The kidney, made up of about a million tiny units that work to filter blood, constantly rids the body of undesired waste products to form urine. During the process, it also holds back blood cells and valuable proteins and controls the body’s fluid content.
Key to each of these units is a structure known as the glomerulus, in which so-called podocyte cells wrap themselves tightly around a tuft of capillaries. Separated by a thin membrane composed of extracellular matrix, slits are left between them to build an actual filtration barrier. The podocytes are also the target of… Read more about Researchers work to create kidney filtration barrier on a chip
Regenerative medicine using human pluripotent stem cells to grow transplantable tissue outside the body carries the promise to treat a range of intractable disorders, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.
In a culture flask, 45 lentil-sized globs of neurons swirl in a gentle eddy of liquid medium. These lumpy, 3-D networks of human nerve cells, called brain organoids, have generated more diverse and mature cell types than any other model system of brain tissue to date.
Scientists have increasingly turned to organoids, organ models cultured from induced pluripotent stem cells, to investigate human brain development and disease. However, most brain organoid models to date have been cultured on a scale of weeks to investigate early neural development under various conditions… Read more about New vistas opening for brain disorder research
We ignore the worst estimates of climate change — catastrophic warming topping 4 or 6 degrees Celsius — at our peril, says economist Martin Weitzman.
Climate change’s uncertainty — a product of the complexity of the natural systems involved and the vagaries of human efforts at mitigation — have led not to precise forecasts of future warming, but rather a range of likely temperature increases.
Why is it that some species seem to be particularly attentive parents while others leave their young to fend for themselves? For years, scientists have believed one of the major drivers is experience — an animal raised by an attentive parent, the argument goes, is likely to be an attentive parent itself.
A Harvard study is challenging that idea, and breaking new ground by uncovering links between the activity of specific genes and parenting differences across species.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers have identified a compound that helps protect the cells destroyed by spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most frequent fatal genetic disease in children under 2 years of age.
Author of “Longitude” and “Galileo’s Daughter,” Dava Sobel in her latest book tells the story of the female “computers” who worked at the Harvard College Observatory from the late 19th through the mid-20th century analyzing stellar data captured on a growing collection of photographic plates. Using complicated calculations, the women classified the stars, determined their brightness, and even discovered new stars, nebulae, and novae. Many of their findings led to important discoveries about the universe, and their work helped clear obstacles for women in science. Sobel will discuss “… Read more about Star analysts of Harvard College Observatory inspired new book by Dava Sobel
The next great agricultural revolution is likely to come from information, not new plant breeds or genetic tinkering, as digital technology and big data help farmers make better decisions and drive up crop yields, according to the head of a “digital agriculture” company.
Ten years ago, Dimitar Sasselov worried that his graduate students studying the origins of life might have trouble finding jobs after leaving Harvard.
The past decade, however, has seen an explosion of exoplanet discoveries, rising excitement about the prospect of finding extraterrestrial life, and advances in understanding of life on Earth. Needless to say, those early worries have mostly vanished.