Jordana Cepelewicz

Staff Writer

3D illustration of a complex atomic structure.
Abstractions blog

Origin-of-Life Study Points to Chemical Chimeras, Not RNA

September 16, 2019

Origin-of-life researchers have usually studied the potential of pure starting materials, but messy mixtures of chemicals may kick-start life more effectively.

3D illustration of three human skulls, split into left and right halves and nested one inside the next.
evolution

Fossil DNA Reveals New Twists in Modern Human Origins

August 29, 2019

Modern humans and more ancient hominins interbred many times throughout Eurasia and Africa, and the genetic flow went both ways.

An illustration of a machine with two mechanical arms sorts cells by size into processing lines marked “Asymmetric Division” and “Symmetric Division.”
developmental biology

For Embryo’s Cells, Size Can Determine Fate

August 12, 2019

Modeling suggests that many embryonic cells commit to a developmental fate when they become too small to divide unevenly anymore.

Abstractions blog

In Brain’s Electrical Ripples, Markers for Memories Appear

August 6, 2019

Researchers found that elongating certain brain signals in rats improved their memory. The work revealed a new property to look out for in the hunt for “biomarkers” of learning.

evolution

Scientists Debate the Origin of Cell Types in the First Animals

July 17, 2019

Theories about how animals became multicellular are shifting as researchers find greater complexity in our single-celled ancestors.

Abstractions blog

How Swarming Insects Act Like Fluids

July 10, 2019

By studying a swarm of flying midges as though it were a fluid, physicists have learned how collective behaviors might stabilize a group against environmental disruptions.

artificial intelligence

Where We See Shapes, AI Sees Textures

July 1, 2019

To researchers’ surprise, deep learning vision algorithms often fail at classifying images because they mostly take cues from textures, not shapes.

Art for "Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’"
cell biology

Bacterial Complexity Revises Ideas About ‘Which Came First?’

June 12, 2019

Contrary to popular belief, bacteria have organelles too. Scientists are now studying them for insights into how complex cells evolved.

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a T lymphocyte.
Abstractions blog

Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins

June 3, 2019

Immunologists confirm an old hunch: T-cells identify what belongs in the body by timing how long they can bind to it.

About the author

Jordana Cepelewicz is a staff writer at Quanta Magazine who covers biology. Her writing about mathematics, neuroscience and other subjects has also appeared in Nautilus and Scientific American. Before entering the world of science reporting, Jordana did editorial work at Harper’s MagazinePolitico and Tea Leaf Nation. She graduated from Yale University in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and comparative literature.