News

Penn State neuroscience doctoral student Avery Sicher works in the lab, doing patch-clamp electrophysiology.  Credit: Dan Lesher / Penn State. Creative Commons

Mouse models of adolescent binge drinking reveal key long-lasting brain changes

Heavy alcohol consumption may cause permanent dysregulation of neurons, or brain cells, in adolescents, according to a new study in mice. The findings suggest that exposure to binge-levels of alcohol during adolescence, when the brain is still developing, lead to long-lasting changes in the brain’s ability to signal and communicate — potentially setting the stage for long-term behavioral changes and hinting towards the mechanisms of alcohol-induced cognitive changes in humans.

A thermal manikin wearing tightly curled (left) and straight (right) human hair wigs. The manikin uses electric power to simulate body heat and allows scientists to study heat transfer between human skin and the environment. A new study examining the role human hair textures play in regulating body temperature found that tightly curled hair provides the best protection from the sun’s radiative heat while minimizing the need to sweat to stay cool. Credit: George Havenith, Loughborough University. All Rights Reserved.

Life before air conditioning: Curly hair kept early humans cool

Curly hair does more than simply look good — it may explain how early humans stayed cool while conserving water, according to researchers who studied the role human hair textures play in regulating body temperature.

Penn State Extension educators and volunteers install a riparian buffer — a vegetated area near a stream designed to absorb groundwater and stormwater runoff before it reaches the waterway. Riparian buffers can filter pollutants, prevent stream bank erosion, reduce flooding, offer wildlife habitat and create recreational opportunities such as birdwatching and fishing. Credit: Michael Houtz, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. All Rights Reserved.

New center to promote agricultural conservation in Pennsylvania

As part of an ongoing effort to promote soil and water conservation on farms, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has launched the Center for Agricultural Conservation Assistance Training in partnership with the Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Penn State alumna and NIH scientist Martha Nelson gave a presentation about transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus among deer and humans at the 2023 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease conference held at Penn State in May. Credit: Michelle Bixby / Penn State. Creative Commons

Heard on Campus: Martha Nelson on the SARS-CoV-2 virus in deer

“There don’t appear to be evolutionary adaptations required for human SARS-CoV-2 virus to transmit in deer so far,” said Eberly College of Science alumna Martha Nelson, reflecting on her past two years of work as a staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).