Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Biophysics and Computational Biology

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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New protein structure reveals hotspot for cystic fibrosis drug binding

  The newly revealed structure of a cystic fibrosis drug, captured in tandem with its target channel protein, could help scientists design better medications for the condition. Cystic fibrosis results from mutations in the gene for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane … Continue reading

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C. elegans synchronized swimming

When a group of nematodes gets together in any kind of liquid, they put on quite a show. Each worm waves its body rhythmically to propel itself along. But the waving isn’t all random—in a dense group of Caenorhabditis elegans, … Continue reading

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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

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New class of polyhedra discovered

Geometric forms have fascinated mathematicians since ancient times. Now researchers in California say they have discovered a new class of polyhedron that may already exist in nature and could help lead to novel buildings and other kinds of artificial structures. … Continue reading

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Smaller nano-channel weighs with attogram precision

The mass of nanoparticles as small as 10 nanometers in diameter can be determined with attogram precision by measuring the oscillations of a cantilevered nanobeam supporting the particles, researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Furthermore, … Continue reading

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The structure of Rubella virus’s outer shell

The protective covering—or nucleocapsid—that Rubella viruses use to sneak into the human body, evade the immune system, and carry out their biological attacks looks nothing like the wrapping of other viruses. Now, for the first time, scientists have determined the … Continue reading

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The ants go falling, one by one

For an ant scurrying up a dark, nearly vertical tunnel, one tiny misstep can mean a long tumble down the steep passageway. At least, that’s what happens if the ant doesn’t perform some acrobatic feats to catch himself mid-fall. So … Continue reading

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