Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Bacteria work together to gather food

Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria living in the still water at the bottom of salt marshes cooperate with one another to pull food in their direction faster than it would arrive through diffusion, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Mathematics | Microbiology | Leave a comment

A framework for studying rare genetic variants

Genetic studies have revealed thousands of genetic variants underlying hundreds of human diseases and traits. However, the variants discovered to date explain less than half of the apparent heritability in most diseases and traits. Since these efforts have largely focused … Continue reading

Categories: Genetics | Leave a comment

New mathematical techniques might allow for X-ray nanocrystallography

The discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA revealed key insights on how life and heredity works, helping kick off the modern era of genetics. This and many other breakthroughs were achieved via a technique known as X-ray crystallography, but … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Mathematics | Leave a comment

First images of electron orbitals in complex molecules

The areas where electrons in a molecule are likely to be found in space are known as molecular orbitals. These define the chemical and physical traits of matter, so researchers have long strived to image them, but were missing all … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Leave a comment

Researchers flesh out new model describing tissue mechanics

Enough tension will do anything in. Cells grown in a constrained environment, in a matrix or on a platform, have a bad habit of breaking due to their own strength. Though frustrating for those working in regenerative medicine, which seeks … Continue reading

Categories: Cell Biology | Engineering | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Smaller nano-channel weighs with attogram precision

The mass of nanoparticles as small as 10 nanometers in diameter can be determined with attogram precision by measuring the oscillations of a cantilevered nanobeam supporting the particles, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Furthermore, … Continue reading

Categories: Biophysics and Computational Biology | Engineering | Leave a comment

Mice with human immune systems boon to malaria research

Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria infections in humans throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, doesn’t have any effect on most mice. The parasite has a specific taste for mosquitos and humans and passes up the cells of other … Continue reading

Categories: Immunology | Leave a comment

When to launch a cyber attack

The evolution of malicious software (“malware”) has proceeded so rapidly since the invention of the first computer virus three decades ago that the question is not whether but when a computer system will face a cyber attack. Such attacks were … Continue reading

Categories: Computer sciences | Political Science | Leave a comment

Evidence for speciation without geographic isolation seen in “Evolution Canyon”

The birth of a new species, the event known as speciation, is usually thought to happen when one species gets split into two or more physically isolated populations that diverge over time as they accumulate differences without interbreeding. However, it … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Leave a comment

Binding protein to white blood cells kills metastasizing cancer cells

A common protein that kills cancer cells in the bloodstream works shows improved efficiency when bound to the surface of white blood cells, scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cancer cells that migrate from one … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Engineering | Leave a comment