Breaking Down Silos to Stop COVID-19

Scientists across the country are focused on stopping, treating and developing a vaccine against COVID-19. For those things to happen, the science must go on. But how can researchers collaborate at a time when labs are shutting down and there are restrictions on meeting face-to-face? Researchers at the University of Utah’s Immunology, Inflammation & Infectious Disease (3i) Initiative decided to go virtual — with surprising results.

Plotting the Course for Systematic Biology

Systematic biologists study and classify the diversity of life on earth. What they do is at the heart of evolutionary biology and, some would argue, biology as a whole. The Society of Systematic Biologists met January 3-6, 2020 at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Their conference, SSB 2020: Systematics in the Swamp, included a KI facilitated workshop to plot a course for the field for the coming decade.

Remodeling the House of Science

Today’s young scientists are under enormous pressure. Setting up new labs, teaching courses for the first time and conducting publication-worthy research all at the same time can take it’s toll. But, some young researchers are learning about — and putting into practice — collective leadership, which they hope will lead to a much-needed institutional makeover for science.

Resolving the Tree of Life

Scientists have long used physical traits to shed light on evolutionary relationships. Sometimes this has worked, like using lactation to group mammals. And, sometimes, it hasn’t: people once thought bats were featherless birds! Today, evolutionary biologists rely more heavily on molecular-based phylogenies to resolve relatedness. But, what they haven’t been able to do is address big picture questions about how observable traits (phenotypes) evolve across higher taxa. 

Biology’s Jupitershots

The Reintegrating Biology workshop series uses KI’s methods of deliberate creativity to identify new research questions that could be addressed by combining approaches and perspectives from different subdisciplines of biology, the key challenges and scientific gaps that must be addressed to answer these questions, and the physical infrastructure and workforce training needed.

Managing Shifting Marine Species

Our love affair with the ocean runs deep. Humans love to live next to the sea, honeymoon on islands and dream about summer road trips to the beach while tapping away at our keyboards. During lobster and crab season, we enjoy the food, community and culture of the Northeast U.S. Likewise, we celebrate shrimp and red snapper seasons on the Gulf Coast and halibut and salmon seasons in the Pacific Northwest. But, what if those seasons change or don’t come at all?

How to Catch a Glimpse of Dark Matter

Scientists think that about 25 percent of our universe is made up of stuff you can’t see or feel. They’ve named this non-luminescent mystery material dark matter. Some think dark matter is hot (HDM) while others think its cold (CDM). And, yes, some say – you guessed it – warm (WDM). The cold theory has the most support to date. But, even within camp CDM, physicists don’t agree on what it’s made of. It could be made of WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). Or, appropriately enough, MACHOs. (We’re not making this up!)