Features

Why R0 Is Problematic for Predicting COVID-19 Spread
Why R0 Is Problematic for Predicting COVID-19 Spread
Katarina Zimmer | Jul 13, 2020
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has revealed the limitations of R0 as no other disease outbreak has before, at a time when policymakers need accurate forecasts.
How Social Isolation Affects the Brain
How Social Isolation Affects the Brain
Catherine Offord | Jul 13, 2020
Absence of human contact is associated with declines in cognitive function. But as the COVID-19 pandemic brings concerns about the potential harms of isolation to the fore, researchers are still hunting for concrete evidence of a causal role as well as possible mechanisms.
Harnessing Stem Cell–Like T Cells to Better Fight Cancer
Harnessing Stem Cell–Like T Cells to Better Fight Cancer
Daniel E. Speiser and Werner Held | Jul 13, 2020
Better understanding the CD8+ T cells already present in tumors could be key to making immunotherapies work for more patients.

Contributors

Contributors
Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the July/August 2020 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

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

Opinion: Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Dangers of Health Disparities
Opinion: Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Dangers of Health Disparities
Opinion: Coronavirus Pandemic Highlights Dangers of Health Disparities
The coronavirus pandemic is exposing the underlying biological dangers of being a minority in the US.

Notebook

Innovative Birds Face a Lower Risk of Extinction
Innovative Birds Face a Lower Risk of Extinction
Innovative Birds Face a Lower Risk of Extinction
Species that come up with new ways to find food may be more likely to survive in habitats disturbed by agriculture and other human activities.
Our Pets May Harbor Much More Than Coronavirus
Our Pets May Harbor Much More Than Coronavirus
Our Pets May Harbor Much More Than Coronavirus
While concern over SARS-CoV-2 in dogs and cats has captured attention, scientists have also been investigating whether pets can transmit multidrug-resistant bacteria to us.
Ancient Beads Point to Far-Flung Relationships in Southern Africa
Ancient Beads Point to Far-Flung Relationships in Southern Africa
Ancient Beads Point to Far-Flung Relationships in Southern Africa
An isotopic analysis of eggshell beads dating back more than 30,000 years indicates that they helped build networks that stretched for hundreds of kilometers.
Fly Colonies Help Calculate Time of Death of Car Trunk Cadavers
Fly Colonies Help Calculate Time of Death of Car Trunk Cadavers
Fly Colonies Help Calculate Time of Death of Car Trunk Cadavers
Using pigs as human proxies, forensic entomologists reveal how bodies in vehicles decompose differently from those dumped outside.

Modus Operandi

Bacterial Superglue Enables Antiviral Antibody Discovery
Bacterial Superglue Enables Antiviral Antibody Discovery
Bacterial Superglue Enables Antiviral Antibody Discovery
Testing out combinations of antiviral proteins from llamas could help researchers create potent virus-neutralizing multimers.

The Literature

How Breastfeeding Protects Mothers
How Breastfeeding Protects Mothers
How Breastfeeding Protects Mothers
Lactation boosts the quantity and quality of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, likely reducing a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
Male Flies’ Y Chromosome May Contribute to Earlier Deaths
As male Drosophila grow old, selfish genetic elements that are abundant on the Y chromosome become more active, which appears to reduce longevity.
Microbial Signatures in Blood Are Associated with Various Cancers
Microbial Signatures in Blood Are Associated with Various Cancers
Microbial Signatures in Blood Are Associated with Various Cancers
A study suggests the potential for a noninvasive diagnostic that could detect tumors early and differentiate between disease types.

Profile

For the Greater Good: A Profile of Eva Harris
For the Greater Good: A Profile of Eva Harris
For the Greater Good: A Profile of Eva Harris
Through groundbreaking studies on dengue and efforts to build scientific infrastructure in Latin America, the University of California, Berkeley, professor has bridged research with its benefits to society.

Scientist to Watch

Luis Alvarez Aims to Heal Wounds with Tissue-Regenerating “Paint”
Luis Alvarez Aims to Heal Wounds with Tissue-Regenerating “Paint”
Luis Alvarez Aims to Heal Wounds with Tissue-Regenerating “Paint”
The bioactive coating tethers restorative proteins to implanted tissues and fosters new growth, animal studies suggest.

Bio Business

How the Pharma Industry Pulled Off the Pivot to COVID-19
How the Pharma Industry Pulled Off the Pivot to COVID-19
How the Pharma Industry Pulled Off the Pivot to COVID-19
The urgent need for tests and therapeutics has brought companies together and pushed researchers to work at breakneck speeds.

Reading Frames

Opinion: Anticipating the Next Pandemic
Opinion: Anticipating the Next Pandemic
Opinion: Anticipating the Next Pandemic
Our experience with COVID-19 has already shone a light on how (and how not) to address future outbreaks.

Foundations

Jean Macnamara’s Multiple Causes, 1931
Jean Macnamara’s Multiple Causes, 1931
Jean Macnamara’s Multiple Causes, 1931
The medical scientist made important contributions to polio treatment and Australian environmental policy—despite substantial resistance.

Infographics

Infographic: Meet R, the Shaky Metric Guiding Pandemic Forecasts
Infographic: Meet R, the Shaky Metric Guiding Pandemic Forecasts
Infographic: Meet R, the Shaky Metric Guiding Pandemic Forecasts
The basic reproductive R0, along with the more malleable effective reproduction number Re, are centerpieces of most epidemiological models that are informing government responses to COVID-19.
Infographic: What Social Isolation Can Mean for the Brain
Infographic: What Social Isolation Can Mean for the Brain
Infographic: What Social Isolation Can Mean for the Brain
People who show low social engagement over long periods of time often show reductions in cognitive function. Studies of the brain may provide clues about this correlation.
Infographic: How Immunotherapy Could Boost Stem-Like T Cells
Infographic: How Immunotherapy Could Boost Stem-Like T Cells
Infographic: How Immunotherapy Could Boost Stem-Like T Cells
Cancer therapies could potentially be more effective if their development took into account the cells that give rise to tumor-fighting cells.
Infographic: Mix and Match
Infographic: Mix and Match
Infographic: Mix and Match
How llamas and superglue might lead to antiviral therapies
Infographic: How Breastfeeding Protects Mothers
Infographic: How Breastfeeding Protects Mothers
Infographic: How Breastfeeding Protects Mothers
Breastfeeding reduces type 2 diabetes risk by boosting beta cells.