black-legged tick

Every rose has its thorn — and its tick

A new study in Parasites & Vectors finds ticks in urban parks dominated by an invasive rose bush are nearly twice as likely to be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, as compared to ticks from uninvaded forest fragments. But the trend reverses itself at a broader scale.

New life for endangered coastal lupine

A rare, coastal flowering plant known as Tidestrom’s lupine — threatened by native deer mice that can munch up to three-quarters of its unripe fruits under cover of an invasive beachgrass — has been given a new life with the large-scale removal of that grass, a long-term study in the journal Restoration Ecology shows.
Jenny Liu photo

Liu wins Stalker Award

Jenny Liu has been selected to receive the 2016 Harrison D. Stalker Award from the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. The award is recognizes students whose undergraduate careers combine outstanding scientific scholarship with significant contributions in the arts and humanities.

Jaspan wins Spector Prize

The Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences has awarded this year’s Spector Prize to Vita Jaspan. The annual award recognizes academic excellence and outstanding undergraduate achievement in research.
Shyam Akula photo

Akula wins inaugural Quatrano Prize

The Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences has selected Shyam Akula as the inaugural recipient of the Quatrano Prize, which will be awarded annually for the most creative biology thesis project.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Seventy generations of bacteria

As scientists look for replacements for our dwindling stock of antibiotics, the evolution of resistance is never far from their minds. Washington University in St. Louis biologist R. Fredrik Inglis explored the ability of bacteria to become resistant to a toxin called a bacteriocin by growing them for many generations in the presence of the toxin.
Bees in a honeycomb

The secret life of bee genes

Genes inherited from mothers (matrigenes) and fathers (patrigenes) usually work harmoniously in the offspring. However, kin selection theory predicts these genes may be in conflict in interactions among relatives in which they are unequally represented (half-siblings). In honey bees, patrigenes are predicted to favor daughters that lay eggs themselves rather than remaining sterile and rearing their half-sisters’ offspring. An experimental test bears out this prediction.

Bose named Packard Fellow

Arpita Bose, PhD, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named a Packard Fellow, a prestigious distinction awarded to only 18 top young researchers nationwide this year. Bose plans to use the grant to work with unusual microbes that can take electrons directly from an outside source to draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide or make sustainable biofuels.
man works with plants in greenhouse

Washington People: Mike Dyer

Mike Dyer, supervisor of the greenhouse on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, has the job many of us probably wish we had —  but only because we think he spends the day pottering around watering plants. Instead, his job requires everything from the mechanical and engineering skills needed to suppress the greenhouse’s voracious appetite for energy; extensive knowledge of insects; and the ability to grow any plant he is handed under the conditions specified. It’s not exactly relaxing, but he enjoys it that way.

WashU Expert: Brace yourself, it’s fall-back time again

Falling back is easier on us than springing forward, says Erik Herzog, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis who has devoted his career to studying body clocks and circadian rhythms. But it is never a good idea to force our body clocks to follow abrupt changes in mechanical clocks. We should get rid of daylight savings time, Herzog says.
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