The budding brain: How yeast give rise to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases

By Sara Wong

What do humans and baker’s yeast have in common? Surprisingly, they share a massive amount of genetic information and are governed by many of the same cellular processes. Although yeast do not have organs or limbs, they work like human cells and can be used to study a wide range of human diseases. Yeast are cheap, grow quickly, and are easily manipulated. These qualities allow scientists who study yeast to discover new genes and pathways relatively easily compared to other model organisms, like mice. One area of yeast research focuses on understanding neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Terrified by math? Don’t pass it on.

By Kimberly A. Brink

For some, math is a terrifying ordeal. Fractions provoke anxiety. Splitting the bill with friends is a stressful affair. And don’t even ask what the tax will be on that discounted shirt. I had a friend who found math so anxiety-inducing that the night before every math exam she developed what she affectionately called her “math rash”. If this sounds familiar (excluding perhaps the rash), you might have what it is known as math anxiety. Math anxiety is the feeling of tension, apprehension, or fear at the prospect of doing math. What’s more, if you’re a parent, you could be at risk of passing it on to your kids.

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The how and why of a universal flu vaccine

By Shauna Bennett

A new school year has started, crispness is returning to the night air, the maple leaves are reddening, and everything is pumpkin spiced. This can only mean… flu season is coming.

The influenza (flu) virus is associated with thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations each year, and flu season has become synonymous with the winter months. The best way to combat flu infections is the vaccine offered each fall. The seasonal flu vaccine has its limitations, however, due to its extensive development process.

What would it take to make a vaccine that doesn’t need to be revamped every year? Scientists are getting close to an answer, but it’s easier said than done.

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