News

Sarah Assmann has been invited to write the Coulter Review paper for the International Journal of Plant Sciences. IMAGE: PENN STATE

Sarah Assmann appointed editor-in-chief of scientific journal The Plant Cell

Sarah M. Assmann, Waller Professor of Biology at Penn State, has been appointed as the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal The Plant Cell, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The Plant Cell, one of the top research journals in plant biology, was established in 1989 by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

A male orca breaching off the west side of San Juan Island in Washington state. On his left side is a suction cup-attached "Dtag" which records depth, sound, acceleration and 3-dimensional orientation. CREDIT: M. Brad Hanson; Taken under federal permits NMFS #'s 781-1824 and 16163

Ecology Alum Jennifer Tennessen Brings Acoustics to Killer Whale Conservation

Dr. Jennifer Tennessen applies the lessons of her interdisciplinary research at the Huck to her professional work with killer whales in the Pacific Northwest.

Paul Perreault, CEO and managing director of CSL Limited, was the guest speaker at the March 12 Penn State Forum. IMAGE: PATRICK MANSELL

Heard on Campus: Paul Perreault at the Penn State Forum

Paul Perreault, chief executive officer and managing director of CSL Limited, the second largest biotherapeutics company in the world with more than 22,000 employees, presented “Innovation in Biotechnology: The Promise, The Potential, The Pitfalls” at the Penn State Forum on March 12 at The Nittany Lion Inn.

Consistent with the expectation that experts view native "grapey"-associated odors as a fault, wines with medium to high concentrations of methyl anthranilate approximating the intensity of the compound in Concord or Niagara wines were largely rejected by wine experts in California. IMAGE: © GETTY IMAGES / IHOE

Sensory tests suggest 'liking' wines made with native grapes a learned response

Consumer preference or aversion to wines made from native grapes — such as Concord, Niagara and Catawba, which are grown in North America — may depend on early exposure to the fruits' sweet, ultra "grapey" taste and aroma, according to researchers who conducted sensory tests with wine drinkers in Pennsylvania and California.

In this image, a protein (blue and black) is beginning to make its long (molecularly speaking) journey from the ribosome (red and yellow) through the tube and toward its eventual folding. IMAGE: PENN STATE

Researchers find features that shape mechanical force during protein synthesis

Like any assembly line, the body’s protein-building process generates a mechanical force as it produces these important cellular building blocks. Now, a team of researchers suggest they are one step closer to understanding that force. They also built a mathematical model to help guide scientists with future investigations into how the body creates proteins

Summer Research Scholarships Available

The Center of Excellence in Industrial Biotechnology has established a new Summer Research Scholarship to support undergraduates doing research in the broad area of industrial biotechnology, including biopharmaceutical manufacturing, food biotechnology, and production of bio-based chemicals.

When Pennsylvania ground beetles are not defending themselves they are friends of agriculture, consuming up to their body weight daily, eating pests such as aphids, moth and beetle larvae, as well as slugs and snails. They can spray their defensive chemicals a distance multiple times their body length. IMAGE: NICK SLOFF PENN STATE

Material that shields beetle from being burned by its own weapons holds promise

Carabid beetles produce caustic chemicals they spray to defend themselves against predators, and the compound that protects their bodies from these toxic substances shows promise for use in bioengineering or biomedical applications, according to Penn State researchers.

A banded hare-wallaby IMAGE: MAMMALS OF AUSTRALIA JOHN GOULD / PUBLIC DOMAIN

Indigenous hunters have positive impacts on food webs in desert Australia

Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinction in the world. Resettlement of indigenous communities resulted in the spread of invasive species, the absence of human-set fires, and a general cascade in the interconnected food web that led to the largest mammalian extinction event ever recorded. In this case, the absence of direct human activity on the landscape may be the cause of the extinctions, according to a Penn State anthropologist.

The new AggTag method allows researchers to see the previously undetectable but potentially disease-causing intermediate forms of proteins as they misfold. The method uses fluorescence to simultaneously detect two different proteins (red, green) within the cell (blue). Credit: Zhang lab, Penn State

New method uses fluorescence to identify disease-causing forms of proteins

A new method uses fluorescence to detect potentially disease-causing forms of proteins as they unravel due to stress or mutations. A team of researchers from Penn State and the University of Washington reengineered a fluorescent compound and developed a method to simultaneously light up two different proteins as they misfold and aggregate inside a living cell, highlighting forms that likely play a role in several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Troy Ott

Troy Ott to discuss "the improbable series of events that led to your birth"

At this month’s "Science on Tap" event, Huck Associate Director and professor of reproductive biology Troy Ott will discuss viviparity — the development of an embryo inside the body leading to the birth of a live offspring. Viviparity is thought to have evolved from egg-laying animals. Ott's talk will focus on one of the enigmas of live birth that relates to the mother’s immune system.