Abby Olena

Abby Olena

As a correspondent for The Scientist, Abby reports on new developments in life science for the website. She has a PhD from Vanderbilt University and got her start in science journalism as the Chicago Tribune’s AAAS Mass Media Fellow in 2013. Following a stint as an intern for The Scientist, Abby was a postdoc in science communication at Duke University, where she developed and taught courses to help scientists share their research. In addition to her work as a science journalist, she leads science writing and communication workshops and co-produces a conversational podcast. She is based in Alabama.  

Articles by Abby Olena
Early Humans’ Brains Were More Apelike than Modern
Early Humans’ Brains Were More Apelike than Modern
Abby Olena | Apr 8, 2021
Impressions that ancient brains left in fossilized skulls reveal that the first human ancestors to migrate out of Africa had much more primitive brains than previously thought.
Anesthesia Impairs Memory in Mice
Anesthesia Impairs Memory in Mice
Abby Olena | Apr 1, 2021
A study that compared several anesthetic regimens in rodents showed that only one—inhaled isoflurane—wasn’t detrimental to the activity of neurons in the hippocampus.
Bald Eagle Killer Identified
Bald Eagle Killer Identified
Abby Olena | Mar 25, 2021
After a nearly 30-year hunt, researchers have shown that a neurotoxin generated by cyanobacteria on invasive plants is responsible for eagle and waterbird deaths from vacuolar myelinopathy.
Human Blastocyst-Like Structures Made in the Lab
Human Blastocyst-Like Structures Made in the Lab
Abby Olena | Mar 17, 2021
Two new papers describe the generation of so-called blastoids, which could avoid the use of embryonic cells and make studying early human development much more accessible.
Many Deep-Sea Microbes Invisible to Mammalian Immune System
Many Deep-Sea Microbes Invisible to Mammalian Immune System
Abby Olena | Mar 12, 2021
In a new study, human and mouse cells recognized only one in five bacterial species collected from more than a mile below the Pacific Ocean’s surface.
Bispecific Antibodies Treat Cancer in Mouse Models
Bispecific Antibodies Treat Cancer in Mouse Models
Abby Olena | Mar 5, 2021
A trio of papers shows that specialized antibodies can direct T cells to destroy cells that display portions of mutant cancer-related proteins, as well as T cells that have become cancerous themselves.
Questions Raised About How an Ancient Hominin Moved
Questions Raised About How an Ancient Hominin Moved
Abby Olena | Feb 24, 2021
A new analysis of the hand of the 4.4-million-year-old partial skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus indicates that the human ancestor may have climbed and swung through trees like chimpanzees do.
Organoids Repair Bile Ducts
Organoids Repair Bile Ducts
Abby Olena | Feb 18, 2021
Researchers determined that when introduced into damaged mouse or donated human livers, these lab-grown tissues could integrate into bile ducts and function normally.
SARS-CoV-2 with Genomic Deletions Escapes an Antibody
SARS-CoV-2 with Genomic Deletions Escapes an Antibody
Abby Olena | Feb 16, 2021
Researchers identify deletions in the N-terminal domain of the spike protein that allow the coronavirus to avoid antibody neutralization and that may contribute to the emergence of new variants.
A Simple Genetic Change Adds Limb-Like Bones to Zebrafish Fins
A Simple Genetic Change Adds Limb-Like Bones to Zebrafish Fins
Abby Olena | Feb 5, 2021
A gain-of-function mutation in a single gene reveals ancient limb-forming capacity that has been preserved for hundreds of millions of years.