Natural Science

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604January 8, 2015

Penn Engineers Put Their Skills and Teamwork to the Test in a Robotic Hockey Tournament

blurb: 
As a final exam, students in Engineering’s Design of Mechatronic Systems course devised and built teams of hockey-playing robots in the sixth annual Robockey Cup.

By Madeleine Stone  @themadstone       

While final exams can be solemn affairs, finals for the Design of Mechatronic Systems course at the University of Pennsylvania couldn’t be livelier.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604January 21, 2015

Twitter Can Predict Rates of Coronary Heart Disease, According to Penn Research

blurb: 
Penn researchers have now shown that the social media platform Twitter can serve as a dashboard indicator of a community’s psychological well being and can predict rates of heart disease.

Twitter has broken news stories, launched and ended careers, started social movements and toppled governments, all by being an easy, direct and immediate way for people to share what’s on their minds.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194December 31, 2014

Penn Scientists Identify Patterns of RNA Regulation in the Nuclei of Plants

blurb: 
In a new study done in plants, University of Pennsylvania biologists give a global view of the patterns that can affect the various RNA regulatory processes that occur before these molecules move into the cytoplasm, where they are translated into the proteins that make up a living organism.

When the human genome was first sequenced, experts predicted they would find about 100,000 genes. The actual number has turned out to be closer to 20,000, just a few thousand more than fruit flies have. The question logically arose: how can a relatively small number of genes lay the blueprint for the complexities of the human body?

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820January 5, 2015

Student Group at Penn Delivers On-site Science to Local Children

blurb: 
Penn Science Across Ages mixes community engagement and volunteering with increased access to learning for students at schools in West Philadelphia.

University of Pennsylvania senior Steve Scarfone and junior Jeffrey Ng are part of a local community-engagement project that mixes volunteering and increasing access to learning through Penn Science Across Ages.

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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.