Science Digest

NYC street tree with guard

In a new study, Columbia researchers find that street trees with protective guards soaked up runoff water six times faster than trees without guards. (Lizzie Adkins, Columbia University)

Adding Protective Barriers Around Street Trees Could Reduce Load on City Sewers

In a new study in Science, researchers predict a rising number of asylum seekers to the European Union as global temperatures increase.
Tufa Dinku, a researcher at Columbia University's International Research Institute for Climate and Society, is working to fill Africa's climate-data gaps by combining satellite measurements with sparse on-the-ground weather-station data. Improved weather and climate forecasts can help farmers and epidemiologists increase crop yields and limit the spread of malaria and other infectious diseases.

Saturated fatty acids build lipids that form ‘frozen islands’ (blue) in cell membrane (green).

Columbia researchers developed a new microscopy technique that allows for the direct tracking of fatty acids after they’ve been absorbed into living cells. What the researchers found could have significant impact on both the understanding and treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
New technology adapted to cheap DNA sequencers can rapidly identify people and cells from their DNA.

New technology adapted to cheap DNA sequencers can rapidly identify people and cells from their DNA. Here, researcher Sophie Zaaijer demonstrates from a NYC rooftop how easy DNA-authentication can be.

Researchers have developed a method to quickly and accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA. The technology, described in the latest issue of eLife, has a wide range of applications, but its most immediate use could be to flag mislabeled or contaminated cell lines in cancer experiments.

Biofilms are multicellular communities formed by densely-packed microbes that are often associated with persistent infections. Steep gradients of nutrients and oxygen form in these crowded structures. The human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa produces molecules called phenazines that help it to cope with the oxygen-limited conditions within biofilms. Columbia researchers have uncovered new roles for proteins of the electron transport chain that implicate them in utilization of phenazines. Illustration by Nicoletta Barolini.

Columbia University biologists have revealed a mechanism by which bacterial cells in crowded, oxygen-deprived environments access oxygen for energy production, ensuring survival of the cell. The finding could explain how some bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P.

In Matteo Farinella's rendering of the brain, a forest of neurons spread their branches to the sky and a bright Milky Way of neurons shine down upon them. (Image courtesy of Farinella)

A neuroscientist and cartoonist, Matteo Farinella is a postdoc in Columbia's Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program. He will moderate a seminar on Monday, Nov. 20, on the role of metaphor in science and education.
In a new essay in Nature, Columbia neuroscientist Rafael Yuste joins more than two dozen researchers in calling for ethical guidelines to cover the evolving use of computer hardware and software to enhance or restore human capabilities.

A debugging tool developed by researchers at Columbia and Lehigh generates real-world test images meant to expose logic errors in deep neural networks. The darkened photo at right tricked one set of neurons into telling the car to turn into the guardrail. After catching the mistake, the tool retrains the network to fix the bug. Image Courtesy of Columbia Engineering

Researchers at Columbia and Lehigh universities have come up with a new approach to self-driving cars and other self-taught systems.

An artist's depiction of two neutron stars colliding. (Carnegie Institution for Science)

Astronomers have for the first time witnessed a pair of dead neutron stars colliding, and have confirmed that the heaviest metals in the universe, from gold to platinum, are formed in explosions like this one spotted 130 million light-years away.

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