Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Chemistry

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

Categories: Biochemistry | Chemistry | Journal Club | Pharmacology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Study of volcanic gases offers new fundamental insights into the Earth’s carbon cycle

To understand how the planet’s climate will evolve and has evolved over geologic time, scientists need to understand the Earth’s carbon cycle. In work recently published  in Science, researchers offer new insights into that cycle, upending calculations about just how … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Ecology | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Categories: Anthropology | Chemistry | Ecology | Journal Club | Sustainability Science | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Engineered enzyme could streamline synthesis of nitrogen containing compounds

Researchers have re-engineered a bacterial enzyme to transform abundant alkanes into industrially important nitrogen-containing compounds that can be used to synthesize pharmaceuticals. In principle, the enzyme, now called P411CHA, could help streamline some methods for creating synthetic molecules, which often … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Sustainability Science | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Shark blood compound offers up novel mechanism for stabilizing folded proteins

Sharks and other sea life often maintain high levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in their blood, a compound vital to their surviving in the saline environment. TMAO helps maintain an osmotic balance between body tissues and sea water to prevent … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Chemistry | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Layer-cake chemistry offers up a cheap way to perform chemical tests

Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi started her study with a trip to the supermarket to buy Listerine breath strips, the sort that melt on your tongue in seconds. But the chemical engineering postdoc at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada wasn’t worried about bad … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Chemistry | Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Microbiology | Pharmacology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Copper offers novel clues to ancient Earth’s “Great Oxidation Event”

Roughly 2.4 billion years ago, oxygen gas began suffusing Earth’s atmosphere in what scientists call the Great Oxidation Event. Much remains uncertain about this critical moment in history, but now researchers find that copper in ancient sediments could help track … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Identifying antibiotic “elicitors” with a new high throughput approach

Most clinically used antibiotics actually originate from bacteria, derived from small molecules produced by gene clusters in the microbes. Recent investigations have revealed that most bacterial gene clusters are inactive or “silent,” raising hopes that finding ways to activate them … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Chemistry | Leave a comment

Selective vapor response of butterfly wings might have useful applications

The mesmerizing wings of the tropical butterfly Morpho often shimmer blue, green and violet. The iridescence of these wings doesn’t result from pigments or dyes, but from structures that reflect and scatter light waves, making them interfere with each other … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Developmental Biology | Leave a comment

Quantumness of water molecules might explain unexpected behaviors

Water is vital to life as we know it, but there is still a great deal unknown when it comes to correctly modeling its properties. Now researchers have discovered room-temperature water may be even more bizarre than once suspected — … Continue reading

Categories: Chemistry | Leave a comment