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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
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Novel Yeast-Assembly Technique Yields Living Materials
Natalia Mesa | Nov 23, 2022 | 3 min read
Researchers say structures made of the cells could potentially be used to clean up uranium from oceans, heal wounds, and more.
Orange and blue spring with steam rising 
Archaea Sport Structures that Shuttle Genes Among Microbes
Natalia Mesa | Nov 16, 2022 | 3 min read
Researchers find so-called integrons, previously known only in bacteria, in their distantly related microbial relatives. 
person in white jacket putting bandaid on arm of child
Can We Predict How Well Someone Will Respond to a Vaccine?
Natalia Mesa | Nov 14, 2022 | 7 min read
Researchers find signatures pre- and post-vaccination that correlate with a more robust immune response. 
(Left) The optic lobes are thought to be involved in visual processing. In this study, researchers found that guppies with larger optic lobes more quickly learned a visual discrimination task—identifying which color well contained food. (Right) The fish telencephalon is thought to be involved in spatial learning, memory, and inhibitory control. Here, the researchers found that a larger telencephalon might enhance the fish’s cognitive flexibility, allowing them to more quickly associate food with a new color after the researchers switched it.
Infographic: Two Guppy Brain Regions May Help Them Learn Tasks
Natalia Mesa | Nov 14, 2022 | 1 min read
While guppies with larger optic lobes were champions at learning visual discrimination tasks, guppies with larger telencephalons fared better when researchers switched things up.
Photo of a Guppy fish
Fish Brain Region Size Correlates with Cognitive Flexibility
Natalia Mesa | Nov 14, 2022 | 3 min read
The relative sizes of specific parts of the guppy brain may explain why some fish are better at learning certain tasks than others. 
Illustration of a green lab
Green Lab Initiatives Take Root Around the World
Natalia Mesa | Nov 14, 2022 | 9 min read
Scientists, students, and administrative staff are working to bring about a cultural shift to mitigate the impact of research on the environment.
Blue 3D illustration of X-shaped chromosomes
X Chromosome Silenced in Some Cancers in Males
Natalia Mesa | Nov 11, 2022 | 3 min read
A study finds that XIST, the gene that shuts down one X chromosome in people who have two, is linked to cancer in males. 
In the 1920s, the Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin was a haven for queer people, many of whom came to the institute seeking to express their identities without fear of being imprisoned. This undated photo depicts a costume party at the institute; its founder, Magnus Hirschfeld (second from right, in glasses), can be seen holding hands with his partner, Karl Giese (center).
Trans Medicine, 1919
Natalia Mesa | Nov 1, 2022 | 3 min read
German physician and sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld founded a revolutionary clinic where transgender people could receive gender-affirming care, but he left behind a complicated medical and scientific legacy.
Orange colony of bacteria on red medium
Skin Bacteria May Trigger Lupus: Mouse Study
Natalia Mesa | Oct 28, 2022 | 3 min read
Staphylococcus aureus appears to be the culprit.
illustration of neurons in blue and microglia in orange
Ancient Viral DNA Helps Mouse Brains Fight Infection
Natalia Mesa | Oct 24, 2022 | 3 min read
Mammals that give birth to live young may have evolved to make use of the remnants of viruses in their genomes to ward off pathogens, a study suggests. 
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