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2011 News (in reverse chronological order)

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Life-History Traits May Affect DNA Mutation Rates in Males More Than in Females
Life-History Traits May Affect DNA Mutation Rates in Males More Than in Females 13 June 2011For the first time, scientists have used large-scale DNA sequencing data to investigate a long-standing evolutionary assumption: DNA mutation rates are influenced by a set of species-specific life-history traits. These traits include metabolic rate and the interval of time between an individual's birth and the birth of its offspring, known as generation time.
Research in Arabian Peninsula Will Help Scientists Understand Coral Diversity and Adaptation to Climate Change
Research in Arabian Peninsula Will Help Scientists Understand Coral Diversity and Adaptation to Climate Change 10 June 2011Todd LaJeunesse, an assistant professor of biology at Penn State, and Drew Wham, a graduate student in LaJeunesse’s lab, recently traveled to Saudi Arabia for two weeks to conduct research with collaborators from King Abdulla University of Science and Technology (KAUST). KAUST is an international, graduate-level research university situated on the Red Sea. The research is part of a world-wide project to describe the biodiversity and ecology of symbiotic algae that live in reef-building corals.
Summer Symposium on Chromatin and Epigenetic Regulation of Transcription June 21 - 24, 2011 (Hetzel Union Building (HUB) - Robeson Center Auditorium, from 21 June 2011 07:15 PM to 21 June 2011 09:00 PM)
10 June 2011A free public lecture titled "Dynamic Interplay of Transcription Regulation and Chromatin Structure" will explore how gene expression is regulated in cells where DNA is organized into a packaging structure called chromatin. The lecture, which is part of the 30th Summer Symposium in Molecular Biology sponsored by Penn State University's Eberly College of Science, will be given by John Lis, the Barbara McClintock Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University, on Tuesday, 21 June, 2011, at 7:15 p.m. in the Hetzel Union Building (HUB) - Robeson Center Auditorium on the Penn State University Park campus.
Phagehunter Lab Has Undergraduates Searching for Tuberculosis Cure
Phagehunter Lab Has Undergraduates Searching for Tuberculosis Cure 08 June 2011This spring, the Eberly College of Science introduced a new biology lab course, BIO 220W: Biology Populations and Communities, which gives undergraduates the opportunity to do pioneering, real-world research. The course, funded by a grant from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, is part of a multi-university effort to bring true research into the undergraduate classroom.
Norman Freed Retires After 46 Years of Service to Penn State
Norman Freed Retires After 46 Years of Service to Penn State 07 June 2011Norman Freed, professor of physics and associate dean of the Eberly College of Science at Penn State University, will retire after 46 years of service to the University. In addition to initiating many of the college's most innovative academic programs, Freed is known for his extensive research in theoretical nuclear physics, high-energy electromagnetic interactions in pion physics, and nuclear systems.
Baum Receives Honorary Degree from the University of Colorado
Baum Receives Honorary Degree from the University of Colorado 03 June 2011Paul Frank Baum, Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics at Penn State University, has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Baum has been given this award "in recognition of his powerful, elegant, and lasting contributions to the field of mathematics."
Cosmic Explosion is New Candidate for Most Distant Object in the Universe
Cosmic Explosion is New Candidate for Most Distant Object in the Universe 25 May 2011A gamma-ray burst detected by NASA's Swift satellite in April 2009 has been newly unveiled as a candidate for the most distant object in the universe. At an estimated distance of 13.14 billion light years, the burst lies far beyond any known quasar and could be more distant than any previously known galaxy or gamma-ray burst. Multiple lines of evidence in favor of a record-breaking distance for this burst, known as GRB 090429B for the 29 April 2009 date when it was discovered, are presented in a paper by an international team of astronomers led by former Penn State University graduate student Antonino Cucchiara, now at the University of California, Berkeley.
Nearby Supernova Factory Turns On
Nearby Supernova Factory Turns On 24 May 2011A local supernova factory has switched on, according to a wealth of new data on the Carina Nebula from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This discovery may help astronomers to better understand how some of the Milky Way Galaxy's heaviest and youngest stars race through their lives and release newly-forged elements into their surroundings. "The Carina Nebula is one of the best places we know about to study how young massive stars live and die," said Leisa Townsley of Penn State University, who led the large Chandra campaign to observe Carina. "Now, we have a compelling case that a supernova show in Carina has already begun."
Video related to Derek Fox' Research
  20 May 2011
Packaging Process for Genes Discovered in New Research
Packaging Process for Genes Discovered in New Research 19 May 2011Scientists at Penn State University have achieved a major milestone in the attempt to assemble, in a test tube, entire chromosomes from their component parts. The achievement reveals the process a cell uses to package the basic building blocks of an organism's entire genetic code -- its genome. The evidence provided by early research with the new procedure overturns three previous theories of the genome-packaging process and opens the door to a new era of genome-wide biochemistry research.
New Technique Sheds Light on the Mysterious Process of Cell Division
New Technique Sheds Light on the Mysterious Process of Cell Division 18 May 2011Using a new technique in which models of primitive cells are constructed from the bottom up, scientists have demonstrated that the structure of a cell's membrane and cytoplasm may be as important to cell division as the specialized machinery -- such as enzymes, DNA or RNA -- which are found within living cells. Christine Keating, an associate professor of chemistry at Penn State University, and Meghan Andes-Koback, a graduate student in the Penn State Department of Chemistry, generated simple, non-living model "cells" with which they established that asymmetric division -- the process by which a cell splits to become two distinct daughter cells -- is possible even in the absence of complex cellular components, such as genes.
George Andrews Awarded Honorary Professorship at Nankai University
George Andrews Awarded Honorary Professorship at Nankai University 18 May 2011George Andrews, Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics at Penn State University, has been has been awarded an honorary professorship at Nankai University in China. Andrews receives this honor in recognition of his many important contributions to research fields including number theory and combinatorics. In addition, he is recognized for solving a number of well-known long-standing problems in these fields. Andrews has expressed that, as an honorary professor of Nankai University, he would do his best to support the teaching and research projects at the Nankai University's Center for Combinatorics -- one of the leading national academic institutions for mathematical research.
The Swiftest Satellite: Searching for the Brightest Lights in the Universe
The Swiftest Satellite: Searching for the Brightest Lights in the Universe 18 May 2011John Nousek, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, recently discussed the mission of the Swift satellite and Penn State’s role in its operation during a Research Unplugged lecture.
Lin Receives Don Owen Award from the American Statistical Association
Lin Receives Don Owen Award from the American Statistical Association 17 May 2011Dennis Lin, Distinguished Professor of Statistics at Penn State University, has been awarded the 2011 Don Owen Award from the American Statistical Association's San Antonio chapter. The president of the chapter, John Schoolfield, presented Lin with the award at the 2011 Conference of Texas Statisticians at Texas A&M University. Lin is recognized for his groundbreaking work in designing statistical experiments called supersaturated designs. These designs provide a major tool for practical use in industry and allow investigation of a large number of variables. He also is well known for his research on statistical data mining.
Melissa Rolls to Receive the 2011 Junior Career Recognition Award from the American Society for Cell Biology
Melissa Rolls to Receive the 2011 Junior Career  Recognition Award from the  American Society for Cell Biology 13 May 2011Melissa Rolls, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University, has been selected to receive the 2011 Junior Career Recognition Award given by the Women in Cell Biology (WICB) committee of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB).
Rao Prize Conference to Be Held on 19 May 2011 (100 Thomas Building, from 19 May 2011 08:30 AM to 19 May 2011 06:30 PM)
11 May 2011The Penn State Department of Statistics will host the 2011 Rao Prize Conference on Thursday, 19 May 2011, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in 100 THOMAS BUILDING (corrected location) on the Penn State University Park campus. This one-day conference, which is free and open to the public, will focus on statistics and probability.
Zombie Ants Have Fungus on the Brain, New Research Reveals
Zombie Ants Have Fungus on the Brain, New Research Reveals 09 May 2011New research has revealed how infection by a parasitic fungus dramatically changes the behavior of tropical carpenter ants (species Camponotus leonardi), causing them to become zombie-like and to die at a spot that has optimal reproduction conditions for the fungus. The multinational research team studied ants living high up in the rainforest canopy in Thailand. A paper describing the research will be published in the BioMed Central open-access journal BMC Ecology on 9 May 2011.
Graduating Senior Studies the Shadows of Galaxies
Graduating Senior Studies the Shadows of Galaxies 05 May 2011Most of the universe is empty space -- galaxies lie few and far between. Moreover, distant galaxies are difficult, if not impossible, to observe by their meager light. So, what if astronomers studied not the light of the galaxies themselves, but also their shadows?
"Walk Softly When Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe" Friedman Lecture Set for 18 May 2011 (102 Thomas Building, from 18 May 2011 07:00 PM to 18 May 2011 09:00 PM)
05 May 2011A free presentation titled "Walk Softly When Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe" will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 18 May, in 102 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The program will be presented by Karl Gebhardt, the Herman and Joan Suit Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Texas in Austin. This event is part of the 2010-2011 Friedman Lecture Series in Astronomy. Gebhardt has measured more black-hole masses than anyone in the world. His presentation will cover black holes, dark matter, and dark energy, and it should appeal to anyone interested in any of these three cutting-edge topics of astronomy research.
Daniel Matasic Receives CEIA 2010 Co-op Student of the Year Award
Daniel Matasic Receives CEIA 2010 Co-op Student of the Year Award 04 May 2011Daniel Matasic, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, received the 2010 Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) Co-op Student of the Year award. This national award recognizes students’ academic achievements and contributions to their co-op employers, the University, the community, and the field of cooperative education. The CEIA presented this award to Dan at their national conference in San Antonio, Texas in April 2011.

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