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Cara Plott: ‘Are you OK?’ A med student’s plea for action to stop gun violence

Cara Plott: ‘Are you OK?’ A med student’s plea for action to stop gun violence

Posted by  | Did You See This?, Recently Published

By Cara Plott, a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. I am sick of needing to text my friends and family to ask whether they have been shot. On Nov. 7, my friend traveled to Thousand Oaks, California, to visit her family. Late that night, a gunman shot and(...)

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Thinking Outside the Brain

Thinking Outside the Brain

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Genetics began in the garden — Mendel’s pea experiments revolutionized and developed the field and principles we know and study today. Similarly, my scientific journey began with plants. In college, I studied the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which is unique in its ability to thrive in total darkness, whereas most plants rely on photosynthesis. My(...)

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Uncovering a Food Preference Signal in an Overlooked Brain Region

Uncovering a Food Preference Signal in an Overlooked Brain Region

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research, Recently Published

This October marks the publication of my first lead author scientific article, the culmination of my thesis work thus far. Simply put, I found a previously unknown brain signal in the ventral pallidum that reports how good a food outcome was relative to the other available options. What does this signal mean, and why might(...)

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The Link Between Metabolism and Anti-Tumor Immunity: Implications for Glioma Therapy

The Link Between Metabolism and Anti-Tumor Immunity: Implications for Glioma Therapy

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As a callow biochemistry student, I often grappled with the onerous task of memorizing metabolic pathways. Gradually, however, I came to appreciate the underlying simplicity: Complex macromolecules are broken down to the same simple molecule. Metabolism is the workhorse of the cell — efficiently mining nutrients for energy, shunting surplus nutrients to build cellular structures,(...)

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Understanding the Epidemics of Today to Prevent Those of Tomorrow

Understanding the Epidemics of Today to Prevent Those of Tomorrow

Posted by  | Perspectives in Research, Recently Published

Though it may seem distant now, 2014 was a tumultuous year for the global health community. One of the worst Ebola epidemics in history was ravishing communities in West Africa, spreading to health care workers, sparking superstitions among locals and demonstrating how devastating a single virus can be on the world stage. Many likely remember(...)

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A New Animal Model for Bad Decisions

A New Animal Model for Bad Decisions

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Humans are constantly making decisions about how to spend time, yet we are pretty terrible at doing so effectively. We sit through boring movies, stay in line at a crowded restaurant and continue to pursue low-return projects, because we simply cannot bear to see the time we have already invested in these activities go to(...)

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Diversity at the Top of the Social Media Signaling Cascade

Diversity at the Top of the Social Media Signaling Cascade

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Caroline's essay received 3rd place in The Lasker Foundation Essay Contest. The Lasker Foundation’s Essay Contest engages young scientists and clinicians in a discussion about big questions in biology and medicine and the role of biomedical research in our society today.  The Contest aims to build skills in communicating important medical and scientific issues to(...)

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Finding the Missing Piece — the Limits of the Current Malaria Vaccine and How We Can Improve Future Vaccine Design

Finding the Missing Piece — the Limits of the Current Malaria Vaccine and How We Can Improve Future Vaccine Design

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With hundreds of millions of infections worldwide, malaria continues to be a global health threat and burden to vulnerable populations. For decades, researchers have dedicated work to stamping out this illness, which is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and a vaccine was recently licensed for prevention of the disease. The vaccine, called RTS,S/AS01, has(...)

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