A synthetic biologist has created artificial cells that can “talk” to natural cells — but are they really alive?

Just like a human being, a house or office has its own microbiome, with good and bad microorganisms. One researcher has a targeted idea: to customize our spaces with the right microbes.

Is there a correlation between your biome and your BMI? In a radical new book, “Why Diets Make Us Fat,” neuroscientist Sandra Aabodt sheds much-needed light on this tangled, cryptic relationship.