Alejandra Manjarrez

Alejandra Manjarrez

Alejandra Manjarrez is a freelance science journalist who contributes to The Scientist. She has a PhD in systems biology from ETH Zurich and a master’s in molecular biology from Utrecht University. After years studying bacteria in a lab, she now spends most of her days reading, writing, and hunting science stories, either while traveling or visiting random libraries around the world. Her work has also appeared in Hakai, The Atlantic, and Lab Times.

Articles by Alejandra Manjarrez
How Commensal Gut Bacteria Keep Pathogens in Check
How Commensal Gut Bacteria Keep Pathogens in Check
Alejandra Manjarrez | Oct 14, 2021
Recent studies describe how resident microbiota appear to outcompete unwelcome visitors, either with superior weaponry or by guzzling up local resources.  
When the Immune Response Makes COVID-19 Worse
When the Immune Response Makes COVID-19 Worse
Alejandra Manjarrez | Sep 27, 2021
If the immune system makes mistakes—reacting late or getting the target wrong—it can amplify the damage wrought by SARS-CoV-2.
Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is There a “Best” mRNA Vaccine?
Moderna vs. Pfizer: Is There a “Best” mRNA Vaccine?
Alejandra Manjarrez | Sep 24, 2021
Both of the mRNA vaccines available in the US are highly effective against severe COVID-19, but recent studies suggest that Moderna’s elicits a stronger immune response and might be better at preventing breakthrough infections.  
Tool Would Use Tumor Gene Expression to Inform Radiation Dose
Tool Would Use Tumor Gene Expression to Inform Radiation Dose
Alejandra Manjarrez | Aug 27, 2021
In a retrospective analysis, a team found that an algorithm integrating the gene expression of a tumor with the radiation dose a patient received predicted how well the patient responded to the treatment.
As Plan S Takes Effect, Some Anticipate Inequitable Outcomes
As Plan S Takes Effect, Some Anticipate Inequitable Outcomes
Alejandra Manjarrez | Aug 3, 2021
The plan’s signatories seek to make the results of their funded research available to all, but some scientists say the transition to open access has led to climbing publication fees and could exacerbate global disparities.
Rice-based Cholera Vaccine Induces Antibodies in Small Trial
Rice-based Cholera Vaccine Induces Antibodies in Small Trial
Alejandra Manjarrez | Jul 8, 2021
Immune-response levels to the edible vaccine varied among the subjects, possibly due to differences in the gut microbiome.
Maternal Vaginal Fluids Mimic Microbe Transfer of Vaginal Birth
Maternal Vaginal Fluids Mimic Microbe Transfer of Vaginal Birth
Alejandra Manjarrez | Jun 23, 2021
Swabbing infants born by Cesarean-section with a gauze harboring their mother’s vaginal fluids made their skin and gut microbiota more closely resemble that of vaginally born babies.
Spike Protein Deletions Linked to COVID-19 Surges: Preprint
Spike Protein Deletions Linked to COVID-19 Surges: Preprint
Alejandra Manjarrez | Jun 15, 2021
Researchers find that surges in COVID-19 case numbers are associated with deletions in the SARS-CoV-2 genome in an antigenic site of the spike protein. Some of these mutations are present in vaccine breakthrough infections or reinfections.
SARS-CoV-2 Antigens Leaking from Gut to Blood Might Trigger MIS-C
SARS-CoV-2 Antigens Leaking from Gut to Blood Might Trigger MIS-C
Alejandra Manjarrez | Jun 3, 2021
Researchers find traces of SARS-CoV-2 in the stool and blood of kids with the post–COVID-19 inflammatory disorder, and signs of increased intestinal permeability.
Blind Patient Recovers Partial Vision with Optogenetics
Blind Patient Recovers Partial Vision with Optogenetics
Alejandra Manjarrez | May 24, 2021
After receiving an intraocular injection of the gene for a light-sensitive protein, a 58-year-old man diagnosed with the neurodegenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa was able to locate objects on a table using engineered goggles.