Zack Fishman

Zack Fishman

Reporter, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

Zack Fishman, based in Chicago, covers Life Sciences and Physical Sciences for The Academic Times. Previously, Zack received his M.S. in journalism at Northwestern University, specializing in health, environment and science reporting, and his B.S. in engineering physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A cross-section of the bile-acid tablet developed by researchers to treat constipation. The controlled-release layer was found to significantly reduce large contractions in an experiment in pigs. (Brigham and Women's Hospital & MIT/Christoph Steiger)
A cross-section of the bile-acid tablet developed by researchers to treat constipation. The controlled-release layer was found to significantly reduce large contractions in an experiment in pigs. (Brigham and Women's Hospital & MIT/Christoph Steiger)Medical researchers have developed a new drug-delivery method meant to ease constipation by lubricating the colon with bile acid while slowing the delivery enough to avoid painful cramps. The company they founded has planned to fund human clinical trials involving irritable bowel syndrome patients by next year.

Adult sablefish at the Golden Eagle Sable Fish hatchery off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. (Golden Eagle Sable Fish/Briony Campbell)
Adult sablefish at the Golden Eagle Sable Fish hatchery off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. (Golden Eagle Sable Fish/Briony Campbell)Some fish are less capable of adapting their blood flow to rising temperatures when inhabiting oxygen-poor waters, according to a new study in sablefish, suggesting that as oxygen depletion continues to occur due to natural and human influences, many fish may face a higher risk from heat waves caused by climate change.

There may be a new medical use for this pricey metal. (Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon)
There may be a new medical use for this pricey metal. (Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon)Injected into mice suffering from a sepsis-related brain condition as part of a new study, microscopic bits of gold caused improvements by reducing inflammation and protecting some functions, in the latest demonstration of gold nanoparticles’ potential medical value.

Genetic causes of glaucoma are being tracked down. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Genetic causes of glaucoma are being tracked down. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)A DNA analysis of nearly 400,000 people identified 127 locations on chromosomes containing genes that raise the risk of glaucoma, including 44 that had not been previously connected to the blinding eye disease. The findings could improve prevention measures and the search for drug treatments.

The pandemic helped clear the air. (Pixabay/Rebecca Humann)
The pandemic helped clear the air. (Pixabay/Rebecca Humann)The world’s carbon dioxide emissions saw their largest-ever one-year drop in 2020, falling 7% from 2019 to 34 billion metric tons because of pandemic-related restrictions. But in a new study, researchers said the world should be reducing its output at a rate only slightly less rapid for the rest of the decade, if it is to adhere to the Paris Agreement and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Cholesterol may be helping ebola. (CDC via AP/Frederick Murphy)
Cholesterol may be helping ebola. (CDC via AP/Frederick Murphy)Scientists removed cholesterol from the membranes of the most dangerous Ebola viruses and found that it heavily reduced their success in embedding in cells, directly demonstrating for the first time that the lipid is a crucial component to Ebola infection.

Our oxygen levels may drop ... but not for a while. (Unsplash/NASA)
Our oxygen levels may drop ... but not for a while. (Unsplash/NASA)A hotter sun and changing geological processes will cause Earth’s atmosphere to lose 99% of its oxygen in about 1.1 billion years, according to new research putting a cap on the planet’s oxygen-breathing biosphere and providing new insights into the search for habitable exoplanets.

Encouraging sea urchin predators doesn't always hurt urchin population numbers. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)
Encouraging sea urchin predators doesn't always hurt urchin population numbers. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)Overfishing protections off the coast of California helped recover populations of animals that hunted sea urchins, which have been laying waste to the region’s kelp forests. Yet rather than suppressing the urchins’ prevalence by creating more predators, new evidence shows that the protections expanded their numbers, revealing more nuanced ecosystem dynamics than expected.

Google has provided a new way to detect waves in water and earth. (Pixabay/Elias Sch.)
Google has provided a new way to detect waves in water and earth. (Pixabay/Elias Sch.)Geoscientists harnessed data signals transmitting through a Google-owned fiber-optic cable that runs more than 6,200 miles under the Pacific Ocean seafloor to record dozens of earthquakes and storm swells, detecting seismic activity from changes in the signal’s polarization.

Retreating sea ice is making life tough for polar bears. (AP via USGS/Mike Lockhart)
Retreating sea ice is making life tough for polar bears. (AP via USGS/Mike Lockhart)Retreating Arctic sea ice is causing polar bears to swim more often and narwhals to make more inefficient dives to escape killer whales and human disturbances, forms of travel that require three to four times more energy than walking on ice or normal dives, respectively.

Nsp13 helicase (orange) unwinds RNA (blue), the same material as the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Recent findings show that mechanical forces (black arrows) increase nsp13 unwinding efficiency. (Rockefeller University/Keith Mickolajczyk)
Nsp13 helicase (orange) unwinds RNA (blue), the same material as the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Recent findings show that mechanical forces (black arrows) increase nsp13 unwinding efficiency. (Rockefeller University/Keith Mickolajczyk)Scientists have developed a deeper understanding of the novel coronavirus’ RNA-unwinding helicase, which they identified as a possible target to stop COVID-19 infection because of its resistance to mutations and critical role in viral replication. Their study was one of 10 chosen by the Biophysical Society to be highlighted at its 65th annual meeting and will be presented on Tuesday.

Rare earth mineral recovery may become part of recycling. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
Rare earth mineral recovery may become part of recycling. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)Material scientists developed a new chemical process to recycle valuable metals from battery and magnet scrap using inexpensive and environment-friendly salts. It is a possible improvement to modern recycling methods of rare earth metals, which sometimes produce hazardous wastes and are only occasionally employed.