From the Lab to your Medicine Cabinet: A Timeline of Drug Development

Author: Jessica McAnulty

Edited by: Alison Ludzki, Lihan Xie, and Sarah Kearns

Take a look inside your medicine cabinet. Advil, Benadryl, Sudafed – ready at the snap of a finger if you fall ill. Developing that medicine, however, probably takes much longer than one would expect. On average, getting a potential drug candidate from the laboratory to the pharmacy takes about 14 years, costs more than one billion dollars, and has a low success rate. A successful drug will pass through all five stages: drug discovery, pre-clinical research, clinical trials, FDA approval, and post-market monitoring. Success statistics are gathered several stages into drug development; a new report states 13.8% of drug candidates that enter Phase I of clinical trials, the first test in humans, will earn FDA approval. Upon approval, companies have an exclusivity period ranging from 6 months to 7 years  to earn back the large expense of drug development before generic medicines are released by competitors. For this reason, there is a necessary economic drive associated with pharmaceutical companies so that they can continue production of life-saving medication. Continue reading “From the Lab to your Medicine Cabinet: A Timeline of Drug Development”

The American Climate

Author: Kristina Lenn
Editor: Sarah Kearns

The end of September played host to many action items for climate change, not the least of which was the third Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20. These international strikes are a result of activist Greta Thunberg’s ongoing travail to not only enlighten governments and their citizens of the impending dangers of climate change but also admonish the world’s leaders for turning a blind eye to it. Additionally, on September 23, the United Nations convened for the Climate Action Summit, a forum for world leaders to discuss how together they can take steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and curb Earth’s rising temperature. Continue reading “The American Climate”

Struggling between Private and Public Domains — Issues around Intellectual Property

Written by: Lirong Shi
Edited by: Patricia Garay, Alyse Krausz, and Sarah Kearns

The primary concerns of scientific researchers are experiments and data.  Thinking about intellectual property (IP) is usually left behind. However, if researchers hope to turn products or discoveries into patents or publications, it is of vital importance to understand intellectual property as soon as they start collecting data. Currently, with the rapid development of scientific research, issues are accumulating around intellectual property, such as authorship, data ownership, and publication practices. The purpose of setting up intellectual property rights is to promote social innovation and public access to human intelligence. Even though the intention of protecting intellectual property is sincere, the original work sometimes becomes too protected, resulting in limited access to it. New regulations, such as redefining authorship assignment and promoting open access, should be implemented to better protect IP and help untrained researchers trudge through the struggle between private and public domains. Continue reading “Struggling between Private and Public Domains — Issues around Intellectual Property”

Hot Jupiters: The OG Exoplanets

Author: Hayley Beltz.
Editors: Alison Claire Ludzki, Callie Corsa, and Sarah Kearns

Take a moment to remember that you and everyone you know live on a small blue orb hurling itself around a hot ball of hydrogen and helium that pays us no mind. Furthermore, we are only one of eight staggeringly diverse planets within our solar system that have been making this trip for billions of years. These planets range from hot rocks too small to even hold onto an atmosphere to cooler, massive gas giants where a day lasts less than 10 hours. Our solar system is only one of many (billions) and is only a small sample of the set of possible planet types and configurations. When astronomers started to look outside our solar system at nearby stars and the planets that orbit them–known as exoplanets–we began to understand just how strange other worlds can be.  Our solar system was unable to prepare us for what we saw first: Hot Jupiters. Continue reading “Hot Jupiters: The OG Exoplanets”

Changing Scholarly Publication Practices: The Open Access Movement

By: Sarah Kearns. Edited by: Srihari Sundar & Whit Froehlich

Online presence and shareability of content are ever-more important in our modern and increasingly digital world, and science and medicine are no exceptions. With published papers still being the standard for disseminating research, journals and publishing companies continue to largely serve as the gatekeepers of scholarly content. Accessibility is a critical component, with journals either labeled as Open Access (OA) or paywalled, the latter implying that readers must pay before being able access the content. The motivation behind OA is that open is better than closed – having access to the complete version of a scholarly paper increases the transparency of research, contributing to a more reliable scientific system. Continue reading “Changing Scholarly Publication Practices: The Open Access Movement”

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

Quantum_Tunnel_Blueprint.png

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”

So close, yet so far: Why “the pill” for men isn’t right around the corner

Author: Ashley Melnick
Editors: Stephanie Hamilton, Christina Vallianatos

Family planning is an important component in many relationships; this includes preparing for planned pregnancies and navigating ways to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Since prescription-based birth control hit the market, women have mainly been responsible for taking “the pill” and utilizing other methods of pregnancy prevention, such as cycle monitoring, rings, and patches. In December 2018, the CDC released data indicating the pill was the most commonly used form of birth control (12.6%) after sterilization (18.6%), with long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like intrauterine devices (IUDs) trailing closely behind (10.3%), followed by male condoms (8.7%). With new advances in reproductive health research, a similar breadth of contraceptives is becoming available for men, which will soon give men more family-planning options. Western societies have recently pushed men to take larger roles in raising a family, ranging from paternity leave to being stay-at-home dads, and others beyond and in between. Developing additional options for male contraceptives will give men and women, both in relationships and as singles, more options when it comes to planning for children or preventing pregnancies. Continue reading “So close, yet so far: Why “the pill” for men isn’t right around the corner”

Feminine, Masculine, or Androgynous: How Do We Characterize Science?

Author: Kristina Lenn
Editors: Isabel Colon-Bernal, Jessica Cote, and Whit Froehlich

Being confronted with our own biases is a humbling experience. I hate to admit it, but for most of my life, even when I was in college, the images I had of scientists and engineers were typically of men. Growing up, the parochial school I attended taught us that men are supposed to be providers and women are supposed to be nurturers. According to my teachers and pastors, men are more logical and women are more emotional; therefore, men are more reliable for leadership roles. Popular culture at that time, which is unfortunately not very different from today’s, was full of references to dumb blonde women, women’s “excuse to be crazy” once a month, and men’s mistrust of “anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn’t die.”

Continue reading “Feminine, Masculine, or Androgynous: How Do We Characterize Science?”

 Who owns cells and DNA?  Property rights get messy in biology

Author: Sarah Kearns
Editors: Genesis Rodriguez, Zena Lapp, and Whit Froehlich

Scattered around your house or apartment, lightly coating the surface of your coffee table and lurking in the nooks and crannies of each room, discarded layers of yourself can be found in the form of skin and hair cells. Regardless of how much of clean-freak you are, it’s unlikely you miss the over one million cells you shed per day. One might go so far as to say that they aren’t even yours in the first place as you sweep them up during a spring cleaning before irreverently dumping them in the waste bin. But what if someone came into your house and took them? Continue reading ” Who owns cells and DNA?  Property rights get messy in biology”