Cutting-edge science at IU

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 »

A moving target: How reliable are dementia assessments?

“We’re going to do a few tests to see whether your mother is showing typical signs of dementia.” The word conjures chilling images of loved ones’ lives reduced to confusion and fear as memories and independence slip away. While loss of physical independence is unfortunate, it can be more devastating to lose a loved one’s… Read more »

Single Molecule Magnets: The Data Storage of the Future

USB drive and hard disk drive are shown.

The storage capability of hard drives has been increasing exponentially over the past 60 years. The IBM 350 RAMAC disk released in 1956 was able to store 2000 bits (a unit used to measure storage ability) of information per square inch. In 2014, Seagate Technology released a hard drive that could store 1 billion bits… Read more »

For a hybrid species of ribbon worm, it only takes one to tango

Along the eastern Atlantic coasts of France, at some point in the last 100,000 years, two ribbon worms of different species engaged in worm intercourse (do not fear, I will not discuss the mechanics here). The two species were Lineus sanguineus and L. lacteus. Interspecies sex is uncommon in itself, but what’s especially surprising in this case… Read more »

The Social Lives of Bacteria

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human.” —- Aristotle This famous quote by Aristotle gets at the heart of what is considered the most human quality – being social. However, biologists have long known that ‘social behaviors’… Read more »

Branching Out with Interdisciplinary Science

A theoretical chemist and a biochemist walk into a bar.  They both speak the same language, yet it’s difficult for them to have a conversation about each other’s research.  They’re both intelligent, educated scientists who have at least a basic understanding of the other’s field, so what’s the problem? The first post from the ScIU… Read more »