Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Monthly Archives: February 2013

Slow burn: chip-sized power generators could provide alternative to batteries

Battery-powered mobile gadgets allow us do almost anything anywhere: call, shoot video, check stocks, read PNAS First Look until, of course, the power runs out. A new microchip-scale form of power generation could replace common batteries and dramatically prolonging the time … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Leave a comment

Gauging the potential of a “micro” window into disease

With every beat of a person’s heart, blood whooshes through their vessels, transporting blood cells, immune cells, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body. Over time, as blood pulses in and out of the heart, it accumulates other materials—hormones, cells from … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Medical Sciences | Leave a comment

Predicting cooperative behavior from genes

If only the fittest members of a species survive, then cooperative behavior doesn’t make sense. It is costly to individuals and benefits others. Over the past few years, however, many researchers have shown how cooperative behavior plays nicely with evolutionary … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Genetics | Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex and poison: A closer look at plant mating strategies

Plant sex just got a little more interesting. By switching mating systems, casting off the normal, play-it-safe requirement to cross breed and adopting the ability to self-fertilize, plants are more likely to evolve the ability to ramp up chemical defenses … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Leave a comment

Making sense of babies’ brains

Newborn babies don’t walk like adults, talk like adults, or interact with others like adults. But do baby brains, at their most basic level of functioning, work the same way as adult brains? Most scientists have assumed so—the cellular mechanism … Continue reading

Categories: Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Frog-hopping across drifting continents

Some time in the past 70 million years, the land mass that we now call India rammed into current-day Asia. Rocks were squeezed skyward to form the Himalayan Mountains and land-bound creatures from each continent expanded their ranges into the … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | 1 Comment

Chemical “attractiveness” factors can split a species

You may not have chosen your Valentine this week based on their smell or other invisible-to-the-naked-eye molecules their body gives off (at least not consciously), but if you were a moth, airborne chemical signals would be one of the most … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment

The mechanical properties of folded maps

The origami trick now often used to fold large maps into small rectangles was developed by Japanese aerospace scientist Koryo Miura at the University of Tokyo, who originally invented it to help deploy solar panels on spacecraft. Now researchers find … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Leave a comment

Suffocating cancers that thrive without oxygen

New findings on the protein CDCP1 provide a link between the low oxygen environments of some tumors, and their ability to spread between sites in the body. Despite the fact that many cancer cells thrive without oxygen, understanding the molecular … Continue reading

Categories: Medical Sciences | Leave a comment

Water, water everywhere, but not enough to farm

Based on human population growth over the last two millennia, Heinz von Foerster and colleagues famously predicted that our population would approach infinity on Friday, 13 November, 2026. Of course, the 1960 doomsday calculation required paradisiacal conditions, including an unlimited … Continue reading

Categories: Sustainability Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment