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
Y Chromosome from Early Modern Humans Replaced Neanderthal Y
Y Chromosome from Early Modern Humans Replaced Neanderthal Y
Jef Akst | Sep 24, 2020
A selective advantage may have led the modern human Y chromosome to sweep through the Neanderthal population after it was introduced via interbreeding more than 100,000 years ago.
New Drug Combo for ALS Slows Decline in Small Clinical Study
New Drug Combo for ALS Slows Decline in Small Clinical Study
Jef Akst | Sep 3, 2020
After six months, patients with fast-progressing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis who had received the experimental treatment had less loss of function than those who received a placebo.
Ibrahim Cissé’s Tools Provide a Lens to Watch RNA Production
Ibrahim Cissé’s Tools Provide a Lens to Watch RNA Production
Jef Akst | Sep 1, 2020
The MIT physicist has demonstrated the importance of clusters of RNA polymerase and other transcription mediators in regulating RNA production.
Russia Approves World’s First Coronavirus Vaccine
Russia Approves World’s First Coronavirus Vaccine
Jef Akst | Aug 11, 2020
Some researchers express skepticism given the lack of data about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, and the country plans to vaccinate healthcare workers, teachers, and others even before testing is complete.
Two COVID-19 Clinical Trials Seek to Enroll Pregnant Women
Two COVID-19 Clinical Trials Seek to Enroll Pregnant Women
Jef Akst | Jul 20, 2020
Upon seeing pregnant women sick with COVID-19 at a University of Pennsylvania hospital, researchers there wrote trial protocols for blood transfusions to treat the disease that include expecting mothers.
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
Jef Akst | Jul 13, 2020
As male Drosophila grow old, selfish genetic elements that are abundant on the Y chromosome become more active, which appears to reduce longevity.
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.