Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Study suggests mask-wearing reduces the odds of self-infection with SARS-CoV-2

COVID-19 typically turns deadly when the virus infects the lungs. Hence, how exactly SARS-CoV-2 gets deep into the respiratory tract has been a pressing question since the pandemic started early last year. One pathway is well known: Most people catch … Continue reading

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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

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Study finds clues to Alzheimer’s disease onset in the aging female brain  

In the United States, women make up nearly two-thirds of all diagnosed cases of Alzheimer’s disease. On average, women live about 5 years longer than men, but that life expectancy discrepancy doesn’t likely account for such a large, sex-skewed prevalence … Continue reading

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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

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Applied Physical Sciences | Biophysics and Computational Biology | Infectious disease | Journal Club | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Mouse gut bacteria cure rotavirus infection, pointing to treatment for humans

Despite available vaccines, over 200,000 children die annually from severe diarrhea cause by rotavirus, which infects intestinal cells. A recently published study, facilitated by a research team’s lucky break, suggests bacteria in the mouse gut microbiome could actually help prevent … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Tumors create an acidic environment that helps them invade surrounding tissues

Cancer cells tend to turn their extracellular environment acidic, thus helping these rogue cells thrive while creating a hostile environment for normal ones. Acidosis promotes tumor growth, metastasis and drug resistance, while helping tumor cells evade the immune system. But … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Simple model reproduces patterns of toxic protein buildup across multiple neurodegenerative diseases

Fatal neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) begin as tiny pockets of misfolded proteins that evade the body’s normal detritus-removal systems. They spread throughout the brain and clog neural pathways. But exactly how these proteins propagate … 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: 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: Researchers may’ve finally solved mystery of crater ray formation

Look carefully at the full moon and you’ll see bright skinny streaks extending from large lunar craters. These are ejecta rays, spoke-like lines that seem to shoot from the circular impact site, a vivid testament to ancient explosions. But scientists … Continue reading

Categories: Astronomy | Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Journal Club | Physics | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Horizontal gene transfer can boost fitness quickly, but the conditions matter

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is rampant in the bacterial community, as well as in some other members of the tree of life. Researchers have long known that HGT events can improve an organism’s ability to adapt to changing environments. What’s … Continue reading

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