World Record – A Poem by Bridget Menasche

At Science Buffs we like to feature STEM in lots of different ways, whether that be articles about a particular scientific finding, a graduate student feature, or opinion pieces about an issue faced in STEM. This week we another poetry post! Bridget Menasche, a graduate student in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and contributor to Science Buffs, is a scientist by day and a poet by night. She is also an avid artist. This week she has supplied one of her own photographs to illustrate this poem, a photograph taken at the CU Boulder Greenhouse. Stay tuned for more installments of the creative Science Buffs minds at work!

Greenhouse - Bridget

Continue reading “World Record – A Poem by Bridget Menasche”

Field Study – A Poem by Bridget Menasche

At Science Buffs we like to feature STEM in lots of different ways, whether that be articles about a particular scientific finding, a graduate student feature, or opinion pieces about an issue faced in STEM. This week we have something very special: our first poetry post! Bridget Menasche, a graduate student in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and contributor to Science Buffs, is a scientist by day and a poet by night. She is also an avid artist, and has supplied one of her own paintings to illustrate this poem. This is our first installment of the creative Science Buffs minds at work–stay tuned for more!

metaphor_for_clouds_croppedSMALL-01.png

 

Continue reading “Field Study – A Poem by Bridget Menasche”

Ten-hundred word challenge, part two: Sick bags and muscle parts in the brain

In the second installment of our Ten-hundred word challenge, inspired by the Up Goer Five xkcd.com comic, we explore the inner-workings of biology. Our writers take a crack at simplifying their research on how immune cells target and kill cancer cells, and why muscle proteins have been found in brain and ear cells. As always, we hope you have fun and learn a little from our light-hearted attempts at reducing highly advanced scientific research to the vocabulary of a five year old.

Continue reading “Ten-hundred word challenge, part two: Sick bags and muscle parts in the brain”

DAT isn’t all that: Cocaine also activates immune cells in the brain, increasing reward and addiction

You’ve probably heard of dopamine before. Whether you know every region of the brain by heart or are still learning how to tell gray matter from the spinal cord, dopamine is likely on your mental radar. As this fun (and informative) article from Slate describes, dopamine is involved in experiences of pleasure, reward, love, and addiction, among other processes in the brain. It’s kind of a big deal. Dopamine isn’t love or addiction itself: how dopamine shapes these experiences is complex and not yet fully understood.

dope

Continue reading “DAT isn’t all that: Cocaine also activates immune cells in the brain, increasing reward and addiction”

Modeling pathogen transmission: how different factors shape disease transfer between species

zoonotic disease fig from GAO report

Now that it’s flu season, most of us are worried about catching the virus from a sneezing coworker. Though we mostly think about disease transmission between people, pathogens like influenza are also transmitted between species (remember swine flu?). This process of pathogen transmission from non-human species to humans is critical for researchers and health care providers to better understand. There are a huge number of factors in the environment that can affect how a pathogen moves between species. Despite this complexity, some interesting patterns have been uncovered by recent research from Joseph Mihaljevic and his coworkers in Dr. Piet Johnson’s lab in CU Boulder’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department.

Continue reading “Modeling pathogen transmission: how different factors shape disease transfer between species”