Tag Archives: things that blow Diana’s mind

Why You Can Blame Your Metabolism on Liver Proteomics Instead of Your Genes

Blaming things on genetics–everything from lateness to diet quirks–is wildly popular these days. However, DNA’s role in your body’s overall destiny has been greatly exaggerated. Sure, DNA is the “master blueprint”, but any one gene from that blueprint can contain instructions for making hundreds or thousands of tiny cell parts. And even so, there are plenty …

Hybrid Problems: Chimerism, Synthetic Life, and Mixed Heritage

[A hybrid orchid. Photo by Mark Freeth.]  [“Molecularization of Identity” Workshop Recap, Part 2] Genomes of indigenous people, which often include genes found nowhere else in the world, can be powerful symbols for nations that want to showcase their uniqueness.  But when the Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica  (INMEGEN)  set out to find examples …

“Perceive. Identify. Regulate.” How to be Racist with 21st Century Science

[Image via Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary & Creative Commons] [“Molecularization of Identity” Workshop Recap, Part 1] The diagram of racism was shockingly simple: four highlighted brain regions with black arrows between them, forming an almost-isosceles triangle. [Diagram by Elizabeth Phelps’ group at NYU via The Brain Bank blog] Perception. Identification. Regulation.  Those are the …

5 Amazing Feats Performed by “Meta-Genes”

[Image via the NIH Image Gallery. Photo by Alex Ritter, Jennifer Lippincott Schwartz, and Gillian Griffiths. Full video, complete with narration here.]  Under the Radar: A series of listicles about biology concepts you definitely won’t find in newspaper headlines. #1: Be a Navigation App for Immune Cells Natural killer cells, or “NK cells” are the …

Splice of Life: 3 Examples of How Nature Edits Its Own Genes

About the “Under the Radar” series: Some scientific concepts come up again and again in interviews with scientists but never find their way into newspaper headlines. Each post in this series follows one of those biology “bogeys” that fly under journalism’s radar through 3 different mini-stories. Story #1: Scientists splice up a CRISPR chicken…and find …

Gaia Theory, “Irresponsible Heroes”, & Why We’re Like Cyanobacteria- Recap of talk by Dr. Andrew Knoll & Dr. David Grinspoon

The Talk: “Planetary Changes from Deep Time to the 4th Kind” In Plain English: Life doesn’t just adapt to geochemical features; it transforms them simply by…living. The Speaker: Andrew Knoll of Harvard and David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute The Sponsor: Planet and Life Series, sponsored by MIT Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences dept. …

BICEP2 & Gravitational Waves 101: Recap of Panel Discussion ft. Alan Guth, John Kovac, Scott Hughes, & Max Tegmark

The Talk: The BICEP2 Results and What They Mean: The First Observation of Gravitational Waves from the Early Universe In Plain English: The guys who came up with gravitational wave theory explain the gravitational wave story that’s been blowing up everybody’s Facebook feed in terms undergrads can understand The Speakers: Alan Guth of MIT (the …

Investigating neural patterns in the younger siblings of autistic children – Recap of talk by Dr. Charles Nelson

The Talk: A Cognitive Neuroscience Approach to the Early Identification of Autism In Plain English: A scientist investigates the patterns of neural wiring in infants whose older siblings have autism The Speaker: Charles Nelson of Boston Children’s Hospital The Sponsor: Simons Center for the Social Brain at MIT What it covered: Dr. Charles “Chuck” Nelson …