Tag Archives: news

Our Newest Neighbors?

By Nicole Strossman, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ‘17

Author’s Note:

“I decided to write this piece after seeing news headlines announcing the potential of life on planets in a nearby star system. As this is a topic that fascinates many people, myself included, I decided to investigate the new discoveries. While the research on the particular planet mentioned in the various news articles is still fairly new, it has brought about renewed interest in the search for life beyond our planet. This article aims to describe what these recent discoveries are, and show the implications they have for astronomers.”

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Blueberries and Breast Cancer Treatment

By Shivani Kamal, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17

Author’s Note:

“I originally became interested in the potential anti-cancer effects of blueberries when I took a nutrition seminar my first year at UC Davis. Curious about further research on its effects on breast cancer, I decided to write an article to educate other students about it. Many of us either have a family member or know someone diagnosed with cancer, so spreading knowledge of current cancer research is an important reminder of support, hope, and determination to individuals and their families.” Continue reading Blueberries and Breast Cancer Treatment

Mitofusin 2 as a Mammalian ER-Mitochondria Tether? A Review

By Lauren Uchiyama, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17

Author’s Note:

“I chose to write this piece to familiarize myself with the most recent scientific literature on Mitofusin 2 for my UWP104E Writing in Science class. I was preparing to apply for the Undergraduate Research Center Provost Undergraduate Fellowship and felt this would be a good way to inform myself about a protein related to my own undergraduate project in Jodi Nunnari’s lab.  I was puzzled that different experiments could lead to such conflicting findings on the same issue; thus, writing this review was an invaluable learning experience for me as both an undergraduate student and scientist.”

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Data Reproducibility: The Chink in Science’s Armor

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

Learning from Drought in California: Past and Present

By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology, ’15

The most current drought in California is considered to be one of the worst droughts in the past century, and many wonder if this severity is due to climate change. However, California has had a long history of unpredictable weather fluctuations, and is familiar with severe droughts. Many droughts can have devastating effects, particularly in the agricultural industry and the hydropower industry. Most Californians have also experienced the effects of a drought first-hand, such as having enforced water rationing. Even though, California’s history has shown that most droughts have devastating effects, droughts can also great learning experiences.

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Evolution of Tooth Enamel

By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology, ‘15

One feature that sets humans apart from other primates is the thickness of tooth enamel. Scientists at Duke University have recently discovered evidence on how evolution has resulted in thickened enamel for human teeth. By comparing the human genome to five other primate species, geneticists and evolutionary anthropologists were able to identify two segments of DNA where natural selection may have played a role in giving rise to thick enamel. Differences in enamel thickness have been linked to the difference in diet among primates. Humans consume foods that are tougher to chew relative to the food eaten by other primates, which is why humans have developed thicker enamel through natural selection. Continue reading Evolution of Tooth Enamel