Natural Science

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 19, 2014

Penn Researchers Model the Mechanics of Cells’ Long-range Communication

Interdisciplinary research at the University of Pennsylvania is showing how cells interact over long distances within fibrous tissue, like that associated with many diseases of the liver, lungs and other organs.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194December 18, 2014

Penn and UGA Awarded $23.4 Million Contract for Pathogen Genomics Database

blurb: 
A five-year, $23.4 million contract from the NIH will support a growing database of genomic information about disease-causing microbes, co-directed by the University of Pennsylvania's David Roos.

At the turn of the millennium, the cost to sequence a single human genome exceeded $50 million, and the process took a decade to complete. Microbes have genomes, too, and the first reference genome for a malaria parasite was completed in 2002 at a cost of roughly $15 million. But today researchers can sequence a genome in a single afternoon for just a few thousand dollars.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 8, 2014

Penn Researchers Show Commonalities in How Different Glassy Materials Fail

blurb: 
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now shown an important commonality that seems to extend through the range of glassy materials.

Glass is mysterious. It is a broad class of materials that extends well beyond the everyday window pane, but one thing that these disparate glasses seem to have in common is that they have nothing in common when it comes to their internal structures, especially in contrast with highly ordered and patterned crystals.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194December 8, 2014

Penn Vet-Berkeley Study: New Therapy Holds Promise for Restoring Vision

A new chemical-genetic therapy restores light responses to the retinas of blind mice and dogs and enables the mice to guide their behavior according to visual cues, setting the stage for clinical trial in humans.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194December 8, 2014

The Women in Science Program at Penn Offers Cross-generational Wisdom

blurb: 
Ware College House’s Women in Science program, founded by Medicine’s Helen Davies, offers support and inspiration for budding scientists, both female and male.

By Madeleine Stone  @themadstone

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 11, 2014

Penn Research Outlines Basic Rules for Construction With a Type of Origami

blurb: 
A team of University of Pennsylvania researchers is turning kirigami, a related art form that allows the paper to be cut, into a technique that can be applied equally to structures on those vastly divergent length scales.

Origami is capable of turning a simple sheet of paper into a pretty paper crane, but the principles behind the paper-folding art can also be applied to making a microfluidic device for a blood test, or for storing a satellite's solar panel in a rocket’s cargo bay.   

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604December 1, 2014

Penn Research Suggests That Men Have Accurate Perception of Women’s Sexual Interest, Overconfidence Is Not Adaptive

blurb: 
A new study shows men are generally accurate when estimating a woman’s interest in sex, contradicting earlier theories that suggested overconfidence was preferable.

Overconfidence sounds like an inherently bad trait to have, but when it comes to natural selection, some evolutionary psychologists have suggested it could be advantageous in finding a mate.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194November 24, 2014

Penn Team’s Game Theory Analysis Shows How Evolution Favors Cooperation’s Collapse

blurb: 
With a new analysis of the Prisoner’s Dilemma played in a large, evolving population, University of Pennsylvania scientists have found that adding more flexibility to the game can allow selfish strategies to be more successful. The work paints a dimmer but likely more realistic view of how cooperation and selfishness balance one another in nature.

Last year, University of Pennsylvania researchers Alexander J. Stewart and Joshua B.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604November 24, 2014

Penn Research Shows Way to Design ‘Digital’ Metamaterials

blurb: 
Figuring out the necessary composition and internal structure to create the unusual properties of metamaterials is a challenge but new research, borrowing concepts from binary computing, presents a way of simplifying things.

Metamaterials, precisely designed composite materials that have properties not found in natural ones, could be used to make light-bending invisibility cloaks, flat lenses and other otherwise impossible devices.

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Media Contact:Amanda Mott | ammott@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422December 1, 2014

Penn Senior, a Future Doctor, Looks to Medicine’s Past for Insights

blurb: 
Through the lens of architecture, senior Ellen Kim, of Lexington, Mass., a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, is exploring the history of 19th century medicine in the United States.

By Christina Cook