Features

Scientists Engineer Dreams to Understand the Sleeping Brain
Scientists Engineer Dreams to Understand the Sleeping Brain
Catherine Offord | Dec 1, 2020
Technologies such as noninvasive brain stimulation and virtual reality gaming offer insights into how dreams arise and what functions they might serve.
Nutrition Researchers Can Determine What You’ve Been Eating
Nutrition Researchers Can Determine What You’ve Been Eating
Amber Dance | Dec 1, 2020
The study of diet, long plagued by inaccuracies in self reports, is entering a new age of precision with the methods of metabolomics.
2020 Top 10 Innovations
2020 Top 10 Innovations
The Scientist Staff | Dec 1, 2020
From a rapid molecular test for COVID-19 to tools that can characterize the antibodies produced in the plasma of patients recovering from the disease, this year’s winners reflect the research community’s shared focus in a challenging year.

Contributors

Contributors
Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the December 2020 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

Science Is My Copilot
Science Is My Copilot
Science Is My Copilot
As the world around us seems increasingly volatile, protecting and respecting the integrity of research and evidence becomes more important than ever.

Speaking of Science

Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse.

Critic at Large

Notebook

Farming Associated with Long-Term Decline in Marmot Populations
Farming Associated with Long-Term Decline in Marmot Populations
Farming Associated with Long-Term Decline in Marmot Populations
Images from a Cold War spy satellite help researchers piece together the effects of land-use decisions in Kazakhstan.
Initiative Addresses Racial Disparities in Neuroscience
Initiative Addresses Racial Disparities in Neuroscience
Initiative Addresses Racial Disparities in Neuroscience
The African Ancestry Neuroscience Research Initiative plans to boost inclusion in genomic studies and support a more diverse generation of neuroscientists.

The Literature

Immune Genes Protect Cells from Ebola Virus and SARS-CoV-2
Immune Genes Protect Cells from Ebola Virus and SARS-CoV-2
Immune Genes Protect Cells from Ebola Virus and SARS-CoV-2
A pathway involved in the adaptive immune system, a relative newcomer in the world of pathogen defense, may have a more ancient role in protecting cells from invading viruses.
Unearthed: World’s Oldest Animal Sperm—And It’s Giant
Unearthed: World’s Oldest Animal Sperm—And It’s Giant
Unearthed: World’s Oldest Animal Sperm—And It’s Giant
The sperm, belonging to a tiny marine crustacean, dates back nearly 100 million years, making it the most ancient animal sperm found to date.
Stress-Induced Chromosome Changes Protect Flies’ Aging Brains
Stress-Induced Chromosome Changes Protect Flies’ Aging Brains
Stress-Induced Chromosome Changes Protect Flies’ Aging Brains
Brain cells in older Drosophila tend to have more than two complete sets of chromosomes, and that polyploidy most likely has a protective function, a study shows.

Scientist to Watch

Gloria Echeverria Investigates an Insidious Form of Breast Cancer
Gloria Echeverria Investigates an Insidious Form of Breast Cancer
Gloria Echeverria Investigates an Insidious Form of Breast Cancer
The newly minted Baylor College of Medicine faculty member is working to crack the mystery of triple negative breast cancer.

Bio Business

Pharma Looks to Outer Space to Boost Drug R&D
Pharma Looks to Outer Space to Boost Drug R&D
Pharma Looks to Outer Space to Boost Drug R&D
There are benefits of studying certain biological processes under microgravity, but whether those advantages outweigh the costs of getting experiments off Earth remains to be seen.

Reading Frames

Opinion: The Biological Function of Dreams
Opinion: The Biological Function of Dreams
Opinion: The Biological Function of Dreams
The scenarios that run through our sleeping brains may help us explore possible solutions to concerns from our waking lives.

Foundations

Action at a Distance, Circa Early 1950s
Action at a Distance, Circa Early 1950s
Action at a Distance, Circa Early 1950s
Neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini began her Nobel Prize–winning work in a makeshift laboratory in Italy during the Second World War.

Infographics

Infographic: The Technology Scientists Use to Engineer Dreams
Infographic: The Technology Scientists Use to Engineer Dreams
Infographic: The Technology Scientists Use to Engineer Dreams
Researchers are experimenting with a variety of tools, from brain stimulation to audiovisual equipment, to try to take control of the sleeping brain.
Infographic: Deciphering Diet from Blood and Urine Samples
Infographic: Deciphering Diet from Blood and Urine Samples
Infographic: Deciphering Diet from Blood and Urine Samples
Nutrition researchers are beginning to use metabolomics to determine how healthy subjects’ diets are, and even to reveal specific properties of the foods they eat.
Infographic: A Cellular Defense Against Ebola Virus
Infographic: A Cellular Defense Against Ebola Virus
Infographic: A Cellular Defense Against Ebola Virus
A recent study sheds light on a previously unknown mechanism for fending off the pathogen, and potentially other viruses as well.