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Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Lee et al. | May 29, 2013

Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Life requires many things, including a hospitable temperature, elements, and energy. Here the authors utilize Newton's laws of physics and information relating a star's luminosity and temperature to determine the minimum and maximum masses and luminosities of planets and stars that would support life as we know it. This work can be used to determine the likelihood of a planet being able to support life based on attributes we can measure from here on Earth.

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The Effect of the Human MeCP2 gene on Drosophila melanogaster behavior and p53 inhibition as a model for Rett Syndrome

Ganga et al. | Sep 07, 2020

The Effect of the Human <i>MeCP2</i> gene on <i>Drosophila melanogaster</i> behavior and p53 inhibition as a model for Rett Syndrome

In this study, the authors observe if the symptoms of Rett Syndrome, a neurodegenerative disease in humans, are reflected in Drosophila melanogaster. This was achieved by differentiating the behavior and physical aspects of wild-type flies from flies expressing the full-length MeCP2 gene and the mutated MeCP2 gene (R106W). After conducting these experiments, some of the Rett Syndrome symptoms were recapitulated in Drosophila, and a subset of those were partially ameliorated by the introduction of pifithrin-alpha.

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Functional Network Connectivity: Possible Biomarker for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Wang et al. | Feb 23, 2015

Functional Network Connectivity: Possible Biomarker for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder and is difficult to diagnose in young children. Here magnetoencephalography was used to compare the brain activity in patients with ASD to patients in a control group. The results show that patients with ASD have a high level of activity in different areas of the brain than those in the control group.

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Breaking the Ice: A Scientific Take on the Ice Melting Abilities of Household Salts

Sehgal et al. | Dec 04, 2017

Breaking the Ice: A Scientific Take on the Ice Melting Abilities of Household Salts

The use of salt to melt ice is a common and important practice to keep roadways safe during winter months. However, various subtypes of salt differ in their chemical and physical properties, as well as their environmental impact. In this study, the authors measure the effectiveness of different salts at disrupting ice structures and identify calcium chloride as the most effective.

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Spectroscopic Kinetic Monitoring and Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biocatalytic Ester Hydrolysis in Non-Aqueous Solvent

Chen et al. | Dec 20, 2020

Spectroscopic Kinetic Monitoring and Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Biocatalytic Ester Hydrolysis in Non-Aqueous Solvent

Lipases are a common class of enzymes that catalyze the breakdown of lipids. Here the authors characterize the the activity of pancreatic lipase in different organic solvents using a choloremetric assay, as well as using molecular dynamic simulations. They report that the activity of pancreatic lipase in 5% methanol is more than 25% higher than in water, despite enzyme stability being comparable in both solvents. This suggests that, for industrial applications, using pancreatic lipase in 5% methanol solution might increase yield, compared to just water.

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Emotional and Psychological Effect of Music on People

Nolt et al. | Jan 03, 2019

Emotional and Psychological Effect of Music on People

Nolt and Elwonger examine how different types of music impact our emotional and physical states. They found that music can influence a subject's emotional state, with sad music inspiring sadness and exciting music bringing excitement. They were not able to find a clear relationship between heart rate and music type. Music's effect on emotional state can be useful when designing novel therapies for emotional and mental disorders.

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Idotea balthica comparison: Anatomy, locomotion, and seaweed preference of Massachusetts isopods

Yee et al. | Feb 17, 2022

<em>Idotea balthica</em> comparison: Anatomy, locomotion, and seaweed preference of Massachusetts isopods

Here the authors examined a population of Massachusetts marine isopods, seeking to classify them based on comparison of their morphology, movement, and seaweed preference compared to those of known species. In this process they found that they were most similar to Idotea balthica. The authors suggest that this knowledge combined with monitoring populations of marine biology such as these isopods in different physical and ecological areas can provide useful insight into the effects of climate change.

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Comparative screening of dose-dependent and strain-specific antimicrobial efficacy of berberine against a representative library of broad-spectrum antibiotics

Sun et al. | May 10, 2021

Comparative screening of dose-dependent and strain-specific antimicrobial efficacy of berberine against a representative library of broad-spectrum antibiotics

We hypothesize that berberine has broad-spectrum antibacterial properties, along with potency that is comparable to current broad-spectrum antibiotics that are commercially available. Here, we screened berberine against four strains of bacteria and evaluated its antimicrobial activity against five broad-spectrum antibiotics from different classes to better quantify berberine’s antibacterial activity and compare its efficacy as an antibacterial agent to the broad-spectrum antibiotics. Our results indicated that berberine had strain-selective cytotoxic effects and was significantly less potent than most of the broad-spectrum antibiotics

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How planarians are affected by mouthwash and cough syrup

Mebane et al. | Nov 14, 2021

How planarians are affected by mouthwash and cough syrup

Since cough syrup and mouthwash are commonly used items and often end up flushed down the drain or toilet, they can eventually find their way into into freshwater waterways which can be harmful to many marine organisms, such as planarians (aquatic flatworms). To investigate the effects of these substances on planarians, the authors considered different concentrations of Listerine mouthwash and Robitussin syrup along with their active ingredients. By using a behavioral assay, they identified that the active ingredients of cough syrup detrimentally affect planarian behavior. They suggest that these findings could be used to guide disposal methods to lessen detrimental effects on aquatic life.

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Racemic serine is less soluble than pure enantiomers due to stronger intermolecular hydrogen bonds

Ranka et al. | Nov 18, 2021

Racemic serine is less soluble than pure enantiomers due to stronger intermolecular hydrogen bonds

Seeking to develop a better understanding of the chemical and physical properties of amino acids that compose proteins, here the authors investigated the unusual relative insolubility of racemic mixtures of D- and L-serine compared to the solubility of pure D- or L-serine. The authors used a combination of microscopy and temperature measurements alongside previous X-ray diffraction studies to conclude that racemic DL-serine crystals consist of comparatively stronger hydrogen bond interactions compared to crystals of pure enantiomers. These stronger interactions were found to result in the unique release of heat during the crystallization of racemic mixtures.

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