Tech and Research

The Role  of  “Big Data” in Healthcare: Improving Patient Outcomes and Efficiency 

Recently, healthcare has been undergoing a digital revolution. Mobile devices and technologies are more frequently being incorporated in healthcare settings to improve a broad range of health outcomes. Healthcare has mainly used a “one-size-fits-all” approach to patient care in which generalized treatment plans are used rather than personalizing treatment plans based on the patient’s individual case. However, with recent advances in…

Terraforming Mars with Tardigrades

Can genetic engineering help humans live in space? [SA3] As billionaires are pursuing their interest in space exploration, the prospect of a mission to Mars is becoming more credible. CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, a vocal proponent and investor in this endeavor, says the deadline for a Mars mission may be as early as 2024 [7]. With a plan…

Beauty and Brains: The Neuroscience Behind Attractiveness

What makes someone attractive? Is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder? In the ChatLab, part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Neuroaesthetics, researchers explore these questions in the field of neuroaesthetics. Neuroaesthetics is “a subdiscipline of cognitive neuroscience concerned with the neural basis of aesthetic experiences, which involve interactions with entities and…

Long Road to Recovery

After the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, life has returned to a semblance of normalcy. For COVID long-haulers, however, their lives have veered away from their original tracks. While some people have recovered from the illness within weeks, long-haulers are still grappling with the harsh reality of “chronic COVID-19,” even months after the symptom onset….

Next Stop: Epidemic: The Role of Public Metro Systems in Spreading Communicable Diseases

One of my favorite benefits of going to Washington University in St. Louis is receiving a complimentary U-Pass that allows me to travel throughout St. Louis. However, when I invited a friend to ride with me, they expressed concern about taking public transit during the height of a pandemic. It made logical sense: multiple individuals from across the city touching the same handles and seats would likely spread an illness to the next unlucky passenger.   Although the pandemic is slowly burning out, ridership on public transportation has likewise made a return throughout the United States [2]. As more and more people are making their way onto trains, busses and subways, could I be stepping onto a human petri dish that is spreading the next outbreak, epidemic or even pandemic?   Obviously, this concern is not a new one prompted by COVID. Epidemiologists and public health experts have paid particular attention to pathogens spread by public transit, such as the bacterial genus Staphylococcus (Staph). Staph thrives on human skin and can therefore spread on high-touch surfaces. Additionally, it is well known for having multiple antibiotic resistant strains. This can have profound effects on individuals with bacterial infections since antibiotic resistant infections cost America 4.6 billion dollars in 2017, with Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus…

Synthetic DNA: A Game-Changer in the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the necessity of scientific research and development more than ever. One such biotechnology that has been recently developed and has become of great importance to us during the pandemic is synthetic DNA. The term “synthetic biology” was originally conceived by geneticist Waclaw Szybalski in 1970 and refers to the design and construction of…

COVID-19 + Vaccine = Covaxin: A look into Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 Vaccine

Bharat Biotech, a successful biotech company founded by Dr. Krishna M. Ella in Hyderabad, India, has been making positive changes globally through its practice of creating innovative vaccines and therapeutics [3]. The leading biotech company holds an impressive portfolio of 15 vaccines, including rotavirus, hepatitis B, and Zika virus, five therapeutics including SLVRGEN, BIOGIT, Regen-D…

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