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
A Tweak to Immune Cells Reverses Aging in Mice
A Tweak to Immune Cells Reverses Aging in Mice
Abby Olena | Jan 20, 2021
Knocking out the receptor for a lipid that causes inflammation rejuvenates macrophage metabolism and restores cognitive function in an Alzheimer’s disease model.
Skin Sheltered from Sunlight Still Gathers UV-Linked Mutations
Skin Sheltered from Sunlight Still Gathers UV-Linked Mutations
Abby Olena | Jan 14, 2021
Whole-genome sequencing reveals a wide range of UV-induced DNA changes in human skin cells, and lighter skin collects more mutations, sometimes to “sky high” levels.
Plant Cells Swap Organelles
Plant Cells Swap Organelles
Abby Olena | Jan 7, 2021
Their relocation explains horizontal genome transfer first described more than a decade ago.
2020 in Scientists’ Own Words
2020 in Scientists’ Own Words
Abby Olena | Dec 23, 2020
The world was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, but researchers rose to all manner of challenges.
Insects Pass Antiviral Immunity to Offspring
Insects Pass Antiviral Immunity to Offspring
Abby Olena | Dec 17, 2020
In both Drosophila and mosquitoes, protection lasts for generations following a single maternal exposure to positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses.
Gene Therapy in One Eye Improves Vision in Both Eyes
Gene Therapy in One Eye Improves Vision in Both Eyes
Abby Olena | Dec 11, 2020
It’s not clear why the patients with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, a mitochondrial disorder that causes blindness, also experienced the modest benefits in their untreated eye.
Shrew Brains Shrink During Winter
Shrew Brains Shrink During Winter
Abby Olena | Dec 3, 2020
The animals kill off around one-quarter of the neurons in their somatosensory cortex, perhaps to save energy, and the cells appear to return the following summer.
SARS-CoV-2 Genetic Variant May Be More Transmissible
SARS-CoV-2 Genetic Variant May Be More Transmissible
Abby Olena | Nov 25, 2020
The so-called 614G mutation in the viral spike protein does not appear to cause more severe cases of COVID-19, but multiple studies indicate that it could be more contagious.
Mosquitos in Asia and the Americas More Susceptible to Zika Virus
Mosquitos in Asia and the Americas More Susceptible to Zika Virus
Abby Olena | Nov 19, 2020
A study explains how Zika was present among mosquitoes in Africa for decades without causing the harm to human health seen outside the continent in recent years.
SARS-CoV-2 Exits Cells Via Lysosomes
SARS-CoV-2 Exits Cells Via Lysosomes
Abby Olena | Nov 13, 2020
A study finds that β-coronaviruses don’t use the normal secretory pathway, a possible explanation for some aspects of COVID-19 pathology.