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Protein Required for Flexible Behavior Is Identified
24 May 2012Researchers have identified a protein that is necessary for maintaining behavioral flexibility. The protein, named PERK, adjusts behaviors for new circumstances that are similar, but not identical, to previous experiences. The findings may offer new insights for addressing such afflictions as autism and schizophrenia, which are marked by impaired behavioral flexibility. Douglas Cavener, department head and professor of biology at Penn State University, is a coauthor of a research paper describing the discovery, which will be published on 24 May 2012 in the journal Cell Reports.
Moses Chan Testifies Before U.S. Senate on Helium Reserve
15 May 2012Moses Chan, an Evan Pugh Professor of Physics at Penn State University, testified before the U.S. Senate on whether the sell-off of the nation's helium reserve has an adverse effect on the nation's scientific, technical, biomedical, and national-security users of helium. Chan, a member of the National Academy of Sciences / National Research Council (NAS/NRC) Committee on Understanding the Impact of Selling the Helium Reserve, gave his testimony to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on 10 May 2012.
Penn State Researcher Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant
09 May 2012A Penn State researcher has been chosen to receive a grant through the Grand Challenges Explorations program, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. David Hughes, assistant professor of entomology and biology, will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled "Taking Out the Bodyguards: A Novel Solution to Ag Disease."
The Zombie-Ant Fungus Is Under Attack, Research Reveals
02 May 2012A parasite that fights the zombie-ant fungus has yielded some of its secrets to an international research team led by David Hughes of Penn State University. The research reveals, for the first time, how an entire ant colony is able to survive infestations by the zombie-ant fungus, which invades an ant's brain and causes it to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony, where the fungus spores erupt out of the ant's head.
Astronomy Graduate Student Wins National FameLab Astrobiology Competition
02 May 2012Brendan Mullan, a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, recently won NASA's National FameLab Astrobiology competition. The event, dubbed a national science communication extravaganza, welcomed young scientists from across the country to compete to be named the best science communicator.
Raymond Schaak Awarded Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Physical Sciences
17 April 2012Raymond Schaak, a professor of chemistry at Penn State, has been selected to receive the 2012 Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Physical Sciences. Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.
Katherine M. Masters Receives the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching
17 April 2012Katherine Masters, a lecturer and lab director in the Department of Chemistry at Penn State University, has been selected to receive Penn State's George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching. Penn State's president, Rodney Erikson, will present Masters with the award during a formal ceremony in April. The award, named after Penn State's seventh president, was established in 1989 as a continuation of the AMOCO Foundation Award, and honors excellence in teaching at the undergraduate level.
Eric Post Awarded a Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Life and Health Sciences
17 April 2012Eric Post, a professor of biology at Penn State University, has been selected to receive the 2012 Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Life and Health Sciences. Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.
Cyr Honored with 2012 Undergraduate Program Leadership Award
16 April 2012Richard Cyr, a professor in the Department of Biology at Penn State University, has been honored with the Undergraduate Program Leadership Award for 2012. The Undergraduate Program Leadership Award is meant to recognize a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership benefiting an existing Penn State undergraduate degree program. The goal of the award is to recognize those individuals who have major responsibilities for the delivery of undergraduate education within a unit and who are providing leadership that has transformed or revitalized the undergraduate program within the unit.
Bollinger Honored with Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award
16 April 2012J. Martin Bollinger Jr., a professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State University, has been selected by the Penn State Graduate School to receive the Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award. The award, which includes a monetary prize and a certificate, is presented to a full-time faculty member who demonstrates "effective mentoring through guiding and nurturing the collegial and professional development of junior faculty." This award was established in 1991 in honor of Howard Palmer, who served as senior associate dean of the Graduate School from 1985 to 1991.
Oil-Spill Clean-up May be Made Easier by Carbon-Nanotube Technology
13 April 2012For the first time, researchers at Penn State University and Rice University have created solid, spongy blocks of carbon nanotubes that have an astounding ability to clean up oil spills in water. Separating oil from seawater is just one of a range of potential applications for the new material formed using carbon and a dash of boron. The international team, which includes Mauricio Terrones, a professor of physics and of materials science and engineering at Penn State, has published the results of its research in Nature's online journal Scientific Reports.
Forensic Science Program Establishes Partnership with Life Technologies
10 April 2012The Penn State Forensic Science program recently signed a corporate sponsorship agreement with Life Technologies to work on forensic DNA research projects for the company. Life Technologies Corporation is a global biotechnology company dedicated to improving the human condition. In exchange for the research, Life Technologies provided the program with instrumentation, software, and reagents valued at $350,000 that will be used in the research and as educational tools for students.
Hostetler and Stella to Represent Penn State's Eberly College of Science as Student Marshals at Spring Commencement 2012
04 April 2012Zachary Hostetler of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, and Jennifer Stella of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the student marshals for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State's spring commencement ceremonies on 5 May, 2012 at the University Park campus. Hostetler's faculty escort will be Song Tan, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Stella's faculty escort will be Loida Escote Carlson, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
C.R. Rao Receives 35th and 36th Honorary Doctoral Degrees
02 April 2012Penn State's C.R. Rao, Emeritus Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Statistics, long recognized as one of the world's top statisticians, has been honored with his 35th and 36th honorary Doctor of Science degrees. The awarding universities are Karnatak University, located in Dharwad, India, and the International Sanskrit University, located in Tirupati, India. Rao was presented with the degrees at ceremonies during the respective universities.
Nathan Gemelke Receives Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award
21 March 2012Nathan Gemelke, an assistant professor of physics at Penn State University, has been honored with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow award in recognition of his research accomplishments. Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in seven fields of science: chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics.
Lasse Jensen Receives an American Chemical Society Hewlett-Packard Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry
20 March 2012Lasse Jensen, an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University, has been selected to receive an American Chemical Society (ACS) Hewlett-Packard Outstanding Junior Faculty Award for 2012. The award program provides a monetary prize for up to four outstanding tenure-track junior faculty members to present their work at ACS National Meetings.
Karl Schwede Receives Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award
06 March 2012Karl Schwede, an assistant professor of mathematics at Penn State University, has been honored with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow award in recognition of his research accomplishments. Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in seven fields of science: chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics.
3rd Annual Alumni Mentoring Program Workshop Success for Students and Alumni
29 February 2012There was a loud buzz of conversation as the third annual Eberly College of Science Alumni Mentoring dinner got underway as the new student protégés met their alumni mentors for the first time, while a few pairs reunited from previous years. The event, which was held at the Nittany Lion Inn on February 11, boasted 70 participants, making this the best-attended year to date. The program, which now has over 70 pairs of mentors and protégés, has spread through the college to incorporate participants from biology, life science, pre-medicine, biochemistry and molecular biology, forensic science, chemistry, physics, and math.
$200,000 gift to Support Information Technology for Science, Liberal Arts Faculty
27 February 2012Penn State's Eberly College of Science and the College of the Liberal Arts have announced an anonymous commitment from an alumnus. Valued at a total of $200,000, it will provide funds to support the information technology requirements of faculty in each college. The endowment, which will come from the donor's estate, is intended to enhance greater teaching and research by dedicated faculty in fields ranging from physics and biology to humanities and social sciences.
Scott Phillips Receives Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow Award
21 February 2012Scott Phillips, an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State University and holder of the Martarano Career Development Professorship, has been honored with an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow award in recognition of his research accomplishments. Sloan Research Fellowships are intended to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in seven fields of science: chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience, and physics.

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