We discovered a new species, but war means it may now remain hidden forever

The extraordinary story of a stingray, its discovery and its uncertain fate in the Yemen war.

Alec Moore, Post-Doctoral Fisheries Scientist, Bangor University • conversation
July 23, 2020 ~6 min

Tags:  biodiversity  biology  war  new-species  marine-biology  species  yemen  stingrays

Why are scientists trying to manufacture organs in space?

Why are scientists trying to grow organs at the International Space Station? People live on Earth not in zero-gravity. A stem cell expert explains why it is useful to do these experiments in space.

Alysson R. Muotri, Professor of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California San Diego • conversation
July 8, 2020 ~5 min

Tags:  space  biology  international-space-station  artificial-organs  microgravity  space-health  organs  experiments

Parasitic worms in your shellfish lead a creepy but popular lifestyle

Mud blister worms make their homes in the shells of oysters and other shellfish, where they weaken their hosts.

Andrew David, Assistant Professor of Biology, Clarkson University • conversation
June 3, 2020 ~7 min

Tags: biology shellfish worms calcium-carbonate aquaculture food-webs ecosystems invasive-species parasites zoology scallops abalone larvae

Antigen tests for COVID-19 are fast and easy – and could solve the coronavirus testing problem despite being somewhat inaccurate

An antigen test was given emergency use authorization by the FDA in early May. A biochemist explains how COVID-19 antigen tests work.

Eugene Wu, Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Richmond • conversation
May 29, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: public-health covid-19 coronavirus immune-system biology antibodies sars-cov-2 testing antibody-testing pregnancy-test false-negative

COVID-19 is eroding scientific field work – and our knowledge of how the world is changing

The COVID-19 pandemic is interrupting scientific field work across North America, leaving blank spots in important data sets and making it harder to track ecological change.

Casey Setash, PhD student in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University • conversation
May 19, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: climate-change covid-19 biology nature ecology coronavirus-2020 wildlife ducks phenology massachusetts migratory-birds colorado thoreau field-research

Your genes could determine whether the coronavirus puts you in the hospital – and we're starting to unravel which ones matter

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University found that variations in genes that code for parts of the cellular alarm system might play a role in how well people fight off COVID-19.

Reid Thompson, Assistant Professor of Radiation Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University • conversation
May 5, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: genetics covid-19 coronavirus immune-system biology genes t-cells immune-cells disease viruses research-brief white-blood-cells immune cells computational-biology

Buildings grown by bacteria -- new research is finding ways to turn cells into mini-factories for materials

Researchers are turning microbes into microscopic construction crews by altering their DNA to make them produce building materials. The work could lead to more sustainable buildings.

Wil Srubar, Assistant Professor of Architectural Engineering and Materials Science, University of Colorado Boulder • conversation
March 23, 2020 ~7 min

Tags:  sustainability  climate-change  biology  synthetic-biology  construction  infrastructure  carbon-dioxide-co2  polymers  minerals  built-environment  material-science  buildings  cyanobacteria

How does the coronavirus test work? 5 questions answered

A molecular biologist explains who should get tested, how the tests work and what the US government is doing to make tests available during a rapidly changing crisis.

Maureen Ferran, Associate Professor of Biology, Rochester Institute of Technology • conversation
March 12, 2020 ~8 min

Tags:  dna  health  public-health  covid-19  coronavirus  biology  pandemic  rna  centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention  sars-cov-2  viruses  cdc  diagnostic-tests

Malnourished bugs: Higher CO2 levels make plants less nutritious, hurting insect populations

Insect populations are falling as what they eat becomes more like iceberg lettuce and less like kale.

Ellen Welti, Postdoctoral Researcher of Biology, University of Oklahoma • conversation
March 9, 2020 ~5 min

Tags:  climate-change  insects  carbon  biology  plants  carbon-dioxide-co2  nutrients  entomology  kansas  bugs  grasshoppers  food-webs  prairies  research-brief

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