Disgust: Your Behavoiral Immune System

Disgust: how your behavioral immune subsystem protects you from getting sick

Kelly McGillHeadshot of Kelly McGill
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How do we avoid getting sick in a world full of bacteria, viruses, and other deadly pathogens? We have evolved a subsystem within our immune systemthat functions as our very first line of defense against pathogens. This primary subsystem is called the “behavioral immune system”. This behavioral immune subsystem’s methods of defense against pathogens can be described up in one word….disgust.

"Seasonal Flu Virus: Why Vaccines Never Go Out of Style"

The goal of vaccination is to provide protective, long lasting immunity against a disease.

Kelly McGillHeadshot of Kelly McGill
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Who should get the seasonal flu vaccine? Why is the flu vaccine different each year? How does the flu vaccine protect us? The CDC has estimated that seasonal influenza or the flu is responsible for around 50,000 deaths worldwide each year1. In 1918, the “Spanish flu” pandemic killed over 6,750,00 people in the U.S. and caused over 50 million deaths worldwide2. The more recent 2009 pandemic flu resulted in over 200,00 deaths during its first year of circulation in the human population1.

Hello Microbe My Old Friend: How a Diverse Microbiome Trains the Immune System against Allergies

Microbes: how exposure to the right ones can be be a good thing

Jolien SweereHeadshot of Jolien Sweere
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Why does the immune system sometimes go haywire and cause allergies? Scientists now think that a healthy immune system needs training early in life by unlikely allies: microbes. How can microbes be our friends in the face of allergies, and why are these disorders getting more common recently?

Going with the Flow

Visualization of underwater vortices reveals how fish make the best of a swirilng situation

Diana LiHeadshot of Diana Li
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Marine animals face a lot of potential issues when swimming through the water. One wrong turn, and you could end up as someone else’s next meal. Not turning enough could result in bumping into a lot of things. But there is one important feature found everywhere that they have to face almost all the time, and this feature is rarely seen – vortices.