The presentation and characteristics of cancer in dogs often resemble those seen in people. This observation led Dr Elinor Karlsson, based at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, to consider whether these pets could be a good model to study the disease in humans. Dr Karlsson, along with an established multidisciplinary team of collaborators, is working to identify the similarities between cancers in humans and dogs and translate this into better therapeutic approaches for both species.
Hundreds of millions of years after the Big Bang, charged, ‘ionised’ particles not seen since the earliest ages of the universe began to re-emerge. Named ‘reionisation’, this event was crucially important in the history of our universe – but because it occurred so far back in the past, telescope observations can only offer astronomers limited clues about how it unfolded. In his research, Dr Nick Gnedin at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory uses advanced computer simulations to study reionisation. His team’s project, named ‘Cosmic Reionization On Computers’, or CROC, now offers a key resource to researchers studying this distant period.
Like living organisms, human organisations have evolved throughout history, with new forms emerging and transforming in various settings. Examples include the coevolution of capitalism and state formation, and modern capitalism’s relationship with science. Professor John Padgett at the University of Chicago and Professor Walter Powell at Stanford University set out to discover how new firms, organisations, and institutions come to be. In a landmark book, a decade in the making, they appropriate ideas and concepts used to explain the origin of life, to help explain the emergence of new organisations and markets.
Statistics suggest that Hispanic, Black, and female entrepreneurs receive a disproportionately tiny portion of total venture capital funds in the United States. With this in mind, the National Science Foundation created the I-PERF program. I-PERF supports the professional development of research fellows from underserved groups, offering them hands-on experience within promising research and technology companies, with the goal of increasing diversity in the start-up and entrepreneurial landscape. The program is managed by Dr Teddy Ivanitzki, Rashida Johnson, Rachel Levitin and their colleagues at the American Society for Engineering Education.
The artificial synthesis of medicinal compounds that are typically derived from natural sources helps scientists to better understand how they function and deduce whether they can be enhanced. Unfortunately, the work involved in synthesising such natural compounds and their analogues is extremely difficult. Professor Hyun-Joon Ha and his team from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in the Republic of Korea are exploring ways to transform compounds called aziridines into a range of biologically active molecules.
In this critical issue of Scientia, we showcase the work of scientists confronting the global challenge of cancer. Read the latest research on causes, risk factors, diagnosis and treatment that is revolutionising patient care.
Building a robust STEM community is dependent upon innovative and inclusive education, from primary school to university and beyond. Therefore, this issue showcases an inspiring collection of projects, each seeking to enhance STEM education worldwide.
While the world’s attention is focused on eradicating COVID-19, we must not forget that unsustainable farming practices and the ensuing biodiversity declines were leading factors in the emergence of this devastating disease. To prevent future pandemics, we must now find new ways to feed the human population while also protecting and restoring Earth’s biodiversity. Such sustainable agricultural methods have a range of other positive impacts, including climate change mitigation, improved animal welfare, and reduced social inequality.
The rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and the ubiquitous nature of mercury in the environment are two major health hazards and concerns faced today. Professor Maria Ngu-Schwemlein and her team from the Winston-Salem State University, USA, are addressing these issues by developing biomolecules that can bind and immobilise toxic mercury ions more effectively. Together with Professor Ngu-Schwemlein’s collaborators, the team is also investigating carbon nanodots as molecular scaffolds to enhance antibiotics in combating antimicrobial resistance.
Magnetic monopoles have long been dismissed as impossible by many physicists, but their existence has nonetheless been theorised for many decades. Through their extensive research, scientists at Terra Quantum AG, the University of Perugia, and SwissScientific Technologies, show that the end could soon be in sight for this conflict. The team’s investigations into superconducting materials not only show that magnetic monopoles must be real – their discoveries also set the stage for exciting technological advances.
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