Science

How B Cells Contribute to COVID Immunity

How B Cells Contribute to COVID Immunity

Kelly Shen '23, Image from Unsplash.com One good thing about SARS-CoV-2 is that there is rarely ever re-infection, though many are still falling ill. This points to a positive aspect about immunity: there might be long-term memory in the immune response to the virus. However, immune response can get extremely complicated, and research is still scarce. We will take a closer look at all the promising reasons as to why we might have long term immunity.  The immune reaction requires the coordinated activity of a variety of cell types. There's an innate immune reaction that's triggered when cells sense they're…
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Using AI To Predict Mental Illness

Using AI To Predict Mental Illness

Kelly Shen '23, Unsplash.com Facebook is a one of the biggest social media platforms. Users share posts, comment, send messages, go through their feeds, as well as many other things. This makes it a really good place for targeting ads. With an app that has as much data as Facebook, marketers will easily find which ads to give you, tailored to your recent searches or liked posts. However, there also are people out there trying to use Facebook for good—or, at least, to enhance the diagnosis of mental disease.  On December 3, a group of researchers reported that they had…
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Christmas During the 1918 Spanish Flu

Christmas During the 1918 Spanish Flu

Kelly Shen '23, image from Unsplash.com “You will show your love for dad and mother, brother, sister and the rest of ‘em best this year by sticking to your own home instead of paying annual Christmas visits, holding family reunions, and parties generally.” These are the words of a commissioner in 1918, warning people to stay home during the deadly Spanish flu. Right now, Americans’ main concerns are about the safety of gift shopping, family gatherings, and church services. It was the same in 1918. How did their Christmas stay the same and also differ from ours? Christmas 1918 was…
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The Pfizer Vaccine Explained

The Pfizer Vaccine Explained

Kelly Shen '23, photo from the CDC on Unsplash.com There are several vaccines against the Sars-Cov2 virus which are being studied, one is made by Pfizer, and is an mRNA based vaccine. It was found to be 95% effective in their phase 3 study of at least 8,000 patients. As is standard for clinical trials, the trial was “double blinded,” meaning that no one except the independent board — not the volunteers, doctors, or the company’s top executives — knows how many of the 94 people sickened by the virus got the vaccine or the placebo. Here’s how it works…
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What Happens to Your Body in Space?

What Happens to Your Body in Space?

Kelly Shen '23 Image from Unsplash.com The 2019 Twin Study, conducted on the ISS, provided us data on how the body changes in space. Astronaut Scott Kelly spent 340 days in space while his identical twin Mark stayed on Earth. The results of NASA’s findings were recently published, and scientists have identified a number of molecular changes that occur in space, detailed below.  Telomere lengths Telomeres are structures at the end of each chromosome, their job is to protect the chromosome from deterioration or fusion with other chromosomes. During the study, Scott’s telomeres lengthened while he was in space and…
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Celebrating Twenty Years on the ISS

Celebrating Twenty Years on the ISS

Kelly Shen '23 Twenty years ago, American William Shepherd and Russians Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko orbited the Earth on the International Space Station (ISS) for 141 days, the first to do so. Over the last two decades, the ISS has housed 241 people from 19 countries, and its microgravity laboratory has hosted 3000 research investigations from over 108 countries. Let’s take a look at the most memorable biology, physics, and astronomy discoveries made on the ISS, just to name a few. 1. Veggie Veggie is Nasa’s own space garden. Since 2014, they have planted dwarf what, leafy mizuna, dwarf…
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A New Kind of 600mph Transportation

A New Kind of 600mph Transportation

Whoosh! A few articles ago I discussed the pros and cons of flying cars, one of the many new technologies that will aid future transportation. However, there is a new form of transportation that some of you may have already heard about. Known as the Virgin Hyperloop, this company wants to transport passengers from Las Vegas to Los Angeles: using a vacuum.  If the image that comes to mind is seeing a human jump into a pod and watching them go at supersonic speeds through a tube, you’re really not that far off. The only difference between this description and…
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Water Found on the Moon

Water Found on the Moon

Kelly Shen '23 Data collected by spacecraft eleven years ago revealed a shocking truth: the Moon wasn’t the dry dusty desert we all imagined it to be, it was actually a little damp. However, we couldn’t confirm the presence of water, because we couldn’t tell if the substance picked up by the craft was H2O, or OH (hydroxyl). This week, two journal articles published by the Nature Astronomy magazine revisited the finding, confirming that yes, there truly is water on the moon.  How scientists found the water: First, scientists used infrared to scan the surface of the moon, showing chemical…
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Can Cold Water be a Cure for Dementia?

Can Cold Water be a Cure for Dementia?

Kelly Shen, Science Column Cold water swimming might be a way to protect the brain from degenerative diseases such as dementia, researchers from Cambridge University have discovered. For the first time, a "cold-shock" protein has been found in the blood of regular winter swimmers at London's Parliament Hill Lido. Why is that important? The exact same protein has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and even repair some of the damage it causes in mice.  Each year, there are around 10 million new cases of dementia. It is a neurodegenerative disease that slowly inhibits one’s memory, thinking, behavior…
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Jennifer Doudna and CRISPR

Jennifer Doudna and CRISPR

Kelly Shen '23, photo from Wikimedia Commons Last week, the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Dr. Jennifer Doudna, who is known for pioneering the CRISPR gene editing tool. In this article, we will be going over what CRISPR is and how Doudna made her groundbreaking discovery.   What CRISPR Is and How it Works: CRISPR is a gene editing tool that enables us to change the DNA in cells. “CRISPR” stands for “clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” “CRISPR” (pronounced “crisper”) is shorthand for "CRISPR-Cas9." CRISPRs are specialized stretches of DNA. The protein Cas9 is an enzyme that…
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