Jef Akst

Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf Coast of Tampa and performing behavioral experiments at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, she left research to pursue a career in science writing. As managing editor, Jef edits the magazine’s Features and writes articles across the publication.

Articles by Jef Akst
Researchers Seek a Simple, Rapid Test for SARS-CoV-2 in Sewage
Researchers Seek a Simple, Rapid Test for SARS-CoV-2 in Sewage
Jef Akst | Jul 6, 2020
Onsite testing at wastewater treatment plants could aid efforts to monitor for outbreaks of COVID-19 around the world, but such technologies are in the early stages of development.
Swine Flu Strain Has Pandemic Potential: Study
Swine Flu Strain Has Pandemic Potential: Study
Jef Akst | Jun 30, 2020
An influenza virus identified in pigs in China has a concerning mix of genes, but experts say there is no way to know if it will evolve to be transmissible between humans.
WHO Comments Breed Confusion Over Asymptomatic Spread of COVID-19
WHO Comments Breed Confusion Over Asymptomatic Spread of COVID-19
Jef Akst | Jun 10, 2020
After stating that asymptomatic individuals are unlikely to transmit the novel coronavirus, World Health Organization officials clarify that this is very much an open question.
Alzheimer’s Gene Linked to Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19
Alzheimer’s Gene Linked to Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19
Jef Akst | May 26, 2020
Two copies of the APOE4 variant, which confers a higher risk of dementia, doubles the risk of severe symptoms as a result of infection with SARS-CoV-2, according to a study.
45,000-Year-Old Human Remains Found in Bulgarian Cave
45,000-Year-Old Human Remains Found in Bulgarian Cave
Jef Akst | May 12, 2020
A tooth and six bone fragments are the oldest confirmed Homo sapiens fossils in Europe.
UK Launches Trial of Contact Tracing App on Isle of Wight
UK Launches Trial of Contact Tracing App on Isle of Wight
Jef Akst | May 6, 2020
Bluetooth-enabled technology will attempt to track people’s interactions on the British island—and potentially elsewhere in the UK—as lockdowns are lifted.
Study Probes Brain Activity in Survivors of Paris Terror Attacks
Study Probes Brain Activity in Survivors of Paris Terror Attacks
Jef Akst | May 1, 2020
Those who had developed PTSD appear to be less able to suppress unwanted memories—traumatic or not—suggesting a role for the general ability to control memory recall in the disorder.
Robert May, Theoretical Ecologist Who Advised UK Gov’t, Dies
Robert May, Theoretical Ecologist Who Advised UK Gov’t, Dies
Jef Akst | Apr 30, 2020
The Australian physicist-turned-biologist served as a top scientist in the UK government and president of the Royal Society, among other prestigious appointments.
BARDA Director Departs Post Overseeing COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
BARDA Director Departs Post Overseeing COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
Jef Akst | Apr 22, 2020
Rick Bright will no longer head the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and will instead work at the National Institutes of Health on diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Updated July 6
COVID-19 Vaccine Frontrunners
COVID-19 Vaccine Frontrunners
Jef Akst | Apr 7, 2020
Several vaccine candidates have been approved for early testing in people. Many more are close on their heels.