this method often compresses the sample. Since cancer cells are very sensitive to their surroundings, the compression of the slide affects their behavior and may interfere with the results and overall understanding of cancer cell interactions. Researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center have designed a … Continue reading A New View of Cancer Cells

Tardigrades Survive & Thrive After Deep Freeze

By Julia Newman ’19 After thirty years of a frozen, hibernation-like state, two tardigrades have not only “awakened” but have already begun to reproduce. Back in 1983, these microscopic water bears were found living in an Antarctic moss at temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Scientists that previously knew of the tardigrades’ ability to survive in extreme conditions experimented with two specimen and an … Continue reading Tardigrades Survive & Thrive After Deep Freeze

A Cuckoo Bird’s Egg Trick

By Julia Newman ’19 Robins lay blue eggs, sparrows lay speckled eggs, and cuckoos – well, it depends. Cuckoo birds have the ability to lay different colored eggs over time depending on the other common birds in their environment. For example, if robins are abundant in an ecosystem, the cuckoo birds eventually evolve to lay blue eggs.  However, according to studies done at the Norwegian … Continue reading A Cuckoo Bird’s Egg Trick

Bat Immune Systems Could Strengthen Our Own

By Julia Newman ’19 Immunologist Dr. Baker, working at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, has recently discovered something about bats that can protect humans from multiple deadly diseases. Bats are known to be carriers of various diseases such as Ebola and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome.  However, unlike humans, the bats are not affected as carriers, prompting research into their immunological responses. Studies have shown that … Continue reading Bat Immune Systems Could Strengthen Our Own

From Sugar to Cancer

By Richard Liang ’18 Sugar has been a widely used household item for centuries. However, a recent study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center indicates that this simple condiment can lead to increased cancer metastasis, the spreading of cancer cells to other parts of the body. The experiment focused on feeding mice two separate diets, one predominantly composed of starches and another … Continue reading From Sugar to Cancer

An Interview with Dr. Harvard Lyman

By Eman Kazi ’15 Professor Harvard Lyman has been a member of the Stony Brook community since 1968.  He’s become a bit of a legend in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and was the lecturer for the course BIO 310, Cell Biology, for a number of years until he retired in the Spring 2015. 1. Where did you complete your undergrad, graduate school … Continue reading An Interview with Dr. Harvard Lyman

Suppressing Our Sweet Tooth

By Richard Liang ’18 Sugar is something most people cannot live without. Although it can bring happiness to individuals that indulge in its sweetness, it can present a serious problem for diabetics and those suffering from obesity. A study recently published in Cell Metabolism by a research group at the University of Iowa has discovered a hormone that can suppress sugar cravings in mice. Hepatokine … Continue reading Suppressing Our Sweet Tooth

A Potential New Cure for Alzheimer’s

By Richard Liang ’18 Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative illness that reveals itself primarily in elderly patients. The loss of synapses in the brain leads to memory loss and, more severely, the shutdown of bodily functions. The causes of Alzheimer’s are very poorly understood making early detection particularly difficult. With a lack of early detection, Alzheimer’s is usually discovered too late to be controlled. … Continue reading A Potential New Cure for Alzheimer’s

Performing Under Pressure

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 According to new research led by Dr. Michiko Yoshie of the University of Sussex, performing on a stage with an audience is more stressful than practicing alone for professional performers. The research involved the study of several cases. In one case, participants were asked to perform a task while watching a video of two people observing them. In another case, they performed … Continue reading Performing Under Pressure

The Virtual Path to Assessing Alzheimer’s in Humans

By Meghan Bialt-DeCelie ’19 Scientists have reported that they have developed an analogous rodent test that could aid in Alzheimer research for humans. The Morris Maze Test assesses the ability of rodents with Alzheimer’s disease to reach a pedestal in a water-filled arena. During the assessment, rodents attempt to reach the pedestal in a number of trials. In the first trial, the pedestal is shown … Continue reading The Virtual Path to Assessing Alzheimer’s in Humans