Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Author Archives: Amy McDermott

Host defenses signal Salmonella to hijack immune cells, spur disease

Immune cells attack dangerous bacteria by engulfing them and then releasing a cascade of defense molecules. But some bacteria, known as intracellular pathogens, have evolved to survive this onslaught and replicate inside immune cells. The result can be Salmonella poisoning … Continue reading

Categories: Immunology | Journal Club | Microbiology | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

To predict the success of tree-planting schemes, look to villagers’ involvement

Tree-planting projects are sprouting up worldwide in an effort to sequester carbon. Acres of saplings are quick to plant but don’t necessarily have staying power: many die or are cut down before the trees grow to maturity. A recent study … Continue reading

Categories: Environmental Sciences | Journal Club | Political Science | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Study reveals evolutionary origins of fold-switching protein

Most proteins are thought to fold into a single active shape. But the human immune protein XCL1 is a rare breed that can switch back and forth between two different structures, each with its own function. A recent study in … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Evolution | Immunology | Journal Club | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A cellular and genetic atlas of the lung offers insights into disease and development

Explorers need maps. That’s as true for hikers blazing trails as it is for molecular biologists striving to cure disease. A new atlas of the lungs, recently published in Nature, is the most comprehensive map ever of that vital organ. … Continue reading

Categories: Genetics | Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New technique builds animal brain–like spontaneity into AI

A woman walking to a bus stop realizes that she forgot her keys; she suddenly turns around and runs home. Such spontaneous activities are hallmarks of animal behavior. Eager to capture the essence of the human brain, roboticists have tried … Continue reading

Categories: Computer sciences | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Insights into heat shock protein machinery could point to interventions for neurodegenerative disease

Heat shock proteins perform a range of functions related to protein quality control. Among them: breaking down dangerous protein aggregates called amyloid fibers. The buildup of certain amyloids has been linked to neurodegenerative disease. But the exact mechanism by which … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interdisciplinary study brings a humanist perspective to research on land use change

Decades ago, Brazil’s northeastern State of Bahia produced much of the world’s cocoa for chocolate. Most farms grew their cacao trees interspersed with other native trees, in dense agricultural forests. Children played at the forest edges. Today those children are … Continue reading

Categories: Agriculture | Journal Club | Social Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plants sense temperature with help of elegant protein

How plants sense temperature is a longstanding and little-understood question. Researchers have discovered some of the mechanisms involved. A recent study in Nature adds a new mechanism—among the first in which the biophysical behavior of a single protein regulates the … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Plant Biology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inner Workings: Researchers race to develop in-home COVID-19 testing, a potential game-changer

For most people, a COVID-19 test entails a swab up the nose in a doctor’s office or drive-in site. The sample then goes out to a lab. Results come back within a few days to a week—a waiting period that’s … Continue reading

Categories: Infectious disease | Inner workings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hippocampus has brief but critical role in early task learning

How the brain learns new tasks is among the biggest and oldest questions in neuroscience. A recent study in Nature Neuroscience offers a new, potentially key part of the answer: the dorsal hippocampus is involved in the earliest stages of … Continue reading

Categories: Journal Club | Neuroscience | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Insects, not just wind, offer an ancient mechanism of orchid seed dispersal

On Yakushima Island, at the southern tip of Japan, an orchid employs a very unusual strategy to disperse its seeds. Crickets visit the orchid at night, eat its fruits, and defecate the seeds in the vicinity. The discovery, reported recently … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment