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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:

Why Women Are Predisposed to Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease leads to progressive dementia, profound disability and impaired quality of life. Globally, there are more than 50 million cases, over two thirds of which are women. The cause behind this gender difference had remained unclear for decades, until we discovered that a specific hormone, which dramatically increases in women after menopause, triggers this phenomenon.

Jun 17, 2022 | 4 min read
Genetics agrees: Africa is thriving in diversity

Populations in African countries have much more genetic variation than previously thought. We sequenced the DNA of 400 individuals and showed how people moved and interacted both with each other and with their environment in the past. Our findings, including both old and newly discovered gene variants, have deep implications for the future of genetics in medicine.

Apr 27, 2022 | 3 min read
How glaciers can help algae bloom under sea ice

While invisible to the bare eye, microscopic algae are the base of marine food webs, eventually feeding large animals, such as fish and whales. These algae need sunlight and nutrients to grow. But only little light penetrates sea ice during the Arctic winter. In a high-Arctic fjord, we found a unique system where algae thrive under sea ice, fueled by meltwater from below a glacier.

Mar 9, 2022 | 3 min read
Math reveals the evolution of composition in paintings

Can we distinguish between Baroque period paintings and Impressionist paintings by only looking at the horizon’s position? We mathematically analyzed the composition of nearly 15,000 landscape paintings from a dataset of Western art history covering over 500 years. We then revealed that the particular composition most frequently appearing in paintings has changed systematically over time.

Dec 29, 2021 | 3.5 min read
How roots help us fight against hard soils

Compacted, hard soil is a major threat to modern farming as it blocks plant roots growth and restricts water and nutrient acquisition. Engineered crop roots with a reduced ability to sense hard soils could provide a new way to create compaction resistant cereal varieties.

Oct 8, 2021 | 3 min read
Exceptional hearing ability in a hummingbird

The Ecuadorian Hillstar sings with the highest pitch among birds. We showed that this hummingbird can hear these vocalizations and use them to court females, becoming the first bird species that communicates using high-pitch sounds.

Sep 28, 2021 | 3 min read