News

Biology Professor Highlights Active Learning in Science Education

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“As an instructor, I try to teach how the topic has relevance from different approaches in biology,” said Erik Herzog, Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis. Herzog teaches undergraduate biology courses at the university. His lab uses a variety of techniques to study the cellular and molecular basis of circadian rhythms, biological clocks that drive near 24-hour rhythms in living beings including animals and plants.

Girls must learn to see themselves as scientists

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"We must encourage interest in science and math subjects without surprise or foreboding and empower young girls to pursue these interests in multiple facets of their academic and extracurricular lives. If we can connect young girls’ aptitude for STEM subjects to their personal ability to succeed in these fields in the future and share our hope to increase numbers of women in STEM, they will hear how much their talents are needed."

Plant’s recycling system important in sickness and in health

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In a new publication in the journal Nature Plants, researchers [led by Richard Vierstra] in Arts & Sciences describe the effects of autophagy on metabolism in maize, commonly known as corn, an important crop that is sensitive to nitrogen deprivation.

Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us?

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How does evolution select the fittest “individuals” when they are ecosystems made up of hosts and their microbiomes? Joan Strassmann and other biologists debate the need to revise theories.

Biology Chair Joseph Jez elected as AAAS Fellow

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science has bestowed upon 416 of its members the lifetime honor of being an elected Fellow in recognition of their extraordinary achievements in advancing science. . .This year’s Fellows, who represent a broad swath of scientific disciplines, were selected for diverse accomplishments that include pioneering research, leadership within their field, teaching and mentoring, fostering collaborations and advancing public understanding of science.

From Lab Bench to Stage: a McDonnell International Scholar's Journey to Winning the Three Minute Thesis Competition

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Graduate student and McDonnell International Scholar Po-Cheng Lin delivers the winning presentation at the Three Minute Thesis competition held at the McDonnell Academy 7th International Symposium in Beijing, China.

International collaboration taking place in Pakrasi lab

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Currently, in the depths of the McDonnell Hall basement at Washington University, a PhD student from IITB, Annesha Sengupta, is performing research that could have major global significance in the future. Since April 2018, Sengupta has been learning the CRISPR genome editing technique from scientists in the Pakrasi Lab. Once Sengupta masters this skill, she will then edit the genome of an Indian cyanobacterial isolate for the purpose of creating a platform for biofuel production.

Bio 500 Research Spotlight: Kevin Yin on the Rentschler Lab

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In the Rentschler lab, we aim to address heart disease by looking at how developmental pathways and gene regulation networks are associated with various heart diseases. We are specifically interested in how alterations of genes during development or in the adult can lead to arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

Getting to know the humans of Tyson

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As Tyson Humanities Fellows, Kit Lord and Hayley Huntley spent three months at the university's environmental field station, embedding with the Tyson community to explore the human side of science. After conducting hundreds of hours of interviews, the fellows, led by environmental humanities lecturer Suzanne Loui, profiled the people who make Tyson a thriving research ecosystem. Here, Lord details their collaborative interview project, Humans of Tyson.

New maps hint at how electric fish got their big brains

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Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have mapped the regions of the brain in mormyrid fish in extremely high detail. In a new study published in the Nov. 15 issue of Current Biology, they report that the part of the brain called the cerebellum is bigger in members of this fish family compared to related fish — and this may be associated with their use of weak electric discharges to locate prey and to communicate with one another.

Faculty Spotlight: Mary Lambo

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How does sensory processing lend itself to life as we know it? If our experiences materialize due to sensory transduction, do these processes inspire our entire perspective? These questions sparked Mary Lambo’s interest in neuroscience and eventually motivated her research in neural plasticity and sensory processing. As new teaching faculty at Wash U, Mary now guides students through fundamental neuroscience concepts and challenges them to discover their own motivating questions.

Replaying the tape of life: Is it possible?

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How predictable is evolution? The answer long has been debated by biologists grappling with the extent to which history affects the repeatability of evolution. A review published in the Nov. 9 issue of Science explores the complexity of evolution’s predictability in extraordinary detail. In it, researchers from Kenyon College, Michigan State University and Washington University in St. Louis closely examine evidence from a number of empirical studies of evolutionary repeatability and contingency in an effort to fully interrogate ideas about contingency’s role in evolution.

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