What if we looked at Parkinson's as an neurological electrical problem? Brain researcher Eleftheria Pissadaki and her team study dopamine neurons, the neurons that selectively die during Parkinson's. They discovered that the bigger a neuron is, the more vulnerable it becomes because it simply requires more energy. This new insight is reframing the disease -- and by "finding the fuse box for each neuron" and figuring out how much energy it needs, may help us neuroprotect our brain cells.
Irina Kareva translates biology into mathematics and vice versa. She writes mathematical models that describe the dynamics of cancer, with the goal of developing new drugs that target tumors. "The power and beauty of mathematical modeling lies in the fact that it makes you formalize, in a very rigorous way, what we think we know," Kareva says. "It can help guide us to where we should keep looking, and where there may be a dead end." It all comes down to asking the right question and translating it to the right equation, and back.