The ubiquity of lawns

by Kevin Boehnke

I write today of a long-standing American tradition: the immaculately kept, Kentucky Bluegrass lawn.  Lawns are quite complex, tying into resource conservation, food security, economics, and the underlying societal mores that govern our perceptions. We live in an era where maintaining a lawn to community standards contributes to increased home values, greater respect within the community, and provides a place that …

Altruism and Cancer from a Slime Mold’s Perspective

by Alex Taylor

Main photo: Alex Wild Multicellularity is an astonishing feat of communal sacrifice. With the exception of sperm and egg (the “germ line” cells), the 40 trillion cells currently in your body will dutifully perform their particular charge to maintain the whole, intricately arranging themselves to form your arteries, lungs, liver and brain, without ever having a chance to meaningfully reproduce. Many will die …

A bacterium with many hats

by Kevin Boehnke

Since I tend to be a one trick pony and like to tie my blog topics back to my current interests, I’m going to write about Helicobacter pylori, the bacterial species that I am studying. H. pylori is fascinating to me because it’s a big intellectual puzzle; we haven’t determined specifically how it’s transmitted between humans, whether it’s an important gut microbe …

Science Thoughts from a Feyn Man

by Colin Roberts

Main photo by Keenan Pepper  Richard Feynman is one of my favorite scientists. As a lover of biological topics, I can’t say I understand his field of study AT ALL, but I truly appreciate what he has done for science. His charisma (and ego) has popularized science to a certain generation, and his approach to learning about the world continues to encourage …

A little perspective…

by Wells

While often we are quick to bemoan the molasses-like pace of medical discovery – perhaps especially those of us who work in the biomedical sciences – sometimes a little perspective is healthy. The Guardian recently re-printed an article originally written in 1846 on the “most perfect success” of the use of ether as an anesthetic, the very concept of which …

Truth, Beauty and Sea Slugs

by Alex Taylor

*Main photo: Ken Bondy Check out this gorgeous photo gallery of sea slugs by National Geographic photographer David Doubilet! These sea slugs, called nudibranchs, have evolved zany colors for your personal enjoyment, and also to warn predators about the toxic compounds they contain. Some nudibranchs make these compounds themselves, but many extract and concentrate toxins from the sponges they eat. Retaining toxic compounds is far from …