University Communications Staff

Katherine Unger Baillie

Science News Officer

Biology, Dental Medicine, Earth and Environmental Science, History and Sociology of Science, Penn Science Café, Science, Technology, Veterinary Medicine


RNA, once thought to be a mere middleman between DNA and protein, is now recognized as the stage at which a host of regulatory processes can act to allow for flexibility in gene expression and thus the functions of cells and tissues.
By Niharika Gupta
Though the latest outbreak of Ebola appears to be nearing an end, the virus may pose a threat again in the future. Thus a drug to help individuals survive this dangerous infection, which has mortality rates up to 90 percent, is in intense demand.
When times are good, it pays to be the big fish in the sea; in the aftermath of disaster, however, smaller is better.
The cost of war is not limited to the price of tanks, training, and technology. In modern warfare, much of the expense accrues after the battles are completed, when injured troops come home and require ongoing, costly medical care. These post-war costs are not just financial, but moral.
It’s called bird flu for a reason. Particular characteristics about the influenza virus known as H5N1 allow it to primarily affect avifauna, though in some worrying cases the disease has been passed to humans.
The Ebola virus acts fast. The course of infection, from exposure to recovery, or death, can take as little as two weeks. That may not leave enough time for the immune system to mount an effective response.
Students in Mike McGraw’s course spend time learning cold, hard facts in the classroom. But they also spend time in less traditional settings. “In Cape May, we all hunkered down into a bird blind and watched as biologists used live lures to ‘fish’ for raptors in the sky,” says McGraw. “We saw a merlin come flying in at 100 miles an hour, thinking it’s about to grab a starling, and crash into a mist net to be captured and studied.”
People with lupus, an autoimmune disease, suffer from fatigue, joint pain and swelling and also have a markedly increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Clinical trials have shown that receiving a transplant of mesenchymal stem cells can greatly improve the condition of lupus patients, yet it has not been clear why this treatment strategy works so well.
For Sunday Akintoye, an associate professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, his recent selection as a Fulbright Scholar to Nigeria