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
Q&A: New Tool Ranks Viruses by Their Risk of Jumping to Humans
Q&A: New Tool Ranks Viruses by Their Risk of Jumping to Humans
Jef Akst | Apr 9, 2021
Researchers involved in a long-term project to identify viruses of concern have now assessed the risk factors that could help forecast which pathogens are the most likely to spillover from wildlife to people.
Robert “Buzz” Baldwin, Early Expert in Protein Structures, Dies
Robert “Buzz” Baldwin, Early Expert in Protein Structures, Dies
Jef Akst | Apr 2, 2021
Research by the Stanford University School of Medicine professor revealed how newly formed strings of amino acids fold into complex three-dimensional shapes.
High Stress Hormone Levels Halt Mouse Fur Growth
High Stress Hormone Levels Halt Mouse Fur Growth
Jef Akst | Apr 1, 2021
Corticosterone interferes with signaling in the skin that normally activates hair follicle stem cells, possibly explaining the link between stress and hair loss.
Bile and Potatoes, 1921
Bile and Potatoes, 1921
Jef Akst | Apr 1, 2021
One hundred years after its invention, BCG has stood the test of time as a vaccine against tuberculosis.
Q&A: Data Gaps Hinder Monitoring of SARS-COV-2 Variants
Q&A: Data Gaps Hinder Monitoring of SARS-COV-2 Variants
Jef Akst | Mar 24, 2021
Martha Nelson of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases talks about the need to balance data sharing and patient privacy concerns when tracking the spread of variants.
Kids May Suffer from Long COVID, but Data Are Scarce
Kids May Suffer from Long COVID, but Data Are Scarce
Jef Akst | Mar 4, 2021
Clinics are popping up around the US to study the sometimes long-lasting effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and teens.
Long-Lived Trees’ Epigenetic Mutations Serve as a Molecular Clock
Long-Lived Trees’ Epigenetic Mutations Serve as a Molecular Clock
Jef Akst | Mar 1, 2021
Cells found in different branches of a tree have different patterns of DNA methylation, changes in which accumulate over time.
Researchers Propose Automating the Naming of Novel Microbes
Researchers Propose Automating the Naming of Novel Microbes
Jef Akst | Mar 1, 2021
With modern technologies unearthing novel bacterial and archaeal species by the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands, manually naming them all is no longer practical, scientists say.
Neurons for Taste Loosely Distributed in Mouse Gustatory Cortex
Neurons for Taste Loosely Distributed in Mouse Gustatory Cortex
Jef Akst | Mar 1, 2021
Neurological representations of different tastes—like those of different smells but unlike those of sight, hearing, and touch—do not cluster in distinct spots within a murine brain region, a study shows.
Gene-Edited Organoids Explore Neanderthal Brain Function
Gene-Edited Organoids Explore Neanderthal Brain Function
Jef Akst | Feb 12, 2021
Using CRISPR to swap an archaic variant of the NOVA1 gene into human stem cells, researchers create organoids with neurodevelopmental differences from those carrying modern DNA.