School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Scientists are learning new things every day. They are also writing about their discoveries. In most cases they publish in science magazines called journals like the Public Library of Science (PLOS). In our PLOSable section you will find stories that will help you read and explore the articles written by scientists.

Now jump in and start exploring PLOSable - a place where firsthand science is only a mouse click away. If you're interested in diving even further into the world of the scientific article, check out our Anatomy of an Article story.

Heads are shown next to one another, with no facial features.

Decoding Emotions in the Brain

By Patrick McGurrin

Signals from the brain have been used to help scientists understand how people see, move, and make decisions. In this experiment scientists tested whether they could also use these signals to record a person's emotional state. Would they be able to detect fear, surprise, sadness, and more by looking inside the brain?

Brown sugar crystals

Diabetes Protein Puzzle

By Justin Hassler, Philip Li, and Randal J. Kaufman

Diabetes affects nearly one tenth of the population in the United States, but we still have a lot to learn about the disease. Researchers are finding that a lack of specific proteins might reduce our abilities to absorb sugar, making it a key player in the diabetes problem.

Do You Have a Caveman's Brain?

By Ceara O'Brien

How much has the human brain changed from the brains of our ancient ancestors? Evolutionary psychologists think that the modern human brain has not changed much over the past 50,000 years, but other scientists disagree.

Mother by Mikuláš Galanda

Does Parental Age Matter? A New View on Brain-related Disorders

By Patrick McGurrin

You might think of your parents as being old, or being fairly young; maybe they are many years apart in age. Did you know that parental age may affect the likelihood that a child will develop a brain disorder? 

Depression by van Gogh

Does Past Experience Affect Depression?

By Alex Biera and Patrick McGurrin

Depression affects millions of people worldwide yet anti-depressive medications only work on a handful of people who suffer from the disorder. By looking at depression through the lens of evolution, scientists may learn more about depression and how it can be treated.

This is an image of the human brain wearing headphones.

Does Playing Music Reduce Stress?

By Shannon L. Jewell

Everyone gets stressed. Many of us find that listening to our favorite song usually brightens up our mood. Scientists wanted to study whether music can actually affect stress levels in the body. 

Doggy DNA

Doggie Diversity

By Emilio Galan

Scientists are finding out that even though dogs look very different on the outside, what causes them to look that way is much similar than we thought.

hospital road sign

Down the Drain: Hospital Sewage and Antibiotic Resistance

By Tyler Quigley

Hospitals try to stay clean and reduce the spread of germs within their walls, but what happens when medicines and bacteria from the hospitals reach bacteria in the sewer?

Eat More, Sleep More

By Alexis Abboud

Could it be your stomach and not your brain that is keeping you up at night? Scientists are learning that for some species, the effects of sleep loss may depend on how much fat an animal stores.

Spine

Evolution Detective: the Case of the Broken Bones

By Andrew Burchill

Humans can suffer from certain back problems in their old age, but other very similar animals don’t have the same issues. Why might this be the case?

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Anyone can use PLOS and PLOS Biology. You do not have to pay to read articles online or to download and print them. With PLOS and PLOS Biology you have first-hand access to the latest science.

Want to write a PLOSable story? Take a look at our Notes to Authors & Artists.

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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PLoS Biology Banner

Anyone can use PLOS and PLOS Biology. You do not have to pay to read articles online or to download and print them. With PLOS and PLOS Biology you have first-hand access to the latest science.

Want to write a PLOSable story? Take a look at our Notes to Authors & Artists.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.