By: Lauren Forsell, Biological Sciences ’16 and Parnya Baradaran, Computer Science Engineering, ’16
“Parnya and I collaborated on this piece for a Science and Religion: The Case of Galileo seminar assignment. This assignment was inspired by the seminar’s focus on religious controversies surrounding scientific advancements, theories, and concepts. Another main reason why we wrote this piece is because of our backgrounds. Parnya, a computer engineer major, and myself, a biology major, both attended Catholic high schools. We enjoyed writing this piece because analyzing science and technology in the face of religious teachings and practice is something we will have to consider in our future careers. We chose to analyze abortion because it is one of the most popular and controversial science vs religion topics today. After reading this piece, we would like our readers to understand that while science can heal and cure, it can also offend and upset religious groups. As college students studying science, it is our job to develop our own opinions, while respecting those whose beliefs differ from our own.”
Continue reading Stem Cells: Important Yet Controversial
By Christopher Fiscus, Biotechnology, 2015
Science is an additive discipline in which each novel contribution builds upon the breadth of existing scientific knowledge and acts as a launch pad from which to pursue further study. The scientific community is currently in the midst of a crisis: many studies are not reproducible, meaning that results cannot be adequately verified by other scientists. According to estimates, approximately 75-90% of preclinical studies published in high-impact journals, such as Science and Nature, cannot be replicated (Begley and Ioannidis 2015). This lack of reproducibility undermines science as a vehicle for human progress as it means that new research avenues are being pursued based on presumptive hypotheses and unverifiable findings. The result is a widespread waste of resources, a loss of public trust in the scientific establishment, and a reduced applicability of science as a tool to better the quality of human life. Potential solutions to this crisis include improving researcher training, employing more rigorous peer review, and increasing the transparency of scientific literature. Continue reading Data Reproducibility: The Chink in Science’s Armor
By: Jenny Cade, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology ‘15
One of the biggest challenges in neuroscience today is mapping the wiring of the nervous system. Looking at the spatial arrangement of neural networks can tell us a lot about how information is relayed, but accurate 3D mapping of neurons is an enormously challenging task, even with the aid of computer analysis. One group of researchers at MIT has harnessed the power of crowdsourcing to tackle this problem.
Continue reading Mapping neurons through online gaming
By: Varsha Prasad, Genetics ’15
A study to employ a new method of generating human embryonic stem cells without destroying any human embryos is currently being conducted by an international research team led by Karl Tryggvason, Professor Medical Chemistry at Karolinska Institutet and a Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.
The researchers developed a method in which embryonic stem cells can be obtained from a single cell of an eight-cell embryo, which can then be refrozen and placed in the woman’s uterus. This prevents the need to destroy human embryos in the process. The idea is that the embryo can survive a single cell removal. Continue reading New Method Increases Supply of Embryonic Stem Cells