Articles on Research Brief

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Ocean carbon storage is driven by phytoplankton blooms, like the turquoise swirls visible here in the North Sea and waters off Denmark. NASA

Tiny plankton drive processes in the ocean that capture twice as much carbon as scientists thought

Microscopic ocean phytoplankton feed a "biological pump" that carries carbon from the surface to deep waters. Scientists have found that this process stores much more carbon than previously thought.
Artificial intelligence can do what humans can’t – connect the dots across the majority of coronavirus research. baranozdemir/E+ via Getty Images

AI tool searches thousands of scientific papers to guide researchers to coronavirus insights

The scientific community is churning out vast quantities of research about the coronavirus pandemic – far too much for researchers to absorb. An AI system aims to do the heavy lifting for them.
Students without computers are having a rougher time with the new normal. damircudic/Getty Images

Not all kids have computers – and they’re being left behind with schools closed by the coronavirus

This real-time snapshot of the digital divide illustrates why education experts are concerned that school closures could increase achievement gaps.
A conceptual schematic of a laser-based method for identifying the coronavirus quickly. Penn State University

Lasers could speed up coronavirus diagnostics

A team of physicists, virologists and computer scientists are seeking to develop a coronavirus diagnostic tool that could deliver rapid results.
The relationship between the coronavirus and human genetics is murky. fatido/E+ via Getty Images

Your genes could determine whether the coronavirus puts you in the hospital – and we’re starting to unravel which ones matter

Researchers from Oregon Health and Science University found that variations in genes that code for parts of the cellular alarm system might play a role in how well people fight off COVID-19.
In places where children die with tragic frequency, the collective grief of parents affects all society. Mary Long/Shutterstock

Measuring maternal grief in Africa

In many sub-Saharan African countries, 20% of mothers have suffered the death of a child, a new study finds. In Mali, Liberia and Malawi, it's common for mothers to lose two children.
Tiny fuel cells convert sweat to electricity that can power sensors in electronic skin. Yu et al., Sci. Robot. 5, eaaz7946 (2020)

A smart second skin gets all the power it needs from sweat

Lightweight, flexible materials can be used to make health-monitoring wearable devices, but powering the devices is a challenge. Using fuel cells instead of batteries could make the difference.
Development of vaccines typically takes several months and can be slowed by manufacturing requirements. PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images

Researchers seek to repurpose an existing manufacturing platform to produce a COVID-19 vaccine

In the search for a rapid COVID-19 vaccine, researchers are modifying a method using the chemical riboflavin now used to prevent disease transmission during blood transfusions.

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