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Determining the Habitable Zone Around a Star

Lee et al. | May 29, 2013

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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.


Upregulation of the Ribosomal Pathway as a Potential Blood-Based Genetic Biomarker for Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and PTSD

Ravi et al. | Aug 22, 2018

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Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are two of the fastest growing comorbid diseases in the world. Using publicly available datasets from the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Ravi and Lee conducted a differential gene expression analysis using 184 blood samples from either control individuals or individuals with comorbid MDD and PTSD. As a result, the authors identified 253 highly differentially-expressed genes, with enrichment for proteins in the gene ontology group 'Ribosomal Pathway'. These genes may be used as blood-based biomarkers for susceptibility to MDD or PTSD, and to tailor treatments within a personalized medicine regime.


The Impact of Age on Post-Concussive Symptoms: A Comparative Study of Symptoms Related and Not Related to the Default Mode Network

Wurscher et al. | Mar 05, 2017

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The Default Mode Network (DMN) is a network of connected brain regions that are active when the brain is not focused on external tasks. Minor brain injuries, such as concussions, can affect this network and manifest symptoms. In this study, the authors examined correlations between DMN age and post-concussion symptoms in previously concussed individuals and healthy controls.


Phytoplankton Plastid Proteomics: Cracking open Diatoms to Understand Plastid Biochemistry under Iron Limitation

Nunn et al. | Feb 10, 2017

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In many areas of the world’s oceans, diatoms such as Thalassiosira pseudonana are limited in growth by the availability of iron (Fe), which is an essential nutrient for diatoms. The authors of this study examined if Fe-limitation makes a significant difference in the proteins expressed within the chloroplast, the power source for diatoms, utilizing a new plastid isolation technique specific to diatoms and completing 14 mass spectrometry experiments.


Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron Growth Numbers are Unchanged in the Presence of Yogurt

Phan et al. | Dec 29, 2016

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Disruptions to the microbiome, specifically the imbalance in the two major phyla, the Firmicutes and the Bacteroidetes, have been linked to the development of obesity. This study explored whether or not Fage plain total 0% Greek yogurt, which contains live and active bacterial cultures belonging to the Firmicute phylum, could decrease the numbers of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, an organism found in the human gut that belongs to the Bacteroidetes phylum.


Effect of Collagen Gel Structure on Fibroblast Phenotype

Grace et al. | Nov 28, 2012

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Environment affects the progression of life, especially at the cellular level. This study investigates multiple 3-dimensional growth environments, also known as scaffolds or hydrogels, and their effect on the growth of a type of cells called fibroblasts. These results suggest that a scaffold made of collagen and polyethylene glycol are favorable for cell growth. This research is useful for developing implantable devices to aid wound healing.


Peptidomimetics Targeting the Polo-box Domain of Polo-like Kinase 1

Jang et al. | Aug 19, 2016

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Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a master regulator of mitosis, initiating key steps of cell cycle regulation, and its overexpression is associated with certain types of cancer. In this study, the authors carefully designed peptides that were able to bind to Plk1 at a location that is important for its proper localization and function. Future studies could further develop these peptides to selectively target Plk1 in cancer cells and induce mitotic arrest.


Friend or Foe: Investigating the Relationship between a Corn Crop and a Native Ragweed Population

Wainwright et al. | May 07, 2014

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Farmers will need to increase crop yields to feed the world's growing population efficiently. The authors here investigate the effects of growing corn in the presence or absence of ragweed, an invasive weed found in many fields and gardens. Surprisingly, the authors found that corn grown in the presence of weeds grew taller and were more productive than corn that had weeds removed. This may help gardeners rethink the necessity of weeding, and may point a way to improve farm yields in the future.


Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: An Analysis of Drug Therapy Options through Interaction Maps and Graph Theory

Gupta et al. | Feb 04, 2014

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Cancer is often caused by improper function of a few proteins, and sometimes it takes only a few proteins to malfunction to cause drastic changes in cells. Here the authors look at the genes that were mutated in patients with a type of pancreatic cancer to identify proteins that are important in causing cancer. They also determined which proteins currently lack effective treatment, and suggest that certain proteins (named KRAS, CDKN2A, and RBBP8) are the most important candidates for developing drugs to treat pancreatic cancer.


Characterization and Phylogenetic Analysis of the Cytochrome B Gene (cytb) in Salvelinus fontinalis, Salmo trutta and Salvelinus fontinalis X Salmo trutta within the Lake Champlain Basin

Palermo et al. | Jan 24, 2014

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Recent declines in the brook trout population of the Lake Champlain Basin have made the genetic screening of this and other trout species of utmost importance. In this study, the authors collected and analyzed 21 DNA samples from Lake Champlain Basin trout populations and performed a phylogenetic analysis on these samples using the cytochrome b gene. The findings presented in this study may influence future habitat decisions in this region.


Allelopathic effects of kudzu (Pueraria montana) on seed germination and their potential use as a natural herbicide

Mathur et al. | Dec 19, 2013

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Plants in the wild compete with each other for nutrients and sunlight. Kudzu is a weed that is thought to secrete compounds that inhibit the growth of other plants. Here the authors find that certain parts of kudzu plants can block the germination of clover and dandelion seeds. These experiments may lead to a weed killer that is safe and naturally derived.


The Effects of Micro-Algae Characteristics on the Bioremediation Rate of Deepwater Horizon Crude Oil

Cao et al. | Jun 17, 2013

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Environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can be devastating to ecosystems for long periods of time. Safer, cheaper, and more effective methods of oil clean-up are needed to clean up oil spills in the future. Here, the authors investigate the ability of natural ocean algae to process crude oil into less toxic chemicals. They identify Coccochloris elabens as a particularly promising algae for future bioremediation efforts.


An Exploration of a Honey-Ginger Supplement as an Antimicrobial Agent

Phillips et al. | Jul 10, 2016

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Due to the increase in antimicrobial resistance, alternative medicinal therapies are being explored. Studies have shown that honey and ginger alone have antimicrobial effects on the genera Staphylococcus and Escherichia, including S. epidermidis and E. coli. The authors of this study tested whether a honey-ginger supplement, Jengimiel™, could be used as an antimicrobial agent against S. epidermidis and E. coli K-12.


The Clinical Accuracy of Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring for ex vivo Artificial Pancreas

Levy et al. | Jul 10, 2016

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Diabetes is a serious worldwide epidemic that affects a growing portion of the population. While the most common method for testing blood glucose levels involves finger pricking, it is painful and inconvenient for patients. The authors test a non-invasive method to measure glucose levels from diabetic patients, and investigate whether the method is clinically accurate and universally applicable.


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