News

Mummy DNA Uncovers Secrets of Ancient Egyptians' Ancestry

by Leave a comment Mummy DNA Uncovers Secrets of Ancient Egyptians' Ancestry
Before I decided to go into biomedical science, I wanted to be an Egyptologist. Inspired in part by Indiana Jones, I had grand notions of adventure and discovery in the Sahara Desert. The pyramids, the Sphinx, ancient hieroglyphics, and pharaohs – these all fascinated me, but none as much as mummification, a ritual that preserves the body for traveling into the afterlife where it reunites with the soul. A new study, published in May in Nature Communications, has now unlocked another secret of the past hidden in the DNA of ancient Egyptian mummies. As an amateur historian of ancient Egypt and a trained scientist who studied viral genetics, this discovery immediately caught my eye. Read more

Learning by DoingMy Journey Towards Science Writing

by Leave a comment Learning by Doing
Grad school is hard. Most who have been there would agree. The long hours are draining to be sure, but that’s not the hardest part. It’s the constant requirement to prove – that your hypothesis is correct (or incorrect) and why, that your work is meaningful, that you are capable of thinking independently, that you can tackle a challenge and persevere, and above all that you’ve truly earned your degree. There are many hoops to jump through, many hurdles and pitfalls, but on the other side of this lengthy obstacle course awaits accomplishment, and if you’re lucky, you’ll make some great friends along the way. Read more

The Dreamers’ ParadoxA review of Hanya Yanagihara's
The People in the Trees

by Leave a comment The Dreamers’ Paradox
When Dr. Norton Perina first meets Eve deep in the jungle of a small, isolated Micronesian island called Ivu’ivu, he knows that he’s witnessing something truly alien. Her movements are inhuman, even zombie-like, her behavior unnatural, demented; she’s more of a creature than a person, “…as if she had once, long ago, been taught how to behave as a human and was slowly, steadily forgetting.” (p. 141) She is called “Eve, the first woman of her kind” (p. 147). What Perina later finds is that there are others like her; she is a mo’o kua’au, an Ivu’ivuan word that translates to “without voice” or “without conversation”, and more roughly to “without friends” or “without love” – they are “the dreamers”. These lost souls and the genesis of their condition – a rare, mythologized species of turtle – will become the focus of Perina’s scientific research. Their exploitation will bring him fame and ultimately destroy a civilization. Read more

Connecting with Dr. K

by LAUREN A.R. TOMPKINS Leave a comment Connecting with Dr. K
I remember the day I got the call from Dr. K inviting me to an interview. I had just graduated from The College of Wooster, a small liberal arts school in Ohio, and knew little about having a real job in the real world. Yet, there I was, in amazed disbelief that I would soon be interviewing for – not just any job – THE job, the one I wanted most, but was surely unqualified for, or so I thought, especially since it was the heart of the financial crisis of 2008, so the job market was competitive, if not virtually obsolete. It was all so surreal, almost too good to be true, but some experiences live up to their potential. Read more

Living Between Pages

by Leave a comment Living Between Pages
In my home two bookcases stand tall holding the weight of innumerable novels. Their spines line up one against the other, illustrating a landscape of possibilities. The canons of classical authors and Nobel Laureates intermingle with works by promising rookie novelists and Young Adult trilogies teeming with youthful angst and campy, yet enthralling narratives. Some of the books were gleaned from thrift shops – rare gifts of old classics printed at the turn of the 20th century, books with simplistic cloth covers that when opened emit the perfume of time. There may be a dedication on the title page, occasionally with a personal note to whomever the book was gifted, exchanges made long ago between two people whom I’ve never met, yet to whom I can’t help but feel a connection. That is what’s so special about books; they are immutable pieces of history that pass through time, changing places and exchanging hands, bringing people together in an intangible way. Then there are the newer books, ones that lack years spent on shelves, but are fated to become classics in some distant future. These books have intricate covers that suggest the mysteries that unfold within, covers that are works of art. Old books and new books stand together in protest against technologies that threaten to make the printed word obsolete. Read more