Cutting-edge science at IU

Horton Hears a Who – Hidden Communities in Leaves

A cartoon elephant holds a tiny flower close to his ear using his trunk. On this tiny flower is an even tinier speck of dust.

Maybe you remember reading the classic Dr. Seuss tale as a child, Horton Hears a Who! Or you may have also seen the 2008 movie adaptation on TV or at some recent family vacation? For those who haven’t, or whose memory might be a little fuzzy, Horton the elephant discovers, and becomes the sole champion of, an… Read more »

Ordering Disordered Materials

Pictures of snowflakes, a flower, a beehive, and table salt are shown.

When we look around the world, we see order and symmetry. It’s evident in snowflakes, flowers, and beehives, just to name a few. Going beyond what the plain eye can see, we also know that several chemical structures consist of ordered atoms. For example, think of sodium chloride (more plainly known as table salt). Its… Read more »

Deuterium: Heavy Water, Tiny Probe

My grandfather was a big fan of the old sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, and to some extent, I’ve inherited his taste in comedy.  The episode which sticks out in my mind the most, centers around a heavily guarded barrel of water.  Numerous rumors circulate about why the barrel of water is so important, including one that… Read more »

Heritability: what it means and why it’s important

In a previous post, I briefly discussed something called genetic correlation and how this might be important for the evolution of a trait. Now, I hope to further clarify that concept and add to that a discussion of a very important concept in evolutionary biology—heritability—and tie it back to my initial discussion of the evolution… Read more »

How Do You Get Adolescents to Meditate?

In the health behavior field, we often focus on what health professionals should help young people avoid, such as risk behaviors, rather than positive health behaviors that we could help them acquire. So, when I decided to start working on my PhD, and I wanted to study health promoting behaviors, I knew I would be… Read more »

Nanomaterials that Inhibit Bacterial Growth

Nanomaterials are fast becoming the materials of the future. Just this year three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in understanding Molecular Machines. Each time period in human history has been defined by the materials that we are able to harness–the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and now, the Nanomaterial… Read more »

Why is there no cure for cancer, and what are we doing about it?

Have you ever wondered why there is no “cure” for cancer? Conspiracy theories aside, a cure for cancer doesn’t exist because it is biologically impossible. The reason is simple: just as no two people are identical, no two cancers are the same. Each case of cancer may be genetically distinct, which means that the driver… Read more »

Chemical Keys to Brain Function

According to both popular science and drug commercials, the brain is a mess of chemicals.  Imbalances in these chemicals are responsible for a variety of ailments from depression to addiction. However, there’s rarely any mention of how these chemicals are related to neural activity. For instance, why is dopamine often rewarding, and why is serotonin… Read more »

A Short Interview with Dr. Jonathan Schlebach

a portrait of Dr. Schlebach

This past August Indiana University welcomed a new addition to its chemical biology research faculty, Dr. Jonathan Schlebach. Dr. Schlebach came to IU following a post-doctoral position at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, to begin setting up his own research program and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. He offers some insight on what his research… Read more »