Research

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604June 21, 2010

Platelet Avatars: Penn Bioengineers Create Simulator to Test Blood Platelets in Virtual Heart Attacks

PHILADELPHIA –- A team of bioengineers from the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Medicine and Engineering have trained a computer neural network model to accurately predict how blood platelets would respond to complex conditions found during a heart attack or stroke.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604June 17, 2010

Penn Physicists Honored With 2010 Europhysics Prize

PHILADELPHIA -- Charles Kane and Eugene Mele of the University of Pennsylvania are among five scientists awarded the 2010 Europhysics Prize of the European Physical Society Condensed Matter Division for the theoretical prediction and experimental observation of the quantum spin Hall effect and topological insulators.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604 June 16, 2010

Sex, Drugs and Moral Goals: A Penn Psychology Study of Reproductive Strategies and Recreational Drug Use

PHILADELPHIA –- Why is there so much disagreement about whether using recreational drugs is morally wrong? A University of Pennsylvania psychology study shows that the debate about drugs might really be about sex.

The study compared two competing theories.

One theory -- the conventional wisdom in political science -- sees drug attitudes as primarily coming from people's political ideology, level of religious commitment, and personality, for example, openness to experience. 

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604June 10, 2010

University of Pennsylvania Analysis: Contrary to Popular Models, Sugar Is Not Burned by Self-Control Tasks

PHILADELPHIA –- Contradicting a popular model of self-control, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist says the data from a 2007 study argues against the idea that glucose is the resource used to manage self control and that humans rely on this energy source for will power.

The analysis, conducted by Robert Kurzban and published in the current issue of the journal Evolutionary Psychology, shows that evidence previously presented in favor of the claim that the brain consumes extra glucose when people exert self-control shows no such thing.

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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5658June 1, 2010

Jumping Genes Provide Extensive “Raw Material” for Evolution, Penn Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA - Using high-throughput sequencing to map the locations of a common type of jumping gene within a person’s entire genome, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found extensive variation in these locations among the individuals they studied, further underscoring the role of these errant genes in maintaining genetic diversity.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604 May 26, 2010

Penn Researchers Add Genetic Data to Archaeology and Linguistics to Get Picture of African Population History

PHILADELPHIA –- Genetic researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have combined data from existing archaeological and linguistic studies of Africa with human genetic data to shed light on the demographic history of the continent from which all human activity emerged.

The study reveals not just a clearer picture of the continent’s history but also the importance of having independent lines of evidence in the interpretation of genetic and genomic data in the reconstruction of population histories.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604May 26, 2010

“Grinding Mouth, Wrinkle Eye”: Penn Graduate Student Describes New Species of Plant-Eating Dinosaur

PHILADELPHIA –- A team of paleontologists, including a University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidate, has described a new species of dinosaur based upon an incomplete skeleton found in western New Mexico. The new species, Jeyawati rugoculus, comes from rocks that preserve a swampy forest ecosystem that thrived near the shore of a vast inland sea 91 million years ago.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604May 21, 2010

University of Pennsylvania and Hong Kong University Physicists Describe the Melting of Colloidal Crystal Films

PHILADELPHIA –- Physicists from the University of Pennsylvania and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have reported an elegant experimental study of the melting behaviors of thin crystalline films, uncovering a variety of interesting differences between thick films of greater than four layers and thinner or single-layer films.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604May 20, 2010

Penn-Led Collaboration Mimics Library of Bio-Membranes for Use In Nanomedicine, Drug Delivery

PHILADELPHIA –- An international collaboration led by chemists and engineers from the University of Pennsylvania has prepared a library of synthetic biomaterials that mimic cellular membranes and that show promise in targeted delivery of cancer drugs, gene therapy, proteins, imaging and diagnostic agents and cosmetics safely to the body in the emerging field called nanomedicine.  

The study appears in the current issue of the journal Science.

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Media Contact:Jordan Reese | jreese@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604 May 12, 2010

Mathematicians Solve 140-Year-Old Boltzmann Equation

PHILADELPHIA –- Two University of Pennsylvania mathematicians have found solutions to a 140-year-old, 7-dimensional equation that were not known to exist for more than a century despite its widespread use in modeling the behavior of gases.