The Nucleus, an online science magazine founded and run by Spence Upper School students, published its new edition focused on the science behind recent medical advancements and breakthroughs. Drawing from numerous scholarly articles and scientific journals, students wrote about a DNA blood test to screen for disease, the development of a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s and CRISPR treatments for gene-editing.
Sarah P. ’23, editor-in-chief of The Nucleus, shares that the magazine serves to showcase the novel scientific research taking place at Spence: “The goal of The Nucleus is to bridge the gap between scientific knowledge in the real world and what’s happening at Spence. There’s so much scientific research that happens within the Red Doors, from the Eco Fellows and Independent Science Research (ISR) in Upper School to STEM Challenges at the Lower School.”
In the latest edition, an article by Cristina T. ’23, “GetMap DNA Blood Test,” highlights a blood test that uses an advanced DNA screening method, known as DNA methylation, to “pinpoint the origin of irregular genetic information.” This can be used to screen people for cancer, monitor organ transplant recipients for signs of organ rejection and even to predict potential genetic defects in fetuses, a process which “presents ethical ramifications that have not yet been fully explored,” shared Cristina.
In “FDA Approves Controversial New Alzheimer’s Drug Aducanumab,” Ann H. ’24 analyzes the research on a promising but controversial Alzheimer’s drug. The treatment focuses on reducing proteins in the brain that cause neural pathways in Alzheimer’s patients to break down. However, clinical studies on its efficacy have shown mixed results. “An FDA approved treatment might appear so promising that families are willing to pay for the drug despite little to no proven clinical benefit, and overall doubts about the safety and efficacy of the drug,” Ann critiqued.
“The Power to Rewrite the Life Code” by Lila d.F. ’23 explores the groundbreaking discovery of CRISPR/Cas9, also known as genetic scissors. “With this technology, patients are now able to be their own stem cell donors, with scientists harvesting the patients’ cells for gene-editing outside of the body,” wrote Lila, who noted that this treatment has the potential to be curative for some types of cancer and sickle cell anemia. “Cas9 genetic scissors have the power to rewrite the code of life as we know it.”
Each issue of The Nucleus also highlights current topics in science. This edition includes articles on the potential impact of sugar reduction in the American diet, how a new online map of coral reefs can aid conservation efforts, and the promise of advancements in migraine treatments.
Congratulations to the entire Nucleus staff on their newest issue
, which can be viewed by Spence community members who are logged into their Spence email address.
Editor-in-Chief: Sarah P. ’23Senior Editors:
Sabine C. ’22, Beatrice C. ’22, Lila G. ’22, Maddie S. ’22 and Heather W. ’22 Staff Writers:
Cristina T. ’23, Natalia R. ’23, Olivia S. ’23, Lauren R. ’23, Sophia T. ’23, Megan F. ’23, Beatrice G. ’23, Ushrat A. ’23, Lila d.F. ’23, Evelyn W. ’22, Alison L. ’24, Kavitha T. ’24, and Ann H. ’24 Faculty Advisors:
Science Department Head Dalia Aidoo and Science Teacher Scott Godsen