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Dr. Ayala Sela

Associate Editor

About Ayala

Ayala’s interest in science started at a young age, with exposure to both popular-science and science-fiction. Her curiosity and enthusiasm for the natural sciences resulted in degrees in both chemical engineering and molecular biology, and a firm belief that the advancement of humanity depends on our ability to share, discuss and understand novel ideas. With great power comes great responsibility, and Ayala believes it is the responsibility of scientists to show the beauty and strength of science to the public. Still looking for the science-fiction novel hidden within her, she looks to science communication as a way to share new concepts, tools and discoveries with curious people from all walks of life.

Ayala is the editor of 67 Breaks:

A quantum step forward in high pressure science

Whereas tools break under high enough pressure, an atom cannot. Scientist have figured out how to use an atom-sized magnet to perform sensitive measurements under the most extreme pressures. This work permits the study of exotic science related to planetary formation and more efficient materials for new technology.

Dec 7, 2020 | 3.5 min read
Hot currents: Global ocean circulation speeds up

Ocean circulation redistributes heat and shapes the marine environment. As the world’s oceans have been warming for decades, it is essential to determine how ocean circulation is changing due to global warming. Here, we find that the global ocean circulation has been accelerating substantially since 1990s. This is likely driven by increased greenhouse gas emissions related to human activities.

Dec 4, 2020 | 2.5 min read
Beetles became an evolutionary success with help from stolen microbial genes

How did beetles become one of the most diverse groups of animals? We reconstructed the beetle family tree and studied beetle DNA. We determined that plant-feeding beetles rapidly diversified after ”stealing” microbial genes, which facilitated digestion of plant tissues. We propose that these genes were key to the evolutionary success of beetles.

Dec 2, 2020 | 3 min read
World’s first microscale ‘transformer’ robot

Microrobots could perform medical procedures and serve as a non-invasive form of medical treatment. However, this would require an ability to change form-and-function to fit the need. Using shape transforming microbricks, we developed ‘Transformer’ Robots capable of morphing from racecar to humanoid robot.

Nov 26, 2020 | 2 min read
U.S. Mineral Supply Chain Security in the Age of Pandemics and Trade Wars

Modern technology makes use of numerous mineral commodities whose production is concentrated in a few countries. New research identifies the commodities whose supply disruption poses the greatest risk to the manufacturing sector. While the analysis is applied to the U.S. manufacturing sector, the principles are equally applicable to other economies heavily reliant on imported mineral materials.

Nov 23, 2020 | 3.5 min read
How a type of expanding thread dictates plant growth

Until recently, scientists thought that the growth of plant cells is driven by pressure on their rigid cell walls. Using new nanoimaging technology we show that the cell wall polymer pectin can independently expand plant cells. Similar biochemical 'self-expansion' of extracellular polymers in different kingdoms may change our vision of life beyond the plasma membrane.

Nov 12, 2020 | 2 min read