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Biological sciences

Fall 2008

Why do good eggs go bad?

In 2004, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York produced a line of mice with an intriguing mutation. The mice make a defective form of a protein called SMC1beta that binds to chromosomes during the crossing-over stage. Pat Hunt and Terry Hassold, on the lookout for anything that might be involved in damage to chromosomes in the eggs of older women, recognized a hot prospect.

SMC1beta is part of a complex, or cluster, of four proteins called cohesins. The complex holds the two strands of each chromosome together while they break and recombine with the strands of their partner chromosome. Hunt and … » More …

Winter 2013

The Beguiling Science of Bodies in Motion

Despite its many mysteries, biomechanics serves up surprises about strained muscles and bones broken and mended.

Earlier this year, at the ripe age of 38, Bernard “Kip” Lagat ’01 became the fastest American ever to run two miles indoors. It was a feat of both speed and longevity, helped in large part by a fluid, seemingly effortless running form the New Yorker describes as “perfect.”

It was not always so. In fact, Lagat’s performance, as well as two Olympic medals and several other American records, may never have taken place without the long tutelage of James Li MS ’87 MS, ’93 PhD, who recruited … » More …

Fall 2012

Life Histories: The Butterflies of Cascadia

A glorious sunny day in April after a long cool spring, it is Earth Day in Cowiche Canyon near Yakima, and the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy is hosting an educational field day. Scores of people armed with water bottles and binoculars are ambling down the trail toward presentations on birds, salmon, and geology as well as butterflies. Executive director Betsy Bloomfield fills me in on the conservancy’s endeavors as she guides me downstream to a station manned by David James.

James, a research entomologist at the Irrigated Tree Fruit Research Center in Prosser, has with coauthor David Nunnallee published Life Histories of Cascadia Butterflies (Oregon State … » More …

Bees in beehive
Summer 2012

Video: How to inseminate honey bee queens

Sue Cobey, a bee breeder who splits her time between Washington State University and the University of California at Davis, where she manages the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, describes instrumental insemination of honey bee queens.

Cobey developed the New World Carniolan honey bee stock in the 1980s, and is one of the world’s top experts on honey bee queens, genetic diversity, and inseminating bees.

Cover of Dog Days Raven Nights
Summer 2012

Dog Days, Raven Nights

dog days raven nights

John and Colleen Marzluff, illustrated by Evon Zerbetz ’82
Yale University Press, 2011

Using field notes, personal diaries, and beautiful linocuts by Evon Zerbetz ’82, the Marzluffs chronicle their three-year endeavor to research the common raven, while raising and training sled dogs to help them with their work in Maine. Zerbetz is an artist in Ketchikan, Alaska, and illustrator of six books for children and young adults.

Illustration ... <a href=» More …

Achilles tang
Summer 2012

Managing Nemo

The island of Hawaii, lest it be confused with the state of Hawaii, is often referred to as the Big Island. In fact, it is the biggest of the Hawaiian Islands. But in many ways, it is like a small town, as Brian Tissot has once again realized upon returning earlier this year.

On short notice, he has scheduled a talk in the Kealakehe High School Library in Kailua-Kona, the largest town on the island’s west coast, also known as West Hawaii. And in the days leading up to the talk, most everyone he meets has heard he will be speaking. Even an old acquaintance … » More …