Biology Stories

Explore the world of biology and meet some of our biologists. Here you can learn about the living world and find out what is so cool about biology that someone would do it for a living. Pick a story to read or listen to one of our podcast shows filled with guest scientists who share their experiences and passion for discovery.

If aliens were to contact us, what would you say? How would you say it? These are just a few of the questions that Dr. Biology talks about with guest Lucy Hawking. The two have fun with these ideas and more as part of the Dear Aliens essay contest.

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?

Cacti live in one of the harshest climates on the planet: the desert. Scientists are investigating how we can make life easier for these desert-dwelling plants.

Deserts can be a bit of a mystery--we picture them as hot, barren places, but that's not always true. Deserts are found in both the hottest and coldest places on Earth, and some of them have lots of plant and animal life, you just need to know where to look to find it.
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The digger bee is just one of about a thousand species of native bees in Arizona, many of which have females that burrow into the ground with their jaws and legs when constructing a nest.

Desert flowers do not own the spot light when it comes to beauty. Many desert fruits deserve equal attention.
Also in: Español | Français

Knowing when you are sick and what illness you have is the first step to helping your body fight back. Immunologist Douglas Lake gets to design and build tests that can tell us what virus we have, or how well our body is fighting it.

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.

As you watch a butterfly navigate the flowers in your back yard, or a pesky fly avoid your flyswatter, keep in mind their vision is quite different than yours and mine.

DNA is the ultimate how-to guide used by all living things. It packages all the instructions for building maintaining all our life forms and it easily fits inside a cell.
Also in: Español

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.

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 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.

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. 

How well does social distancing work to control a global pandemic? With people’s lives turned upside-down due to COVID-19, many have been left to wonder if social distancing is worth it.

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.

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?

Travel with Dr. Biology as he heads to Washington D.C. to interview three people who are all involved with science even though two of them are not scientists. Interviews include Cheryl Zook (independent film maker), Elizabeth Pennisi (science writer), and Nancy Pelaez (program director - NSF-NSDL).

Dr. Biology drops in on biologist Michael Angelletta and the researchers in his labortory. Besides getting a fun tour of the place, he learns how they study animals and their methods of heating and cooling their bodies.

Giant beetles, flying treadmills, oxygen and prehistoric insects are just a few of the things that Dr. Biology learns about when visiting with biologist Jon Harrison.

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