Alex Jackson

UK-based journalist and digital editor. Writes about science, the environment, health and technology, and human interest stories from across the globe. With occasional music writing thrown in for good measure. 

Contributed to The Guardian, Nature, Scientific American, BBC, Japan Times, Mail & Guardian, Yorkshire Post, Geographical Magazine and Huffington Post.

Alicinda Tibério: The indigenous leader on empowering her community to combat dengue with the Wolbachia method.

The indigenous leader on empowering her community to combat dengue with the Wolbachia method. Alicinda Tibério remembers the impact of dengue like it was yesterday. “The symptoms are dreadful,” she says. The indigenous leader of the Água Bonita Urban Village, in Campo Grande, west central Brazil, was in bed for almost 15 days when she was diagnosed with dengue following a blood test.

Dengue’s deadly impact on children|

"I hallucinated that I was going to die," says Thinh Cuong Trinh. At just 13-years-old, Thinh has already been hospitalised twice by dengue. He vividly recalls the crippling fever, loss of appetite, headaches and fatigue that have become a part of his childhood. It’s a disease which has drained his family emotionally. In Thu Dau Mot, a small but thriving urban centre which skirts the Saigon River in Southern Vietnam, where Thinh lives, dengue has long cast a shadow over the proud local community

Is dengue the next threat in flood-hit Pakistan?

KARACHI: As devastating floods rip through Pakistan impacting more than 33 million people, another major threat lies round the corner. Public health experts are warning of the rising risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue spreading across the country. Pakistan has already been grappling with increasing dengue cases and the unusually early and heavy monsoon rains this year have provided favourable conditions for mosquitoes to breed in.

Explicativo: Cómo el cambio climático está amplificando las enfermedades transmitidas por mosquitos | World Mosquito Program

Las enfermedades transmitidas por mosquitos matan a más de un millón de personas e infectan hasta 700 millones cada año: casi una de cada diez personas. A medida que el planeta se caliente y el cambio climático alargue la temporada de mosquitos, la criatura más mortal del mundo expandirá su rango geográfico a nuevas regiones y volverá a emerger en áreas donde el número de mosquitos había disminuido por décadas. Patrones climáticos extremos tales como sequías, olas de calor, inundaciones y p

Explainer: How climate change is amplifying mosquito-borne diseases | World Mosquito Program

Mosquito-borne diseases kill more than one million people and infect up to 700 million each year – almost one in ten people. As the planet warms and climate change lengthens the mosquito season, the world’s deadliest creature will expand its geographical range to new regions and re-emerge in areas where mosquito numbers had subsided for decades. Extreme climate and weather patterns such as droughts, heatwaves, floods, and rainfall are increasing in severity and regularity across the globe.

The young female climate activists driving change in Asia

For Asia, where more countries are facing greater environmental risks than in other parts of the globe, climate change is an imminent issue that could threaten the lives of people through natural disasters, displacement from homes and shortages of natural resources. According to an environmental risk assessment published in May, Asia is home to 99 of the world’s 100 most vulnerable cities. The report found 80% of these are in India or China, while Jakarta was named the city most vulnerable to e

The Japanese scientist fighting prejudice, misinformation and COVID-19

“It feels like I’ve lived a decade within one year,” Akiko Iwasaki says. “The pandemic has definitely changed the way we do science.” In the midst of a global health crisis, the professor of immunology at Yale University has been a trusted voice of reason. Iwasaki has become known for breaking down complex science to deliver accessible messages to the public and the media, dispelling myths and publishing leading research on SARS-CoV-2. The Iwasaki lab, which the Japanese-born scientist set up

Five pioneering Asian scientists to look out for this year

From leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to tackling climate change, scientists today are at the forefront of important discoveries, technologies and solutions for everyday life, helping humans understand the great mysteries of the universe. And the global health crisis was the latest reminder that development in science has huge societal and economic impacts and contributes to humanity’s progress. A notable trend over the past decade has been the growth of research and development i

In wake of Japan disaster, scientists aim for faster and more accurate tsunami warnings

In the 10 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, scientists have sought answers to a variety of questions relating to the deadly tsunami that began tearing through coastal communities just 15 minutes after the quake. Researchers have probed how a tsunami gathers height as it nears a shoreline and how this affects the damage it can cause. They’ve also begun to assess technologies for the early detection of tsunamis and improving tsunami observing systems acros

The young astronomer unlocking the secrets of how planets form

Yuki Okoda has always been fascinated by the great mysteries of the universe. Inspired by her high school physics teacher’s stories on the theory of relativity, elementary particle experiments and exoplanets, Okoda pursued a career in astronomy. She could never have anticipated what would happen next. In September 2018, as a second-year Master’s student at the University of Tokyo, the young astronomer became the first person to discover a dense disk of material around a newborn star. The discov

Celebrated codebreaker’s legacy lives on in Africa through the Turing Trust

“I think the one thing that almost everyone can agree on from Alan Turing’s legacy is that his life experience really highlighted the injustice and unequal treatment of people around the world,” says James Turing, over a Zoom call in mid-January lockdown. The great-nephew of the world-renowned mathematician and computer scientist is looking to keep his legacy alive — through a charitable Trust he created from his student bedroom eleven years ago. The Turing Trust aims to address the digital di

Sickle cell disease: Africa’s most prevalent ‘invisible condition’

Eight years ago, Arafa Salim thought she was on the verge of death. “The doctors who were treating me didn’t know how to deal with it, my bone marrow couldn’t produce blood. I needed a lot of transfusions to save my life,” she said. Salim, who has sickle cell disease, a genetic blood disorder that can result in severe anaemia, had survived a real scare. Her story is not uncommon. More than 10,000 children with sickle cell disease die each year before they reach their fifth birthday, in Tanza

The Boston scientists on a mission to remove bias in US scientific hiring

The Boston scientists on a mission to remove bias in US scientific hiring “One major barrier to scientific innovation is workforce development,” says Elizabeth Wu, one of three scientists behind a new platform that seeks to remove bias in scientific hiring. Wu, alongside co-founder Danika Khong are setting their sights high, looking to address the $1B annual loss from inefficiencies in scientific recruiting in the US. The Boston-based scientists set up Scismic in November 2017, initially as a

Blind Japanese inventor harnessing technology to improve lives of visually impaired

Dr. Chieko Asakawa’s life motto: Make the impossible possible — by never giving up. Blind since the age of 14, Asakawa has dedicated the past three decades to researching and developing new technologies to help transform the lives of the visually impaired. Asakawa’s inventions have impacted millions worldwide, and now one of them will receive one of the ultimate in industry accolades. The Osaka-born computer scientist, who lives in the United States, is among 19 innovators who will be inducted

Educating Abuja girls to STEM the cost of hi-tech research

Down a quiet tree-lined street on the periphery of Abuja, one of the fastest growing cities in the world, a classroom brims with activity. A group of teenage girls huddle eagerly around a robotic trash collector they’ve just built, while others rummage through tool kits and test virtual reality headsets. Infectious laughter echoes through the hallway from outside. More young women are trialling their solar-powered phone chargers and solar ovens, in the shadows of the majestic Aso Rock, which ri

Wikipedia Day — Celebrating Wikipedians across the globe

“It is like a library or a public park. A temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others,” states Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales. When the US entrepreneur first mooted the idea of an online encyclopaedia (in 2001) which could be created by allowing anyone to build pages on any topic, it seemed a fairly novel, yet improbable concept. Not even Wales though could have predicted it would evolve into the world’s leading general reference wo

Japanese winner of L'Oreal-UNESCO award for female scientists looks to reshape materials research

From a young age, Dr. Yukiko Ogawa knew she wanted to become a scientist. Growing up in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture, she would spend hours after school creating objects in her bedroom. It was this curiosity and early ingenuity when it came to designing novel things that led Ogawa to where she is today. “Materials science is the foundation of modern society,” Ogawa said from her research base at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, one of Japan’s largest scie

Tokyo researchers’ Paper Digest makes academic jargon a cinch

They come from very different worlds, yet have remarkably similar tales to tell. One hails from Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, while the other was brought up in the shadows of the Merendon mountains in the Sula Valley of northwestern Honduras. Bonding over a “love of good coffee and jazz,” Yasutomo Takano and Cristian Mejia have come a long way since they first met four years ago while studying bibliometrics at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. Back then they were both enthusiastic students with
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