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
Artifacts Point to Humans Living in Mexico 33,000 Years Ago
Artifacts Point to Humans Living in Mexico 33,000 Years Ago
Abby Olena | Jul 22, 2020
If confirmed, the result means people migrated to North America much earlier than thought, but some experts remain unconvinced.
Spike Structure Gives Insight into SARS-CoV-2 Evolution
Spike Structure Gives Insight into SARS-CoV-2 Evolution
Abby Olena | Jul 16, 2020
Researchers demonstrate that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is more stable and binds the human ACE2 receptor with much higher affinity than the spike protein of its closest known relative, bat coronavirus RaTG13.
Native Americans Crossed the Pacific Long Before Europeans
Native Americans Crossed the Pacific Long Before Europeans
Abby Olena | Jul 8, 2020
Genetic evidence points to individuals from South America having possibly floated on a raft to Polynesian islands about 500 years before Europeans navigated there.
SARS-CoV-2-Reactive T Cells Found in Patients with Severe COVID-19
SARS-CoV-2-Reactive T Cells Found in Patients with Severe COVID-19
Abby Olena | Jul 3, 2020
A small subset of uninfected people also had SARS-CoV-2-fighting T cells, a finding that scientists are still trying to figure out.
Amidst Uncertainty, Flexibility Is Key in Higher Ed, Faculty Say
Amidst Uncertainty, Flexibility Is Key in Higher Ed, Faculty Say
Abby Olena | Jul 1, 2020
Life sciences professors and other staff make contingency plans for more coronavirus-related disruptions in the coming school year.
Insight into Dexamethasone’s Benefits in Severe COVID-19
Insight into Dexamethasone’s Benefits in Severe COVID-19
Abby Olena | Jun 19, 2020
The steroid’s exceptional performance in early results from the RECOVERY clinical trial in the United Kingdom is a rational outcome of the drug’s anti-inflammatory effects, experts say.
COVID-19 Is “Very Different” in Young Kids Versus Adults
COVID-19 Is “Very Different” in Young Kids Versus Adults
Abby Olena | Jun 16, 2020
A study of 34 children hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in China reveals that fever and coughing were common, but the type of lesions typically seen in the lungs of adults with COVID-19 were rare.
Two Genetic Regions Linked with Severe COVID-19
Two Genetic Regions Linked with Severe COVID-19
Abby Olena | Jun 8, 2020
In a genome-wide association study, variants in both the ABO blood group locus and a cluster of genes on human chromosome 3 are more common among COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure than in the general population.
SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Shares Sequence with a Human Protein
SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Shares Sequence with a Human Protein
Abby Olena | Jun 1, 2020
Eight amino acids are identical to part of the human epithelial sodium channel, leading researchers to suspect the virus might interfere with the channel’s function.
SARS-CoV-2 Protein Hampers Innate Immune Reaction In Vitro
SARS-CoV-2 Protein Hampers Innate Immune Reaction In Vitro
Abby Olena | May 21, 2020
The viral protein known as ORF3b limits the induction of the type I interferon response, which typically alerts other immune system components to the presence of a virus, in cultured cells.