Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Author Archives: Carolyn Beans

In plea for face masks, researchers visualize how speech sends fluid droplets flying

As COVID-19 ravaged Wuhan, China, in January, scientists remained unsure how the virus was spreading so rapidly. Biophysicist Adriaan Bax, chatting over dinner with his linguist wife Ingrid Pufahl, started to suspect that the saliva we project as we speak … Continue reading

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Fluid dynamics work hints at whether spoken word can spread COVID-19

As of April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising that everyone—sick or healthy—wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recent research on how fluids travel from our respiratory tracts when we sneeze, speak, or … Continue reading

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Variation in a single gene increases plant yield in groups but not in pairs

Groups of diverse plant species often produce more seeds than monocultures. But whether plants ramp up yield in response to genetically distinct, direct neighbors, as opposed to a broader neighborhood of diverse plants, remains an open question in ecology. “It’s … Continue reading

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Rice gene could make “green revolution” plants greener by cutting back on fertilizer

The green revolution was launched, in large part, with rather squat plants. In the 1960s, farmers began using semidwarf varieties of wheat and rice that produced many grain-bearing branches known as tillers. When farmers added nitrogen fertilizer, the plants gained … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Tracing light’s effect on mood and learning in mice from the eye to deep within the brain

To the mammalian eye, light offers more than just sight. “Light is so important for many innate functions,” says neuroscientist Samer Hattar of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “We really don’t appreciate the importance of light in our … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New screening method promises to reveal elusive cellular receptors for a range of pathogens

The surfaces of human cells are chock-full of proteins that help cells communicate with one another. Unfortunately, many viruses coopt these proteins, latching on in order to enter cells. By revealing which proteins are receptors for which viruses, researchers may … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Drug-resistant microbes could threaten future global economy, low income countries in particular

Antimicrobial resistance is not only a major public health threat, but also an economic one, according to researchers at The World Bank. Their new study, published in the journal World Development, suggests that an increase in drug-resistant microbes could cause … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Dogs can harbor evolving flu viruses, signaling potential future threat to humans

When scientists search for the origins of a novel influenza A outbreak, they often trace the virus back to birds or pigs. These animals act as reservoirs, hosts that allow diverse flu viruses to swap genome segments, evolving into new … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Mouse microbiome findings offer insights into why a high-fat, low-carb diet helps epileptic children

For nearly a century, doctors have found that a strict high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet can limit seizures in children with epilepsy when medications fail. But exactly how this ketogenic diet works has remained largely a mystery. Now, researchers at the University … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Diagnosing disease with smartphone cameras

Bioengineers at the University of Washington have devised a way to use smartphone cameras for imaging diagnostics, paving the way to test for afflictions such as influenza and sexually transmitted infections without costly equipment. The technique, presented this month in Analytical … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Damaged reefs get quieter, causing fewer fish to hear their way home

  A healthy coral reef creates quite the underwater racket. Reef croakers croak, damselfish woop-woop-woop, and clown fish sound thuds like a woodpecker at a tree. But a new study reports that climate-change related disturbances can turn down the volume … Continue reading

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