How Quarantine Has Turned Us Into Gardeners of Our Bodies’ Ancient Microbial Wilderness

As We Separate to Avoid a Virus, We Are Becoming Islands of Social Bacteria, Fungi, and Even Mites 

We may feel isolated now, in our homes, or apart in parks, or behind plexiglass shields in stores. But we are never alone. I’ve spent much of the last 20 years studying the many species with which we live: thousands of them, perhaps hundreds of thousands, including fungi, bacteria on our skin and in our guts, and animals ranging from the several species of Demodex mites that live in our pores to the spiders that ride with us from home to home.

In ordinary times, no person is an island. …

An Intimate Portrait of a Coronavirus | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

An Intimate Portrait of a Coronavirus

Biologist David Goodsell Uses Watercolors to Explore Viruses and Cells Molecule by Molecule

Humans have probably always known about what viruses can do: throughout the ages, people have endured the familiar sniffles of a cold, the tell-tale rashes of measles, the occasional devastation …

What One New England Tree Can Tell Us About the Earth’s Future

By Studying a Single Massachusetts Oak, I Recorded How Climate Change Is Confusing Nature

Trees are up to more than we think. Belying their image as mute, unmoving, and solitary, trees are not just standing there. They move. Breathe. Communicate. Politically astute and nimbly …

Why Fruit Flies Are the New Lab Rats

These Quick-Breeding Insects Have Similar Genetic Cellular Functions as Humans

Set out a bowl of fruit, and they will arrive: small, buff-colored flies with garnet eyes and an attraction to fermenting bananas. Annoying but not harmful, they are easy to …

Why Scurvy Is Still a Snake in Our Nutritional Lost Paradise

To Absolve Mankind’s Genetic Original Sin, Drink Your Orange Juice

At some time in the evolution of the human organism, the gene that had allowed the body to synthesize vitamin C mutated, and the liver enzyme responsible for the synthesis …

Why Groundhog Day Now Elevates Science Over Superstition

For a UCLA Biologist, Celebrating the Lowly Marmot Could Shed Light on Global Warming

I am a scientist who loves Groundhog Day, that least scientific of holidays. Every February, as Punxsutawney Phil shakes the dust off his coat, emerges from his burrow, glances …