By Iqra Naveed and Muhammad Hamza Waseem
The annals of science bring home the undeniable fact that many scientists have been robbed of the recognition they deserved. The female scientists perhaps have suffered the most because of a male dominant academic culture. Few scientists have suffered more famously than Rosalind Franklin. Many people do not even know about her contribution to science. This is because most textbooks fail to mention her name when discussing the most important discovery of all time, the double helix structure of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that holds the code of life, and hailing it as synonymous to the celebrated Watson and Crick.
By Lidiya Angelova
Books can provide a personal connection and allow us to live vicariously through others’ experiences. While I have never had any direct contact with the African countryside, the books of Joy Adamson where she recounts her life as a naturalist in Kenya enabled me to feel as if I was experiencing the same adventures alongside the author. Adamson’s stories, photos and paintings inspired generations of people, including myself, to love, respect, and protect the wildlife in its natural habitat.
By Nishtha Rampuria
The recent Zika epidemic lasting from 2015-16 in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific has left the entire world in a shock. In January 2016 the WHO released a statement that the Zika virus is most likely to spread all across Americas by 2016. This statement put scientists and people across the world especially, the Americas in a panic state and called for an immediate cure for this virus. A team of researchers at Duke-NUS Medical School along with researchers from the University of North Carolina discovered an important key to finding the antidote for Zika virus - how antibodies can neutralize Zika. This pioneering research could be extremely prudent in resolving the issue of Zika and could help the situations of the Americas in terms of eliminating the disease.
By Indulekha Karunakaran
STRESS - holds the dubious distinction of being a popular term in the medical domain as well as our day-to-day life. It has place in medical domain owing to its intricate connection to all leading causes of death in the world - cancer, diabetes, heart disease, suicides, liver disease; It is inseparable from us in day-to-day life, because of the pressures and demands of an urbanized and money mongering life.
By Amy Chan
Language is the medium through which humans primarily communicate with each other – it is the very skill that sets us apart from other animals. Whilst animals do have their own communication methods, the ability to communicate through language is by and far unique to humans – not only can we communicate messages to each other – we can do so in a variety of ways. Language allows us to form relationships between one and another, express emotions and understand each other. This brings us then to an important question about language – if language is such an essential element of communication, then does exposure to multiple languages lead to more effective communication skills? Whilst communication is common to all humans – effective communication is not – and exposure to a variety of languages may be key to developing better communication skills.
By Niharika Vattikonda
What if we could heal ourselves? The question seems to be straight out of a supernatural fantasy, but recently, a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has proved that we are not very far. Led by Dr. Elena Batrakova, the research group created “smarter” immune cells to be delivered to the brain for healing damaged neurons. These immune cells produce and deliver a protein that heals the brain while “teaching” the affected neurons how to continue making that protein for themselves.
By Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin
Vaccinations and antibiotics. Artificial lighting. Winter woollens.
Since the dawn of anatomically modern humans around 200,000 years ago, we have striven to develop every substance that would allow us to evade natural selection and to have complete control over our present and our future. Despite this, we have continued to follow certain evolutionary behaviours - ones that improve the chances of our genes being passed on. Isn’t this a surprise? I have often been fascinated by this paradoxical behaviour.
Particularly one trait that I keep noticing in couples, recently: they are nearly always of a similar attractiveness level, at least, as perceived by today’s society. In an age when environmental factors probably play a bigger role than genetic ones - when beauty is no longer the sole indication of social standing, and power and money can be acquired with one click of a button - we are still judging our mates by the laws of our ancestors: “pick someone with whom you are most likely to produce genetically successful offspring”. This seems odd to me.
By Uma Chandrasekaran
Greek philosopher Thales once said “A sound mind in a sound body”, suggesting that mental and physical well-being are closely linked. The recent discoveries made by scientists on the gut microbial community in humans have made us believe, “A sound gut for a sound body”.
‘Gut microbes influence obesity’, ‘Gut bacteria and cancer incidence’, ‘Gut bacteria guide your mind’, ‘Diabetes start in your Gut’, ‘Gut bacteria signal Asthma Risk’ and the list goes on. In all, gut microbial community or intestinal microflora is emerging as a major pivot between health and disease.
By Michael Clausen
October is known for something other than Halloween. News articles, magazine stories, and blog posts are now out advertising Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a chance to learn more about the devastating disease and to donate in support of the cause. But this month, I invite you to reflect on whether we’re going about breast cancer in the wrong way.
By Uma Chandrasekaran
Ebola outbreak. SARS epidemic. Swine-flu pandemic. If these weren’t enough to claim our lives, re-emergence of measles, polio, whooping cough and, of course the ever-changing strains of flu always poses a threat.
In stark contrast, according to WHO, the global life expectancy at birth in 2013 has risen to 71 years from a mere 20-35 years at the turn of the century1,2. How do these two pieces of data fit together?
It turns out that we are not dead yet, because of the advancements in the field of medicine, specifically, the discovery of vaccines. Many of us would have received the kiss of death from small pox or rabies - if not for vaccines, well before we hit the five-year milestone. Despite coming out in the clear from the commonly afflicted childhood communicable diseases, human races’ ever-raging battles with the microbial and viral communities continue throughout our lifetime. Vaccines are the prime tried and tested arsenal for humans in this battle.
Scientista DiscovHER is a blog dedicated to discovHERies made by women in science. Follow us for links to the latest resHERch!
All Alexandra Brumberg Amy Chan Avneet Soin Chemistry Diana Crow Engineering Health/medicine Indulekha Karunakaran Iqra Naveed Johanna Weker Lidiya Angelova Michael Clausen Mind Brain And Behavior Muhammad Hamza Waseem Nikarika Vattikonda Opinion Prishita Maheshwari-Aplin Technology Uma Chandrasekaran
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