Natural Science

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604March 11, 2015

Penn Researchers Develop Way of Making Light-bending ‘Raspberry-like Metamolecules’

blurb: 
Penn researchers have now devised a way of mass-producing metamaterials that exhibit magnetic resonance in optical frequencies.

The field of metamaterials is all about making structures that have physical properties that aren’t found in nature. Predicting what kinds of structures would have those traits is one challenge; physically fabricating them is quite another, as they often require precise arrangement of constituent materials on the smallest scales.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194March 9, 2015

Penn Researchers Show How Rivers Creep and Flow to Shape Landscapes Over Time

blurb: 
Most models predict that rivers only transport sediment during conditions of high flow and, moreover, that only particles on the surface of the river bed move due to the force of the flowing water above. But using a custom laboratory apparatus, a new study by University of Pennsylvania researchers shows that, even when a river is calm, sediment on and beneath the river bed slowly creeps forward.

By Madeleine Stone  @themadstone

Rivers drive the evolution of Earth’s surface by eroding and depositing sediment.

But for nearly a century, geologists have puzzled over why theoretical models, which use principles of physics to predict patterns of sediment transport in rivers, have rarely matched observations from nature.

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

Penn Scientists Describe the Function of an Enzyme Critical to Male Fertility

blurb: 
In a study published in the journal Genes and Development, University of Pennsylvania researchers have filled in details of how an enzyme, through interactions with a network of nearly two dozen other genes, protects the integrity of the germ line by giving rise to a class of RNA molecules that are essential to sperm development.

Researchers are one step closer to unraveling the extraordinarily complex series of processes that lead to an event crucial to human reproduction: the creation of sperm.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194February 25, 2015

Penn Vet Researchers Identify Effective Treatment for Niemann Pick Type C

blurb: 
A study coming out in Science Translational Medicine and led by University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine researchers has shown that cats with the rare disease Niemann Pick type C — which mirrors the human version of the disease — show vast improvements when treated with a compound called cyclodextrin.

Niemann Pick Disease type C, or NPC, is a disease most people have never heard of, affecting just one person in 150,000. Yet the disease is a devastating one. Frequently diagnosed in children in their elementary school years, sufferers usually die by the time they’re 20.

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Media Contact:Jeanne Leong | jleong@upenn.edu | 215-573-8151February 23, 2015

Sharing Personal Stories of Penn’s Morris Arboretum

The history of the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum has been chronicled in written stories over the years, but now an audio history series offers an insider’s view from people with strong ties to the organization from the early days to the present.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604February 23, 2015

Three Penn Researchers Awarded Sloan Fellowships

blurb: 
Since 1955, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has granted yearly fellowships to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them the next generation of scientific leaders.

Three University of Pennsylvania faculty members are among this year’s Sloan Research Fellowship recipients.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604February 16, 2015

Penn Student Chronicles the Emergence of Interdisciplinary Science Through Architecture

blurb: 
Brit Shields, a graduate student in History and Sociology of Science, explores the role the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter played shaping the growth of interdisciplinary research at Penn.

By Madeleine Stone  @themadstone

Collaboration across scientific disciplines can lead to groundbreaking innovation. But, just as it takes a special type of scholar to cross academic boundaries, it takes a special type of building to make interdisciplinary alliances possible.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604February 16, 2015

An Introduction to ‘Differential Privacy,’ from Penn Professor Aaron Roth

The ability to amass, store, manipulate and analyze information from millions of people at once has opened a vast frontier of new research methods. But, whether these methods are used in the service of new business models or new scientific findings, they also raise questions for the individuals whose information comprises these “big data” sets.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604February 16, 2015

Penn Researchers Develop New Technique for Making Graphene Competitor, Molybdenum Disulphide

blurb: 
Physics’ A.T. Charlie Johnson and Engineering’s Ritesh Agarwal, along with members of their labs, have a new way to "seed" the growth of a promising new 2-D material.

Graphene, a single-atom-thick lattice of carbon atoms, is often touted as a replacement for silicon in electronic devices due to its extremely high conductivity and unbeatable thinness. But graphene is not the only two-dimensional material that could play such a role.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194February 6, 2015

Mosquitoes Ramp Up Immune Defenses After Sucking Blood, Penn Vet Researcher Finds

blurb: 
According to a new study by University of Pennsylvania and Imperial College London researchers, mosquitoes ramp up their immune defenses after consuming blood meals, helping to fight off parasites that blood might contain.

If you were about to enter a crowded subway during flu season, packed with people sneezing and coughing, wouldn’t it be helpful if your immune system recognized the potentially risky situation and bolstered its defenses upon stepping into the train?