University Communications Staff

Katherine Unger Baillie

Science News Officer

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


The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has claimed more than 140 lives in recent months. The disease is a frightening one, with fatality rates that can approach 90 percent and no effective vaccine or cure. A pair of recent studies by the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Ronald Harty, an associate professor of microbiology, offer hope that Ebola and other viral diseases, including HIV and rabies, may one day be treatable by broad-spectrum antiviral drugs.
A bite from a tick carrying Lyme disease often leaves a telltale bull’s-eye rash. But according to new research from Dustin Brisson, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology in Penn Arts & Sciences, an infectious bite can also lead to immunity that lasts for several years—with one important catch.
Tucked behind old factory buildings on Penn’s South Bank campus stands a gleaming greenhouse. The $2 million structure, completed late last year, is state-of-the-art. Drip irrigation ensures each pot receives just the right amount of water. Humidity and temperature are precisely monitored and can be accessed and modified remotely.
Though daily cheeseburgers and ice cream sundaes can help pave the way, the road to obesity begins in the brain, where metabolism is regulated by the activity of various hormones and signaling molecules.
Is race a biological category? How does race figure into scientific research, clinical practice, and the development and use of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals? And what can we learn from historical investigations into race that will inform today’s scientific and medical inquiries? These are among the complex questions that will be addressed by panels of experts during the April 11 symposium, “The Future of Race: Regression or Revolution?”
Lyme disease, if not treated promptly with antibiotics, can become a lingering problem for those infected.
WHO:             Students from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science and Rising Sons, a Philadelphia nonprofit
As soon as an infant cuts that first tooth, proper dental hygiene is a must. Babies who are put to bed with their bottles and toddlers who tote around sippy cups full of sugary juice all day are at risk of developing a condition called early childhood caries. This bacterial infection, often passed to young children from a caregiver with untreated dental disease, causes aggressive and painful tooth decay. Treatment can require surgery.
Patients with leukocyte adhesion deficiency, or LAD, suffer from frequent bacterial infections, including the severe gum disease known as periodontitis. These patients often lose their teeth early in life.
Eduardo Fernandez-Duque, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology in Penn Arts & Sciences, has been studying owl monkeys in Argentina for nearly 20 years. From observing their interactions day in and day out, he knew that males and females formed strong bonds.