LGBTQ+ Studies: a Mini-Collection of Review Articles.

June 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, an uprising of the LGBTQ+ community in New York City that is credited for sparking the gay rights movement in the United States.   

To commemorate the anniversary, we are offering access to four articles that explore health, law, research, and public opinion of the LGBTQ+ community. They are all freely available to read.

“There have been extraordinary changes in public understanding and acceptance of LGBT people and issues, and significant advances have been made in scientific understanding of LGBT youth mental health. At the same time, critical gaps in knowledge continue to prevent the most effective policies, programs, and clinical care from addressing mental health for LGBT young people.” 

Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth, in the 2016 Annual Review of Clinical Psychology

“In a review of courts’ use of social science evidence on same-sex parenting and the immutability of homosexuality, Levit notes ‘a fairly dramatic shift in the past twenty years, [in which] science is becoming an ally to rather than an oppressor of gays and lesbians.’ Levit’s observation receives support from a recent study of citation patterns in social science research on the effect of parents’ sexual orientation on child outcomes.” 

The Role of Social Science Expertise in Same-Sex Marriage Litigation, in the 2017 Annual Review of Law and Social Science

“The prediction that transgender people would fall into the dustbin of history proved to be far off the mark. In the 1980s and 1990s, vibrant activism by transgender and gender nonconforming people around their economic and social marginalization, the medical regulation of their identities, and the legal restrictions on cross-dressing in public that were still on the books in many cities and states gained more visibility.” 

The Development of Transgender Studies in Sociology, in the 2017 Annual Review of Sociology.  

“With television shows such as Ellen and Will & Grace, even people who would not necessarily know an out gay individual have an opportunity to virtually know one. (…) Multiple studies have found that knowing someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is associated with more supportive attitudes. Moreover, the degree of contact matters. People are more likely to have positive views when they have a closer relationship with someone who is gay (Brewer 2007). It is harder to express negative views and discriminate against someone if the person is a close friend or family member.” 

Examining Public Opinion About LGBTQ-Related Issues in the United States and Across Multiple Nations, in the 2019 Annual Review of Sociology.  

Photographing a Black Hole

Using the EHT, scientists obtained an image of the black hole at the center of galaxy M87, outlined by emission from hot gas swirling around it under the influence of strong gravity near its event horizon.
Credit: Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.

A team of astronomers published the first photograph of a black hole. The “monster,” as they’ve called it, is 40 million kilometers across (about 3 million times the size of Earth), located at the center of a galaxy known as Messier 87, about 500 million trillion kilometers away.

The image was captured by a network of eight telescopes named Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), and assembled with an algorithm developed by young computer scientist Katie Bouman.

Dr. Eliot Quataert is the Director of the Theoretical Astrophysics Center at UC Berkeley and an Editorial Committee Member of the Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophyics. His research focuses in part on black holes and galaxy formation. He spoke to Annual Reviews about this breakthrough.

What do you make of this announcement?

This is an incredibly exciting result. I was expecting something good but was even more amazed and impressed by the results than I had expected to be. It really is a testament to the hard work of hundreds of people over decades that we have been able to take this first real picture of what it looks like close to a black hole.

What new paths for research do you expect this will open?

The observations will continue to get better as the technology improves and new telescopes are added across the Earth, and maybe even in space. This will enable even better pictures of what the gas looks like close to a black hole. Over time, I think this will allow us to develop a better understanding of what is happening not only near the black holes that EHT can observe, but of all black holes across the Universe. This will impact a huge range of problems in astrophysics, from our understanding of how galaxies form and are affected by black holes to our understanding of the warped strong gravity very close to the event horizon of a black hole.

What articles can you recommend for readers who want to learn more about black hole research?

An older one, but famous, is “Black Hole Models for Active Galactic Nuclei,” by Martin J. Rees, in the 1984 Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Two recent ones on the role of black holes in galaxy formation are “The Coevolution of Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes: Insights from Surveys of the Contemporary Universe,” by Timothy Heckman and Philip Best, and “Coevolution (Or Not) of Supermassive Black Holes and Host Galaxies,” by John Kormendy and Luis Ho, respectively in the 2014 and the 2013 volumes of the same journal.

We’ve made all three of these articles freely available for 30 days.

Congratulations to Annual Reviews Authors on NAS Awards

Congratulations to the following Annual Reviews contributing authors for receiving these National Academy of Sciences awards:

Barbara Dosher, of the University of California, Irvine, won the Atkinson Prize in Psychological and Cognitive Sciences “for her groundbreaking work on human memory, attention, and learning.” She wrote for the 2017 Annual Review of Vision Science.

She shared the prize with Richard Shiffrin, of Indiana University, who was recognized “for pioneering contributions to the investigation of memory and attention.” He wrote for the 1992 Annual Review of Psychology.

Günter Wagner, of Yale University, won the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal “for his book  Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation, which makes fundamental contributions to our understanding of the evolution of complex organisms.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in 1989 and 1991.

Mark E. Hay, of the Georgia Institute of Technology, won the Gilbert Morgan Smith Medal “for his research into algal science, with implications for the world’s imperiled coral reefs.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in 1988 and 2004, and the Annual Review of Marine Science in 2009.

James P. Allison, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Center, won the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal “for important discoveries related to the body’s immune response to tumors.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Immunology in 1987, 1991, and 2001, and the Annual Review of Medicine in 2014.

Howard Y. Chang, of Stanford University, won the NAS Award in Molecular Biology “for the discovery of long noncoding RNAs and the invention of genomic technologies.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Biochemistry in 2009 and 2012.

Rodolphe Barrangou, of North Carolina State University, won the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences “for the discovery of the genetic mechanisms and proteins driving CRISPR-Cas systems.” He wrote for the Annual Review of Food Science in 2012, 2016, and 2017, and the Annual Review of Genetics in 2017.

Marlene R. Cohen, of the University of Pittsburgh, won the Troland Research Award “for her pioneering studies of how neurons in the brain process visual information.” She wrote for the Annual Review of Neuroscience in 2012 and 2018.

Etel Solingen, of the University of California, Irvine, won the William and Katherine Estes Award “for pathbreaking work on nuclear proliferation and reducing the risks of nuclear war.” She wrote for the Annual Review of Political Science in 2010.

Jennifer A. Doudna, Annual Reviews Contributing Author, Wins Kavli Prize, NAS Medal

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Photo: Doudna Lab, UC Berkeley

Congratulations to Jennifer A. Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, who won the 2018 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences.

Dr. Doudna shared the Kavli Prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier, of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and Virginijus Šikšnys, of Vilnius University, “for the invention of CRISPR-Cas9, a precise nanotool for editing DNA, causing a revolution in biology, agriculture, and medicine.” 

She received the NAS Award “for co-inventing the technology for efficient site-specific genome engineering using CRISPR/Cas9 nucleases.”

Read her articles on the topic here.

2018 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience Goes to Annual Reviews Authors Hudspeth, Fettiplace, Petit

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Photo: kavliprize.org.

Congratulations to A. James Hudspeth, of Rockefeller University; Robert Fettiplace, of the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and Christine Petit, of the Institut Pasteur, who shared the 2018 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience “for their pioneering work on the molecular and neural mechanisms of hearing.”

Click on their names to find the articles they wrote for the Annual Review of Biophysics, the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, the Annual Review of Neuroscience, the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, and the Annual Review of Physiology.

Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics Co-Editor Ewine van Dishoeck Wins Kavli Prize, NAS Medal

Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 11.13.24.pngCongratulations to Ewine van Dishoeck, of Leiden University, who won the 2018 Kavli Prize in Astrophysics and the National Academy of Science James Craig Watson Medal.

The Co-Editor of the Annual Review of Astrophysics received the Kavli Prize “for her combined contributions to observational, theoretical, and laboratory astrochemistry, elucidating the life cycle of interstellar clouds and the formation of stars and planets.”

The James Craig Watson Medal was awarded to her “for improving our understanding of how molecules, stars, and planets form.”

Dr. van Dishoeck has co-edited the journal with Sandra Faber since 2010. You can find her articles about planet, star, and molecule formation here.

Making Realistic 3D Printed Organs to Plan Surgery

What if a surgical model not only could mimic the look and feel of a patient’s organ but also give surgeons quantitative feedback as they use it to practice the procedure? A team of scientists in the McAlpine Research Group at the University of Minnesota have been trying to answer this question, creating a prostate model that accomplishes exactly that.

In their article for the Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, titled “3D Printed Organ Models for Surgical Applications,” Kaiyan Qiu, Ghazaleh Haghiashtiani, and Michael C. McAlpine from the University of Minnesota, review current materials used in 3D printed patient-specific organ models used in surgical pre-planning, as well as the state-of-the-art materials and techniques that allow them to replicate many kinds of human tissue.

The use of 3D models in medicine and anatomy is not new. Centuries ago, they were fashioned out of clay, wax, wood, glass, plaster, or even ivory, and they served as teaching tools or as illustrations of the mechanisms of disease, without having to resort to human dissection.

More recently, the boom in 3D printing technology has allowed medical professionals to visualize organs that might require surgery. Using data collected with imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds, these models can be fabricated to the exact specifications of a person’s organ.

This is of vital importance. A recent study has shown that an average of more than 250,000 people die each year in the United States as a result of medical errors, including more than 4,000 “never events” in surgery — events that should never have happened. Although complete elimination of errors is impossible, proper surgical planning and rehearsal can be key to reducing their occurrence. Model organs are quickly becoming invaluable tools to help prepare for surgery, not just allowing doctors to get a better feel for the organ on which they must operate, but also letting them plan the procedure. Recently, a 3D printed model of a patient’s hip joint changed the surgical team’s minds about the best treatment plan and resulted in performing a hip replacement instead of reconstruction of the damaged hip joint.

Current materials used in 3D printing have limitations, however. Compared to 2D slices of MRI or CT scans, 3D hard plastic models have helped increase the accuracy of surgeons by helping them to visualize the organ. They can also help inform the patients about their conditions and show inexperienced surgeons what to expect from the operation. Their main flaw is that they are not pliable enough to allow for surgical rehearsal. In contrast, rubber-like materials can provide a tactile feel closer to the actual organ they are meant to model and allow for cutting and suturing, but their properties do not precisely match those of an actual organ in elasticity, hardness, or color.

“These present the correct anatomy, but they’re incapable of providing quantitative feedback or even accurate tactile sensation,” said Dr. Qiu, a postdoctoral researcher in the McAlpine group and lead author of the article.

To remedy this, the three co-authors and their team have developed silicone-based 3D printing materials, or “inks,” that can be finely tuned to mimic these properties. Using a customized direct-write assembly 3D printer with a fine nozzle, they were able to construct a prostate model whose dimensions were obtained with MRI imaging and whose physical properties were established by mechanical tests on actual patient prostate samples, which informed their inks.

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 11.52.08They were also able to print and integrate electronic sensors onto and within the model that, when connected to a computer, provided quantitative feedback. This capability could enhance surgical precision in an actual procedure, as well as help train surgeons for steadiness, flexibility, and dexterity, just like a high-tech game of “Operation,” where a loud buzz goes off every time the player is too heavy-handed.

“When surgeons practice using different surgical tools, they can know how much force to apply as they get real-time feedback,” said Dr. Qiu. “They can adjust it and use that knowledge in real surgery to avoid damaging tissue.”

They’re not stopping there, setting their sights on more complex 3D models. Some could account for different types of tissue simultaneously printed with different inks. “We could replicate cancerous tissue and healthy tissue within the same model,” says Ms. Haghiashtiani. Another direction is to develop dynamic models, such as a 3D printed heart that can beat like a real one. A third idea is to create models that integrate sensors capable of taking various types of measurements at once, like temperature and multidirectional pressure.

Ultimately, they say, it is possible that their models could replace real organs.

“We are also working on bioprinting, where we can print organs that can replicate biological functions,” said Dr. Qiu.

“If we could get to this point, if we have the technology, you could say ‘why not use this for transplants?’” added Ms. Haghiashtiani.

Read more about prior limitations, current progress, and future perspectives in this important area in their Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry article. 

The Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, first published in 2008, provides a perspective on the field of analytical chemistry. The journal draws from disciplines as diverse as biology, physics, and engineering, with analytical chemistry as the unifying theme.

 

 

“Queen of Carbon Science” Mildred Dresselhaus Dies

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 17.20.21.pngMildred S. Dresselhaus, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physicist known as the “Queen of Carbon Science,” died at the age of 86 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Monday, February 20, 2017. She was the first woman at MIT to attain the rank of full, tenured professor, and the first woman to receive the National Medal of Science in Engineering.

Dr. Dresselhaus spent her career studying the properties of carbon and was instrumental in developing carbon nanotubes, which have shown promise in the creation of better electricity conduction and stronger materials. She also contributed to the development of thermoelectric materials, which can transform temperature difference into electricity.

Read her autobiographical article in the 2011 Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics.

Vision Science: How Do We See in 3D?

How do we see in 3D when we start with a 2D projection on our retinas? How can a flat painting give the illusion of depth and perspective?

In the video describing his latest article in Annual Reviews, Andrew Welchman, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, explains how our neurons put all this information together to produce 3D views.

Read the full article from the Annual Review of Vision Science.

Runners-Up for Person of the Year: CRISPR Scientists

Time Magazine named U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump its 2016 Person of the Year, but amongst the runners-up are the scientists who identified the mechanisms and developed the technique of gene editing using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), as well as those who are attempting to find direct applications in human health.

The implications are significant for the treatment of diseases with genetic components. If gene sequences can be altered, they can also be corrected to eliminate the risk of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s Disease. They can also be used in the treatment of certain cancers. The technique is all the more revolutionary because it is cheap, very accurate, and easy to use.

While many of the scientists involved in these discoveries co-signed a letter urging caution in the use of CRISPR, wary as they are of genome modifications that could be passed on to offspring, this new technology also offers a lot of hope for many diseases that have not yet found a cure.

Jennifer Doudna, of the University of California at Berkeley, along with Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute, developed a way to simplify this technology and apply it to all kinds of DNA. Feng Zhang, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showed it was possible to use it on human DNA. Carl June, of the University of Pennsylvania, is now attempting to harness CRISPR to treat cancer.

Congratulations to all of them.

Browse Dr. Doudna’s articles for Annual Reviews: