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Stories by Christina Agapakis

Some Uses of Bacteria

Some Uses of Bacteria

Bacteria are very in these days—in probiotic drinks, in news articles, and in scientific research about the connections between healthy microbes and healthy bodies.

September 14, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Growing the Future of Meat

Yesterday somebody ate a $375,000 hamburger and we were promised a future of cruelty-free meat grown in a petri dish rather than in an animal.

August 6, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Growing the Future of Meat

Yesterday somebody ate a $375,000 hamburger and we were promised a future of cruelty-free meat grown in a petri dish rather than in an animal. Mark Post and his team of tissue engineers funded by Google's Sergey Brin made the 5 ounce hamburger patty by assembling 20,000 tiny bits of beef muscle grown in the lab...

August 6, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Feynman on Biology

Richard Feynman was a brilliant, bongo-playing, lock-picking, eminently quotable physicist. His quips, on anything from the pleasure of findings things out to the key to science to how fire works are standard fare for science fans...

July 27, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Calling all iGEM teams!

It's officially summer and that means around the world students are starting to design their synthetic biology projects for this year's iGEM competition!

July 6, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Are plants "actually doing maths"?

Can plants do math? That is the assertion of a new paper published in the journal eLife this week titled "Arabidopsis plants perform arithmetic division to prevent starvation at night." The plants in question aren't spitting out numerical answers to word problems on their leaves, but doing normal plant stuff: using energy stored as starch at different rates depending on environmental conditions...

June 28, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Creation and Synthetic Biology: Book Review

What is the origin of life on Earth? What is the future of life in the age of synthetic biology? These are two of the biggest questions of contemporary biology, and the questions that drive Adam Rutherford's new book, Creation: How Science is Reinventing Life Itself , a compelling and accessible two-part look through the history and future of living cells...

June 12, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Glowing Futures

Back in 2010 I was a teaching fellow for a group of undergraduates competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM) with a project on "personalized" genetic engineering of plants...

June 3, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

A Beautiful Fungus Graveyard

Last month's UCLA-Leonardo Art|Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) included a fabulous lightning talk from Seri Robinson, a professor of wood anatomy at Oregon State University and a wood artist...

May 20, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Petroleum Replicas

The language of innovation often stresses disruption--eliminating inefficient industries and replacing them with more streamlined, technologically advanced versions.

April 30, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

"What if I told you I was a genetically modified human?"

Megan Daalder's Project Eureka is a shape-shifting and multidimensional narrative about life, science, and technology after the end of the world. At her work-in-progress exhibition at the UCLA Art|Science gallery, which opened this week, she invites us to visit Eureka's future, set in the year 2050...

April 27, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

The Structure of Industrial Revolutions

This post originally appeared on the brand new Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc) Blog. Check it out for other new posts by Jay Keasling and Linda Kahl on intellectual property law and synthetic biology...

April 22, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Soil Inspired Cuisine

I'm fascinated by the biology of soil and the history of "dirtiness"--where dirt and bacteria are allowed to be and where we must clean them away. Mary Douglas defines dirt in her classic book Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo as "matter out of place": [Dirt] is a relative idea...

April 15, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Synthetic Biology News Roundup

There's been a lot of interesting papers out this month in synthetic biology. Here's a quick roundup of some news and research: Oliver Wright, Guy-Bart Stan and Tom Ellis.

March 29, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Synthetic Classification: The Evolution of Imaginary Animals

Darwin's sketch of an evolutionary tree under the heading "I think" is a powerful and enduring image of his theory evolution by natural selection. Phylogenetic trees--branching diagrams that show the relationships between organisms and their evolution from a common ancestor--are now a standard image in biology texts used to situate an organism in biological space and time...

March 27, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Identity Theft: Nature and Nurture in Art and Science

Art and science address the question of what makes us who we are in different, difficult, often contradictory ways. Since the phrase "nature and nurture" was first used in the late 19th century, trying to separate the contributions of inborn heredity and external environment to our unique individuality, there have been people who argue for the supremacy of our genome, epigenome, connectome, our individual historical moment and social milieux, or all of the above...

March 12, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

The Taxonomy of Wonder

Wonder and amazement at the natural world inspire many blog posts, projects, and even careers in science, but it's rare that you'll see wonder break through the soul-crushing passive voice of the scientific literature...

March 1, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

Bacteriophone: Microbial Wallpapers

I take a lot of photos of bacteria on my phone, and sometimes I use those pictures as my phone's wallpaper. These photos are meta-phone bacteria wallpapers: photographs of bacteria that I collected off the surface of my phone (h/t to Nick for the microbial inspiration)...

February 19, 2013 — Christina Agapakis
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