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Natalia Mesa

As she was completing her graduate thesis on the neuroscience of vision, Natalia found that she loved to talk to other people about how science impacts them. This passion led Natalia to take up writing and science communication, and she has contributed to outlets including Scientific American and the Broad Institute. Natalia completed her PhD in neuroscience at the University of Washington and graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. She was previously an intern at The Scientist, and currently freelances from her home in Seattle. 

Articles by Natalia Mesa
Woman with buns and blue sweater chewing gum, smiling, and stretching it out of her mouth.
The Energetic Cost of Chewing May Have Shaped Hominin Evolution
Natalia Mesa | Aug 17, 2022
The simple act of chewing gum can raise the body’s metabolic rate by as much as 15 percent, a study finds.
Neurons in all sorts of different colors, some glowing
How Fear Restructures the Mouse Brain
Natalia Mesa | Aug 15, 2022
By combining deep learning and electron microscopy, researchers now have a more detailed understanding of how fear changes the brain.
Man in lab coat looking at the camera and smiling
Can Taking a Test Now Tell You if You’ve Already Had COVID-19?
Natalia Mesa | Aug 8, 2022
The Scientist asks Brigham and Women’s Hospital infectious disease specialist Lindsey Baden about testing for prior infections.
A gametophyte of the brown alga <em>Desmarestia dudresnayi</em> that has both male and female reproductive structures
Meet the Algae That Went from Male/Female to Hermaphroditic
Natalia Mesa | Aug 1, 2022
A study suggests that several species of brown algae may have independently evolved to express both sexes simultaneously, and it’s likely that female algae evolved male traits—not the other way around.
Fluorescent cells in culture connected by tunneling nanotubules
SARS-CoV-2 Could Use Nanotubes to Infect the Brain
Natalia Mesa | Jul 21, 2022
Stressed cells can form hollow actin bridges to neighbors to get help, but the virus may hijack these tiny tunnels for its own purposes, a study suggests.
Spherical colonies of <em>Vibrio splendidus&nbsp;</em>bacteria
Inside Versus Out: A New Form of Bacterial Cooperation
Natalia Mesa | Jul 20, 2022
Oceanic bacteria form a transient spherical community to conquer large food sources, taking on different roles to break down the bounty more efficiently.
Pink and purple <em>Plasmodium</em> parasites inside red blood cells
Malarial Host-Parasite Clash Causes Deadly Blood Sugar Drop
Natalia Mesa | Jul 18, 2022
Scientists say they have finally figured out why some people with severe malaria end up with dangerous hypoglycemia, also reporting that the condition starves the parasite into changing tactics from virulence to transmission.
illustration of inside of gut with floating bacteria
Finding Could Pave the Way to New, Targeted Antibody Treatments
Natalia Mesa | Jul 8, 2022
IgA antibodies appear to bind to specific species of commensal gut bacteria in mice, according to a study.
Pufferfish underwater in ocean
Pufferfish Don’t Need Functional Stomach, Inflate Instead
Natalia Mesa | Jul 5, 2022
The fish use their stomach to swell up to three times their size. Is this why they can’t use the organ to digest proteins?
An orange-brown pineapple sea cucumber, covered in wart-like growths, rests on the seafloor in front of some coral, with a school of fish swimming overhead.
How the Sea Cucumber Defends Itself . . . From Itself
Natalia Mesa | Jul 1, 2022
The marine animals have evolved a unique molecular pathway enabling them to use toxins to fight off invaders without poisoning themselves in the process.