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:
Finding the one: what prairie voles can tell us about the drive to seek out our romantic partner
Like us, monogamous prairie voles can form lifelong pair bonds. We asked how these long-term bonds change brain activity in brain regions associated with reward and motivation. We discovered a set of cells that are active when a vole approaches their partner. The number of these cells expands as bonds mature, potentially encoding the growing desire to be with a pair bonded partner.Jun 3, 2021 | 5 min read
The clock as a frenemy: the importance of the biological rhythms in cancer prognosis
All body functions exhibit rhythmic behavior synchronized to the daily light-dark cycle. Disruption of our internal circadian clock can result in cancer. We show that disrupting the circadian rhythm increases tumor growth, interferes with the immune system and cell multiplication mechanisms.Jun 1, 2021 | 3.5 min read
Ice production on the hottest planet in our solar system
Observations of Mercury indicate the probable existence of water ice in the permanently shadowed polar regions. Water on the planets of our solar system is thought to be delivered via comets and meteorites. However, water can also be produced from reactions on the soil of Mercury and can distribute in significant amounts to the permanently shadowed regions of Mercury over geological time periods.May 28, 2021 | 4 min read
Using satellites to look for floating plastics in the ocean
Each year, millions of tons of plastic enter our oceans, adding pressure to ecosystems and threatening marine life. Observing the marine environment using satellites offer a unique ‘bird’s eye’ perspective. For the first time, we show how freely available satellite data can be used to detect plastic patches in coastal waters.May 26, 2021 | 4 min read
How can a pathogen subvert honey bee social behaviors to increase its success?
Honey bees are extremely important pollinators. Understanding the way bees manage infections can help us protect them. In this study, we show how the Israeli acute paralysis virus can change bees’ social behavior to increase infection rates.May 21, 2021 | 4 min read
The World’s Longest Nanoscale Chain
Polycatenanes are tiny chains, made by linking cyclic molecules together in a chain without using chemical bonds. They have been attracting attention as a next-generation polymeric material. We created the world’s longest polycatenane chain using a simple solvent mixing method.May 19, 2021 | 3 min read