Technology & Engineering

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604March 31, 2015

Penn Team Discovers New Liquid Crystal Configurations

blurb: 
Water-based liquid crystals are less well understood than their oil-based counterparts. New research advances the understanding of this class of materials by confining a water-based liquid crystal in a cylinder.

Oil-based liquid crystals are ubiquitous; a deep understanding of their properties is behind the displays found in most computer monitors, televisions and smartphones. Water-based liquid crystals are less well understood, though their biocompatibility makes them a potential candidate for a variety of biological and medical applications. 

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604March 26, 2015

Swimming Algae Offer Penn Researchers Insights Into Living Fluid Dynamics

blurb: 
Very little is known about the dynamics of so-called “living fluids,” those containing cells, microorganisms or other biological structures. Penn researchers have shown how a model organism's swimming strokes change along with a fluid's elasticity.

 By Madeleine Stone  @themadstone

None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn’t know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn’t prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called “living fluids,” those containing cells, microorganisms or other biological structures.

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Media Contact:Katherine Unger Baillie | kbaillie@upenn.edu | 215-898-9194March 16, 2015

Penn Vet Team Points to New Colon Cancer Culprit

blurb: 
Colon cancer is a heavily studied disease — and for good reason. It is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its numbers are on the rise, from 500,00 deaths in 1990 to 700,000 in 2010. This growth comes despite scientists’ ever-increasing knowledge of the genetic mutations that initiate and drive this disease. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has found evidence of a new culprit in the disease, a protein called MSI2.

Colon cancer is a heavily studied disease — and for good reason. It is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its numbers are on the rise, from 500,000 deaths in 1990 to 700,000 in 2010.

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Media Contact:Evan Lerner | elerner@upenn.edu | 215-573-6604March 12, 2015

Penn and ExxonMobil Researchers Address Long-standing Mysteries Behind Anti-wear Motor Oil Additive

blurb: 
Motor oil contains chemical additives that extend how long engines can run without failure, but, despite decades of ubiquity, how such additives actually work to prevent this damage have remained a mystery.

The pistons in your car engine rub up against their cylinder walls thousands of times a minute; without lubrication in the form of motor oil, they and other parts of the engine would quickly wear away, causing engine failure.

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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:Ron Ozio | ozio@upenn.edu | 215-898-8658March 3, 2015
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Media Contact:Amanda Mott | ammott@upenn.edu | 215-898-1422 February 26, 2015

Penn Trustees Approve Design for Pennovation Center at Pennovation Works Site

The design development for the new Pennovation Center has received approval from the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees. This 58,000-square-foot, three-story facility is located in the heart of the Pennovation Works, Penn’s 23-acre site along the southern bank of the Schuylkill River and adjacent to the University campus.

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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.