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
DNA Methylation Influences Replication and Genome Organization
DNA Methylation Influences Replication and Genome Organization
Abby Olena | Sep 22, 2021
A study links the loss of DNA methylation across the genome—as is common in cancer—to the disruption of the 3-D compartments that organize the genome and to the timing of DNA replication.
Serious Infections Linked to Autism: Study
Serious Infections Linked to Autism: Study
Abby Olena | Sep 17, 2021
In both a mouse model and the hospital records of more than 3 million children, researchers found a connection between strong immune activation in males and later symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.
Tumors Disrupt the Blood-Brain Barrier at a Distance
Tumors Disrupt the Blood-Brain Barrier at a Distance
Abby Olena | Sep 9, 2021
Shoring up the tissues that separate neurons and other brain cells from the circulatory system in fruit flies and mice can prolong life in the presence of a tumor.
Umami Taste Receptor Evolved with Primates’ Diets
Umami Taste Receptor Evolved with Primates’ Diets
Abby Olena | Sep 6, 2021
A study suggests that mutations in the gene that encodes the T1R1/T1R3 taste receptor allowed primates that relied on insects for protein to transition to eating leaves and fruit.
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Plenty of Evidence for Recombination in SARS-CoV-2
Abby Olena | Sep 2, 2021
Different variants of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic are swapping chunks of genetic material, but it’s not yet clear what implications that may have for public health.
Antisense Oligonucleotides Cross Rodents’ Blood-Brain Barrier
Antisense Oligonucleotides Cross Rodents’ Blood-Brain Barrier
Abby Olena | Aug 18, 2021
RNA-DNA complexes that were modified with cholesterol made it into the brains of rats and mice, where they knocked down target genes.
Antibodies Stop Sperm in Their Tracks
Antibodies Stop Sperm in Their Tracks
Abby Olena | Aug 11, 2021
Engineered antibodies trap and immobilize human sperm in the reproductive tract of female sheep, paving the way for possible use as a nonhormonal contraceptive in people.
Noncoding RNA Improves Symptoms in Mice with Metabolic Disorder
Noncoding RNA Improves Symptoms in Mice with Metabolic Disorder
Abby Olena | Aug 6, 2021
A long noncoding RNA from humans appeared to help the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase work better in a mouse model of phenylketonuria, the disorder characterized by reduced activity of that enzyme.
890-Million-Year-Old Fossils Are Sponges, Oldest Animals: Study
890-Million-Year-Old Fossils Are Sponges, Oldest Animals: Study
Abby Olena | Jul 28, 2021
If confirmed, the findings indicate that animals appeared on Earth millions of years earlier than previously believed.
Bacterial Infections Disrupt Flies’ Sense of Smell
Bacterial Infections Disrupt Flies’ Sense of Smell
Abby Olena | Jul 21, 2021
The temporary loss of olfaction stops the flies from eating any more of whatever it is that made them sick.