Science

Next time you’re on a hike in a Redwood forest, running along Ocean Beach simply packed into a Muni car during your morning commute, spare a thought for the embryo. Where does it come from and what does it become?
Scientists are making discoveries that give hope to global improvements in healthy pregnancies. The immune system is naturally primed to prevent invaders from thriving in the human body. Pregnancy presents an interesting challenge where immunity must balance defense and fetal tolerance — the fetus is foreign but must thrive. A mother reconfigures her own own defense system, constantly, as the fetus grows and changes.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is picture.

The UC Board of Regents renewed five-year contracts for two highly controversial nuclear weapons laboratories on Sept. 18, 1987.

If you peer closely at a drop of pond water with a microscope, what do you think you’ll see? If your answer is an amorphous amoeba, or perhaps a furry paramecium, you’re correct.

Image of a handheld glucometer, continuous glucose monitor, and insulin pump.

Electronic monitoring and storing of health data is all of the rage right now. Many of us track the number of steps we take with our mobile phones or smart watches, log food consumption, and measure our heart rate. But would you trust a mobile health app to decide when you should receive a life saving, but in some cases, life threatening, drug? For diabetics, this possibility is approaching reality.

Students participate in March for Science in Washington, DC.

On a rainy Saturday in Washington DC, I joined 40,000 scientists from all academic disciplines gathered to March for Science. This was one of over 600 satellite marches across the world spanning all seven continents. The marches drew hundreds of thousands of people out to make our voices heard. We marched to end the use of “alternative facts.” We marched to encourage diversity in science. We marched to display the importance of immigrants to the scientific community. And most prominently, we marched for the future of science.

Embryo cells viewed under a microscope.

A couple sits close, intently studying a dossier. On the dossier is a list starting with Embryo #1.

Amused, I clicked the hashtag #menaresofragile and learned that a clinical trial for TU NET-EN, an injectable male contraceptive, had been cancelled due to “intolerable side effects.” As I looked around the Internet that day, I saw that the hashtag reflected widespread outrage among women: we have had to stomach the unpleasant side effects of hormonal contraceptives for decades, and now an entire study is down the tubes because men can’t handle a little bit of acne?
The March for Science logo

Science has always been politicized. Whether it comes to research funding or classroom curriculum, political values and agendas continuously shape the scientific endeavor and its development. However, under the current political climate, science is being directly threatened and outspokenly admonished. From the deletion of White House pages on climate change to threats on NASA’s Earth Science Division funding, concerns about the growing politicization of science are rapidly resurfacing.

The scientific community and the general public aren’t known for agreeing on all the issues, to put it gently. For example, 88% of surveyed members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science think genetically modified foods are safe to eat. The American public? Not so much — a mere 37% would dig into a plate of GMOs without some serious reservations.