News

NSF grant to fund research on brain activity and scientific creative thinking

Roger Beaty, assistant professor of psychology and director of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity Lab in the Penn State Department of Psychology, has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) along with co-investigators from two other institutions to collaborate on a project aimed at understanding and measuring creativity in the context of science.

Forecasting infectious diseases: Improved prediction could transform treatment

By applying the same predictive strategies used in weather forecasting, Penn State’s Steven Schiff is changing the way we approach treatment of infectious diseases worldwide.

Sense of smell, pollution and neurological disease connection explored

A consensus is building that air pollution can cause neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, but how fine, sooty particles cause problems in the brain is still an unanswered question. Now a team of Penn State researchers, using mice, have found a possible way, but more research is still needed.

Milk: Best drink to reduce burn from chili peppers

People who order their Buffalo wings especially spicy and sometimes find them to be too "hot," should choose milk to reduce the burn, according to Penn State researchers, who also suggest it does not matter if it is whole or skim.

Researchers believe that with the addition of vanilla, the added sugar content in flavored milk could potentially be reduced by as much as half and people should not be able to perceive the beverage as less sweet. The congruent odor tricks the brain into thinking that there is still enough sweetness there.  IMAGE: © Getty Images / StudioThreeDots

Vanilla makes milk beverages seem sweeter

Adding vanilla to sweetened milk makes consumers think the beverage is sweeter, allowing the amount of added sugar to be reduced, according to Penn State researchers, who will use the concept to develop a reduced-sugar chocolate milk for the National School Lunch Program.

Sensing food textures is a matter of pressure

Food's texture affects whether it is eaten, liked or rejected, according to Penn State researchers, who say some people are better at detecting even minor differences in consistency because their tongues can perceive particle sizes.

Exercise may help teens sleep longer, more efficiently

Getting more exercise than normal — or being more sedentary than usual — for one day may be enough to affect sleep later that night, according to a new study led by Penn State.

White-throated sparrows are among the best-studied North American songbirds. With a typical wingspan of 6 to 7 inches, it breeds primarily in northern boreal coniferous and mixed forests and, a short-distance migrant, winters mainly in the southeastern U.S. To make these migrations, the bird's body changes significantly. IMAGE: PAUL BARTELL / PENN STATE

Songbird-body changes that allow migration may have human health implications

Songbirds that pack on as much as 50 percent of their body weight before migrating and that sleep very little, exhibit altered immune system and tissue-repair function during the journey, which may hold implications for human health, according to Penn State researchers.

A simple treatment using four small molecules converts human astrocytes – a common type of cells in the nervous system – into new neurons, which develop complex structures after 4 months, as pictured. Credit: Gong Chen Lab, Penn State

Simple drug combination creates new neurons from neighboring cells

A simple drug cocktail that converts cells neighboring damaged neurons into functional new neurons could potentially be used to treat stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and brain injuries. A team of researchers at Penn State identified a set of four, or even three, molecules that could convert glial cells—which normally provide support and insulation for neurons—into new neurons.

Dr. Melissa Rolls with current and prospective graduate students

Prospective Grad Students Get A Taste of Life at Penn State

Students interested in the Bioinformatics and Genomics; Plant Biology; Neuroscience; and Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biosciences graduate programs were given a warm welcome on a snowy weekend.