The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

News Archive

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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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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Did smoking kill the Neanderthals?

Smoke inhalation would have been a serious threat for early man, due to campfires. But it appears that modern humans have evolved a reduced sensitivity to the chemicals in smoke so that it doesn’t trigger so much inflammatory damage to our airways.

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Coral conservation efforts aided by computer simulations

New research shows that endangered corals in the eastern Pacific Ocean are isolated from healthy coral populations in the west

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Where there's smoke and a mutation there may be an evolutionary edge for humans

A genetic mutation may have helped modern humans adapt to smoke exposure from fires and perhaps sparked an evolutionary advantage over their archaic competitors, including Neandertals, according to a team of researchers.

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Announcing Huck Graduate Research Innovation Grant recipients for 2016

The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of Huck Graduate Research Innovation (GRI) Grants.

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Penn State researcher awarded grant to study Zika transmission in United States

The Zika virus is appearing more frequently in the United States, including a locally transmitted outbreak in Florida, and people are concerned. Now the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a Penn State researcher a grant to test whether common American mosquitoes can carry the virus.

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Self-healing textiles not only repair themselves, but can neutralize chemicals

Someday, chemically protective suits made of fabric coated in self-healing, thin films may prevent farmers from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, soldiers from chemical or biological attacks in the field and factory workers from accidental releases of toxic materials, according to a team of researchers.

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Super-Cold Microscope Has Super Cool Uses

While "go big" is the motto for many science initiatives, Penn State researchers are hoping a cutting-edge microscope will allow them to "go deep" to promote biomedical research and discoveries in materials science.

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Trees rely on a range of strategies to hunt for nutrient hot spots

On the surface, trees may look stationary, but underground their roots -- aided by their fungal allies -- are constantly on the hunt and using a surprising number of strategies to find food, according to an international team of researchers.

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Penn State Smeal exposes scientists to business, entrepreneurship expertise

A week of executive-style business classes led by Penn State Smeal College of Business faculty recently exposed 22 life science doctoral and post-doctoral students at Penn State to the entrepreneurial possibilities of their research.

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Penn State bee research pollinates next generation of scientists

Elina Lastro Niño's curiosity about honey bees dates back to her childhood in Bosnia, where her father kept bees for a time. After perhaps one bee sting too many, her father gave up his bees, and Niño's interest in honey bees waned — but not her fascination with insect biology.

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Probing Questions: How concerned should Pennsylvanians be about Zika virus?

Jason Rasgon, associate professor of entomology and disease epidemiology, studies how viruses are spread by mosquitoes, fleas, sand flies, lice, ticks, mites, and other insects and arthropods. In this Probing Question video, Rasgon looks at the relative risks for Pennsylvanians of Zika virus, Lyme disease and West Nile virus.

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New clues could help scientists harness the power of photosynthesis

Identification of a gene needed to expand light harvesting in photosynthesis into the far-red-light spectrum provides clues to the development of oxygen-producing photosynthesis, an evolutionary advance that changed the history of life on Earth.

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Penn State, TB Alliance, and GSK partner to discover new treatments for TB

A new collaboration between TB Alliance, GSK, and scientists in the Eberly College of Science seeks to find new small molecules that can be used to create antibiotics in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

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Picky eaters: Bumble bees prefer plants with nutrient-rich pollen

Bumble bees have discriminating palettes when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State.

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