For many people, including women, the answer is yes, which spurred dozens of paleontologists around the world – all of them women – to glue on beards for photos now being exhibited at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) at the University of California, Berkeley. The ironic message of the Bearded Lady Project is that, contrary to the persisting stereotype, you don’t have to be a man to love fieldwork and contribute to science; in fact: many field scientists are not.
New research from IB Professor Robert Full and scientists from the Department of Engineering and Tsinghua University in China have created a soft robot nearly as the cockroaches that inspired its design. At 20 to 65 milligrams, these robots are able to carry loads 6 times their weight and withstand the pressure of a 60-kilogram human step.
In the future, these robust, small-scale robots could be useful for search and rescue missions and for fitting into tight, dangerous spaces.
A new consensus statement published in Nature Reviews Microbiology raises awareness of the alarming consequences of global climate change on microbes, which have critical functions in animal and human health, agriculture, the global food web and industry.
With recent advancements in portable, reliable, and low-cost scientific instruments, biological field research is flourishing. Now, a group of UC Berkeley undergraduates is newly equipped to investigate the natural world in real time with these new tools at their disposal.
From May 20-28, 2019, the Department of Integrative Biology’s inaugural Field Genomics summer course immersed first-year undergraduates in cutting-edge molecular biology techniques. The course provided thorough hands-on training in skills such as sample collection, nucleotide isolation, and portable nanopore DNA sequencing.
A genetic mutation to help fend off HIV infection is also associated with a 21% increase in mortality in later life, according to an analysis by IB Professor Rasmus Nielsen & postdoctoral scholar Xinzhu Wei.
“Beyond the many ethical issues involved with the CRISPR babies, the fact is that, right now, with current knowledge, it is still very dangerous to try to introduce mutations without knowing the full effect of what those mutations do,” said Nielsen. “In this case, it is probably not a mutation that most people would want to have. You are actually, on average, worse off having it.”
Daniela Kaufer, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, shared progress toward addressing another cause of cognitive decline: dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier ordinarily protects the brain, but Kaufer’s work shows that when the barrier falters, itself a sign of aging, proteins can enter brain cells called astrocytes, which causes inflammation in the brain and leads to cognitive impairments.
According to lead scientist on the project and Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley Alejandro Rico-Guevara, physical traits observed in male hummingbirds in the tropics of Central and South America could not be explained through adaptations to feeding strategies.