Ayala’s interest in science started at a young age, with exposure to both popular-science and science-fiction. Her curiosity and enthusiasm for the natural sciences resulted in degrees in both chemical engineering and molecular biology, and a firm belief that the advancement of humanity depends on our ability to share, discuss and understand novel ideas. With great power comes great responsibility, and Ayala believes it is the responsibility of scientists to show the beauty and strength of science to the public. Still looking for the science-fiction novel hidden within her, she looks to science communication as a way to share new concepts, tools and discoveries with curious people from all walks of life.
Ayala is the editor of 67 Breaks:
How life on Earth almost ended once
About 252 million years ago, more than 95% of marine and 70% of terrestrial species perished within a geological blink of an eye. Our study reveals how Earth’s largest mass extinction occurred.Jun 21, 2021 | 4 min read
Bat genomes: unveiling the secrets of their superpowers
Bats possess many extraordinary adaptations, including echolocation, flight, unique immunity to viruses and extended longevity. To uncover the molecular basis underlying these traits, we have generated high-quality genomes of six bat species. These resources will improve our understanding of bat biology and stimulate new avenues of research that are relevant to human health and disease.Jun 18, 2021 | 3.5 min read
Strip it out and build it back! Engineering a morphogen gradient
Morphogens are biological molecules that instruct patterning in developing tissues. We used an artificial morphogen to guide development in the fruit fly wing. By doing so, we simplify the biological complexity, allowing us to decipher how morphogens work.Jun 16, 2021 | 3.5 min read
Is the Sun a Sun-like star?
Brightness variability of the Sun and other stars is one of the most intriguing manifestations of their magnetic activity. We compare the Sun’s brightness variability to that of its peers and asked how typical it is among other Sun-like stars. Surprisingly, several hundreds of stars that were very similar to the Sun in all parameters still showed much higher brightness variability.Jun 11, 2021 | 4.5 min read
Responding to sea-level rise: the importance of culture
Sea-level rise is one of today’s most pressing global concerns and the response of coastal communities depends on social, cultural and environmental factors. But coastal inundation does not necessarily lead to coastline abandonment. A record of past sea level and landscape changes spanning 12,000 years reveals that widespread coastal reorganization can take place.Jun 10, 2021 | 4 min read
Tiny barcodes for a global food chain
Determining the origin of the foods we eat is harder than ever in our globalized world, yet in the case of food borne illness this answer could save lives and money. By harnessing microbial spores, we developed a technique using microscopic DNA barcodes to determine the origin of objects in a way that is safe, scalable, and durable to be used in real-world settings.Jun 7, 2021 | 4 min read