Features

3D illustration of a tapeworm infestation in a human intestine
Return of the Worms
Catherine Offord | Dec 1, 2021
Immunologists and parasitologists are working to revive the idea that helminths, and more specifically the molecules they secrete, could help treat allergies and autoimmune disease.
Top 10 Innovations 2021
2021 Top 10 Innovations
The Scientist Staff | Dec 1, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Biomedical innovation has rallied to address that pressing concern while continuing to tackle broader research challenges.

Contributors

Photographs of the December 2021 issue's contributors
Contributors
Contributors
Meet some of the people featured in the December 2021 issue of The Scientist.

Editorial

New ideas and imagination Creativity and inspiration Technological innovation.
Innovations that Matter
Innovations that Matter
Scientific advances almost always have the potential to benefit human lives. In times like these, they have the power to save them.

Speaking of Science

Speaking of Science image
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Ten Minute Sabbatical
Take a break from the bench to puzzle and peruse

Critic at Large

Illustration of an interview
Opinion: Using Data to Hire High-Impact Faculty
Opinion: Using Data to Hire High-Impact Faculty
Selecting researchers who will drive research agendas forward requires a more quantitative approach to interviewing.

Notebook

MUSCLE CONTROL: Researchers pinpoint how C. elegans (pictured) manages to expel food from its mouth.
The Science Behind How Roundworms Spit
The Science Behind How Roundworms Spit
By viewing countless hours of expectorating worms, researchers discover a unique way in which neurons control the movement of muscles.
PATH TO TREATMENT: Marley, pictured here with her father, was diagnosed with the rare genetic condition Bachmann-Bupp syndrome a few years ago.
Doctors Treat Girl’s Genetic Disorder with Repurposed Drug
Doctors Treat Girl’s Genetic Disorder with Repurposed Drug
In just 16 months, physicians went from identifying a novel rare disease in three-year-old Marley to successfully treating her with a drug previously used to treat African sleeping sickness and pediatric cancer.

The Literature

False color image of two Caenorhabditis elegans roundworms; blue on a black background
Mitochondrial Stress Is Passed Between Generations
Mitochondrial Stress Is Passed Between Generations
Researchers identified a novel mechanism by which chemically induced stress is “remembered” by the mitochondria of worms more than 50 generations after the original trigger.
The man-of-war fish (Nomeus gronovii), a species of medusafish, near the tentacles of a siphonophore.
Medusafishes Are Grouped by Shared, Odd Traits: Study
Medusafishes Are Grouped by Shared, Odd Traits: Study
Shared features, such as thick, slimy skin and a throat filled with teeth, suggest that medusafishes are all related.
An APP-knockout neuron (right) shows extended axonal and reduced dendritic growth compared with a normal mouse neuron (left). Scale bar 50 µm.
Amyloid Precursor Protein Linked to Brain Development Mechanisms
Amyloid Precursor Protein Linked to Brain Development Mechanisms
Researchers provide evidence that the Alzheimer’s-associated protein calibrates a signaling pathway that is conserved across the animal kingdom.

Scientist to Watch

Photo of Brooke Gardner
Brooke Gardner Probes the Cell’s Peroxisomes
Brooke Gardner Probes the Cell’s Peroxisomes
The University of California, Santa Barbara, cell biologist is investigating the formation and functions of the peroxisome, an organelle which exists in many copies in each cell and can be created, lost, or altered to meet the cell’s metabolic needs.

Bio Business

DNA
In Editing RNA, Researchers See Endless Possibilities
In Editing RNA, Researchers See Endless Possibilities
RNA editing has been in DNA editing’s shadow for nearly a decade, but recent investments in the technology could bring it into the limelight.

Reading Frames

Great Minds Don't Think Alike
Opinion: Bridging the Intellectual Divide
Opinion: Bridging the Intellectual Divide
To solve modern problems, we must integrate the sciences and the humanities and think across these traditionally disparate disciplines.

Foundations

In one of the only known photos of Abraham Lincoln taken on the day of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln can be seen seated, hatless, just below and to the right of the flag. Lincoln began developing symptoms of smallpox on the train home to Washington, DC.
Presidential Pox, 1863
Presidential Pox, 1863
Researchers continue to debate whether US President Abraham Lincoln was coming down with smallpox as he delivered his famous Gettysburg Address, and if he had been immunized.

Infographics

How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Infographic: How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Infographic: How C. elegans Transmit Stress Signals to Offspring
Neurons stressed with chemicals produce Wnt, which in turn triggers changes in the germline.
December 2021 - Gut Guests - Infographic
Infographic: How Worms that Reside in the Gut Could Influence Health
Infographic: How Worms that Reside in the Gut Could Influence Health
Research in animals and people supports a range of mechanisms by which the parasites affect physiology and immune responses.
Infographic showing endogenous adenosine enzymes acting on RNA (ADARs) edit genetic material in the cell by attaching to naturally occurring double-stranded RNAs, including mRNAs, and switching out A bases with I bases (left). Therapeutic RNA editing platforms based on this mechanism fall into one of two categories: either they use engineered enzymes, which generally consist of the editing part of the ADAR enzyme attached to another protein such as Cas13 that boosts specificity, alongside a guide RNA that targets the enzyme to the desired location (middle); or they consist of a guide RNA alone, which recruits an endogenous ADAR to edit the target sequence (right).
Infographic: RNA Editing Approaches
Infographic: RNA Editing Approaches
RNA editing platforms leverage the natural activity of ADAR enzymes to make key changes to messenger RNAs before they are translated into proteins.