Making Connections

Volume 27 Issue 5 | May 2013

Featured Articles

image: Live Wires

Live Wires

By | May 1, 2013

Discoveries of microbial communities that transfer electrons between cells and across relatively long distances are launching a new field of microbiology.

image: The Science of Stretch

The Science of Stretch

By | May 1, 2013

The study of connective tissue is shedding light on pain and providing new explanations for alternative medicine.

image: Why So Soon?

Why So Soon?

By | May 1, 2013

Researchers are using modern experimental tools to probe the mysterious molecular pathways that lead to premature labor and birth.




Meet some of the people featured in the May 2013 issue of The Scientist.


We're All Connected

A look at some of biology’s communication networks

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

May 2013's selection of notable quotes


Big-Bird Brain

Children watching clips of Sesame Street inside fMRI scanners yield unprecedented insights into the functioning of their brains.

IDing War Victims

Libyan scientists, soon to be trained in countries around the world, are undertaking a massive search mission to find missing loved ones among thousands of dead bodies, casualties of the country’s recent popular revolution.

Little White and the Three Toxins

Previously unknown poisonous compounds isolated from a new species of mushroom may be responsible for the deaths of hundreds in China, but precisely how the fungus killed its victims is not clear.

Ancient Appearances

A new DNA assay developed by forensic scientists helps archaeologists reconstruct eye and hair color from old teeth and bones.

Critic at Large

Researchers, Hire Hackers

Clinical researchers need programming support to streamline their work, minimize error in the data, and find new trends that can point to better treatments.

On Being an “African American Scientist”

If African American researchers are ever to gain equal opportunities in science, even subtle cases of differential treatment must be stamped out.

Modus Operandi


Scientists create biocompatible, self-luminescing nanoparticles for in vivo imaging.

The Literature

Sharing the Load

By varying the size of their steps, dynein motor proteins work effectively as teams to carry heavy loads around the cell.

Sick Mold

A virus that infects a crop-killing fungus can spread freely, opening the possibility of its use as a fungicide.

Viruses on the Brain

Viral infections of the central nervous system may trigger cytokines that induce seizures.


The Organist

When molecular biology methods failed her, Sangeeta Bhatia turned to engineering and microfabrication to build a liver from scratch.

Scientist to Watch

Gregory Sonnenberg: Cellular Spy

Research Associate, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Age: 27

Lab Tools

Suited to a T

Sorting out T-cell functional and phenotypic heterogeneity depends on studying single cells.

Down for the Count

One, two, three, four . . . . Counting colonies and plaques can be tedious, but tools exist to streamline the process.

Bio Business

How Safe Is Your Medicine Cabinet?

After numerous high-profile safety scares, clinicians and regulators push to fix critical weaknesses in the FDA’s monitoring system for approved drugs.

Reading Frames

The King of Turtles

American naturalist Louis Agassiz had a zeal for collecting that encouraged a nation to engage with nature.

Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

The Bonobo and the Atheist, The Philadelphia Chromosome, Lone Survivors, and Paleofantasy


Flying Frog, 1855

Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin’s unheralded codiscoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, found inspiration in the specimens he collected on his travels.

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