When venom becomes your painkiller

Author: Attabey Rodriguez-Benitez
Editors: Patricia Garay, Alison Clair Ludzki, and Noah Steinfeld.

Imagine you are not in frigid Michigan but are swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean. The warm waters caress your skin. While you dive past a colorful reef with a plethora of fish, you see an anemone. You know you cannot touch it, because it might sting you with its toxins. Little do you know; these anemones are not the only ones capable of stinging. The reef harbors a far deadlier and more beautiful creature: cone snails. While cute on the outside, these little creatures can contain a venom cocktail of more than 100 toxins.  However, if they do sting, you will not feel any pain at all. This prompted a pivotal change in Professor Baldomero Olivera’s career. Dr. Olivero is a researcher currently at the University of Utah, where he transitioned from studying DNA synthesis to studying cone sails indigenous from his hometown in the Philippines. Continue reading “When venom becomes your painkiller”

The Quantum Tunnel

Author: William Black, Edited by Zena Lapp, Zuleirys Santana-Rodríguez, and Whit Froehlich


Some say that studying a flower’s structure makes it less beautiful—that it’s best to appreciate the façade at face value, without details of underlying mechanisms. I wholly disagree. Knowledge of how a leaf photosynthesizes gives botanists greater awe for its elegance. Knowledge of how black holes tear at the fabric of spacetime gives physicists greater wonder for the universe. Knowledge of the quantum realm gave me a greater appreciation for Ant-Man and the Wasp. It can even give insights into where the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) may be headed with Avengers: Endgame. To better understand how the quantum realm works, I’ll expound on the powers of Ghost, the main antagonist of Ant-Man and the Wasp, and how they relate to probability clouds, Schrödinger’s cat, quantum tunneling, and the current state of the MCU. Continue reading “The Quantum Tunnel”

El cerebro que gema: La levadura como herramienta en el surgimiento de nuevos tratamientos para enfermedades neurodegenerativas

Autora: Sara Wong
Tradducción: Cristina Maria Rios, editado por Jean Rodriguez Diaz

¿Qué tienen en común los humanos con la levadura que utilizan los panaderos? Sorprendentemente, ambos comparten una gran cantidad de información genética y son gobernados por muchos de los mismos procesos celulares. Aunque la levadura carece de órganos y extremidades como los humanos, esta trabaja similarmente a las células humanas y puede ser utilizada para estudiar una gran variedad de enfermedades que padecen los humanos. La levadura es barata, crece rápido y es fácil de manipular. Estas cualidades han permitido que los científicos que estudian a la levadura descubran nuevos genes y mecanismos que son comparables con los de otros organismos modelos, como los ratones. Un área de la investigación con levadura se enfoca en entender enfermedades neurodegenerativas, tales como las enfermedades de Parkinson y Alzheimer. Continue reading “El cerebro que gema: La levadura como herramienta en el surgimiento de nuevos tratamientos para enfermedades neurodegenerativas”