Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Author Archives: Carolyn Beans

Journal Club: Scientists culture human placenta cells in hopes of understanding pregnancy complications

A collection of human placental cells known as trophoblasts are responsible for much of what goes right in a healthy pregnancy. But growing and studying these cells in the lab has been a major challenge. Now, a team of Japanese … Continue reading

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Journal Club: How to measure the global potential for biomass vegetation

Plants play a big role in removing carbon from the atmosphere. Almost a quarter of carbon from car exhaust and industry gets absorbed by vegetation. That’s a significant amount. But a recent study suggests that amount has the potential to … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In the mouse gut, a bacteria-killing virus evolves to attack a new strain

In scientists’ quest to understand how gut microbes affect human health, bacteria take center stage. But bacteriophages, the viruses that attack the bacteria, are often overlooked, says microbiologist Luisa De Sordi of the Institut Pasteur in France. “We keep an … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New tool predicts which compounds taste bitter

Humans have 25 different taste receptors that register a range of bitter chemical compounds in everything from coffee and beer to dark chocolate and medicine. And yet, while humans can easily recognize bitterness, predicting whether a chemical compound will taste … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Illuminating the neurons that help fruit fly larvae escape danger

Disturb fruit fly larvae with sharp jabs or intense heat and they’ll respond the same way every time. “They always roll two or three times, and then stop rolling and land away from the noxious thing,” says neuroscientist Kazuo Emoto … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New roles found for protein key to neurotransmission

  Scientists know many of the proteins that make neurotransmission possible, but they don’t have a handle on how all the pieces work together.  “As someone who has studied the synapse for a long time, I still find it frustrating … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Ancient diet helps tell the story of Easter Island

Famous for its towering stone human figures, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, has long been shrouded in mystery, with the demise of its people the subject of an intense debate. Now, new findings about what its residents ate hundreds of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Insights from 3-D images defy assumptions about how plant cells communicate

When plant cells communicate, plasmodesmata serve as crucial conduits. These channels cross cell walls, linking one cell to its neighbor. If a plant needs to grow larger or fight off a pathogen, molecular signals pass through plasmodesmata to keep cells … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Mutation helps Zika virus evolve to more easily infect mosquitoes, spread infection

Scientists discovered the Zika virus over half a century ago. But it wasn’t until recent outbreaks in French Polynesia and South America that the mosquito-borne virus, now associated with Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults and microcephaly in newborn babies, reached epidemic … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Immunology | Infectious disease | Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Journal Club: A physicist’s take on the age-old ecological puzzle of how species form communities

Ecologists have long searched for the rules that govern how individual species join together to form a community. Whether forest or desert, the problem is complex. Myriad factors influence a community’s composition and stability —from how strongly species compete to … Continue reading

Categories: Animal Behavior | Applied Physical Sciences | Ecology | Journal Club | Mathematics | Physics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment