For the second year running, Spring Journal Club for Dev. Cell. graduate students was adapted to deal with social distancing. Students were (virtually) paired together and asked to find a recent publication that interested them. Working together each pair wrote two reviews on their chosen paper – one review aimed at the layperson audience and the second aimed at their peers.
The papers chosen were a diverse and fascinating collection of publications highlighting scientific innovation over the last year. Topics ranged from mutations behind limb evolution, transgenerational inheritance of obesity through the male germline and how flu is a pneumonia risk because flu alters the gut microbiome. Each set of reviews were read and critiqued by the class. Although all these essays were excellent, the most popular reviews came from Karissa Munoz and Kirsten Wong who wrote about the work of Uenoyama et al., who explained why our pet cats so enjoy rolling around in catnip and other herbs. Cats get high via the opioid receptors – which fits as being an evolutionary adaption as compounds in these plants are highly protective from mosquito bites. As Karissa and Kirsten explain in their write-ups their chosen publication not only reveals the reasoning behind an unusual cat behavior, but also led to the discovery of new mosquito repellents. You can read the reviews here.
Each set of reviews is arranged with the layperson version first – and they are all very worthy of a read – so enjoy!