Brain Food

We all react differently to seeing someone in distress. Some feel empathy. Some don’t. Some feel the pain so strongly they take it on as their own. Flagstaff social neuroscientist Chad Woodruff is trying to measure compassion and empathy by recording the activity of “mirror” or “social neurons” in the brain. 


Brendan Borrell/the-scientist.com

Scientists are studying the DNA of a deadly tropical fungus to learn how it is able to adapt in a foreign environment. Cryptococcus gattii is believed to have originated in the jungles of Brazil, but has been making people sick in the Pacific Northwest of the United States for about 20 years. David Engelthaler, the director of TGen in Flagstaff, wants to know how strains of the fungus are evolving and spreading disease. 


eagles.org

Avian ecologists are concerned that a warming, drying climate may negatively impact the population of golden eagles in the Southwest. In order to trap, track and monitor their behavior, researcher Tom Koronkiewicz with SWCA Environmental Consultants is leaving deer and elk carcasses near nesting sites north of Flagstaff.


HYPO2

Flagstaff has long been a destination for elite athletes to train at high altitude. From swimmers at the Wall Aquatic Center to runners on the trails, working out at 7,000 feet can increase oxygen-carrying red blood cells by 4 or 5 percent. Now, new research shows the longer athletes train at high elevation, the better the results. Dan Bergland is a sports physiologist at HYPO2, Flagstaff’s high-altitude training camp. 


Leroy Hamilton

CAT scans are revealing more information about life in Pompeii, an ancient Italian city buried under the volcanic ash of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. The findings are the focus of a new exhibit at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix. Sari Custer is the Vice President of Curiosity. She says the scans reveal fascinating facts about the people and environment in Pompeii.


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