Featured image: HeLa cells, all derived from one human, being imaged with fluorescence. Proteins tagged with light-sensitive tails travel through the cell. (courtesy NIH)
This week, I’m happy to have interviewed Lian Zhu, a Princeton PhD candidate in Chemical and Biological Engineering. Her fascinating research on the cell’s nucleolus will bring us through the science of RNA creation and how cell parts can exist without membranes. She’ll explain how light can engineer cellular dynamics, and how she’s used this optogenetics technique to stiffen or loosen various proteins inside the cell nucleus–a feat which mimics the cell’s own formation and dissociation of globs inside the nucleus. Track proteins and affect their motion with light: it’s a hands-on way to look inside the cell! Her interview starts an hour into the track above.
As an added bonus, Lian shared this video of cells inside a worm egg dividing until they form a multicellular animal – and she’s seen this happen under a microscope with her own eyes.
Preceding the main interview (0:40 on the recording), Harrison Blackman covers the rust-red Blood Falls, an Antarctic glacier whose bacteria produced a horror-movie set. Afterwards, we share science news about space telescopes and craters on Earth, and the whole show features music from all over the Middle East for flavor. Enjoy!
- The crater that ended the dinosaurs’ reign is under study, and granite is way closer to the surface than expected–is it a sign of lava flows during asteroid impact?
- The James Webb Space Telescope is built and ready for launch in 2018, finally ready to peer into new galaxies beyond the capabilities of Hubble.
- A lake under Mars’ surface could be easily accessible standing water for us to investigate, and we only found it recently with orbiter radar!
- Science poetry: Lian shared this engaging piece on air, and it turns out lots of scientists throughout history have been writing poems to share their research.