Seeing is Believing: Fluorescence

How can we tell one cell from another?

Bryan XieHeadshot of Bryan Xie
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Fluorescence generates vibrant colors that allows us to tell one cell from another, and even one biomolecule from another. This has led to great advances in our understanding of immunology by allowing us a peek into biological interactions at the cellular level.

Ballet Flippers

Unusual structures on the flippers of humpback whales aid swimming maneuverability

Diana LiHeadshot of Diana Li
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We often associate sleek shapes with fast speed and agility. Think of hawks, tunas, rockets, and even Olympic swimmers. But the flippers of one of the ocean's largest swimmers, the humpback whale, is covered with bumps along the front. Given the trend towards slick, streamlined surfaces, why be bumpy where other animals (and manmade creations) are smooth?

Getting Bent

How SCUBA divers and marine mammals avoid the crippling illness that haunted the men who built the Brooklyn Bridge

Headshot of Diana LaScala-Gruenewald
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The Brooklyn Bridge is an engineering marvel. At the time it was completed in 1883, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge, stretching almost a mile between Brooklyn and Manhattan and dwarfing the tallest of New York’s skyscrapers. But for the workers who labored beneath the East River to create its foundation, the Brooklyn Bridge was a living hell. Many of the laborers suffered health problems, including flu-like symptoms, aches that sometimes grew into excruciating pains, paralysis, brain damage, heart attacks and even death. All together, these symptoms came to be known as a disease called “the bends.”

Tiny fins making a big splash

The largest animal migration in the world is one you've probably never heard of.

Elan PortnerHeadshot of Elan Portner
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Across the global ocean, billions of small animals undergo a daily commute of hundreds of feet between their daytime habitat in the ocean depths and their nighttime feeding grounds just below the surface of the water. This may not sound impressive compared to the thousands of miles covered during the migrations of whales or birds, but when considered collectively, the migration of these tiny animals blows all other animal migrations out of the water.