The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

News Archive

Grants from NSF power super-resolution microscope, probe cell walls in plants

A new super-resolution microscope and some of the first dynamic imaging experiments it enables are being supported by two grants totaling nearly $1.5 million awarded to Penn State researchers by the National Science Foundation.

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Key regulator of bone development identified

Loss of a key protein leads to defects in skeletal development including reduced bone density and a shortening of the fingers and toes -- a condition known as brachydactyly. ThIS discovery, made by researchers at Penn State University, redefines the role of the Speckle-type POZ Protein (Spop) during bone development and provides a new potential target for the diagnosis and treatment of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

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American chestnut restoration effort getting a boost from molecular geneticists

Efforts to restore American chestnut trees to their rightful place in the North American forest ecosystem are progressing, although progress has come at a slower pace than once expected, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, who explain they have reached a pivotal point.

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Penn State communication arts and sciences faculty receive CDC grant

A one-year, $322,876 grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will enable researchers from the Penn State Department of Communication Arts and Sciences to evaluate antibiotic prescriptions for childhood ear infections, examine doctor-parent conversations about the use of antibiotics, survey parents’ attitudes toward antibiotic use, and, ultimately, identify effective communication strategies that reduce the overuse of antibiotics in treating pediatric illness.

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New strategy for antidepressant therapies

Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brains of depressed mice has antidepressant effects

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Geier recipient of early career professorship award

Charles Geier, assistant professor of human development and family studies at Penn State, was recently named as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Frances Keesler Graham Early Career Professorship.

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Parasitic plants may form weapons out of genes stolen from hosts

Sneaky parasitic weeds may be able to steal genes from the plants they are attacking and then use those genes against the host plant, according to a team of scientists.

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America the Bountiful ag workforce event highlights Penn State initiative

PlantVillage, an online crop-disease knowledge library and image database co-founded by Penn State researcher David Hughes, was represented at an event unveiling a new agricultural workforce development initiative Oct. 6 in Washington, D.C.

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Too much of a form of vitamin B3 in cells can cause behavioral changes in worms

Experiments show that too much of a form of vitamin B3 -- nicotinamide -- that is produced naturally inside of cells can lead to cell death in certain sensory cells and cause behavioral changes in the worm, Caenorhabditis elegans.

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New, carbon-nanotube tool for ultra-sensitive virus detection and identification

A new tool that uses a forest-like array of vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes that can be finely tuned to selectively trap viruses by their size can increase the detection threshold for viruses and speed the process of identifying newly-emerging viruses.

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Using satellite images to better target vaccination

A team of researchers led by Penn State scientists have combined satellite imagery, vaccination records, and measles case reports to illustrate how using predictable population fluctuations can help to improve vaccination coverage — a vital factor in combatting infectious disease outbreaks.

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Retired congressman, AAAS CEO Holt to lead panel on science and politics

The Penn State community is invited to join a panel discussion featuring a scientist-turned-lawmaker and a group of leading Penn State researchers about the role of scientists helping to shape policy for a more sustainable future.

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Artificial intelligence could help farmers diagnose crop diseases

A network of computers fed a large image dataset can learn to recognize specific plant diseases with a high degree of accuracy, potentially paving the way for field-based crop-disease identification using smartphones, according to a team of researchers at Penn State and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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Low-cost sensor for cystic fibrosis diagnosis based on citrate

Penn State biomaterials scientists have developed a new, inexpensive method for detecting salt concentrations in sweat or other bodily fluids. The fluorescent sensor, derived from citric acid molecules, is highly sensitive and highly selective for chloride, the key diagnostic marker in cystic fibrosis.

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Foliage display may suffer in parts of Pa. due to drought conditions

Drought conditions in parts of Pennsylvania, particularly in the northcentral region, are likely to dampen the fall foliage display, according to a forest ecologist in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

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First accurate simulation of a virus invading a cell

For the first time, scientists know what happens to a virus' shape when it invades a host cell, thanks to an experiment by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Understanding how the virus shape changes could lead to more effective anti-viral therapies.

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Researchers promote STEM education through online learning and 3-D models

Funded by the Social Science Research Institute, the Brain3M project aims to enhance middle school science education through virtual and 3-D printed brain models. (The “3M” stands for mobile devices, magnetic resonance imaging and 3-D models.)

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We Are: Meet 'dreamer,' student and plant biologist Shu Li

Shu Li is getting ready to defend her research and earn a Ph.D. in plant biology, but her reach already goes beyond the lab or classroom.

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David Hughes to be featured on President Barron’s WPSU show Sept. 11

Penn State President Eric J. Barron’s monthly WPSU show returns for its third season when it airs at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, on WPSU-TV. Barron will welcome Huck Institutes researcher David Hughes of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) to discuss how Penn State researchers utilize crowdsourcing and mobile technology to protect the world's food supply.

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New Innovation Gateway connects researchers to industry funding

Penn State’s Office of Industrial Partnerships (OIP) has announced the creation of a new, interactive online platform that will help the University’s researchers collaborate better with industry, increase commercialization opportunities and obtain new funding sources for research projects.

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