Collage of images including sperm, bacteria, coral, and an illustration of a researcher
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021
Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.
ABOVE: © IKUMI KAYAMA, STUDIO KAYAMA; B. SHRESTHA ET AL., SCI TRANSL MED, 2021; CHRISTIAN KOST, OSNABRÜCK UNIVERSITY; © ISTOCK.COM, OLEMEDIA
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021
Our Favorite Cell and Molecular Biology Stories of 2021

Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.

Beyond The Scientist’s coverage of COVID-19’s molecular underpinnings were many other stories highlighting the advances made in scientists’ understanding of the biology of cells.

ABOVE: © IKUMI KAYAMA, STUDIO KAYAMA; B. SHRESTHA ET AL., SCI TRANSL MED, 2021; CHRISTIAN KOST, OSNABRÜCK UNIVERSITY; © ISTOCK.COM, OLEMEDIA
Felisa Wolfe-Simon, microbiology, culture
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.
December 2021 - Gut Guests - Infographic
Infographic: How Worms that Reside in the Gut Could Influence Health
Catherine Offord | Dec 1, 2021
Research in animals and people supports a range of mechanisms by which the parasites affect physiology and immune responses.
Artist’s renderings of SARS-CoV-2 float in front of a map showing the origins of various variants of the virus.
Omicron Is WHO’s Fifth Variant of Concern, Experts Urge Patience
Dan Robitzski | Nov 30, 2021
Preliminary data suggest that the newly dubbed Omicron variant may be more infectious than previous versions of the virus, but it will take time to obtain the reliable data needed to answer pressing questions about its biology.
small, circular bones individually labeled and packaged in plastic bags
2,000-Year-Old Salmon DNA Reveals Secret to Sustainable Fisheries
Dan Robitzski | Nov 29, 2021
Genomic analysis of ancient chum salmon bones and cultural knowledge from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation suggest that people in the Pacific Northwest managed fisheries for thousands of years by harvesting males and releasing females.
Headshot of Sherif Zaki
CDC Pathology Investigator Dies Unexpectedly at 65
Jef Akst | Nov 23, 2021
Sherif Zaki worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more than 30 years, and was renowned for uncovering crucial intel on various outbreak-causing scourges, from Ebola and Zika to SARS and influenza.
black-legged deer tick waits on leaf for host to feed on
A Lab-Stage mRNA Vaccine Targeting Ticks May Offer Protection Against Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases
Andaleeb Sajid | Nov 18, 2021
NIH researcher Andaleeb Sajid discusses her study’s finding that ticks were unable to feed on vaccinated guinea pigs, preventing transmission of the pathogen that causes Lyme disease.
Small group of Scimitar-horned oryx
Tool Identifies Likely Reservoir Species for SARS-CoV-2
Emma Yasinski | Nov 16, 2021
Researchers used sequencing data and phenotypic traits to predict which of 5,400 species were most likely to be susceptible to contracting and spreading the virus back to humans.
Artist's impression of the human microbiome
Diet Implicated in Autism-Microbiome Link
Ruth Williams | Nov 11, 2021
The unbalanced gut flora present in some people with autism is not a driver of the condition but rather a consequence of eating behaviors characteristic of the condition, a new study claims.
microscope image of methaotrophs with black specks
Deep Sea Microbes Produce Graphite-like Carbon
Chloe Tenn | Nov 11, 2021
The first evidence of biologically produced elemental carbon inspires more questions than answers.  
illustration of blue coronavirus particles with snowflakes in the background
Is COVID-19 Seasonal?
Alejandra Manjarrez | Nov 10, 2021
While the weather isn’t currently the dominant factor driving SARS-CoV-2 transmission, experts say that in the future COVID-19 may become a disease of winter.
Isolated Realistic Coronavirus Covid-19 Molecule in a Biological Environment stock photo
Tweak to N Protein Makes Delta Variant More Infectious
Chloe Tenn | Nov 5, 2021
Using a novel lab technique, researchers identified a mutation that allows the virus to insert more genetic material into host cells.
Deer at grass field with autumn trees at the background stock photo
Researchers Detect Coronavirus in Iowa Deer
Chloe Tenn | Nov 3, 2021
Multiple white tailed deer tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 likely transmitted from humans, a study finds, indicating the species could act as a reservoir for the virus.
gloved hands put a band-aid on the shoulder of a child wearing a mask
CDC Green Lights Pfizer’s Vaccine for Younger Kids
Shawna Williams | Nov 3, 2021
With the final hurdle cleared, the COVID-19 vaccine could be administered to US children ages 5 through 11 as early as today.