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Conventional Energy

Disclaimer: This blog post discusses suicide. If you or a loved one are in need of support, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.


Is the “Love” Hormone Making Us Socially Anxious?

We have all experienced nervousness before a social engagement at some point. Perhaps you had anxiety before speaking in front of a crowd or butterflies in your stomach in anticipation of a first date. As social beings, it is normal human behavior to care about what others think of you. But what happens when you care too much? This is the unfortunate reality for individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder. Remember that feeling you get before you public speak? Imagine feeling that every time you interact with somebody new.

The Person Behind the Scientist: A Ph.D. Journey

It is finally here. After over six years of studying, pipetting, writing, pipetting, teaching, pipetting, planning, pipetting, troubleshooting, pipetting, attending meetings, pipetting, mentoring and then some more pipetting, the letter stating I have completed all requirements to be awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Microbiology from UC Davis has arrived. It will be a couple more months until the final diploma comes through the mail and there are still some manuscripts pending review to be published.

What A Bird Needs

Taking a shot at better chances of survival, songbirds encounter stress. Long-distance migration is one of these stressful survival mechanisms. When birds are stressed, their bodies begin to produce hormones (glucocorticoids) which are meant to help the birds cope with stressors. But they become problematic when produced for too long.

How Prolonged Social Isolation During the Pandemic Can Affect Adolescents

It is an understatement to say that the pandemic has dramatically disrupted normalcy in one way or another. For months, going to work or school for many of us has meant not leaving the house. Additionally, we have all been advised to keep our distance from friends and family to avoid spreading the virus, making individuals--particularly adolescents--prone to feeling alone and isolated. Some teens may not even have access to electronic devices that allow them to virtually spend time with friends, making the lack of social contact especially hard for these individuals.

The Effects of Marijuana on the Developing Brain

Although our brains remain the same size since early childhood, they continue to rapidly develop all the way into adolescence and even early adulthood. During this critical period in development, the cells within our brains called neurons continue to refine connections with each other so that important connections are strengthened and irrelevant connections are eliminated. Adolescence is also associated with alterations in the amount of chemicals released by neurons and the amount of receptors the chemicals bind to.

How Our Early Life Upbringing Can Be the Root of Our Anxiety

Is your mother to blame for your constant anxiety? For decades, Sigmund Freud made it popular belief that all mental health problems were products of how your parents raised you. Although this idea fizzled out by the 1980’s, it still influences the way many clinicians treat their patients. However, your mother is not necessarily to blame for your anxiety, especially in a society where socioeconomic challenges can have a huge impact on parenting.

Storytelling Tips from Don't Be Such A Scientist

Storytelling is vital to successful science communication. However, our inner scientist can often get in the way of telling a good science story. I read Don’t Be Such a Scientist by Randy Olson to learn more about what I can do to improve my storytelling.

Considerations in Animal Research: Genetic Backgrounds Matter, Even 1%

Graduate student Nycole Copping works as a researcher in Dr. Jill Lynn Silverman’s lab at the UC Davis MIND Institute, a center dedicated to developing treatments for and spreading awareness of neurodevelopmental disorders. Neurodevelopmental disorder research often involves investigating behaviours of inbred mouse models for disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Angelman syndrome (AS). 

Stem Cell Therapy: The Future of Healthcare?

In recent years, stem cell therapy has garnered a significant amount of attention. Are stem cell based-therapies for regenerative medicine the answer to an aging and ailing population? First, we should discuss what stem cells are, and why researchers want to use them in medicine. Then how could stem cells be used in the future, and what major step the healthcare industry, as a whole, will need to take to use stem cells for therapeutic solutions on a mass scale. 


Diversity in Healthcare: Necessary Changes for Better Medicine

When discussing the most desired advancements in healthcare, a common phrase thrown around is “finding a cure for cancer.” However, it is unlikely there will be a single miracle drug developed to be a global cure-all for such a deadly and ubiquitous disease. Cancer is multi-faceted and varies widely from person-to-person, where in the body it affects the patient, and when it is detected. While there won’t be one solution to “cure cancer” there are several things that the healthcare industry can improve on in order to bring the dream of “curing cancer” closer to a reality.

Graduate School: The Things I Wish Were Common Knowledge

As a graduate student I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked “what is it that you do exactly?” The answer to this question varies widely based on which degree you are pursuing (PhD, Masters, EdD, MBA, etc.), the field you are getting your advanced degree in, and where you attend graduate school. There are, however, a few facts that I would love to share about my experiences over the last 5 years as a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at a large university in California.

How GMO Labeling Affects Your Wallet

Have you ever been shopping in the grocery store and had a hard time determining if you are getting a fair price for the products you need? You see something relatively inexpensive, like lettuce, but there are several different options, all with different prices. There is your typical iceberg lettuce for $1.35, or organic iceberg lettuce for $3.50, or a large sign that proclaims Non-GMO iceberg lettuce for only $3.00. Which should you choose? You want to be healthy, but you also need to be budget-conscious.