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In Memoriam: Mercedes Richards (1955-2016)
05 February 2016The Eberly College of Science mourns the loss of Mercedes Richards, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, who passed away on February 3. Richards joined the Penn State faculty in 2002 as a professor of astronomy and astrophysics.
Popular “Study Smarter, Not Harder” Workshop Returns for Spring Semester
04 February 2016The popular “Study Smarter, Not Harder” workshop for students will be held on February 9 and 25 at 6:30 p.m. in 100 Life Sciences Building.
What dose of medication is best to prevent the evolution of drug resistance?
28 January 2016A new model shows that the standard practice of treating infections with the highest tolerable dose of anti-microbe medications may not be best for preventing the evolution of drug resistance in all cases. A paper describing the research will be published on January 28, 2016 in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.
Now you see it, now you don't: The quasar that just disappeared
08 January 2016Astronomers can't find any sign of the supermassive black hole at the center of the quasar named SDSS J1011+5442, and they couldn't be happier. "This is the first time we've seen a quasar shut off this dramatically, this quickly," said Penn State Postdoctoral Scholar Jessie Runnoe, who led the international team of astronomers from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) that is reporting this discovery today.
Discovery of a new drug target could lead to novel treatment for severe autism
04 January 2016Penn State scientists have discovered a novel drug target and have rescued functional deficits in human nerve cells derived from patients with Rett Syndrome, a severe form of autism-spectrum disorder. The research, led by Gong Chen, professor of biology and the Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences at Penn State, could lead to a new treatment for Rett Syndrome and other forms of autism-spectrum disorders. A paper describing the research will be published on Jan. 4, 2016, in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Simple mechanism for assembly and disassembly of structures in cells identified
21 December 2015For the first time, scientists have demonstrated a simple charge-based mechanism for regulating the formation and dissolution of liquid-like structures inside cells. The research provides a first step in deciphering how these poorly-understood structures, which lack outer membranes, function in the cell -- and how they may have evolved. A paper describing the research by Penn State University scientists will appear on December 21, 2015, as an advance online publication of the journal, Nature Chemistry.
Stephen Benkovic Named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors
15 December 2015Stephen J. Benkovic, an Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry and Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Chemistry at Penn State University, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. The award is considered to be a high honor "bestowed upon academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society." Benkovic is the only current Penn State faculty member who has been honored as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
New $4.4 million research project targets obesity in Pennsylvania
07 December 2015A deeper understanding of the causes of obesity, and improved treatments for obesity and many of its related health problems, are among the goals of a new $4.4 million, 4-year research grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to a team of scientists from Geisinger Health System, Penn State University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Lauren Ulsh to Represent Penn State’s Eberly College of Science as Student Marshal at Fall Commencement 2015
01 December 2015Lauren Ulsh of Rochester, Minnesota, will be honored as the student marshal for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State University’s fall commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 19, 2015, on the University Park campus. Ulsh’s faculty escort for the commencement exercises will be James A. Strauss, senior lecturer of biology at Penn State.
“Study Smarter, Not Harder” Workshop A Resource for the University Community
24 November 2015The "Study Smarter, Not Harder" workshop was created to help students learn better study strategies.
Smartphones enlisted in the battle versus crop disease
24 November 2015Crop diseases, a major cause of famine, have always been diagnosed by visual inspection, though scientists today also use microscopes and DNA sequencing. But the first line of defense is still the keen eyes of farmers around the world, many of whom do not have access to advanced diagnostics and treatment advice.
Penn State Scientists part of team that wins 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics
23 November 2015Doug Cowen, professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics, and Gordana Tešić, a postdoctoral researcher in Cowen's group, are members of a team of scientists that has been recognized with the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The award, which recognizes major insights into the deepest questions of the universe, includes a $3 million prize. This year's prize will be split among five separate teams that are being recognized “for the fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics," according to the award citation.
Skip Smith commits $5 million to advance brain repair research
18 November 2015Penn State alumnus and philanthropist Charles H. “Skip” Smith has committed $5 million to advance the research of Gong Chen, professor of biology and the Verne M. Willaman Chair in Life Sciences in the Eberly College of Science. Chen’s research holds promise for developing treatments for traumatic brain injuries, stroke, Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Penn State, Harvard team up to enhance science education for minority students
13 November 2015Jablonski and Gates hoping to inspire love of STEM through genetics and genealogy research
Space observatory controlled by Penn State captures its 1,000th gamma-ray burst
11 November 2015One thousand of the most powerful explosions in the universe -- gamma-ray bursts -- now have been detected by NASA's Swift Gamma-ray-Burst Explorer satellite, report scientists at Penn State's Mission Operations Center, which controls the science and flight operations for the satellite.
Ultrasensitive Sensors Made from Boron-Doped Graphene
11 November 2015An international team of researchers, led by Penn State, has developed ultrasensitive gas sensors based on the infusion of boron atoms into the tightly bound matrix of carbon atoms known as graphene. The group is composed of researchers from six countries and includes the 2010 Noble laureate and graphene pioneer Konstantin Novoselov, and Morinobu Endo, the discoverer of carbon nanotubes.
World's 3rd largest optical telescope gets $25 million upgrade
05 November 2015The Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), which Penn State and four other universities built and are operating, has opened a larger and sharper-imaging giant eye on the universe after getting a multi-year, $25 million upgrade. Able to use more of its primary mirror than was possible before, the telescope now ranks as the world’s third-largest optical telescope -- tied for the honor with the South African Large Telescope, which was patterned after the HET's design.
Response to environmental change depends on individual variation in partnership between corals and algae
26 October 2015New research reveals that some corals are more protective than others of their partner algae in harsh environmental conditions. This individual variation among corals could reflect a greater capacity than currently recognized to adapt to changing ocean conditions brought about by climate change. The study, led by marine biologists at Penn State University, will be published online October 26, 2015 in the open access journal Scientific Reports.
Black hole caught in the act of ripping apart a star
22 October 2015New details about what happens when a black hole tears apart a star have been gathered by a multi-national astronomy team using a trio of orbiting of orbiting observatories that includes NASA’s Swift Gamma-ray-Burst Explorer. Science and flight operations for Swift are controlled by Penn State from the Mission Operations Center at the University Park campus. The astronomers tracked material being blown away from a black hole after it tore a star apart in the center of a galaxy that is about 290 million light years away from Earth. The new observations give scientists an extraordinary opportunity to understand the extreme environment and events around a black hole.
New mathematical method reveals structure in neural activity in the brain
19 October 2015A newly-developed mathematical method can detect geometric structure in neural activity in the brain. "Previously, in order to understand this structure, scientists needed to relate neural activity to some specific external stimulus," said Vladimir Itskov, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State University. "Our method is the first to be able to reveal this structure without our knowing an external stimulus ahead of time. We've now shown that our new method will allow us to explore the organizational structure of neurons without knowing their function in advance."

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