The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

News Archive

Headed for the field: Commercializing a new diagnostic test for cows

Troy Ott, professor of reproductive physiology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is developing a blood test that dairy farmers and livestock veterinarians can use to tell whether a cow failed to conceive after insemination.

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Gut bacteria could be blamed for obesity and diabetes

An excess of bacteria in the gut can change the way the liver processes fat and could lead to the development of metabolic syndrome, according to health researchers.

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Molecular motor grows cell's microtubules

Motor proteins that pause at the ends of microtubules and produce pushing forces can also stimulate their growth, according to researchers at Penn State.

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Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae

New research reveals that some corals are more protective than others of their partner algae in harsh environmental conditions.

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Bees to scientists: "We're more complicated than you think"

Chemical signaling among social insects, such as bees, ants and wasps, is more complex than previously thought, according to researchers at Penn State and Tel Aviv University, whose results refute the idea that a single group of chemicals controls reproduction across numerous species.

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New technology discovered for brain repair: Chemical transformation of human glial cells into neurons

For the first time, researchers have used a cocktail of small molecules to transform human brain cells, called astroglial cells, into functioning neurons for brain repair.

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Stress in adolescence prepares rats for future challenges

Rats exposed to frequent physical, social, and predatory stress during adolescence solved problems and foraged more efficiently under high-threat conditions in adulthood compared with rats that developed without stress, according to Penn State researchers.

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Caterpillar deceives corn plant into lowering defenses against it

In a deception that likely has evolved over thousands of years, a caterpillar that feeds on corn leaves induces the plant to turn off its defenses against insect predators, allowing the caterpillar to eat more and grow faster, according to chemical ecologists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

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Only above-water microbes play a role in cave development

Only the microbes located above the water's surface contribute to the development of hydrogen-sulfide-rich caves, suggests an international team of researchers.

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Water heals a bioplastic

A drop of water self-heals a multiphase polymer derived from the genetic code of squid ring teeth, which may someday extend the life of medical implants, fiber-optic cables and other hard to repair in place objects, according to an international team of researchers.

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Announcing new instrumentation for life scientists

In collaboration with the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, the Materials Research Institute (MRI) has purchased a Horiba LabRam HR Evolution Raman spectroscope which will be arriving in its core facilities within the next several months.
 

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Reading comprehension focus of NSF grant

Understanding how different levels of readers comprehend science texts is the focus of a nearly $1 million grant awarded to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State psychology and education researchers by the National Science Foundation.

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On-chip processor is first step in point-of-care asthma and tuberculosis diagnostics

A device to mix liquids using ultrasonics is the first and most difficult component in a miniaturized system for low-cost analysis of sputum from patients with pulmonary diseases such as tuberculosis and asthma.

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Some vaccines support evolution of more-virulent viruses

Scientific experiments with the herpesvirus that causes Marek's disease in poultry have confirmed, for the first time, the highly controversial theory that some vaccines could allow more virulent versions of a virus to survive, putting unvaccinated individuals at greater risk of severe illness.

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Increasing prevalence of autism is due, in part, to changing diagnoses

The greater than three-fold increase in autism diagnoses among students in special education programs in the United States between 2000 and 2010 may be due in large part to the reclassification of individuals who previously would have been diagnosed with other intellectual disability disorders, according to new research led by Santhosh Girirajan.

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How the mammoth got its wool: Scientists find gene variants involved

By comparing DNA recovered from two woolly mammoths with that from three modern-day Asian elephants, a team of scientists identified genetic variations unique to the mammoths that appear to be related to the mammoths' ability to survive in harsh arctic conditions.

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Returning killer T cells back to barracks could improve vaccines

Just as militaries need to have trained, experienced soldiers ready for future wars, making sure that the immune system has enough battle-ready T cells on hand is important for fast-acting, more effective vaccines, according to Penn State researchers.

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Mutation in zinc transport protein may inhibit successful breast-feeding

Zinc plays an important role in a woman's ability to successfully breast-feed her child, according to health researchers.

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Disabling infection-fighting immune response speeds up wound healing in diabetes

One of the body's tools for fighting off infection in a wound may actually slow down the healing process, according to new research by a team of Harvard University, Boston Children's Hospital, and Penn State University scientists.

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Vitamin D status related to immune response to HIV-1

Vitamin D plays an important part in the human immune response and deficiency can leave individuals less able to fight infections like HIV-1. Now an international team of researchers has found that high-dose vitamin D supplementation can reverse the deficiency and also improve immune response.

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