Natural Science

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194September 9, 2014

Penn Study Finds Genetic Mutations Linked With Ethnic Disparities in Cancer

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In a new study published in the journal BMC Medical Genomics, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania identified more than 30 previously undescribed mutations in important regulatory molecules called microRNAs. Many of these mutations influence whether a person develops cancer or the severity of the disease.

One of the goals of genome sequencing is to identify genetic mutations associated with increased susceptibility to disease. Yet by and large these discoveries have been made in people of European or Asian ancestry, resulting in an incomplete picture of global genetic variation in disease vulnerability.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604September 9, 2014

Penn Research Shows How Brain Can Tell Magnitude of Errors

University of Pennsylvania researchers have made another advance in understanding how the brain detects errors caused by unexpected sensory events. This type of error detection is what allows the brain to learn from its mistakes, which is critical for improving fine motor control.  

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604September 5, 2014

Penn Engineers Advance Understanding of Graphene’s Friction Properties

An interdisciplinary team of engineers from the University of Pennsylvania has made a discovery regarding the surface properties of graphene, the Nobel-prize winning material that consists of an atomically thin sheet of carbon atoms.

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Media Contact:Amanda Mott | ammott@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422September 4, 2014

Penn Sophomore Seeks to Globalize Iceland’s Innovations in Renewable Energy

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This summer, University of Pennsylvania sophomore Elizabeth Dresselhaus of Boulder, Colo., studied renewable energy in Iceland, a country with vast reserves of geothermal energy and hydropower.

By Christina Cook

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194September 4, 2014

Plant-based Research at Penn Prevents Complication of Hemophilia Treatment in Mice

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In a new study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and the University of Florida College of Medicine teamed up to develop a strategy to prevent a common complication of hemophilia treatment.

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Audio: Penn Professor Alison Sweeney Explains the Mysterious Sex Lives of Corals

August 28, 2014

Alison Sweeney of the School of Arts & Sciences is interviewed about studying the sex lives of corals.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194August 28, 2014

Penn-NIH Team Discovers New Type of Cell Movement in 3D Matrix

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In a new study from the University of Pennsylvania and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, scientists used an innovative technique to study how cells move in a three-dimensional matrix, similar to the structure of certain tissues, such as the skin. They discovered an entirely new type of cell movement whereby the nucleus helps propel cells through the matrix like a piston in an engine, generating pressure that thrusts the cell’s plasma membrane forward.

For decades, researchers have used petri dishes to study cell movement. These classic tissue culture tools, however, only permit two-dimensional movement, very different from the three-dimensional movements that cells make in a human body.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194August 26, 2014

Penn Paleontologists Describe a Possible Dinosaur Nest and Young ‘Babysitter’

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A new examination of a rock slab containing fossils of 24 very young dinosaurs and one older individual is suggestive of a group of hatchlings overseen by a caretaker, according to a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers.

Dinosaurs are often depicted as giant, frightening beasts. But every creature is a baby once.

A new examination of a rock slab containing fossils of 24 very young dinosaurs and one older individual is suggestive of a group of hatchlings overseen by a caretaker, according to a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194August 26, 2014

For Penn’s Tanner Frank, Dinosaur Digs in Utah Offer a Desk Job Alternative

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This summer, Frank, now a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, spent time pursuing his childhood passion on dinosaur digs in the Utah desert. Working side by side with experts, he uncovered fossils, footprints and a confirmation that he’s on the right academic path.

Like a lot of little kids, Tanner Frank went through a “dinosaur phase.” Unlike most, however, he says, “I never grew out of it.”

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

Penn Engineering Postdoc Duygu Kuzum Is One of ‘Innovators Under 35’

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The process of information flow in the brain is fundamentally different from that in a silicon chip, but Duygu Kuzum aims to bridge that gap through transparent, graphene-based electrodes.

By Madeleine Stone  @themadstone