Efforts to grow neurons from schizophrenia patients, surprising facts about the latest E. coli outbreaks and reindeer's UV-seeing ability are among the issues addressed in the Advances section of Scientific American's August issue. For readers interested in learning more about any of these developments, a selected list of further resources follows below.
"Mental Illness in a Dish"
"Modeling schizophrenia using human-induced pluripotent stem cells," by Kristen J. Brennand and colleagues, describes their schizophrenia neuron-growing experiment. The paper was published May 12 in Nature.
"Induction of human neuronal cells by defined transcription factors," published on Nature's web site on May 26 by Zhiping P. Pang and colleagues, describes their success at turning human skin cells directly into neurons.
The March 2011 issue of Scientific American covered other efforts at modeling diseases in cells gathered from people suffering from the disease being studied: "Diseases in a Dish: Stem Cells for Drug Discovery."
"A Skill Better than Rudolph's"
Glen Jeffery, Christopher Hogg and their colleagues wrote about how reindeer eyes process UV light in "Arctic reindeer extend their visual range into the ultraviolet," published June 15 in The Journal of Experimental Biology.
To learn more about evolutionary roots of UV vision—and why it disappeared in many organisms—check out this 2003 paper, "Molecular analysis of the evolutionary significance of ultraviolet vision in vertebrates," published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Ageless. No Plastic Surgery Required"
Søren Meibom wrote about some of his research on measuring stars' ages by their rotations in "The Kepler Cluster Study: Stellar Rotation in NGC6811" and in "Chandra Observations of the Well-Studied 180 Myr Old Open Cluster M35." He presented both papers at the American Astronomical Society's meeting in May.
"Parsing the Twitterverse"
The AAAI-11 Workshop on Analyzing Microtext web site lists the titles of papers that will be presented August 8 at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence's annual meeting.
Check out some interesting ways people are trying to use the natural language processing of Twitter for responding to natural disasters and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and for finding how people feel about an item or topic (You can try running your own searches at this last link).
"Anatomy of an Outbreak"
In "Chikungunya virus emergence is constrained in Asia by lineage-specific adaptive landscapes," Konstantin A. Tsetsarkin, Scott C. Weaver and their colleagues wrote about how one strain of the Chikungunya virus has adapted and spread. The paper was published May 10 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.