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
No Gender Bias in Peer Review: Study
No Gender Bias in Peer Review: Study
Jef Akst | Jan 6, 2021
An analysis of data from nearly 150 journals across scientific disciplines finds that, if anything, manuscripts authored by women are treated more favorably than those submitted by men.
Infographic: Light Triggers Photocage Opening, Apoptosis Inhibition
Infographic: Light Triggers Photocage Opening, Apoptosis Inhibition
Jef Akst | Jan 1, 2021
Researchers develop a caspase inhibitor that only works after being irradiated with UV light, giving them control over apoptosis in human cells.
Light-Activated Molecules Stop Apoptosis at the Flip of a Switch
Light-Activated Molecules Stop Apoptosis at the Flip of a Switch
Jef Akst | Jan 1, 2021
A new inhibitor gives researchers the ability to control programmed cell death in cultured human T cells.
Editor&rsquo;s Picks of <em>The Scientist</em>&rsquo;s Best Infographics of 2020
Editor’s Picks of The Scientist’s Best Infographics of 2020
Jef Akst | Dec 15, 2020
This year’s most captivating illustrations tell stories from the micro scale—such as newborn neurons in the adult brain and bacteria in the infant gut—to the scale of entire ecosystems, including reintroduced predators and rising seas.
Q&amp;A: How Animals Change in Space
Q&A: How Animals Change in Space
Jef Akst | Nov 25, 2020
Weill Cornell Medicine geneticist Christopher Mason speaks with The Scientist about a bolus of new work on the physiological, cellular, and molecular effects of leaving Earth.
Octopod Sailors, 300 BC&ndash;present
Octopod Sailors, 300 BC–present
Jef Akst | Nov 1, 2020
Lore has always surrounded argonauts, pelagic octopuses that build shells and travel the seas.
Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Microbes Find Their Niche in Underwater Shipwrecks
Jef Akst | Nov 1, 2020
Early investigations of the microbial communities in and around sunken boats reveal that there are patterns to where bacteria settle.
Epidemiologist Who Helped Eradicate Smallpox Dies
Epidemiologist Who Helped Eradicate Smallpox Dies
Jef Akst | Oct 28, 2020
J. Michael Lane was the director of the CDC’s successful program to eradicate smallpox.
A Challenge Trial for COVID-19 Would Not Be the First of Its Kind
A Challenge Trial for COVID-19 Would Not Be the First of Its Kind
Jef Akst | Oct 8, 2020
Although scientists debate the ethics of deliberately infecting volunteers with SARS-CoV-2, plenty of consenting participants have been exposed to all sorts of pathogens in prior trials.
Infographic: How Weight Lifting Changes Monkeys&rsquo; Neural Connections
Infographic: How Weight Lifting Changes Monkeys’ Neural Connections
Jef Akst | Oct 1, 2020
After weeks of training, the muscles of two macaques exhibited greater responses to stimulation of the reticulospinal tract in the brain stem than they had before, suggesting that strengthening the neural pathway is key to getting stronger.