Stickiness is a weapon some plants use to fend off hungry insects

For some sand-dwelling plants, stickiness is a defense tactic that keeps predators at bay.

Eric LoPresti, Assistant Professor of Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolution, Oklahoma State University • conversation
Jan. 20, 2021 ~6 min

Figs show that nonnative species can invade ecosystems by forming unexpected partnerships

As invasive species transform the world, frontline agencies take solace that species needing unique partners can’t invade alone. A new study on figs shows they may find new partners to invade anyway.

Jared Bernard, Ph.D. Candidate in Entomology, University of Hawaii • conversation
Jan. 19, 2021 ~9 min

What is a protein? A biologist explains

A biologist explains where proteins come from and what role the 20,000 or so proteins in your body play in keeping you alive and kicking.

Nathan Ahlgren, Assistant Professor of Biology, Clark University • conversation
Jan. 13, 2021 ~5 min

Museum specimens could help fight the next pandemic – why preserving collections is crucial to future scientific discoveries

Specimen preservation means researchers don't need to reinvent the wheel each time they ask a new question, making it critical for the advancement of science. But many specimens are discarded or lost.

Bryan McLean, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of North Carolina – Greensboro • conversation
Dec. 16, 2020 ~11 min

Virgin births from parthenogenesis: How females from some species can reproduce without males

Parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction in which an egg develops into an embryo without being fertilized by sperm, might be more common than you realized.

Mercedes Burns, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County • conversation
Dec. 15, 2020 ~6 min

Bitter battles between stinkbugs and carnivorous mice could hold clues for controlling human pain

Animals that regularly dine on toxic food may hold clues for designing new drugs to treat persistent pain in humans.

Lauren Koenig, PhD Candidate in Integrative Biology, Michigan State University • conversation
Dec. 9, 2020 ~9 min

Genetic engineering transformed stem cells into working mini-livers that extended the life of mice with liver disease

New strategy helps build synthetic organs from scratch. This enabled the researchers to grow functioning liver tissue in the lab that could be transplanted into mice with liver disease.

Mo Ebrahimkhani, Associate Professor of Pathology and Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
Dec. 7, 2020 ~8 min

AI makes huge progress predicting how proteins fold – one of biology's greatest challenges – promising rapid drug development

Scientists in an artificial intelligence lab have made a breakthrough in solving the problem of how proteins fold into their final three-dimensional shape. The work could speed up creation of drugs.

Marc Zimmer, Professor of Chemistry, Connecticut College • conversation
Dec. 2, 2020 ~11 min

Flaws emerge in modeling human genetic diseases in animals

Recent studies using CRISPR to fast-track genetic studies into human disease genes appear flawed.

Gage Crump, Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, University of Southern California • conversation
Nov. 10, 2020 ~8 min

Some bees are born curious while others are more single-minded – new research hints at how the hive picks which flowers to feast on

New research suggests individual bees are born with one of two learning styles – either curious or focused. Their genetic tendency has implications for how the hive works together.

Chelsea Cook, Assistant Professor in Biology, Marquette University • conversation
Oct. 5, 2020 ~7 min

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