The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

News Archive

Grant to help pave a big data highway to explore genome, enhance health

A $6.1 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health may help researchers leverage massive amounts of genomic data to develop medical treatments and pharmaceuticals, according to an international team of researchers.

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How best to treat infections and tumors

Choice of containment versus aggressive treatment depends on drug resistance

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The virus in the cupboard: Hunting pathogens close to home

Just as we’re getting used to knowing we have trillions of bacteria populating us, from our eyeballs to our intestines, comes word that we need to look beyond bacteria to even smaller squatters: the virome, a vast community of viruses that calls us home.

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Penn State creates new center for microbiome research

A University-wide effort to promote the study of microbiomes has led to the creation of a center for microbiome research at Penn State. Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans and the atmosphere.

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Considering cattle could help eliminate malaria in India

The goal of eliminating malaria in countries like India could be more achievable if mosquito-control efforts take into account the relationship between mosquitoes and cattle, according to an international team of researchers.

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Ozbolat authors book on 3D bioprinting

Ibrahim Tarik Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State, has authored a new book titled “3D Bioprinting: Fundamentals, Principles and Applications,” published by Elsevier (Academic Press).

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Researchers use stem cells to regenerate the external layer of a human heart

A process using human stem cells can generate the cells that cover the external surface of a human heart — epicardium cells — according to a multidisciplinary team of researchers.

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An ecological invasion mimics a drunken walk

A theory that uses the mathematics of a drunken walk describes ecological invasions better than waves, according to Tim Reluga, associate professor of mathematics and biology, Penn State.

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Researchers receive $3.6 million to study genetics of plant disease resistance

A $3.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation will support a new research project aimed at pinpointing the genes that confer disease resistance in cacao.

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New technique uses immune cells to deliver anti-cancer drugs

Some researchers are working to discover new, safer ways to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to tumors without damaging healthy cells. Others are finding ways to boost the body's own immune system to attack cancer cells. Researchers at Penn State have combined the two approaches by taking biodegradable polymer nanoparticles encapsulated with cancer-fighting drugs and incorporating them into immune cells to create a smart, targeted system to attack cancers of specific types.

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Fungus-infecting virus could help track spread of white-nose syndrome in bats

A newly discovered virus infecting the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats could help scientists and wildlife agencies track the spread of the disease that is decimating bat populations in the United States, a new study suggests.

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Research suggests climate change affecting plants above ground more than below

Shifts in plant-growth patterns have been widely reported in response to global warming, and it is well documented that warming generally advances aboveground plant growth, but warming's influence on root phenology is unclear. Most terrestrial biosphere models assume that root and shoot growth occur at the same time and are influenced by warming in the same manner, but recent studies suggest that this is not the case.

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Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks

Bacterial resistance does not come just through adaptation to antibiotics, sometimes the bacteria simply go to sleep. An international team of researchers is looking at compounds that attack bacteria's ability to go dormant and have found the first oxygen-sensitive toxin antitoxin system.

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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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