Biology

Extinction changes rules of body size evolution

A sweeping analysis of marine fossils from most of the past half-billion years shows the usual rules of body size evolution change during mass extinctions and their recoveries. The discovery is an early step toward predicting how evolution will play out on the other side of the current extinction crisis.

Stanford Today —

Three faculty are announced as HHMI investigators

Three researchers join 21 other Stanford faculty as Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. The seven-year term frees faculty to pursue the most innovative biomedical research.

Modeling the role of influencers in shaping fads

A new study offers up a more realistic modeling of the rise and fall of fads as culture evolves and is transmitted to new generations, including an examination of the role “influencers” play in shaping what’s popular.

Researchers develop a hypercompact CRISPR

Bioengineers have repurposed a “non-working” CRISPR system to make a smaller version of the genome engineering tool. Its diminutive size should make it easier to deliver into human cells, tissues and the body for gene therapy.

AI algorithm solves structural biology challenges

Stanford researchers develop machine learning methods that accurately predict the 3D shapes of drug targets and other important biological molecules, even when only limited data is available.

Q&A: Microbes and life on other planets

Stanford Associate Professor Paula Welander and her student Marisa Mayer discuss how microscopic traces of early life – called microbial lipid biomarkers – could help demystify the origins of life and life beyond Earth.

Molecular fossil hunter

Geomicrobiologist Paula Welander has come to see microbes as a system for grappling with complex questions about life, evolution and ancient Earth.

Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences —

Secrets of how cells cram in oversized genomes revealed

Stanford researchers have shown how the goopy material inside bacterial cells and interactions with other biomolecules encourage DNA segments to fold up to a thousandth of their actual length.