Guide to Voting and Poll-Working in 2020

It’s that time of year again and voter registration deadlines are coming up fast! We have compiled a list of resources and guides for voting in-person, absentee, and mail-in voting in Missouri and Illinois. If you are registered in another state, we also provide links to non-partisan resources for all states. This election is expected […]

Environmental Rollbacks in the Trump Era: Why we need serious policy interventions

A recent New York Times analysis reports that the Trump Administration is in the process of rolling back at least 95 different environmental laws and regulations. Many of these rollbacks target Obama- and even Clinton-era rules that were mandated to mitigate climate change and curb ecological pollution. Out of the 95 rollbacks, 58  have been […]

Federal Restrictions on Access to Fetal Tissue Threaten Medical Research

On June 5th, the Trump administration announced extreme restrictions on lifesaving medical research. Under the administration’s new policy, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been forced to halt any research that utilizes human fetal tissue acquired from elective abortions. Additionally, funding for this type of research has become far more difficult for scientists […]

“Necessity” of Red Tape Handcuffs Scientists

Before coming to WashU, I was a PhD student in Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), a premier research institute in India. Being a fifth-year student, I was working with a tight deadline and could not wait to finally begin collecting data. But life as a researcher is not so easy and straightforward. I […]

Genetics, Genealogy, and Personal Privacy

On TV, DNA evidence is portrayed as a slam-dunk way to pin a suspect to a crime. But what if you have DNA, but no suspect? In April 2018, Joseph James DeAngelo, better known as the “Golden State Killer,” was arrested over 30 years after committing burglaries, rapes, and murders that terrorized Californians. This arrest was […]

It’s a Microbe’s World

I worked nearly every summer of my teenage years at a summer camp for Cub Scouts. On the first night of each new session the staff would officially welcome everyone by hosting an “Opening Campfire.” The campers and their families would gather on wooden benches set before a stage on the edge of the lake, […]

On the Origins of “The March of Progress”

The image is iconic: A lineup of six figures. At the rear is an ape-like figure, crouched-over and walking on all fours. Ahead of it is a similar-looking figure, but one who’s walking on two feet. This trend continues, with each successive figure becoming a little taller, a little less hunched, and little less hairy […]

CRISPR-edited Babies Scandal Highlights Inconsistent International Policy

On November 25, news broke that a Chinese scientist, Dr. He Jiankui, had allegedly produced the first CRISPR-edited babies, twin girls named Lulu and Nana. This set off a firestorm within the international scientific community. He has been accused of violating numerous scientific conventions, ethical safeguards, and the global consensus on human germline gene modification. The scandal has been described […]

Primer: Vaccine Policy

The administration, distribution, and safety of vaccines are regulated through multiple federal agencies as well as through state-level statutes. Two main bodies oversee administration and safety of vaccines: the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee in the FDA (FDA VRBPAC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in the CDC (ACIP). The FDA VRBPAC […]

Puzzle Pieces

One of the most pressing tasks for scientists of any era is the reconciliation of research with the public good. This call must be answered both socially, by an understandable dialogue between academia and society, and cautiously, with a careful eye on the relevance of our work.  Socially, science speaks its own language. Today’s scientific […]