It’s been a while, but we’re back with one of our favorite features – This Week in Science! If you’ve not been here for the previous editions, we’ll discuss not only the most interesting studies of the past week, but also the people behind them – the men and women pushing forth the boundaries of science.

NASA continues to reveal insights about Ceres

Featured Researcher: Chris Russell
Affiliation: NASA

Research Interests: Principal investigator of NASA’s Dawn Mission team. Dawn orbited Vesta in 2011 and 2012 and has entered the orbit of Ceres.

Plastic-eating worm might pave the way for ocean clean-up

Featured Researcher: Wei-Min Wu
Affiliation: Stanford University

Research Interests: Applied research and process development, and design, start-up, operation and troubleshooting of laboratory, pilot- and full-scale biological waste treatment systems, especially anaerobic systems. He also enjoys environmental microbiological research, especially the isolation and characterization of anaerobic microorganisms.

Huge 250 meter tsunami 70,000 years ago

Featured Researcher: Ricardo Ramalho
Affiliation: Bristol University

Research Interests: Origins and evolution of ocean island volcanoes and oceanic hotspots. Landscape evolution at ocean island volcanoes.

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Newly discovered beaver-like mammal took over after the dinosaurs disappeared

Featured Researcher: Stephen Brusatte
Affiliation: Edinburgh University

Research Interests: Steve is interested in the anatomy, genealogy, and evolution of fossil vertebrates. Particular research interests are the origin and early evolution of dinosaurs in the Triassic, the anatomy and genealogy of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs (T. rex and kin), the evolution of birds from theropods, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, the recovery and radiation of mammals after the end-Cretaceous extinction, and the evolution of marine crocodylomorphs during the Mesozoic.

Effectiveness of talk therapy overstated, study finds

Featured Researcher: Erick Turner
Affiliation: Oregon Health and Science University

Research Interests: He is interested in how cooperation and altruism evolve, with questions ranging from the genetic and molecular details of cooperation in social amoebas up to the nature of organisms. Future directions may include the evolution of multicellularity and genomic imprinting in social insects.

Pluto’s Charon reveals colorful and violent past

Featured Researcher: Ross Beyer
Affiliation: NASA

Research Interests: Ross works on planetary surface studies. He has performed geophysical modeling of diapirism on Mars and other terrestrial planets. He works on ways to quantitatively analyze the meter-scale topography and surface roughness of planetary surfaces via remote sensing. This work has been used to help plan landing sites on Mars. Ross is also working to gain a better understanding of the stratigraphy and layering in the Valles Marineris both in the slopes of the chasmata and the interior mesas in order to learn more about the geologic history of Mars.

Life without music – study looks at brain with amusia

Featured Researcher: Benjamin Rich Zendel
Affiliation: Montreal University

Research Interests: At the most general level, his interests concern the unconscious and how it interacts with judgment, behavior, and conscious thought. More specifically, he is pursuing a program of research in implicit social cognition looking at the structure and function of attitudes, beliefs, and identity.

First biofluorescent reptile found is a ‘glowing’ neon red turtle

Featured Researcher: David Gruber
Affiliation: City University of New York

Research Interests: Dr. Anastasiadis’ research goal is to translate a better understanding of cell motility and invasiveness into targeted therapeutic treatments that block invasiveness and metastasis in cancer patients.