Life Sciences

Study of African animals illuminates links between environment, diet and gut microbiome
Nov. 8, 2019
Written by The Office of Communications

In recent years, the field of microbiome research has grown rapidly, providing newfound knowledge — and newfound questions — about the microbes that inhabit human and animal bodies. A new study adds to that foundation of knowledge by using DNA analysis to examine the relationship between diet, the environment and the microbiome.

Researchers reverse engineer the 'fireworks of life'
Aug. 5, 2019
Written by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

Imagine standing in a lumberyard and being asked to build a house — without blueprints or instructions of any kind. The materials are all in front of you, but that doesn’t mean you have the first idea how to get from point A to point B.

That was the situation facing the Princeton biologists who are building microtubules, the skeleton of…

The 'blowfish effect': Children learn new words like adults do, say Princeton researchers
July 25, 2019
Written by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

Even young children know what typical dogs and fish look like — and they apply that knowledge when they hear new words, reports a team from the Princeton Baby Lab, where researchers study how babies learn to see, talk and understand the world.

In a series of experiments with children 3 to 5…

Murphy and Petry win awards for excellence in cell biology
July 11, 2019
Written by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

Princeton biologists Coleen Murphy and Sabine Petry have won two of the three annual "Women in Cell Biology" awards from the American Society for Cell Biology.

Murphy, a professor of

Sea slugs use algae's bacterial ‘weapons factory’ in three-way symbiotic relationship
June 27, 2019
Written by Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research

Delicate yet voracious, the sea slug Elysia rufescens grazes cow-like on bright green tufts of algae, rooting around to find the choicest bits.

But this inch-long marine mollusk gains not only a tasty meal — it also slurps up the algae's defensive chemicals, which the slug can then deploy against its own predators.

In a…

How hepatitis B and delta viruses establish infection of liver cells
June 18, 2019
Written by Caitlin Sedwick for the Department of Molecular Biology

Princeton University researchers have developed a new, scalable cell culture system that allows for detailed investigation of how host cells respond to infection with hepatitis B (HBV) and delta virus (HDV). The paper

How do new predators change an ecosystem? Watch the prey, say Princeton researchers
June 10, 2019
Written by Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications

Invading predators can devastate an ecosystem. In fact, a leading cause of extinction is the introduction of predators into an isolated system like an island or a lake. The destruction is usually blamed on the predator’s eating choices, but sometimes the key lies in the prey animals’ responses, according to an international team of researchers…

Princeton researchers discover link between circadian clock and fat metabolism
May 30, 2019
Written by The Department of Molecular Biology

The enzyme Nocturnin, which governs daily tasks such as fat metabolism and energy usage, works in an entirely different way than previously thought, reported a team of researchers at Princeton University.

The newly discovered mechanism reveals the molecular link between the enzyme's daily fluctuations and its energy-regulating role in…

Four Princeton professors elected to National Academy of Sciences
May 1, 2019
Written by Princeton University

The National Academy of Sciences has elected four Princeton faculty members to join its ranks. They are among 100 new members and 25 foreign associates who were selected in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research…

Research finds some bacteria travel an alternate path to antibiotic resistance
April 25, 2019
Written by Adam Hadhazy, Office of Engineering Communications

In a study with implications for efforts to halt the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, researchers at Princeton have identified a new, troubling path that some bacteria take toward resistance.

The discovery focused on bacteria called persisters, which are different from antibiotic-resistant…