Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Journal Club

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: 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

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Journal Club: Macrophages help regenerate ear parts in spiny mice

Salamander tails and fish fins are oft-cited examples of animals’ ability to regenerate a lost limb or organ. But one mammal—the African spiny mouse—has also emerged as a model of regenerative abilities. In a recent study, Ashley Seifert of the University … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Metal-based compound shows rare specificity in early tests of its cancer-fighting capabilities

Many drugs used to fight cancer are based on metals. But such organometallic agents are generally thought to have low specificity for potential targets in cells, raising concerns that they may inflict collateral damage on healthy cells. Now scientists have … Continue reading

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Journal Club: ATP could help proteins dissolve in cells, prompting a rethink about its function and evolution

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is widely considered biology’s “energy currency”. A crucial player in cell function, it stores and releases energy for enzymatic reactions in its phosphate bonds. But cells typically hoard amounts of ATP several hundred-fold higher than that needed … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Journal Club: Analysis of bony fishes suggests convergent evolution is more prevalent than previously thought

Habitats and environmental pressures shape a variety of animal morphologies and behaviors over vast evolutionary time scales. These environmental pressures can sometimes produce nearly identical traits, even in completely unrelated lineages. This phenomenon, called convergent evolution, results in modern species that appear very similar despite … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Journal Club | Statistics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Journal Club: Study dissects stereotypes, looking to understand their roots and ways to break them down

A stereotype, put simply, is a belief about a group. But for psychology professor Andrei Cimpian of New York University, that definition doesn’t have sufficient nuance. To understand what a stereotype truly is, he says, we need to understand its … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In a first, deep sea robots get a close look at giant larvaceans, a key player in the biological carbon pump

Closer inspection of the giant larvacean, seen here in an undersea video taken by a remotely operated vehicle, could reveal clues about how the deep sea sequesters carbon. Image Credit: © 2017 MBARI In the deeps off Monteray Bay, Calif., … Continue reading

Categories: Animal Behavior | Applied Biological Sciences | Climate science | Ecology | Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Geometry of Greenland’s glaciers helps predict future ice melt

The changing climate is just one factor contributing to the melting and thinning of the slow-moving rivers of ice that terminate in spots such as Greenland’s fjords. Each glacier’s geometry—including its thickness and how steeply it flows—also makes a difference. … Continue reading

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