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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, December 3, 2023



Connections across industry, academia promise progress in cellular agriculture

Lab grown meat used to be something out of a science fiction movie, but Tufts has been at the forefront of progress to make it a reality. In 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture awarded Tufts a $10 million grant which helped found the Tufts University Center for Cellular Agriculture. The Center for Cellular Agriculture is a partnership across multiple different Tufts schools, with researchers who specialize in tissue engineering, nutrition and livestock. In October, the center announced the creation of the TUCCA Consortium, which will see Tufts partner with different companies and nonprofits to solve fundamental challenges in developing lab-grown meat.


Tufts researchers lead preliminary study on new treatments for Alzheimer’s 

The path of life is a whirlwind, filled with the good, the bad and the ugly. But the memories you make along the way are what make you who you are. But somewhere down the road, you have lost that part of you, because the very memories that built your foundation have dissipated. This is the reality for more than 6 million Americans who have lost who they are and who they were to become due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD).


Novel algorithm for matrix multiplication opens door to more efficient human-computer interactions

What do encrypted messages, recognizing speech commands and running simulations to predict the weather have in common? They all rely on matrix multiplication for accurate calculations. DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company, recently developed a faster algorithm to conduct matrix multiplications based on deep reinforcement learning. This recent auto-discovery of an efficient algorithm in mathematics by another machine learning algorithm expands the purview of the uses and applications of machine learning.


Noble Thinkers: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to three scientists

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three pioneering scientists for their work in a remarkable new area of research. The award was given to Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless. Bertozzi is the first openly gay woman to win a Nobel prize, and this is Sharpless’ second Nobel prize, which makes him one of five people to have won twice.


When baseball meets mathematics: Ruth-Aaron numbers

If you’re passionate about baseball and are familiar with the history of the sport, you may be familiar with the player Babe Ruth and his record of 714 home runs set in 1934. This record stood strong until Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run in 1974 — a historic day for baseball and an inquisitive day for mathematicians.


Dirt, bacteria and NYT crosswords: Tammy Tran’s search for the next antibiotic

I stared blankly at my phone as I read an incoming message, “Sorry, I forgot the dirt.” I was devastated. I really needed that bag of dirt. I had asked my friend to pack me a bag of soil when he was away in New Jersey for the weekend. Inside that bag would have been an assortment of bacteria, too numerous to count, fighting with each other for space and resources. 


Bite-Size Science: Flu season expected to be more severe than previous winters, experts say

Lower temperatures and changing leaves signal the coming of fall, a season of apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween movies. The colder months also bring with them an unwelcome guest: influenza season. This year’s flu season is expected to be worse than past winters according to forecasts based on patterns in Australia and New Zealand. Experts look toward countries in the southern hemisphere to predict the upcoming season because winter runs from April to October. According to government surveillance reports, Australia had its worst flu season in five years this year, with an early onset and a peak that was three times higher than average. Public health experts are worried that, along with a COVID-19 peak predicted in early December, two circulating respiratory viruses will be problematic for an already weakened hospital system and are emphasizing that people take the flu season seriously. 


Ongoing climate crises calls for collaboration, interdisciplinary approach to solutions

It doesn’t take much digging nowadays to find a startling new headline — “Overlapping pandemics: Monkeypox intensifies as COVID-19 continues to thrive,” one might read. While such public health emergencies and other tense political debates occupy much of the news cycle, it also seems that there is increased reporting on extreme weather events. Puerto Rico’s entire power grid was wiped out by Hurricane Fiona last week after several years of infrastructure improvements that followed Hurricane Maria in 2016. Just yesterday, Hurricane Ian became one of the most powerful storms to strike the US as it neared the Category 5 threshold. And for weeks now, nearly a third of Pakistan’s population has been underwater due to extreme flooding that closed out the summer. Tufts students are inundated with very real and diverse stories of how the climate crisis affects the daily lives of global populations, but how can we consolidate solutions that target the various issues at hand?


Bite-Size Science: Boston Children's Hospital develops COVID-19 neutralizing antibody in mice

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital have developed an antibody capable of neutralizing all known SARS-CoV-2 variants in pre-clinical assessments, according to an August pre-print. The study published within Science Immunology, presents a potential solution to future variants of concern, as this is the first effective antibody that neutralizes all major variants through the recent Omicron BA.5 variant.


Lab-grown fat pushes cultivated meat one step closer to practicality

Would Gordon Ramsay approve of lab-grown meat? With the Kaplan Lab’s work in replicating the flavors and textures of traditional meat from a small biopsy of animal cells, maybe one day he will. The most recent series of developments in the lab have contributed a method to mass produce cell-cultured fat — fat grown in a lab from just a few animal cells.