Research

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194August 11, 2015

Penn Study Details ‘Rotten Egg’ Gas’ Role in Autoimmune Disease

blurb: 
A new study led by Songtao Shi of the University of Pennsylvania has demonstrated how regulatory T cells can themselves be regulated, by an unexpected source: hydrogen sulfide, a gas produced by the body’s muscle cells and one often associated with the smell of rotten eggs.

The immune system not only responds to infections and other potentially problematic abnormalities in the body, it also contains a built-in brake in the form of regulatory T cells, or Tregs. Tregs ensure that inflammatory responses don’t get out of hand and do damage. In autoimmune diseases, sometimes these Treg cells don’t act as they should.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604August 6, 2015

Penn Helps Develop Algorithm Aimed at Combating Science’s Reproducibility Problem

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Researchers can have a tough time telling when they have unearthed a nugget of truth, or what amounts to fool’s gold: a correlation that seems to have predictive value but actually does not because it results just from random chance.

Big data sets are important tools of modern science. Mining for correlations between millions of pieces of information can reveal vital relationships or predict future outcomes, such as risk factors for a disease or structures of new chemical compounds.  

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194August 5, 2015

Lightning Reshapes Rocks at the Atomic Level, Penn Study Finds

blurb: 
At a rock outcropping in southern France, a jagged fracture runs along the granite. The surface in and around the crevice is discolored black, as if wet or covered in algae. But, according to a new paper coauthored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Reto Gieré, the real explanation for the rock’s unusual features is more dramatic: a powerful bolt of lightning.

At a rock outcropping in southern France, a jagged fracture runs along the granite. The surface in and around the crevice is discolored black, as if wet or covered in algae.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194August 4, 2015

For Penn’s Timothy Linksvayer, Ants Are a Model of Complex Societies

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Timothy Linksvayer is expanding his research into how genetics and behavior allow complex societies, like those of his lab’s pharaoh ants, to survive and thrive. What he finds may shed light on the mechanisms that other organisms, humans included, have evolved to live in large, orderly social groups.

In small plastic tubs lining the shelves of a basement laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, a million organisms live in complex societies.

Silence of the Lambs

August 1, 2015

 

Rebecca Wells and Michael Pack of the Perelman School of Medicine are featured for leading a study about biliary atresia in zebrafish and mammals.

Article Source: TheScientist.com
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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5658July 30, 2015

Penn Medicine: Cell Aging Slowed by Putting Brakes on Noisy Transcription

Working with yeast and worms, researchers found that incorrect gene expression is a hallmark of aged cells and that reducing such “noise” extends lifespan in these organisms. The team published their findings this month in Genes & Development.

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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5658July 30, 2015

Penn Study Questions Presence in Blood of Heart-Healthy Molecules from Fish Oil Supplements

The importance of a diet rich in fish oils – now a billion dollar food-supplement industry -- has been debated for over half a century. A few large clinical trials have supported the idea that fish oils confer therapeutic benefits to patients with cardiovascular disease. Researchers think that hearts and blood vessels may benefit in part from their anti-inflammatory properties.

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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5658July 28, 2015

Sleepy Fruitflies Get Mellow: Sleep Deprivation Reduces Aggression, Mating Behavior in Flies, Penn Study Finds

Whether you're a human, a mouse, or even a fruitfly, losing sleep is a bad thing, leading to physiological effects and behavioral changes. One example that has been studied for many years is a link between sleep loss and aggression. But it can be difficult to distinguish sleep loss effects from stress responses, especially in rodent or human models.

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Media Contact:Karen Kreeger | karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5658July 27, 2015

Penn Scientists Find That Flow Means "Go" for Proper Lymph System Development

The lymphatic system provides a slow flow of fluid from our organs and tissues into the bloodstream. It returns fluid and proteins that leak from blood vessels, provides passage for immune and inflammatory cells from the tissues to the blood, and hosts key niches for immune cells. How this system develops hasn’t been well understood, but now researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found from experiments in mice that the early flow of lymph fluid is a critical factor in the development of mature lymphatic vessels.

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Media Contact:Anna Duerr | anna.duerr@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-8369July 23, 2015

Penn Study Finds Link between Physician Training and Brand Name Prescribing

Physicians in training are twice as likely to order a costly brand-name statin (used to lower blood cholesterol levels) when supervised by senior physicians who prefer those medications in their own practice, according to a new study led by researchers at the