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Natalia Mesa, PhD

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, PhD
T regulatory cell in red sandwiching an antigen presenting cell in blue
Gut Bacteria Help T Cells Heal Muscle: Study
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 14, 2023 | 4 min read
Regulatory T cells in the colon travel to muscles to promote wound healing in mice, raising questions about how antibiotics may impact injury recovery.
Fluorescent images of red cells showing high and low levels of infection in green
Parasite Drove Natural Selection in Amazonian Indigenous Groups
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 13, 2023 | 4 min read
The findings could help researchers understand why some individuals are more vulnerable to deadly Chagas disease.
neuron surrounded by immune cells
Meningitis Bacteria Trigger Headaches, Then Sneak Into the Brain
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 6, 2023 | 3 min read
Researchers find that bacteria stimulate a headache-causing pain pathway to suppress the immune system and infect the brain. 
White mouse at the edge of a desk
The Heart Can Directly Influence Our Emotions
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 1, 2023 | 4 min read
Researchers find that an increased heart rate can induce anxiety in mice, given the right context.
How Tadpoles Garner the Energy to Regenerate Their Tails
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 1, 2023 | 3 min read
A metabolic pathway used for tail regrowth may be critical for tissue regeneration in some cells, a study suggests. 
Infographic showing the process of tail regeneration in tadpoles
Infographic: How Tadpoles Use Glucose to Fuel Tail Regrowth
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 1, 2023 | 1 min read
Unlike other fast-growing cells, regenerating tadpole cells fuel growth using the pentose phosphate pathway rather than glycolysis, a study indicates.
Portrait of Alex Muir
Alex Muir Explores Cancer Cells’ Menu
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 1, 2023 | 3 min read
The University of Chicago cell biologist is studying how the nutrients available to cancers influence their growth. 
Dead shark on concrete
Researchers Make Alternatives to Shark-Sourced Vaccine Ingredient
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Feb 22, 2023 | 3 min read
Synthetic variations of squalene, which is used to boost immune responses, could make vaccines more effective while reducing fisheries for struggling sharks.
Red T cell
Jumping Genes Put a Target on Cancerous Cells
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Feb 14, 2023 | 4 min read
Two studies find that tumor-specific antigens are often peptides that result from a splicing event between exons and transposable elements.
Fluorescence image in purple and green of lymph node
Targeting Antigen “Sanctuary” in Lymph Nodes Could Make Vaccines Better
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Feb 10, 2023 | 3 min read
Researchers find that small sacks inside lymph nodes contain low proteolytic activity and act as safe havens for antigens.