For some, science is more than a lifelong passion or a suitable career path: it’s the difference between life and death. Carrie Lazarre, a Tompkins County resident who has been suffering from stage IV colon cancer for the past decade, says that sustained colon cancer research has been crucial in keeping her alive all these years. Along with hundreds of others, Lazarre chose to participate in the March for Science at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on Ithaca Commons on April 22 to showcase the importance of science for everyday Americans. The march was part of a larger endeavor across the United States and the world to stand up for science research, funding and policy. The main event, which attracted approximately 40,000 people, took place in Washington D.C., with satellite marches in around 500 locations across the United States.
Some of the country’s smartest minds are coming together, but this time for much more than a science conference. On April 22, some Cornell professors and students will be joining thousands of their counterparts at the March for Science in Washington D.C. The march is intended to demonstrate support for scientific research and evidence based policy-making, something that many scientists believe is clearly lacking in the current administration. President Trump’s proposed 2017 budget laid out the administration’s priorities and science is not one of them. The plan included a 31 percent budget cut for the Environmental Protection Agency, a 18 percent cut for the National Institutes of Health and a small decrease in funding for NASA. These dramatic cuts could negatively affect human and environmental health as well as ongoing scientific research.
What is science’s role in policy-making? Why are scientifically validated policies sometimes rejected by the public? These were some of the questions that Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 hoped to address at an event organized by Cornell Advancing Science And Policy on April 12. The goal of the event, ‘Take a Politician to Work Day,’ was to encourage dialogue between scientists and politicians in order to help both groups understand how they could collaborate to craft public policy. Post a tour of the research facilities at Cornell, Myrick hosted a public forum on the topic.
What do cells talk about? Years of research have shown us that cells secrete and receive chemical substances to interact with each other. Clearly chemicals play a major role in cell communication, but is there more to the language of cells? Prof. Mingming Wu, biological and environmental engineering, and her colleagues research ways in which cells use their physical environment to communicate with each other. Specifically, cells placed in a matrix of microscopic fibers interact with these fibers to send out signals.
Predictions of the likely effects of climate change are plentiful in scientific journals. Warnings of smog-engulfed cities, rising precipitation levels and the resultant changing landscape of diseases already seem to be realities in parts of the world. While the causes of such rapid change may be clear, one Cornell researcher believes that there is another avenue left to explore: the effect that human illnesses have on the environment. “A lot of the ways that we’ve thought about this in the past is by considering how the environment affects our health. In this study we examine the other side: how our health might affect the environment.
Members of the Cornell Senior Leaders Climate Action Group held a public forum Tuesday, explaining how they intended to build upon the University’s existing Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 while fielding questions from curious and concerned citizens. The majority of the 90 minute event focused on open discussion. A panel of Cornell scientists, administrators, faculty and deans aimed to reassure the local community that shifting towards renewable energy sources would leave an overwhelmingly positive impact on the town, although the panel still pointed out some minor issues they intended to address. SLCAG formed in 2015 as a way to consider ways to address various climate issues, including increasing carbon dioxide emissions. In March 2016, Provost Michael Kotlikoff asked SLCAG to provide the University with ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the intention of pursuing multiple alternative energy avenues.
Most burgers have their meat brought from slaughterhouses. Tasty though they may be, all forms of meat start off as a handful of cells. Flipping through your favorite restaurant’s menu, would you order a burger that contains chicken grown from a few cells in the lab? Briana Cameron ’13 and her team at the Good Food Institute, certainly hope so. The Good Food Institute is a nonprofit that is harnessing the power of markets and technology to end factory farming and its negative effects.
Imagine waking up and opening the tap to muddy water. According to the World Health Organization, that is the predicament that 1.8 billion people worldwide find themselves in. Often water treatment plants are expensive and require too much energy to run. A team at Cornell hopes to change that. Pristine, crystal clear water is a luxury, AguaClara hopes to make it a right.
Cornell is a gold mine of fantastic gardens, beautiful foliage and abundant flora. In just the five-minute walk from Mann Library to Rockefeller Hall, one can see trees of all sizes and a wide variety of flowers. With colorful flower blossoms in spring and large full trees in summer, the valley, campus walkways and gardens are scenic masterpieces for much of the year. But there is much more to these shrubs, leaves or grasses than meets the eye. Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Diabetes are all debilitating diseases.
Studies in evolutionary biology tell us that all living organisms originated from a common ancestor, yet lifespans vary greatly. Clearly, something in the genome accounts for such stark differences; the question is what? Why do we live as long as we do? Why do our bodies break down as we age? On March 6, Prof. Vadim Gladyshev, medicine, Harvard, led a seminar at Cornell titled “Mechanisms of Aging and Redox Control” that attempted to answer some of these questions.