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Polyxeni Damala

Senior Scientific Editor

About Polyxeni

Polyxeni comes from Athens, a place rich in history. Seeking to satisfy her curiosity about the rest of the world, she flew abroad after finishing her studies. With an engineering background and a lot of excitement, she settled at the heart of Europe, surrounded by majestic mountains and scenic lakes. At this pivotal stage of her life, she came to the profound realization that life should be spent in the pursuit of your true interests. Then, she embarked on the mission of making people see the world through the lens of science, aiming to bring about impactful changes in their understanding.

Polyxeni is the editor of 12 Breaks:

Smaller, faster, more complex? Watching a phase transition with X-ray eyes

Whenever a material changes phase, by melting, crystallizing, or changing symmetry, it always begins at the nanoscale. With a new ultrafast X-ray microscope we’ve taken the first video of this elusive process, revealing a surprising simplicity underlying solid-to-solid transitions in quantum materials excited by lasers.

Sep 18, 2023 | 3 min read
Dust in the wind & the snowy Alps: a cautionary tale

Clouds are an indispensable part of our Earth’s atmosphere. Although closely associated with rain, water is not the only substance a cloud can carry. Using satellite images, we examined how vast plumes of atmospheric dust from the Sahara Desert found their way towards the northern Europe and investigated their impact on the snowy Alps.

Sep 15, 2023 | 3 min read
Of Microbes and Megastorms

The earliest ecosystems we know of were built entirely by microscopic lifeforms. Similar ecosystems that exist today help us understand the history of life on our planet. We set out to investigate their sensitivity to sea level change, but the occurrence of an extreme hurricane redirected our study and illustrated how climate change outcomes can impact life in surprising ways.

Aug 7, 2023 | 3.5 min read
How memory helps plants survive climate change

Do plants have a memory? Surprisingly enough, they do. But this is not the type of memory that we share. In plants, it serves more as a tool for survival when a hostile environment threatens their growth. To dig into their world, we studied how wild strawberries adapt to different temperatures using their environmental memory, the mysteries of which are yet to be fully understood.

May 16, 2023 | 3 min read
Can dark matter interact with itself?

Dark matter, the “glue” that holds our Universe bound, remains a mystery. A key question to understand its nature is whether dark matter particles can interact with each other in more ways than only through gravity. Using X-ray data of galaxy clusters, scientists revealed whether self-interacting dark matter could be the answer to one of the unsolved problems in cosmology.

May 10, 2023 | 3 min read
A blood cell atlas to guide us toward transplant success

Almost everything in our bodies is made from or by proteins. Just like reading a book opens a window to the world, studying these molecules helps us understand human physiology better. With this in mind, we created the first repository housing the exact composition of 57000 proteins in blood cells and managed to advance the prediction of whether liver transplant recipients may reject their graft.

Mar 8, 2023 | 3.5 min read