Crying Out for Drugs: The Babies Behind the Opioid Epidemic

Crying Out for Drugs: The Babies Behind the Opioid Epidemic

Inside the walls of hospitals across the country, babies are literally crying out for drugs. The rising rate of opioid use and abuse has dramatically increased the number of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Characterized by inconsolable crying, seizures, difficulties feeding, sweating, and vomiting, NAS is the result of an infant’s withdrawal from opioids that the child was exposed to in utero. Upon delivery, newborns diagnosed with NAS often require prolonged treatment and spend days, weeks, or even months in a hospital.

Read More

Dr. Jessica Polka: Revolutionizing Biomedical Research Communication

Dr. Jessica Polka: Revolutionizing Biomedical Research Communication

A major impediment to the scientific endeavor today is a lack of transparency, communication, and public visibility. In 1991, the fields of mathematics, physics, and computer science came up with a partial solution to this problem, arXiv.org, an online repository and forum to store, disperse, and discuss preprints, which are scientific manuscripts and communications prior to peer-review. While there is an increasing recognition of the role preprints play in the future of scientific communication, the life sciences have been indisputably behind the curve. However, this is rapidly changing, and at the forefront of the revolution is Jessica Polka, Ph.D. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Whitehead Institute and director of ASAPbio, a biologist-driven project to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences. I recently had the opportunity to speak with her about the rise of preprints in the life sciences.

Read More

Across the Bench with Virginia Schutte

When I first heard the term “science mediator,” I envisioned some intense and serious discussion about science policy issues, not an afternoon art session and morning cup of tea. But Virginia Schutte’s role is just that: as a mediator, she works with scientists to help bring their ideas to life and also works with the public to help them engage with scientists about their work and what it means for them.

Read More

The Bruin Experiment: Mentors, Middle Schoolers, and Mad Science

The Bruin Experiment: Mentors, Middle Schoolers, and Mad Science

Science fair projects have come a long way since the days of the baking soda volcano.The Bruin Experiment (TBE), founded by two UCLA students, pairs underserved middle-schoolers with undergraduate mentors to work together to brainstorm and complete science projects. Mentors provide the support that kids need to come up with creative experiments, and a science fair is held to celebrate the students' hard work. 

Read More

The State of NASA

The State of NASA

On February 9, 2016, NASA held a “State of NASA” event, opening the doors of its ten field centers to the media, including many from its growing base of social media followers. Along with a guided special-access tour — organized by NASA Social — of their respective facilities, media members at each center were able to watch a NASA Television simulcast of NASA administrator Charles Bolden delivering the official address on the state of the agency, wherein he dove into NASA's major accomplishments, missions, and challenges of the day. And according to Bolden, the state of NASA is strong. 

Read More