January 2012

Volume 26 Issue 1

The Scientist January 2012 Cover

Featured Articles

image: Animal Mind Control

Animal Mind Control

By Jef Akst | January 1, 2012

Examples of parasites that manipulate the behavior of their hosts are not hard to come by, but scientists have only recently begun to understand how they induce such dramatic changes.

Resolving Chronic Pain

By Claudia Sommer and Frank Birklein | January 1, 2012

The body’s own mechanism for dispersing the inflammatory reaction might lead to new treatments for chronic pain.

image: Top Ten Innovations 2011

Top Ten Innovations 2011

By The Scientist Staff | January 1, 2012

Our list of the best and brightest products that 2011 had to offer the life scientist


Capsule Reviews

Capsule Reviews

Our Dying Planet, Here Be Dragons, Rat Island, Harnessed



Meet some of the people featured in the January 2012 issue of The Scientist.


Inflammation, Pain, and Resolvins

Not all inflammation leads to pain. Despite widespread infection followed by fever, colds rarely cause pain. But when some cytokines and certain immune cells are active near pain-sensing nerves, they trigger receptors that convey pain sensations to the brain.


Roanoke Revisited

In July 1587, a British colonist named John White accompanied 117 people to settle a small island sheltered within the barrier islands of what would become North Carolina’s Outer Banks. 

Bat Hunt

Bucknell University mammalogist DeeAnn Reeder raises nets high into the darkened forest canopies of South Sudan to catch bats.


2011's Best and Brightest

In its brief, 4-year history, The Scientist’s annual Top 10 Innovations contest has become a showcase of the coolest life science tools to emerge in the previous year. 


In with the New

There is definitely no shortage of technological innovation in the life sciences.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science

January 2012's selection of notable quotes


Bat Luck

An intrepid researcher and her team battle the elements and bouts of misfortune to explore the biodiversity of a brand new African country.

Lost Colony DNA

Genotyping could answer a centuries-old mystery about a vanished group of British settlers.

Hallowed Landfill

On the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, wildlife biologists reminisce about the role they played in the recovery of human remains.

Cat Cravings

A mutated feline receptor for sweet tastes explains why cats don’t love sugar but do dig mushrooms.

Critic at Large

An Evolving Science for an Evolving Time

Twenty-first century challenges to the public health of all the world’s populations require forward-looking commitments from epidemiologists.

Thought Experiment

Pitch Perfect

Academic detailing has the potential to significantly improve clinical practice.

Modus Operandi

It’s Easy Being Green

Now RNA can glow in the cell, as only proteins could in the past.

The Literature

Pits Stopped

Editor’s choice in cell biology

The Literature

Motor Lock

Editor’s choice in structural biology

Prion Protectors

Editor’s choice in immunology


High-Tech Choir Master

Elaine Mardis can make DNA sequencers sing, generating genome data that shed light on evolution and disease.

Scientist to Watch

Lynne-Marie Postovit: Cancer Modeler

Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario. Age: 34

Lab Tools

No Mo’ Slow Flow

Tools and tricks for high-throughput flow cytometry

Bio Business

Bioterrorist Battles

A Swiss-based firm may have a back-door way to thwart a bioterrorist attack—by fighting the flu.

Reading Frames

Anthropomorphism: A Peculiar Institution

Should we rethink the parallel drawn between “slave-making” ants and human slavery, and other such oversimplifications of animal behavior?


Before the Genes Jumped, 1930s

How Nobel Laureate Barbara McClintock nearly gave up genetics for meteorology

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