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Massimo Caine

About Massimo

Massimo, molecular biologist, is constantly on a mission to inspire scientists and laypeople around him with his passion for science. During the time spent on the bench, he followed his natural all-around curiosity, investigating several topics from medical diseases to plant physiology. Head of TheScienceBreaker, Massimo proudly chases his naïve dream of an engaged society where scientists and citizens are facing together the upcoming challenges for human civilizations. At the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Massimo works for BiOutils – an academic and laboratory-based platform for outreach in life sciences.

Massimo is the editor of 269 Breaks:

How calluses boost barefoot walking

Before footwear, calluses served as the primary protection for our feet. To understand how our species walks safely without shoes, we investigated foot skin biology in regularly barefoot and shod people in Western Kenya. Unlike shoes, calluses protect without trading off sensitivity or changing impact forces in walking, making them a remarkable example of evolutionary engineering.

Apr 27, 2020 | 4 min read
Did the Justinianic Plague kill millions of people in antiquity?

A plague pandemic reached the Roman Empire in the sixth century. Did it contribute to its fall? An interdisciplinary methodological approach provides new answers to an old question.

Apr 17, 2020 | 4 min read
The evolution of the new coronavirus: what the past teaches us for a better future

The new coronavirus which is causing the ongoing global crisis is evolutionarily related to SARS-CoV: the very same which induced the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. Accordingly, scientists named this novel virus SARS-CoV-2, and here we report the steps they took to classify it.

Apr 9, 2020 | 3.5 min read
The Face Mask Dilemma: to wear or not to wear, that is the question

COVID-19 is raging across the world. Lacking available treatments, policymakers are looking for efficient public health measures that could turn the tide. The general use of face masks in public spaces is one proposed strategy that is, however, widely disputed. Here, we zoom in on the most recent study investigating the effect of surgical face masks in halting the spread of coronavirus particles.

Apr 6, 2020 | 4 min read
Coronaviruses: Contagious Beasts and Where to Find Them

Analysis of the CoV-19 genome reveals two crucial mutations responsible for its efficient capacity to infect humans. There are two possible scenarios of how these mutations could have emerged. Both of them dismiss the possibility that the CoV-19 is a human-made virus that escaped from some laboratory.

Apr 3, 2020 | 4 min read
Bronze Age food diversity: ceci n’est pas un bagel

Think about prehistoric food. Images of chunks of roasted meat may appear before your inner eye, maybe also of coarse flatbread, porridge, a slice of cheese, soups of wild herbs, and tubers. But there is much, much more to it. In the following, three pieces of peculiar pastry from a 3,000 years old settlement are presented, which add up to the knowledge of the complexity of past cuisines.

Mar 30, 2020 | 4 min read