Eat Your Heart Out: Growing Heart Tissue on Spinach Leaves

Apr 21, 2017

By Allyson Roberts Regenerative medicine is one of the hottest topics in biomedical science right now. Multiple labs are using inventive approaches to try and find ways to create body parts in the lab. In the United States alone, there are over 120,000 people currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and an […]

One potato, Two potatoes, Three potatoes, Four!

Apr 06, 2017

By Kelsey Gray As the days get longer, the air gets warmer, and the sun shines brighter, we may begin to notice fresh fruits and vegetables growing around us and appearing in local grocery stores and markets. Food crops, including grains, fruits, and vegetables, are harvested to feed the growing world population of over 7 […]

Hatching a Chick: No Egg Needed

Mar 23, 2017

By Michelle Engle Scientists have been attempting to find a way to directly observe the developmental process of chicks for decades. The elegant process of developing from a single fertilized cell into a cluster of heart cells, and eventually into a tiny peeping chick is fascinating, but the eggshell has kept this process hidden from […]

Sugar, spice, and everything nice: science in the kitchen

Mar 21, 2017,_banana,_cayenne,_chili,_and_habanero_peppers.jpg

By Mike Pablo Whether or not you know what to do with a stove, you need to eat. And, while food doesn’t have to taste good to be eaten, it certainly is nice if it does. As someone who enjoys eating, cooking, and science, today, I’m merging them all together! I hope I can convince […]

Your ancestors had better teeth than you do, so go brush your teeth

Mar 15, 2017 microbiome

By Lauriel Earley If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you’ll know that most of your time there is spent having plaque cleaned off your teeth. Have you ever given much thought as to what plaque is? If not, then be prepared to be a little grossed out. Plaque is a ‘biofilm’, which means it’s […]

Can we teach our body to recognize cancer?

Mar 02, 2017

By Christina Marvin Immunotherapy is an entirely new way of thinking about cancer treatment. Traditional therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation aim to target and destroy tumors. Often times, tumor targeting is poor or the treatments damage other parts of the body. Immunotherapy, on the other hand, teaches our body’s natural defenses (the immune […]

Why does the “Bench-To-Bedside” path progress so slowly?

Feb 27, 2017

By Yitong Li One of the biggest funding agencies in the United States, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends about $32 billion every year to support scientific research that contributes to the wellbeing of Americans. If you consider the annual household income in US (~$55k), the NIH budget is equivalent to the total annual […]

From the Heart

Feb 16, 2017

By Kelsey Gray Hearts have long been associated with the month of February. Hallmark Cards began producing Valentine’s Day cards featuring the heart in the early 1900s. The first American Heart Month was declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson and took place in February 1964. In 2003, the first National Wear Red Day was held […]

Dive Into the Mysterious World of Sharks

Feb 09, 2017

By Michelle Engle In the past few months, scientists have made some amazing discoveries about sharks. Let’s dive into the new research and what it means for sharks and scientists. In August 2016, a group of Danish scientists published a report in Science that radiocarbon dating had allowed them to investigate the lifespan of the […]

Seeing the Unseeable

Jan 27, 2017

By Mike Pablo Today I’m writing about microscopy. One of the great pleasures of the field of microscopy is being able to look at cool pictures, so let’s do that first: Microscopes are among the most iconic symbols of science, alongside other famous images like DNA, test tubes, and the atom. Though magnification devices had […]

The Bacterial Life inside your Breakfast

Jan 19, 2017

By Christina Marvin Yogurt is a yummy treat, but did you know that one of the main ingredients is live bacteria? Is it dangerous to eat bacteria? Don’t worry, yogurt contains only good kinds of bacteria, not the ones that make you sick. In fact, many bacterial species used in yogurt actually help your digestive […]

AUTISM- Always Unique Totally Interesting Sometimes Mysterious

Jan 17, 2017

By Yitong Li When it comes to autism, many people tend to picture a somewhat non-responsive kid absorbed in arranging puzzles in a particular way. However, autism is far more than that. Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the name assigned to a group of complex disorders that affect brain development. Some common symptoms […]

It’s About Time

Jan 05, 2017 The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

By Kelsey Gray The start of a new year often brings both reflection and anticipation. We think about how we spent our time in the past and how we would like to spend our time in the future. We spend time thinking about time, but what do we know about the nature of time itself? […]

How Did Rudolph Get His Red Nose?: A Scientific Investigation

Dec 15, 2016 Rudolph, in his native habitat

By Michelle Engle Some non-believers among you may say that Rudolph is nothing more than a fairy tale, that it’s impossible for a reindeer to have a glowing red nose. To those of you, I have this to say: it’s not magic, it’s science! Allow me to present evidence to support my hypothesis. Fluorescent, or […]

Coffee Science

Dec 09, 2016 From Wikipedia Commons/Julius Schorzman

By Sarah Marks It’s the end of the semester, which means a slew of project deadlines and exams. To get through it all, many of us reach for one beverage, coffee. Coffee is complex. Beyond the most well-known component, caffeine, which gets most of us through our early morning grogginess, coffee beans contain acids that […]

Ancient virus genes make male mice extra muscular

Dec 05, 2016 Mice with (+/+) and without (-/-) syncytin. The male mice without sycintin weigh18% less than those with sycytin.

By Lauriel Earley You’ve probably already heard that you may have more bacterial cells than human cells in your body*, but did you know that you’re also part virus? About 5-8% of your genome is from viruses that integrated into the DNA of your ancestors. These pieces of virus that are in your genome are called […]

Standing on the shoulders of giant robots

Nov 17, 2016 I bet you'd call this guy a robot, though. From the Iron Giant wiki.

By Mike Pablo Today we have computers and technology all around us. While humanoid robotic helpers are still off in the future, I could define a robot as a machine that people can program or control to do useful tasks. In this sense, robots, already exist in useful forms, such as household appliances and cars. […]

Maple Trees vs. Winter: How Trees Survive and Thrive Again

Nov 12, 2016 maples1

By Christina Marvin What do you imagine when you hear people describe spending time on rural mountainsides? Country landscapes often bring to mind scenes of seemingly endless trees stretched out over mountaintops and across plains. North Carolina in particular is home to a variety of different trees, one of which is the beautiful and resilient […]

Artistic science or Scientific art?

Nov 03, 2016 From brainpickings by Maria Popova

By Kelsey Gray If you were to play a word-association game and make lists of the words that go with science and the words that go with art, what would those lists look like? Would the lists have much overlap? Or would each list be distinct? What would you have included on each list? I […]

Genes and Giants in Ireland

Oct 27, 2016 Charles Byrne, “the Irish Giant”

By Michelle Engle Genetics is usually advertised as a science that impacts the future – the future of healthcare, the future of cancer therapy, etc. But it’s also the biological science that most closely links us to the past, through the DNA passed down from our ancestors. In Ireland, where the past is filled with […]

Ambassador Spotlight: Kelsey Gray

Oct 24, 2016 kg_lab

By Temperance Rowell Kelsey Gray is a graduate student in the curriculum of Genetics and Molecular Biology at UNC Chapel Hill where she works in the laboratory of Greg Matera. There she studies the disease spinal muscular atrophy, which is similar to the well-known disease ALS, but mainly affects children rather than adults. Even though […]

Molecular Machines – 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Oct 21, 2016 Photo credit - Tim Ereneta

By Sarah Marks For me, one of the most exciting times of the year is in early October, and it’s not just because I love fall leaves, brisk weather, and pumpkin spice lattes.  October is when science gets its time in the sun, with the Nobel Prize announcements.  A legacy of Alfred Nobel, Nobel Prizes […]

The tiny creatures that evolve with our beer industry

Oct 14, 2016 Microscopic view of ale yeast used in beer production. - From brewdaddy

By Yitong Li What comes to your mind when you think of evolution? Giant dinosaurs with sharp fangs and powerful claws? Or giraffes stretching their necks to reach the leaves at the top of a tree? Or Charles Darwin the British gentleman with a long, dense beard? For a group of scientists in Belgium, evolution […]

Epigenetics – more than what you’re born with

Oct 06, 2016 Nature vs. nurture: characteristics you’re born with versus characteristics you learn?
From “Psychology Flipped!”

By Mike Pablo It’s well-known that children can inherit features from their parents. Eye color, hair color, and height are just some characteristics that can be passed down from parent to child. If you’ve had a class on DNA, you’ve likely heard about Mendelian inheritance, originally proposed in 1865 by Gregor Johann Mendel. Mendelian inheritance is […]

How to Recognize Bad Science

Sep 29, 2016 Source: Compound Science

By Lauriel Earley Using the internet gives you access to a wealth of information, but sometimes it’s too much! How do you recognize the good information from the junk information? How do you know if the article you’re reading is true? How do you know if someone is trying to trick you? Now that Tamara […]

DNA: an eyewitness to crime

Sep 22, 2016 Our DNA contains all of the genetic information needed to determine our physical traits such as hair and eye color. DNA phenotyping is a technique that can decode the genetic information in DNA, and use it to engineer an image of an individual’s physical traits.

By Christina Marvin Crime dramas such as NCIS and Law and Order engross us with images of law enforcement blasting down city streets in pursuit of suspects, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Bringing criminals to justice often relies on the prompt ability to secure a crime scene and interview suspects. But what happens when criminals get away […]

Wading through the Shallows: Finding Accurate, In-depth Science Coverage in a Sea of Information

Sep 16, 2016

By Tamara Vital Scientists communicate their findings to one another through the primary literature: papers that describe their work and are reviewed by other scientists in the field before being published in scientific journals. When I first started reading scientific papers as a young college student, I enjoyed the science, but wondered how the papers […]

Buzz Like a Bee

Sep 09, 2016 Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

By Kelsey Gray Edited by Mike Pablo and Anna Chiarella Communication is essential for surviving and thriving in our daily lives. We communicate with others all the time. Maybe you enjoy talking about books, shopping, writing, video games, traveling? Perhaps you prefer topics such as exercise, studying, sports, relationships, or other hobbies? Regardless of your […]

Gearing up all the way to the hair!

Sep 01, 2016 Close-up of a bumblebee head showing antennae and mechanosensory hairs.
Photograph: Gregory Sutton/Dom Clarke/Erica Morley/Daniel Robert

By Yitong Li It’s a given that most animals use their eyes and nose to forage, but did you know that some creatures can use electric fields to find food as well? The example we are gonna talk about today is the bumblebee. Interestingly, in addition to the visual and olfactory cues, bumblebees can also […]

The Ice Bucket Challenge: Community Involvement Fuels Scientific Breakthroughs

Aug 25, 2016 ALS Association

By Michelle Engle Edited by Tamara Vital and Christina Marvin Remember when everyone was dumping buckets of ice water over their heads “in the name of science”? Did you ever wonder what happened after that? When the ALS Ice Bucket challenge went viral in the summer of 2014, everyone from elementary school students to celebrities […]

Siamese Cat Science!

Aug 18, 2016

By Sarah Marks Edited by Kelsey Gray and Sam Stadmiller The internet is full of cats. They’re cute, they’re aloof, and apparently really bad at spelling. Some of the most recognizable cats on the internet, after Grumpy Cat, are Siamese cats. Their distinct coloring (dark ears, face, feet, and tail on a pale body), called point coloration, […]

Getting Going: The Importance of Making Mistakes

Aug 11, 2016

Written by: Mike Pablo Editors: Temperance Rowell and Anna Chiarella Hello and welcome to the DNA Day CONNECT blog! The members of the CONNECT team intend to use this blog as a way to further connect students and teachers with scientists and their work. Each week, a scientist at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill […]

DNA Day 2016:  Taking Science from the Lab to the Classroom

Apr 28, 2016 DNA Day 1 - Copy

Written by Julia DiFiore Edited by Kelsey Gray and Amanda Raimer   On April 25, 2016 over 100 scientists from UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, NC State, NIEHS, UNC Charlotte, and Wake Forest traveled to over 200 North Carolina high school classrooms armed with DNA extraction kits and interactive lessons, sharing their enthusiasm for science with […]


Mar 31, 2016 12291201_833661910075671_8474675322739393786_o

Temperance is a graduate student in the department of cell biology and physiology at UNC Chapel Hill. She works in the lab of Rob Tarran, characterizing the effects of increasingly popular flavored e-cigarette products on lung epithelia.     Temperance has always been captivated by science, especially anatomy and physiology. “For me, it’s all about […]

What is DNA Day?

Dec 10, 2010 Students from Martin's Creek participate in DNA Day.

North Carolina DNA Day is a unique day where students, teachers, and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics! It was created to commemorate the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 and the anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s double helical structure by Watson and Crick. Each year, over 100 Scientist […]