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  • April 11, 2017
  • 10:22 AM
  • 250 views

Risking Limb for Life? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Matthew Whitley Imagine you are walking alone in parking lot, when suddenly somebody grabs you by the arm and flashes a knife, demanding your money. Do you A) scream for help, B) try to wrestle the knife away, or C) remove your arm from your shoulder and make a break for it? Disarming your assailant may seem preferable to dis-arming yourself, but for a lizard option C is a likely response. A lizard tail left behind. Image by Metatron at Wikimedia Commons.You likely have heard before that many........ Read more »

Clause, A., & Capaldi, E. (2006) Caudal autotomy and regeneration in lizards. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology, 305A(12), 965-973. DOI: 10.1002/jez.a.346  

Gilbert, E., Payne, S., & Vickaryous, M. (2013) The Anatomy and Histology of Caudal Autotomy and Regeneration in Lizards. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 86(6), 631-644. DOI: 10.1086/673889  

  • April 11, 2017
  • 09:00 AM
  • 238 views

Looking for clues for past life on Mars

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

NASA's Curiosity Mars. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSSOn August 6, 2012, the NASA Curiosity rover landed on Mars at the base of Mount Sharp, a mountain the size of Kilimanjaro (~19,000 feet) in the middle of Gale Crater. Nina Lanza, space scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, remembers the day well. As part of the team that built ChemCam, one of the ten instruments on the rover, she spent three months at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, living on “Mars time” to fol........ Read more »

Ricardo, A. (2004) Borate Minerals Stabilize Ribose. Science, 303(5655), 196-196. DOI: 10.1126/science.1092464  

Stephenson, J., Hallis, L., Nagashima, K., & Freeland, S. (2013) Boron Enrichment in Martian Clay. PLoS ONE, 8(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064624  

  • April 4, 2017
  • 12:49 AM
  • 171 views

A clue towards understanding intrinsically disordered proteins

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

ntrinsically disordered proteins are thought to be fully functional, yet do not confirm to a single conformation, thereby identifying their structure via crystallography becomes problematic. Many intrinsically disordered proteins have been studied and analyzed using NMR methods, however the question as to why proteins are intrinsically disordered is still debatable.... Read more »

  • April 3, 2017
  • 09:00 AM
  • 189 views

"Science is Under Attack." A Climate Scientist's Call to Action for the Future of our Planet.

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

It’s a foggy morning in London. Meteorologist George Simpson, the director of the British Meteorological Office, sips his tea and opens a paper authored by a scientist named Guy Stewart Callendar. The last sentence of the abstract reads, “The temperature observations at 200 meteorological stations are used to show that world temperatures have actually increased at an average rate of 0.005°C per year during the past half century.”Simpson shakes his head and thinks, “Nonsense. It’s all ........ Read more »

  • March 3, 2017
  • 11:05 PM
  • 196 views

All-Atom Molecular Dynamics Simulations

by ragothamanyennamalli in Getting to know Structural Bioinformatics

With increasing computational power (aka GPU) that can be accessed these days, it is no wonder that performing all-atom molecular dynamics simulation for a longer time, with duplicates and/or triplicates, has become easier.... Read more »

  • February 21, 2017
  • 09:02 AM
  • 336 views

Who Can Swim Further: A Race to the Depths and Back (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Jefferson LeThe blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest mammal on the planet. Image byNMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) available at Wikimedia Commons.Helloooooo! My name is Bailey and I am a 25 meter long blue whale, the largest living mammal on Earth! My friend Finley, a 21 meter long fin whale comes in second for largest in size. We had an interesting adventure recently where we were followed by humans. While Finley and I were foraging for food, I overheard the huma........ Read more »

Croll DA, Acevedo-Gutiérrez A, Tershy BR, & Urbán-Ramírez J. (2001) The diving behavior of blue and fin whales: is dive duration shorter than expected based on oxygen stores?. Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular , 129(4), 797-809. PMID: 11440866  

  • January 28, 2017
  • 08:42 AM
  • 652 views

Distortions of Reality

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic





President Trump this week repeated an assertion he made shortly after his election: that millions of ballots cast illegally by undocumented immigrants cost him the popular vote. If true, this would suggest the wholesale corruption of American democracy.

Not to worry: As far as anyone knows, the president’s assertion is akin to saying that millions of unicorns also voted illegally.

- In a

... Read more »

Preller, K., Herdener, M., Pokorny, T., Planzer, A., Kraehenmann, R., Stämpfli, P., Liechti, M., Seifritz, E., & Vollenweider, F. (2017) The Fabric of Meaning and Subjective Effects in LSD-Induced States Depend on Serotonin 2A Receptor Activation. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.12.030  

Wacker, D., Wang, S., McCorvy, J., Betz, R., Venkatakrishnan, A., Levit, A., Lansu, K., Schools, Z., Che, T., Nichols, D.... (2017) Crystal Structure of an LSD-Bound Human Serotonin Receptor. Cell, 168(3), 377-2147483647. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.12.033  

  • October 30, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 544 views

The science behind real life zombies

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the spirit of Halloween we bring you the science fact and fiction behind the undead. Zombies, those brain loving little guys, (and girls) are everywhere. Sure, we are all familiar with the classic zombie, but did you know that we aren't the only zombie lovers out there? It turns out that nature has its own special types of zombies, but this isn't a science fiction movie, this is science fact! Sometimes fact can be scarier than fiction, so let's dive in.

... Read more »

Lafferty KD. (2006) Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture?. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 273(1602), 2749-55. PMID: 17015323  

Vyas A, Kim SK, Giacomini N, Boothroyd JC, & Sapolsky RM. (2007) Behavioral changes induced by Toxoplasma infection of rodents are highly specific to aversion of cat odors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(15), 6442-7. PMID: 17404235  

Thomas, F., Schmidt-Rhaesa, A., Martin, G., Manu, C., Durand, P., & Renaud, F. (2002) Do hairworms (Nematomorpha) manipulate the water seeking behaviour of their terrestrial hosts?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15(3), 356-361. DOI: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2002.00410.x  

W. Wesołowska T. Wesołowski. (2014) Do Leucochloridium sporocysts manipulate the behaviour of their snail hosts?. Journal of Zoology , 292(3), 151-155. info:/10.1111/jzo.12094

  • October 22, 2016
  • 03:10 PM
  • 520 views

Red meat and organs may pose a significant health hazard

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Neu5Gc, a non-human sialic acid sugar molecule common in red meat that increases the risk of tumor formation in humans, is also prevalent in pig organs, with concentrations increasing as the organs are cooked, a study has found. The research suggests that Neu5Gc may pose a significant health hazard among those who regularly consume organ meats from pigs.

... Read more »

  • September 20, 2016
  • 04:31 PM
  • 559 views

Potentially harmful chemicals widespread in household dust

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Household dust exposes people to a wide range of toxic chemicals from everyday products, according to a new study. A multi-institutional team conducted a first-of-a-kind meta-analysis, compiling data from dust samples collected throughout the United States to identify the top ten toxic chemicals commonly found in dust.

... Read more »

  • September 14, 2016
  • 03:48 PM
  • 711 views

Food waste could store solar and wind energy, or there's the obvious...

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Saving up excess solar and wind energy for times when the sun is down or the air is still requires a storage device. Batteries get the most attention as a promising solution although pumped hydroelectric storage is currently used most often. Now researchers are advancing another potential approach using sugar alcohols—an abundant waste product of the food industry—mixed with carbon nanotubes.

... Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 02:15 PM
  • 583 views

Antimicrobial chemicals found with antibiotic-resistance genes in indoor dust

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers have found links between the levels of antimicrobial chemicals and antibiotic-resistance genes in the dust of an aging building used for athletics and academics. One of the antimicrobials seen in the study is triclosan, a commonly used antibacterial ingredient in many personal care products.

... Read more »

Hartmann, E., Hickey, R., Hsu, T., Betancourt Román, C., Chen, J., Schwager, R., Kline, J., Brown, G., Halden, R., Huttenhower, C.... (2016) Antimicrobial Chemicals Are Associated with Elevated Antibiotic Resistance Genes in the Indoor Dust Microbiome. Environmental Science . DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00262  

  • September 6, 2016
  • 01:26 PM
  • 626 views

Body heat as a power source

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Electronics integrated into textiles are gaining in popularity: Systems like smartphone displays in a sleeve or sensors to detect physical performance in athletic wear have already been produced. The main problem with these systems tends to be the lack of a comfortable, equally wearable source of power. Chinese scientists are now aiming to obtain the necessary energy from body heat by introducing a flexible, wearable thermocell based on two different gel electrolytes.

... Read more »

Yang, P., Liu, K., Chen, Q., Mo, X., Zhou, Y., Li, S., Feng, G., & Zhou, J. (2016) Wearable Thermocells Based on Gel Electrolytes for the Utilization of Body Heat. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201606314  

  • September 5, 2016
  • 02:34 PM
  • 604 views

Drugs in the water? Don't blame the students

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

With nearly sixty percent of American adults now taking prescription medications--from antidepressants to cholesterol treatments--there is growing concern about how many drugs are flowing through wastewater treatment facilities and into rivers and lakes. Research confirms that pharmaceutical pollution can cause damage to fish and other ecological problems--and may pose risks to human health too.

... Read more »

  • September 1, 2016
  • 06:52 AM
  • 637 views

Roger Tsien – the scientist that colored our research

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

Roger Tsien died a few days ago, at the relatively young age of 64. He was a UCSD scientist, a Nobel laureate and he was one of the first to see the significance and usefulness of GFP. I’ve never met him. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 13, 2016
  • 02:43 PM
  • 667 views

Intestinal flora effects drug response

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Intestinal flora has multiple influences on human health, but researchers have revealed that it is also likely to have an effect on the body's response to drugs. Recent research suggests that changes in the intestinal flora, caused by antibacterial and antibiotic drugs or individual differences between people, may have an effect on a person's response to drugs including side effects. The research focused on the changes in proteins due to the condition of intestinal flora that affect th........ Read more »

  • July 14, 2016
  • 03:58 PM
  • 811 views

Organic computers are coming

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Move over silicon, tomorrow's computers could be made of something completely different. A team of international researchers managed to find a molecule that, to their opinion, could give the impetus to the development of organic electronics.

... Read more »

  • July 6, 2016
  • 11:29 AM
  • 1,008 views

Fish May Lose Their Jelly Friends in a Changing Ocean

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



In the open ocean, it's good to have friends. Some young fish like to buddy up with stinging jellies to stay safe from predators. Hiding under the shelter of a jellyfish's bell, they can grow up unharmed (as long as they dodge its tentacles). These fish include some species that humans rely on for food. But in a warming ocean, that buddy system may fall apart.

Many types of fish take advantage of hop-on jelly trolleys. Ivan Nagelkerken, a marine biologist at the University of Adelaide in ... Read more »

Nagelkerken I, Pitt KA, Rutte MD, & Geertsma RC. (2016) Ocean acidification alters fish-jellyfish symbiosis. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 283(1833). PMID: 27358374  

  • June 13, 2016
  • 01:43 PM
  • 709 views

Experimental antibiotic treats deadly MRSA infection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The antibiotic arms race is on, while we are rushing to find new antibiotics, bacteria are working on finding ways around them. With that in mind, a new experimental antibiotic developed by a team of scientists successfully treats the deadly MRSA infection and restores the efficacy of a commonly prescribed antibiotic that has become ineffective against MRSA.

... Read more »

  • June 10, 2016
  • 11:50 AM
  • 742 views

Beetle Moms Make Anti-Aphrodisiac to Keep Dads Focused on Parenting

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



"Not tonight, honey," says the female burying beetle, chewing up a mouthful of mouse carcass before spitting it into the mouth of a begging larva.

For the first few days of their babies' lives, burying beetles co-parent. They devote themselves to keeping their squirming larvae alive. That means mating and laying more eggs would be a waste of energy. And to make sure males get that message, females emit a pheromone that turns them off.

"It is quite surprising," says University of Ulm be... Read more »

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