Zack Fishman

Zack Fishman

Reporter, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

@ZBFishman

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 dinosaur, one of the more well-known victims of mass extinction events. (Unsplash/Fausto Garcia)
A dinosaur, one of the more well-known victims of mass extinction events. (Unsplash/Fausto Garcia) Land animals experience a rapid decline in biodiversity approximately every 27.5 million years, a cycle similar to the one found in marine-life mass extinctions, according to a new paper in Paleontology, lending support to a controversial explanation that the events have astronomical origins.

Membrane-separated compartments are visible inside the peroxisomes of 4-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana plant cells in this image from a confocal microscope. (Zachary Wright, Rice University)
Membrane-separated compartments are visible inside the peroxisomes of 4-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana plant cells in this image from a confocal microscope. (Zachary Wright, Rice University) A Rice University graduate student has identified a new subcompartment within peroxisomes, cellular organelles involved in metabolism, and suggested they may play important roles in managing fatty acids and offer a window into a range of disorders.

A scientist at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center holds seedlings used for gene editing research. (Federica Narancio, AP)
A scientist at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center holds seedlings used for gene editing research. (Federica Narancio, AP) A trio of Japanese researchers harnessed a DNA-repair mechanism in cells to make gene-editing more accurate and unintended changes less frequent, refining the use of CRISPR technology.

A bird feeds one of its young in an area near street lamps. (Ezra Jeffrey, Unsplash)
A bird feeds one of its young in an area near street lamps. (Ezra Jeffrey, Unsplash) Some birds with strong night vision may have been able to adapt to climate change more effectively by nesting earlier in the season, and using highly lit areas for breeding activities, according to a new paper published in Nature.

Researchers led by Ciro Cabal dyed the pepper plants roots red and blue to track how the close proximity between two plants affects their growth. (Ciro Cabal)
Researchers led by Ciro Cabal dyed the pepper plants roots red and blue to track how the close proximity between two plants affects their growth. (Ciro Cabal) Plants aren’t as selfish as scientists once thought when it comes to growing their roots, avoiding a "tragedy of the commons" of soil nutrients by overproducing roots near their stem but growing fewer around their neighbors.

A deer tick crawls along a leaf. (Erik Karits, Unsplash)
A deer tick crawls along a leaf. (Erik Karits, Unsplash) Bloodsucking ticks rely on an antibacterial enzyme stolen from ancient bacteria to survive on the human body, according to a new study, which emphasizes the findings’ potential to help slow the spread of Lyme disease.

A researcher examines a specimen in a laboratory. (National Cancer Institute, Unsplash)
A researcher examines a specimen in a laboratory. (National Cancer Institute, Unsplash) Raising new questions about the workings of natural selection, scientists have found protein structures whose complexity appears to serve no useful purpose, which runs counter to long-held beliefs that evolution always moves toward greater effectiveness.

Human colorectal cancer cells stained and under a microscope. (National Cancer Institute, Unsplash)
Human colorectal cancer cells stained and under a microscope. (National Cancer Institute, Unsplash) Humans gain some protection from cancer if nucleic acid segments at the ends of chromosomes are shorter, which helps to limit cell division, according to new research.

A smoker bends forward to light a cigarette. (Sajjad Zabihi, Unsplash)
A smoker bends forward to light a cigarette. (Sajjad Zabihi, Unsplash) Smoking cigarettes may increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, according to a study published Thursday in Cell Stem Cell, which found that airway stem cells exposed to cigarette smoke get infected by the new coronavirus in greater numbers than unexposed cells because of their weakened immunity.

Genetic material from older COVID-19 viruses found in dust could help in outbreak tracking. (NIAID/NIH via AP, File)
Genetic material from older COVID-19 viruses found in dust could help in outbreak tracking. (NIAID/NIH via AP, File) The structure of a protein on cell surfaces may explain why certain animals such as mice and chickens have not contracted COVID-19, presenting clues for how scientists might develop a treatment for the disease and predict the next potential epidemic.