News

Three giraffes in Masai Mara National Park. Credit: Byrdyak/Wikimedia Commons. All Rights Reserved.

Food, not sex, drove the evolution of giraffes’ long neck, new study finds

Why do giraffes have such long necks? A study led by Penn State biologists explores how this trait might have evolved and lends new insight into this iconic question. The reigning hypothesis is that competition among males influenced neck length, but the research team found that female giraffes have proportionally longer necks than males — suggesting that high nutritional needs of females may have driven the evolution of this trait.

Growing biofilms actively alter host environment, new study reveals

A new study led by Penn State researchers reveals exactly how growing biofilms shape their environments and fine-tune their internal architecture to fit their surroundings.

College of Ag Sciences recognizes faculty, staff for research achievements

Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences lauded outstanding accomplishments in research during the 2023 Research Awards Ceremony, held Nov. 1 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on the University Park campus.

A new method for selecting aptamers, or "chemical antibodies," created by Penn State engineers takes only days to complete, instead of the months typically needed for traditional methods. Credit: Kate Myers/Penn State. All Rights Reserved.

Novel hydrogel finds new aptamers, or ‘chemical antibodies,’ in days

One double-helix strand of DNA could extend six feet, but it is so tightly coiled that it packs an entire sequence of nucleotides into the tiny nucleus of a cell. If that same DNA was instead split into two strands and divided into many, many short pieces, it would become trillions of uniquely folded 3D molecular structures, capable of bonding to and possibly manipulating specifically shaped molecules — if they’re the perfect fit.

Grad Students in Huck Labs Win Awards for Innovative Research

Two graduate students—one in the Huck's Neuroscience program and the other in the Eberly College of Science's BMMB program—have been named recipients of an award available to those working in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology labs. Both PIs are also part of the Huck.

Penn State announces 2023 University-wide faculty and staff awards

Each spring, Penn State recognizes outstanding faculty and staff with annual awards in teaching and excellence. These awards highlight many of the University's faculty and staff who go above and beyond in their work at Penn State.

McGraw elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology

Elizabeth "Beth" McGraw, professor and department head of biology and Huck Scholar in Entomology at Penn State, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Douglas Cavener named Huck Chair in Evolutionary Genetics

Douglas R. Cavener, Penn State professor of biology and former Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science, has been named Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Distinguished Chair in Evolutionary Genetics by the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Fighting COVID with COVID

What if the COVID-19 virus could be used against itself? Researchers at Penn State have designed a proof-of-concept therapeutic that may be able to do just that. The team designed a synthetic defective SARS-CoV-2 virus that is innocuous but interferes with the real virus’ growth, potentially causing the extinction of both the disease-causing virus and the synthetic virus.

Melissa Rolls appointed Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry

Melissa Rolls, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, has been named the Paul Berg Professor of Biochemistry. The professorship was created in 1995 by an anonymous donor in honor of Paul Berg, a 1948 Penn State graduate who was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 1974 and earned the Nobel Prize in 1980 for developing a method to map the structure and function of DNA.