Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Author Archives: pnas

The secrets of sticky starfish feet

Animals like mussels and barnacles produce strong adhesives that don’t dissolve in water. One reason this property has drawn the interest of scientists because of the potential to produce commercial products that mimic these sticky underwater properties. Yet the starfish, … Continue reading

Categories: Cell Biology | Leave a comment

Babies have hard-wired hand-to-mouth movements

Although babies lack much in the way of motor skills, they can still accurately bring their hands toward their mouth in a motion to feed themselves. Now scientists have discovered this self-feeding movement is encoded in a part of the … Continue reading

Categories: Neuroscience | Leave a comment

Climate-change-induced pink salmon stock growth upsets ecosystems

Climate change in the last century is apparently linked with the extraordinary growth of many wild Pacific salmon populations in the subarctic North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Now scientists find the fact that pink salmon became so numerous … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Leave a comment

Tracking the spread of a cancer

As a cancer spreads throughout a person’s body—bits of a primary tumor lodging themselves in new organs and spawning new tumors—the cancerous cells are constantly changing and evolving. Exactly when, and how fast, cancers spread—or metastasize—and how the timing of … Continue reading

Categories: Genetics | Leave a comment

Modified hormone release patterns improve egg production

Without changing overall levels of hormones, altering how hormones are packaged and shipped out from cells in the body can affect how they act. For women undergoing fertility treatments, delivering reproductive hormones in a new way could be key to … Continue reading

Categories: Physiology | Leave a comment

New signaling system discovered in plants

When you step on a plant, douse it with salt water, or pluck its leaves off, it doesn’t look like the plant responds, as it stands immobilized by its roots in the ground. But plants are in-tune to their environment … Continue reading

Categories: Plant Biology | Leave a comment

Diagnosing asthma from a single drop of blood

Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide, and over the past 30 years, the prevalence of asthma has risen significantly in many populations. Unfortunately, asthma is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Now scientists have developed a handheld device that could … Continue reading

Categories: Engineering | Medical Sciences | Leave a comment

Oxytocin can increase lying for the benefit of the group

Oxytocin is a hormone often thought of as a “love drug,” linked as it is with feel-good emotions such as trust, empathy and generosity. Increasingly, however, scientists find that oxytocin has a dark side — for example, it can spur … Continue reading

Categories: Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Leave a comment

Plants can grow human antibodies

Immunoglobulin M, or IgM for short, is the first class of antibodies to appear in response to exposure to antigen. Increasingly, scientists are interested in IgMs as therapeutics, but growing them in mammalian cells at commercial scale is very challenging. … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Leave a comment

In vitro engineering of muscle tissue

Engineered skeletal muscle — the muscle under a person’s voluntary control — could help treat muscle disease and injury. However, previous in vitro attempts to engineer skeletal muscle with all the properties of actual muscle have failed. Now scientists have … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Leave a comment

The mechanics of breastfeeding

“How do infants extract milk during breast-feeding? We have resolved a century-long scientific controversy,” say David Elad and his team from Tel Aviv University in Israel in the opening of their new PNAS article. Until now, researchers have debated what … Continue reading

Categories: Biophysics and Computational Biology | 1 Comment