Sawdust carpets cushion Nicaragua’s streets on Good Friday


By Mariah Quintanilla Boaco, Nicaragua – Nicaraguans marched across colorful sawdust carpets alongside their savior in the final carrying of the crosses Friday during the Catholic Holy Week. The bright, fluffy carpets lined the lower main street of Boaco, a municipality in central Nicaragua with the slogan, “The city of two floors.” The “bleeding” crosses, […]

Bio machines hold promise for efficient organs and implants


By Mariah Quintanilla Exceptionally talented athletes and hard working people are often described as “machines” because of their seemingly super-human abilities. To many scientists who study biological processes, however, the “human machine” metaphor is not a metaphor at all, but a scientific truth. The emerging field of biological engineering research utilizes our own cells as […]

Solving world hunger for 830 million via satellite data

By Mariah Quintanilla What do data and satellite imaging have to do with solving world hunger? Everything, it seems. New surveying techniques and open source imaging of diminishing, available and potential cropland are the first steps in assessing problems and solutions for global food security. To prevent further hunger, researchers must identify factors that may […]

Stop blaming the polls

U.S. survey

By Mariah Quintanilla Stop blaming the pre-election polls. They told you all they could about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The pre-election polls based on national surveys accurately predicted what they were designed to predict: Clinton’s popular election win. So why did so few consider the fact that the electoral college had a real chance of […]

Parasites, pathogens and politics

Pneumoniae bacterium in an infected mouse lung

By Mariah Quintanilla Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States, and a popular question these past two weeks has been, “How did we get here?” While the media have done some collective soul-searching in an attempt to answer this question, one possibility that we’ve all failed to recognize is biology. Psychologists and biologists have […]

Smart phones may be dumbing down tolerance in a polarized election

Kelly on cell-phone

By Mariah Quintanilla With a polarized electorate decided the fate of the nation today, could smart phones have widened the divide? Voters and pundits alike are pondering the lack of trust between Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. One recent study published in PLoS ONE reported a connection between cell phone use and lack […]

LGBTQ voters in Lakeview parade to the polls

By Teresa Manring and Mariah Quintanilla Cars honked and pedestrians cheered and stared as local LGBTQ activists paraded from Replay Beer & Bourbon in Boystown to a local polling place for early voting Saturday. “Out of the bars and into the streets!” leaders yelled through megaphones. They invited passers-by and lingering Cubs tourists to join […]

Some physicians call Daylight Saving Time a health burden

By Mariah Quintanilla Twice a year, Americans enter a government-instituted time warp. Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends this Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 a.m., and we will collectively rejoice in an extra hour of precious, precious sleep as clocks “fall back.” Come March, however, that hour is “lost” once again and many of us may […]

Transparent wood: A better window than door

By Mariah Quintanilla People have long used wood to build shelter, make furniture or stoke a campfire. The one thing we’ve never been able to do is see through it—until now. In two separate studies published this year, researchers from the University of Maryland and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden devised a […]

Green chemistry: preventive healthcare for the environment

By Mariah Quintanilla We all know that bagel coated with sesame, poppy, onion, garlic, caraway and salt. Chemical engineer Nick Thornburg considers an ‘everything’ bagel a reasonable metaphor for an inefficient catalyst, or a compound that speeds up a chemical reaction. For those of us non-chemists, a longer explanation is required. The point of his […]