Deborah Devis

Deborah Devis

Dr Deborah Devis is a science journalist at The Royal Institution of Australia.

  • School of fishy little robots

    Fish-like Bluebots use LED lights and cameras to swarm like the real thing.

    Why have a school of fish when you can have a school of robots? This is a question recently answered by a team of ...

    January 15, 2021
  • Animal magnetism is real

    Snakes repel venom via a magnet-like mechanism.

    Franz Mesmer might have been on to something when he described animal magnetism as an invisible force possessed by al...

    January 15, 2021
  • ASD and suicide risk

    Tailoring prevention for the neurodivergent.

    A nation-wide study of people aged 10 years and over diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Denmark has lin...

    January 14, 2021
  • Odd jobs: paleodermatologist

    Looking skin deep can provide new discoveries, at least in this vanguard field of research.

    All manner of unusual jobs exist in science, but perhaps one of the most remarkable is the expertise of Phil Bell, of...

    January 14, 2021
  • Down with the (antibiotic) resistance!

    Phages force problem bacteria to expose themselves to antibiotics.

    How do you stop a superbug from fighting an antibiotic? Try giving it another enemy. Acinetobacter baumannii is a ...

    January 13, 2021
  • Not-so-identical twins

    Monozygotic – “identical” – twins have small genome differences.

    Identical twins have long been touted as an incredible resource for genetics because they’re “genetically identical”....

    January 12, 2021
  • Eating out: care needed

    Risk of HPV-related throat cancer is higher with multiple oral-sex partners.

    Seems we need to take care when going down, because the frequency of oral sex might increase the risk of human papill...

    January 11, 2021
  • Land of the Long White Drought

    La Niña brings rain to Australia, drought to New Zealand.

    Lush, temperate rainforests, flowing rivers and abundant glaciers are just part of New Zealand’s (Aotearoa) charm. Bu...

    January 8, 2021
  • Infertility time-bomb

    Mother’s pre-pregnancy weight can affect son’s reproductive health.

    Infertility is a heartbreaking experience that carries a huge emotional toll, and the reasons for it remain elusive o...

    January 7, 2021
  • Prostate breakthrough

    Researchers find possible prostate cancer blocker.

    As well as being common and commonly lethal, prostate cancers are also pretty cunning, with an ability to resist horm...

    January 6, 2021
  • The brain knows when we’re feeling lonely

    Neural signatures show how our imaginations respond.

    Loneliness isn’t just a feeling; it appears to deeply affect our brain networks. When nobody is around, our imaginati...

    December 18, 2020
  • Gardeners may have one gene to thank

    Study pinpoints the cause of flower diversity.

    The huge variety of flowers we know has made them seem very complex, but there may be a relatively simple reason why ...

    December 12, 2020
  • Scientists brave enough to grow a spine

    Stem cells self-organise into trunk-like structures.

    Growing an embryo outside the body may not be that far away. German scientists report that they have successfully ...

    December 11, 2020
  • Human egg cells are imperfect too often

    Failure to recombine surprisingly common, study finds.

    The events that happen before life begins can go wrong surprisingly often. An important one is meiosis, where cell...

    December 11, 2020
  • Delving into domestic donkeys’ past

    Genome study reveals some clever breeding.

    Donkeys have been helping humans for millennia, but our knowledge of their origins has previously been limited to arc...

    December 9, 2020
  • Natural selection and the pressure to evolve

    There’s a lot to learn when a gene turns green.

    Some genes might not mind a bit of extra pressure when it comes to evolution. A Swiss team led by Andreas Wagner o...

    December 8, 2020
  • How on Earth did you get like that?

    Study explores the blending of complex animal patterns.

    A little mathematics has shown how animals get their extraordinary patterns. Previous studies have revealed how an...

    December 4, 2020
  • The protein that walks, folds and rests

    New images provide insights into muscle disorders.

    The myosin protein is well known for walking, but now it seems it also sleeps. 3D visualisation of: top, the shutd...

    December 3, 2020
  • How to pick the best microalgae

    New system assesses potential for biofuel production.

    The fuel of the future may be produced by microalgae – but which microalgae? We know these microorganisms use sunl...

    December 2, 2020
  • Does that reef smell good?

    Chemicals in gases may be an indicator of coral health.

    Gassy corals make a happy reef, it seems, but these gases may be lost if the water gets too hot. Animals release g...

    December 1, 2020
  • Naming that plant just got easier

    Researchers streamline the list of known vascular species.

    A major difficulty in plant research is the sheer abundance of names.  Most databases contain multiple or archaic ...

    November 27, 2020
  • Wheat and barley are incredibly diverse

    Scientists begin building an encyclopedia of their genes.

    The grains we use for bread and beer have thousands of years of history. Now, researchers are one step closer to unde...

    November 26, 2020
  • The evolution of an aggressive tumour

    Genomic study may help save the Tasmanian Devil.

    Australia’s iconic Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is particularly prone to a cancer that spreads through biti...

    November 26, 2020
  • Where to look for bees of different types

    Hint: think temperate zones and more to the north.

    There’s a lot more to bees than you might think, because there’s a lot of them. Around 20,000 different species, in f...

    November 20, 2020
  • Genes help some coral cope with low oxygen

    Researchers study varied stress susceptibility on reefs.

    Low oxygen levels in the ocean prevent coral from respiring properly and could be as much of a threat to the world’s ...

    November 18, 2020
  • The shape of colour

    Patterns in the brain are specific to what you see.

    The age-old question of whether we all see colour the same may now have an answer. Researchers at the National Eye...

    November 17, 2020
  • A cheat sheet to help know your neurons

    Researchers develop new way to sort and classify them.

    Not all neurons are equal, so researcher are building a “cheat sheet” to clarify things. In the largest categorisa...

    November 13, 2020
  • Diversity is a key to survival for mammals

    Genome study identifies important positions in the DNA.

    Mammals most at risk of extinction have low genetic diversity in some regions of DNA, according to a new genomic anal...

    November 12, 2020
  • Bird genome project really takes off

    We now know a lot more about the avian tree of life.

    Bird lovers can now rejoice in exploring the genomes of nearly all bird families. About 40% of the newly sequenced...

    November 12, 2020
  • Some (coral) like it hot

    New CRISPR technique isolates heat tolerance gene.

    Warming oceans are bad news for coral, but an improved CRISPR-Cas9 technique has revealed a “heat shield” gene that c...

    November 11, 2020
  • Microbiota catalogue just got bigger

    Thousands of new species discovered using DNA.

    Scientists have deciphered 12,566 new species of microbiotas from DNA samples, expanding the diversity of bacteria an...

    November 10, 2020
  • How the gut protects the brain

    Defence antibodies learn from the intestine.

    The gut is well known for being the first line of defence against infection, but it seems it also protects our most i...

    November 5, 2020
  • Where humans go, dogs follow

    Genome sequencing reveals our shared history.

    “Man’s best friend” is the phrase most often wheeled out to describe dogs’ thousands of years as a human companion an...

    October 30, 2020
  • A great African gene migration

    New variants reveal patterns of human movement.

    Exploring a huge number of genes has helped uncover migration of early humans and the evolution of disease-resistant ...

    October 29, 2020
  • Brains plan for action, not limbs

    Same region controls reaching by hand or foot.

    The brain isn’t going out on a limb when choosing to grasp things. Instead, new research shows, there is an overar...

    October 28, 2020
  • Big brains, big math scores

    Genes could be the reason you’re a natural – or not.

    A gene called ROBO1 helps brain development, which can also lead to higher math scores, according to new German resea...

    October 23, 2020
  • Healthy bacteria thrive in gut before birth

    Microbiota help healthy foetuses grow.

    Micro-organisms in the gut microbiome begin growing in foetuses as early as five months, new research shows. In a ...

    October 20, 2020
  • Honeybee ID is a gut feeling

    They recognise each other thanks to similar microbiomes.

    Bee sisters are genetically closer than human sisters, so it’s easy to assume this is why they recognise each other. ...

    October 16, 2020
  • How tardigrades survive in India

    Study suggests they have a fluorescent UV shield.

    Tardigrades have always been known for their toughness, but now it seems they might be able to share a superpower. ...

    October 15, 2020

Read science facts, not fiction...

There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.