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Headshot of Holly Barker

Holly Barker, PhD

Holly Barker is a freelance writer based in London. She has a PhD in clinical neuroscience from King’s College London and a degree in biochemistry from the University of Manchester. She has previously written for Discover and Spectrum News.

Articles by Holly Barker, PhD
A microscopy image stained for different cell populations in breast tumors.
Cancer Cells Give Orders
Holly Barker, PhD | Apr 23, 2024 | 4 min read
Cancer-supporting cells control their neighbors’ behavior using an often-overlooked protein delivery system. 
A whitish neutrophil with a red multi-lobed nucleus.
Cell Surface RNA Helps Neutrophils Get Around
Holly Barker, PhD | Apr 2, 2024 | 4 min read
A new study confirms reports of membrane-bound RNA molecules and points to their role in neutrophil migration.
Two Neuron Populations Prolong Aggression
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 4, 2024 | 4 min read
Scientists are a step closer to uncovering the neural changes that underlie sustained mental states.
The Brain's Barrier Controls Ant Behavior
Holly Barker, PhD | Nov 8, 2023 | 2 min read
Division of labor in ant colonies may depend on an enzyme trapped inside the blood-brain barrier.
bacteria inside a biofilm
How Bacterial Communities Divvy up Duties
Holly Barker, PhD | Jun 1, 2023 | 10+ min read
Biofilms are home to millions of microbes, but disrupting their interactions could produce more effective antibiotics.
The Biofilm Life Cycle
Infographic: Stages of Biofilm Formation
Holly Barker, PhD | Jun 1, 2023 | 1 min read
Free-swimming bacteria settle on a surface to cooperate and form a protective biofilm.
Education anatomy and Histological sample Striated (Skeletal) muscle of mammal Tissue under the microscope.
Mechanical Implant Stirs Wasting Muscle Back into Action
Holly Barker, PhD | Apr 3, 2023 | 3 min read
An implantable device stimulates muscle contraction and prevents muscular atrophy in mice.
Illustration showing an experimental device called MAGENTA and how it works
Infographic: Tissue Implant Gets Muscles Moving, Prevents Atrophy
Holly Barker, PhD | Apr 3, 2023 | 1 min read
The experimental device, known as MAGENTA, forces muscles to contract, simulating natural movement. 
Illustration of newly discovered mechanism allowing kinesin to “walk” down a microtubule. A green kinesin molecule with an attached yellow fluorophore is shown passing through a blue laser as it rotates step by step along a red and purple microtubule, fueled by blue ATP molecules that are hydrolyzed into orange ADP and phosphate groups.
High-Resolution Microscope Watches Proteins Strut Their Stuff
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 31, 2023 | 3 min read
Modification on a high-resolution fluorescent microscopy technique allow researchers to track the precise movements of motor proteins. 
Artist’s rendition of red SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses floating near blue strands of DNA.
COVID-19 Infections May Reshape Genetic Landscape
Holly Barker, PhD | Mar 30, 2023 | 3 min read
SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers structural changes in the host cell’s DNA, which provide a molecular explanation for long COVID, a new study suggests. 
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